Let the River Run
I understand that this is mostly a self-serving post. I'm not sure I'm saying anything new, but...if there's anyone out there that hasn't tried this out...I wanted to put it out there.
Although I'm writing this on a Thursday afternoon while I sit on my Mama's couch in Alabama, I'm scheduling it to publish on Monday morning as I drive to my new job. I'm both anxious and excited, and after about two weeks of totally free time, I'm ready to have something to do with my day.
Here's a look at my job history:
- Age 16: mail opening, payment processing and check encoding at a payment processing center; I worked before and after school (high school), weekends and summers (on and off) until my last semester of college. I got this job because my mom was the manager.
- Age 18: scooping ice cream and measuring out candy, eventual 12-hours-a-day peach peeler; I worked the summer between high school and college five or so days a week (days I wasn't opening mail (and stuff) mentioned above). I got this job because my cousin Hannah was also working there and told me they needed someone else.
- Age 18: stuffing envelopes, preparing press kits, mailing things, also working as an office coordinator in Birmingham and traveling; I worked from my first semester of college through my last college summer - after class, days off class, all but one summer. I got this job after emailing everyone at the company with the word "director" in their title. (Hey, it worked.)
- Age 19: ushering, briefly working in a gift shop at a theatre; I worked from the summer after my freshman year until I graduated, fitting in every single shift that I could around class, other job/work scheduling, etc. I loved this job. I picked up an application after seeing a particular show three times in two days.
- Age 20: retail; Spring (after class) and Summer (after work mentioned above) 2002. My friend worked at the American Eagle next door and it seemed like a good idea at the time.
- Age 22: financial secretary, admin; I worked mornings for a geotechnical firm and afternoons at a church while I wrote my senior thesis during the Fall of 2004. Both great experiences with great coworkers. I got both of these jobs through Samford friends.
- Age 23: My first "real" job (i.e., full time). I did pretty much anything you could think of that would happen at a booking agency. I got an interview through a mutual friend of someone who worked there.
- Age 25: I took a new job as a graphic designer, introduced to me through a work contact, to increase quality of life. It was for a construction company, the housing market crashed, and I was laid off three months later.
- Age 26: A former co-worker let me know that the wife of a vendor contact (things happen this way!) was looking for an admin for her healthcare consulting team. And that brings us up to October 15, 2014.
- Age 32: I started looking for a new job. Crickets.
You can see that most of the jobs I've taken have been introduced to me through a family member, friend, former co-worker...a personal connection. The two that weren't were retail and part-time-only jobs (where I just picked up an application). When I started looking for a new job this time around, while I did first ask friends about job openings, and for help brain-storming, I realized that "we're" (the "we" being my close group of friends) all in a place - now, after about ten years out of college - where we're pretty stable in life. At age 23, or two years after a "first job," transition is still pretty common, and I feel like everyone is attuned to searching.
But I found something. Something starting today. And because I took what I considered an alternate course to this job, I wanted to share something that I've learned: thirty-somethings (and twenty- and forty-somethings, I guess), there is a reason to be all-in on LinkedIn. During my job search, I used LinkedIn for 85% of my searching, and it was 100% helpful as related to follow-up and getting interviews. The good news:
- When using the job search feature, you can set your location preferences (to multiple locations if you're willing/wanting to relocate). As far as the types of jobs, the searches are based on your listed skills and endorsements - this is a great time (and good excuse) to get rid of all of the random endorsements from connections that might not actually be all that connected. You all know what I mean.
- If you keep everything in your profile updated, there are some company websites that will allow you to fill in their online application by hitting a SINGLE BUTTON to link your profile. I LOVE this feature. It's such a time saver - and procrastination is half the battle in job searching (at least for me).
- Speaking of keeping everything updated; it's just a good idea. One of the most sigh-inducing things for me was having to go in and update both that profile and my resume.
- To reinforce this, my mom was on a conference call this week and the person hosting the call brought up the importance of keeping LinkedIn profiles up -to-date. My mom works for a large company that is contracted with the Federal governments. That's enough of a recommendation for me.
Now. social media sites aside, of course I can't say enough about, even if you're wanting to play your cards close to the vest, telling your friends. They'll give you information on leads, and also just give you an ego boost and support during your search. For me, specifically, this time around, many, many thanks go out to Natalie, Scott, Haley, Brooke, Antonio, and Kama - people who listened to me express hopes and fears, complain about my own perceived limitations, and sent me leads. Thanks, thanks, thanks.
So. Maybe I'm already at work right now. Wish me luck! (And that maybe there's a tall, nattily dressed, single man with a strong John Cho vibe.)