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My name is Osvaldo Hernandez and I just got a job thanks to the Prospanica Houston networking opportunities!

I recently graduated from the AACSB accredited College of Business at the University of Houston-Downtown. As determined as ever, I hit the ground running and entered the job search ready to exercise all of the skills I acquired working multiple jobs while attending college. My positive attitude began to deteriorate after several weeks of applying and very few interview opportunities. I knew I had the skills and intelligence to make a difference and join the workforce, but I needed something else to market myself in a better way. A former classmate suggested we attend a Prospanica Houston networking event, sponsored by United Healthcare, to practice the art of networking. He explained that these networking events always invited members, interested members, sponsors and recruiters so I knew to prepare my elevator pitch. This was my chance to practice talking to new people in the working environment that I wanted to join and perhaps, if I got lucky, impress a recruiter and be invited to have an interview! I must admit networking may be a bit intimidating because I kept thinking, do I have the skillset to better a worst case scenario? The answer was simple: I won’t know until I’m in the actual situation and that’s how I convinced myself that that the risk was worth the compensation.

I successfully made it through the United Healthcare event, networked and met a lot of great professionals, including Magdalena Gonzalez, the president of Prospanica Houston. After sharing my story and future goals with her, Magdalena recommended that I keep attending these networking events in preparation for the Prospanica Convention & Career Expo – and that’s exactly what I did.

Houston actually hosted the 2016 conference so I opted to volunteer before and during the convention to interact with other graduates and hear their success stories. In between shifts I attended different seminars and I challenged myself to meet as many people as possible. I was in job search heaven; many of the people I met were recruiters and business owners! Many gave me the awesome opportunity to meet one-on-one with them which helped tremendously because they really dissected my interview and provided constructive criticism that I could use in future interviews.

On the second day of the conference during one of my volunteer breaks I had the amazing opportunity to meet Sonia Clayton, President and CEO of Virtual Intelligence Providers (VIP) and winner of the 2016 Brillante Award for Entrepreneur Excellence. Magdalena introduced us and began the networking conversation…  Remember that job I mentioned earlier? Sonia and I stayed in contact after the convention and now I am part of the VIP team!

I am filled with gratitude and I am so happy to have found Prospanica. I am also grateful for my immigrant parents who always emphasized that education is the greatest privilege I could ever have and enabled me to prioritize my education above everything else. As a first generation U.S. American who received a bachelor’s degree, I truly believe that with motivation, hard work, and perseverance you can accomplish your goals.

I invite you to learn more about Prospanica Houston and attend the networking events! Come learn the art of networking, as I did, and find out how this amazing chapter can guide you in the direction you are searching for. Finally, mark your calendars now for the 2017 Prospanica Convention & Career Expo happening in Philadelphia, PA on September 26 thru September 30.

Great opportunities at your fingertips! Make it happen.

Osvaldo Hernandez