Guest Author: Donna Moulico-Hall
I am feeling extremely challenged right now with recent disappointments and difficult personal issues. I will persevere. Simultaneously, I realize how truly blessed I am. Gifts surround me; I need to keep my eyes open and accept them. My network of family and friends bolsters my spirits.
Among the most impactful gifts are the training opportunities I have. I am able to access this training through a federal grant that I learn about from my local career center. This grant and subsequent training is specific for my profession.
I am eternally thankful for the staff at the career center that made me aware of the training possibilities and helped me traverse the bureaucratic pathways to get approval. A new laptop was even included in my training grant. It was not an easy journey, but it was a worthwhile undertaking.
The courses provide me with flexibility where I can address my personal issues as well as valuable professional certifications. I can focus on my development and not obsess on the other issues. It is a most welcome respite, and my brain is engaged. I am inspired to be able to put my new knowledge into practice. Beyond the training itself, the staff from the training company have demonstrated kindness, consideration, and confidence in me. They truly lift me up during a time of self-doubt and stress.
Job Search Reboot
Upon completion, I am ready to hit the ground running. I am re-energized for my job search and have updated my resume and LinkedIn profile. But change is needed. Doing the same round of networking groups and activities was not successful in the past and may not yield great results now.
So, I seek out new networking opportunities and groups. I reach out to the company and the manager from which I had to withdraw my candidacy due to my personal issues. I am back and ready for that next phase.
The energy is on an upward trajectory. I reach out to individuals via LinkedIn where I find positions of interest to check on internal referral programs. I am convinced that I will find an excellent position by using personal connections and not just submitting online applications.
I have applied to several exciting and interesting positions. I am using my network and have people inside these companies supporting and endorsing me. The response has been positive with a series of phone screening interviews and face-to-face interviews. I even fantasize about choosing from multiple offers. That would be fantastic!
I am among the final candidates for two amazing opportunities. While the commute may be a challenge, the roles are exciting, the teams are supportive, and the work would be meaningful. A couple other opportunities are also in the mix but at earlier states in the interview process.
I go on face-to-face interviews and believe I have made excellent impressions. Prior to those interviews, the staff at the local career center help me prepare with mock interviews. The learning experience was valuable because I could see how I was not asserting my strengths and my unique qualifications convincingly enough. Once again, the SOAR stories are an excellent source of materials. I find it difficult to push myself onto others but in the job search process, this is a necessary step towards success.
Being the Bridesmaid
The waiting for a response is unnerving. Each day, I wait for responses, but nothing comes. For one of the positions it is between me and an internal candidate. The other position has three final candidates. I reach out to the recruiters for each position, but the hiring teams are still deliberating.
Several weeks after each of those face-to-face interviews, I get the verdict: they have gone with another candidate. I am so tired of being the bridesmaid! I want to grasp that brass ring and get off this job search merry-go-round. What else do I have to do? It is very discouraging. The response from my oldest son was, “That was their mistake.” I have done the training, done the networking, been active in LinkedIn, and open to recommendations. It begs the question what is wrong with me? Why not me?
Crossing the Finish Line
During the interview process for the two positions I coveted, a colleague who attended the leadership summit in October reached out to me. He had been re-hired by his former company, and they had an opening. He recommended me to fill it. I start the application process with this company. The role is different than anything I had done previously. It is intriguing and would be meaningful work.
My phone screening with the hiring manager went well because I was not nervous. I had been waiting on a response from the other two positions which I thought would be ‘yes’ soon. I felt more natural and relaxed.
Funny, how things do not happen the way you envision them. About 10 days later, I had a face-to-face interview with two members of the team and heard nothing again. I am getting used to this tune. Then another call for a second face-to-face interview with two more team members. I have enjoyed my interactions with the team members and believe I have presented myself well. This role will have a significant learning curve. While it may be a challenge, it is also exciting.
Little over a week later, the HR director calls to present me with an offer. Answered prayers! I accept the offer. In fact, the entire team is currently in the office for a team meeting, and they ask for me to meet them. I go in to meet them, pick out my equipment, and find my new desk. They also invite me to a team dinner that evening. What a welcoming experience and I am elated!
I have a couple weeks before my start date to finish up a few things, to enjoy some special activities, and to share my experiences with some networking groups. My hope is others will be encouraged.
The job search journey is NOT a sprint but a marathon with multiple heartbreak hills. Job candidates put their heart and souls into the job search, yet companies can be non-responsive, glacially slow to respond, or discouraging. That is an area that cries out for vast improvement.
Job Search Metrics
During my training, my instructor emphasized that if you cannot measure it, you cannot fix it. Let me close with a few metrics.
- job applications > 140
- job rejections = 62
- phone screenings = 33
- video interviews = 3
- face-to-face interviews = 6
- second-round face-to-face interviews = 2
- work submissions = 2
When I started out, someone said for every $10K of salary there is a month of searching unless you get very, very lucky.
In my opinion, networking is the key ingredient in the job search along with hope and resiliency. I now look forward to my next phase wiser, stronger, and more patient