I haven’t had as much time to write blog posts recently, but I wanted to get a final update out for all those rallying behind me in my job seeking goals the past year. After 9 months of being unemployed or underemployed, I now have a full time job! Woohoo for consistent money! Here is a look back at 2013 and my job seeking journey…
At the beginning of 2013, I made a New Years resolution to take back my career path. In addition to updating my online presence, networking my butt off, attending job-seeking workshops, and applying for jobs continually, I joined the blogging world again. I made myself accountable with this blog post: The Long Hiatus is Finally Over
In those first few months I spent a lot of time building my connections. For all of you out there presently looking for work, the adage “It’s all about the people you know,” is absolutely true! Every door that opened for me was a result of my own determination, and the help of someone I met along the way.
I knew volunteering would be key to meeting new people, and building that network, plus I love giving my time to organizations doing good things, (and… being unemployed offers you a little more time in your week).
My first venture was with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, a non-profit focusing on stewardship and place-based education. I wrote a 4-part blog series here: CSWC Blog Series
I did some volunteer communications work with LettuceGrow, a nonprofit that brings gardens and gardening education to correctional facilities in the State of Oregon. I assisted with the annual fundraising dinner and wrote all about the big night HERE. (pictured above)
Last fall, I joined the Communications Board at SOLVE (an organization I have had my eye on since moving to Portland). Here is our Earth Day volunteer experience.
I wrote a 5-part blog series for the University of Oregon Career Services Department, and a 5-part series for Mac’s List, a well-known Portland based job-seeking platform. Both of the series were based on my job seeking journey, and tips I came across along the way. (Links to these posts below)
What really sealed the deal on my employment in 2013 however, were the individuals I met along the way. Not only did these people assist me in my job seeking goals – inspiring me, coaching me, telling me to “hang in there,” some of them have become friends. It’s beautiful to watch your network grow. Although many people touched me and encouraged me along my path in 2013, there are a few that really went the extra mile, or came into my life at just the right time. Below is my example of just how connected we all become, and how one thing truly leads to the next!
My networking break really came when the fabulous Aimee Fahey came into my life. I met Aimee through Twitter back in the spring. She reached out to me, asking to meet for coffee and I remember thinking, “things are really starting to turn around for me!” Aimee owns her own career coach & recruiting business, and knows A LOT of people. (She also writes a great blog!)
Not only was Aimee the catalyst for many of my new connections, she has been a huge support to me. She is a strong woman with conviction, and I admire her spirit and tenacity. Aimee has encouraged me to believe in my abilities, value what I bring to the table, and ask for compensation that is fair – all things I appreciate so much. It’s partly because of Aimee that I negotiated my current salary. (A few years ago, I would have accepted what was first offered without question.)
Aimee introduced me to Jessica Williams, which led to the blogging opportunity on Mac’s List. At the time, Jessica was leading Mac’s List (a Prichard Communications project), and I met with her for an informational interview. She was so kind, very encouraging, and offered to let me write some blog posts for the site. (Just weeks before this unfolded, I was reading a guest post on Mac’s List thinking, “how did this woman get on here-it would be so COOL to have that opportunity”….Well-manifesting what you want really works sometimes)!
I also did an informational interview with Mac Prichard, such an outstanding man of the community, and I really appreciated the time he gave.
One of my favorite job-seeking events of the year was with Vicki Lind (I found on Mac’s List). She offers a free interviewing & networking practice workshop once a month. This opportunity was extremely helpful, and Vicki was kind enough to give me a copy of her book, “Finding a Job Worth Having.”
Aimee introduced me to Michelle Lasley, Executive Assistant at SOLVE, which led me to meeting Mark Bendinelli, SOLVE’s Marketing Committee Chair, and now I’m on the Marketing Board for SOLVE! (Check out Michelle’s blog!)
My involvement with LettuceGrow was also Aimee’s doing, which led me to meet the Founder and Executive Director, Sarah Patterson. Not only did Sarah rally behind me in finding a job, she actually helped me get one! Sarah introduced me to Mark Gaskill, President & CEO of MKG Financial Group, Inc.
-My Office View – Fourth of July weekend, Waterfront Blues Festival-
I was interviewed for a communications/marketing position for MKG, and started a few days later. I was thrilled to finally have a “real job.” And getting to work downtown in a beautiful office on the river was exhilarating. But, this position was only part-time, and after 4 months, I decided to begin looking for something more full time with benefits.
Two days later, I received a phone call from Jackie Mathys from Mathys+Potestio, the creative recruiting company that I made connections with way back in February! I wrote about them in my Dance of Networking post. Jackie had a position she was trying to fill and thought I would be a good fit. She met with me briefly to explain the job duties; but more importantly, she was a real cheerleader, encouraging me to fight for what I want in my career life and be a strong woman. I value these conversations and moments dearly. Don’t ever underestimate the impact you may have on another individual!
I interviewed on a Friday, and started working the following Monday. After two months of the temp-to-hire arrangement, I was offered a permanent full-time position. See how everything comes full circle!
-No “Office” view at the new job, but we are right next to the river trail in Johns Landing-so I have a slice of nature on my walk every day.-
During this time, I also had the good fortune of meeting Greg Bell, founder of Water The Bamboo Center For Leadership. I love how we meet individuals during pivotal moments of change in our lives. Greg met with me one morning, and his presence is calming and his spirit is inspirational and encouraging.
Greg wrote the book, Water The Bamboo, a highly recommended read for any individual forging their dreams, or any business desiring to create a solid foundation. I am so grateful Greg took a morning out of his week to meet with me, as the seeds of hope he planted that day have become a new foundation for my living. Again…never underestimate the impact you may have on another!
I now work for the cyber security event company SecureWorld Expo as there communications and marketing coordinator. It has been a great atmosphere for learning many new things with a fun group of people. Plus, I have my very first “grown-up” job with paid vacation and benefits!
I’m slowly learning the life-work balance, and my career journey certainly isn’t over; but for now, the stability of employment is a true blessing I’m very thankful for.
And…I still work very part-time at MKG, so I get the perk of that great office view every so often. Now I watch the best sunrises as I start my day very early!
Many thanks to all of my friends and family that supported and believed in me through my 2013 job seeking year, and many thanks to all the new people that entered my life – what a journey it was!
Extra Links From 2013:
Guest Interview: Post on Aimee Fahey’s EcoGrrl interview blog series
Mac’s List 5-part Blog Series:
1. Don’t Do These Four Things When Looking For Work in Portland (This was shared nearly 2000 times.) 2. What to do Before You Send Your Resume to a Portland Employer 3. How to talk about Your Job Search 4. Maintain Your Online Presence-4 Tips to Keep it Fresh 5. Use Feng Shui to Help Your Job Hunt BONUS: Top 10 Most Read “Mac’s List” Blog Posts of the Year
University of Oregon 5-part Blog Series:
1. Introducing Heather – What I learned From My Job Search Mistakes
2. How to Start Your Job Search
3. How to Maintain That Online Presence – 4 Tips to Keep it Fresh
4.How to Talk About Your Job Search – Keep if Fresh 5. How Heather Got the Job – BONUS Interview Video