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Aspiring electrician who handed out résumés on the street while holding a sign lands his first job

Elise Solé

A formerly unemployed college graduate who stood at a busy interaction passing out his résumé and holding a sign with the hashtag #StriveForGreatness has landed a full-time job, thanks to his creativity.

In February, Texas resident De’Andre Matthews, 21, graduated from the Houston School of Carpentry but struggled to find employment. “I applied to at least 30 jobs all over Houston,” Matthews, an aspiring electrician, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Distance wasn’t a problem; I was willing to commute anywhere.”

After his grandmother died last week, Matthews decided to try a different approach to job hunting. Inspired by a local news story published by ABC 13 about a homeless man who stood on the street holding a sign that read “Hungry for Success” and passing out his résumé, Matthews thought: If he could do it, so could I.

College grad De’Andre Matthews getting creative in his job search. (Photo: abc13.com)

Along with the hashtag #StriveForGreatness, which he borrowed from a LeBron James campaign, Matthews wrote on a sign, “I am [an] electrical trade school grad with no job experience. Please take a resume and help this electrician apprentice out.”

Photo: Facebook/De’Andre Matthews

On a scorching Monday morning, Matthews headed to a busy intersection at Wallisville Road and the Beltway with his sign and 20 résumés. “It took a lot of courage,” he says. “I was scared, and my negative thoughts kept kicking in — I worried that I wrote too much on the sign and it would be hard to read, or that people would think I was asking for money.”

During the two-hour outing, Matthews handed out five résumés (he also scored some water and a bottle of Sprite from a generous trucker), but when the heat became unbearable, he headed home. Soon his phone started ringing. “My phone rang so much, it actually froze,” he says, telling Click2Houston that, thanks to his story spreading on social media, the callers were from Texas, “Virginia, Baltimore, Boston, Louisiana, Alabama and there was one in Arizona.” 

One was from a Houston woman who had been the second driver to take Matthews’s résumé. Her father’s electrical service company had a job opening, so she offered Matthews an interview. On Tuesday, he met with company personnel and was hired on the spot.

“I accepted the job because my employer seemed to appreciate my knowledge and cared about teaching me,” says Matthews. “That really spoke to me.”

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