Since we moved, I have technically been employed in some form since we got here. However, there was a one-week period where I was only working a few days a week at Intrigue Chocolate Co. It was my only job. If you count job hunting as a job (which I actually do), then, OK, I had two jobs.
My first interview was scheduled the second week I had been in Seattle. The condensed version is that I had talked to the hiring manager while I was still in California. I had indicated that I was not interested in a sales position. He explicitly said “It’s not a sales position. It’s a consultant position.” “Perfect!” I thought to myself. So, it came as a shock to me when I had my face-to-face interview that within 5 minutes of sitting down, I was quickly shown the door.
The conversation started pleasantly enough, until I stated “I do not want to work in sales.” The hiring manager (for visuals, he reminded me of Dean Pelton from the TV show/Yahoo series “Community”) got all wide-eyed and said, “This is a sales position. And with that, he abruptly ended the interview.
Yes, my first Seattle interview went swimmingly (oh) well.
I’m always job searching, but moving to a new city in a different state presented new challenges. Since I don’t know anyone here really, it’s difficult to network. So, I had to pull up my big girl corporate panties and put myself out there.
In no particular order, here are the phases of my job hunting experience.
- Putting My Best Foot Forward (Virtually)
Being an introverted and shy person, networking is probably the word I dread the most when it comes to job hunting. The advice I was given is that networking is your best weapon in the hunt. Simply filling out the online application or sending out your resume just doesn’t cut it.With much dread, I logged into LinkedIn. I started out e-mailing people I remotely knew. For instance, I got in contact with the owner of Savor Seattle, a walking food tour company. Then I started e-mailing former colleagues and supervisors. Lastly, I targeted various recruiters from staffing agencies.In some ways, it started to get easier, but I felt a lot of shame, especially when contacting former colleagues and supervisors. Basically, my e-mails would be read like this (only in a more polished version): “Hey [name of former colleague/supervisor] who you probably don’t remember: I picked up my belongings and plopped them down in a new city. I have a roof over my head, but have no clue how I’m going to pay for it. Are your or anyone you know hiring?”There were a few positives that came out of my approach:
1. I made a new friend/supporter. One of my old co-workers who had recently moved from California to North Carolina for a new job opportunity put me in touch with a woman who had retired from the company we both used to work for. I’ll just use her initials, BA. BA and I have been corresponding pretty much on a weekly basis. Although she wasn’t able to get me in touch with anyone regarding job opportunities, she had dispensed some valuable career advice, as well as being a shoulder to cry on.2. I landed my temp job with a major company in Seattle. I sought out a recruiter who indicated on her LinkedIn profile that she recruited for this specific company. I connected with her and hoped for the best. Although the agency she works for failed on me twice (for one job, I got the interview but no offer; for the other job, the company passed on me altogether), she finally came through. If anything, I think working here is a rite of passage for anyone who moves to Seattle. It’s pretty interesting to see the company from the outside and then the inside.
- Enduring the Agony of Rejection… Again, and Again, and Again
Rejection sucks. There is just no way around it. However, I must say, the bright side is actually getting an interview in the first place. There has got to be some badge of honor for having a great resume and/or cover letter that makes someone think, “Hey, I’d like to bring this candidate in for some facetime.” Still, having had 4 interviews and the resulting non offers over the course of 2-3 months was a big blow. This doesn’t even include the other dozens of rejection e-mails and, perhaps even worse, the non-response from other companies I had applied to.I fear and loathe failure. Every type of rejection feels like another stab in the heart. For a while, it seemed like friends or acquaintances who were looking for jobs each finally landed a permanent position. Every time it happened, I thought, “I’m next!” as if we were standing in line at the DMV. But as the time passed, my hope started to fade.
- Increased Rejections = Improved Resumes
Despite the pain of rejection, there was a bright side (I suppose). Each time I applied, I would review my resume and make tweaks. Sometimes I would just have this “Aha!” moment, such as using a stronger word or remembering some other accomplishment that I had not thought of before.Even though re-looking at my resume for the umpteenth time felt like looking at my face in the mirror after having a hangover, I know changes had to be made. Every. Single. Time. It’s definitely time-consuming and gut-wrenching, but it has to be done.
Maybe the tweaks didn’t lead to offers left and right, but I sure felt better inside. It meant that I was not giving up, even though it would have seemed easier to do so.
So, here I am, approximately 3.5 months since I have had a permanent position. My former co-worker tipped me off to an opening at the company’s Seattle office. I had looked everywhere but at my old company. Why? There was no opening at the time I had arrived, so I figured there wouldn’t be one in the near future.
Although the position a step down from what I used to do, I decided to go for it. Moving to Seattle was a time for me to refresh and renew. I want to try new things instead of rejecting them without even trying. This was probably one of my mistakes from before. I wanted to continue moving up and up. But in doing so, I probably missed out on opportunities — to meet new people, attain new skills, and simply have the experience.
For instance, the work I do at Intrigue Chocolate Co. is pretty basic — I apply labels to truffles and truffle bars. It seems simple enough. However, I learned there is a bit of marketing to the technique. As one of the co-owners described it to me (I’m paraphrasing here), “unwrapping a truffle should be an experience” for the consumer. In addition, I’ve learned about proper food preparation and handling. I have never worked in a kitchen before. So, I’m pretty fascinated by the things I don’t know from years sitting in front of a computer.
Anyway, two weeks after my interview, I received an offer. Then a few minutes after that, I was contacted by a hiring manager for a different job at a different company that I had applied for. This job is a stepping stone to my preferred (or should I say next) career path. I am not sure if I will get it or not, but the thought of having 2 offers on the table astounds me. It would definitely be a first.
I didn’t know how long my job search would last, but one thing is for sure – I was going to try hard and not give up (though I did take a month-long break).
My advice is (though it’s hypocritical to type this since I don’t listen to it myself is) to never give up. Take a break if you have to, cry if you need to, or find a shoulder to lean on. I also read a lot of career articles and only took to heart the ones I felt comfortable with. Everyone is different. Now go out there and put your best face and foot forward!