CAREERS: My Big Break - Stephanie Schroeder is an Associate at Ross& Lawrence Public Relations in New York

I got my big break twice. The first was when I was working at an association magazine. I interviewed a client at a small Madison Avenue PR firm that I thought would be the ultimate place to work. They served me coffee and bagels, had classic paintings on the walls, and very swanky surroundings. I immediately e-mailed the president when I got back to my office saying I wanted to work there.

I got my big break twice. The first was when I was working at an association magazine. I interviewed a client at a small Madison Avenue PR firm that I thought would be the ultimate place to work. They served me coffee and bagels, had classic paintings on the walls, and very swanky surroundings. I immediately e-mailed the president when I got back to my office saying I wanted to work there.

Shortly after that meeting, he called me in for an interview. After talking with the president and principal for three hours, I was sure I had the job. I was called again upon returning to my office and was asked to come back after work and meet the CEO. I did, and was hired.

After two years, I left the firm to pursue a freelancing career. Unfortunately, the economy tanked soon thereafter, so I was pounding the pavement again for another full-time job. I did a little self-promotion and got myself into The New York Times as a job hunter with sage advice for the unemployed.

My quotes and qualifications impressed my current employers. They had me in for three interviews and finally hired me, which was lucky for me because my unemployment checks ran out the week I began working again.

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