In an unexpected series of events, I have accepted a new job at a non-profit organization. I let a few of my closest blogging friends know and many of them wanted to learn the entire story, so I figured I would make the story into a post idea. This might be especially relevant for all you young adults out there who are thinking of moving on to something else, but have found yourselves comfortable.
When It’s Time to Start Looking for a New Job
There are many reasons why people start looking for a job. Boredom. Unhappiness (with either the work or co-workers). Not being satisfied with current compensation. The list could go on and on if I allowed it. There were contributing factors to the reason that I started looking for a job, but the most important was my wife’s recent job change. As I mentioned a little while ago, she recently got two job offers from her current employer. She ended up taking the lower paying job because the future potential for advancement as well as the goal of relocating. While my wife and I are happy where we are, we’re not thrilled with the idea of living here long-term. Living on the outskirts or NYC has its advantages, but the disadvantages stick out in our mind. Not only is everything so crowded and fast-paced, but we find it difficult to relate to people (this is evidenced by the fact that 99% of our closest friends aren’t from NJ). My wife likes to put it like this: “In the greater NYC area, people wear business attire. In the place that we plan to move to, people wear fleeces. Those are our kind of people.” And she’s right. We don’t fit in with this work-as-hard-as-you-can-to-accomplish-your-dreams mentality. We believe there are more important things than career goals and making lots of money.
In case you haven’t guessed it, this was the primary reason why I started looking. To be fair, I was only casually looking. For the most part, I didn’t even expect to find anything, especially when I knew in the back of my mind that we would be moving in a little over a year (once my wife finishes her graduate school) I was even looking at what jobs were available in the ‘destination city.’ Little did I know, there would be a perfect job waiting for me. While I am glad that I started looking, a part of me still does not want to leave my current employer. I have a great boss who has been really flexible with me and I know how to do everything well. I am efficient and have some free time that I can come up with new projects. Even though it will be hard to leave the familiar, I knew that I needed to apply so that I can continue to develop professionally and start on my career path (instead of just working a job).
How to Get the Job of Your Dreams
It was just about a month ago that I found the job that matched perfectly with my skills and experience. When I first saw the job description, I felt like I was unqualified. They were asking for 5-10 years of experience, I had just under 5. I decided to apply anyway and see what would happen. To my surprise, I got the job – but it wasn’t by just pure luck. I have found that if you want to get a job that you really want, you have to go out and get it. You have to earn it. Here’s how I did it:
Stand Out from the Crowd
One way to increase your odds of getting the job that you want is to make your name stand out. I made sure to go the extra mile. Since this job was in operations and would be working with the website (among many other things), I figured that I could help myself stand out by creating an online resume. I already had bought the domain for my full name, so I took a couple hours to create a very basic website with my resume information. I felt like this would show them that I am qualified to work on websites more than just a couple bullet points on a resume.
Emphasize the Positives
I was applying for a job even though I did not have the number of years of professional experience that was listed. Since I knew that these numbers are usually flexible if you have the skill set to perform that job, I ignored this and played to my strengths. If I had concerned myself with this small detail, I may have felt the need to explain this away in my cover letter. I know many people who do this. They write something like, “I know I don’t have the necessary experience, but…” Whatever you do, don’t do this. If you were getting in a fight, would you tell your opponent your weakest part? Absolutely not, so why do that when applying for a job? I was glad that I didn’t mention anything about my experience because I got a positive response from the beginning. Less than 12 hours after applying (on a Saturday night, mind you), I found an email that started with this: “Your qualifications and work experience are impressive and I would be happy to talk to you about the position.” While I didn’t know that I had the job, I did know that I was a person of interest going forward.
Get Help from Your Personal Network
While many people are too proud to ask for help, one of the many advantages that you have is the people around you to support you. There are many cliche sayings that communicate the strength in numbers (yes, that may be one of them), but this really is true. I was fortunate to have a wife who had experience in the non-profit realm. Not only did she train me on an important donor database, but she gave me key phrases to use in order to illustrate my proficiency. I made sure that I was honest in all of my interviews, but these inside tips are the things that can help you highlight why you are the best candidate. At the very least, employers want someone who is resourceful.
As the interviews continued and I felt the chances of being offered the position increased, I reached out to some of my blogging friends for their assistance. I even got negotiation advice from someone who knows what they are talking about. It’s nice to have powerful people in your network, but it won’t do you any good unless you utilize them. I am glad that I asked for help from those around me and I hope you will do the same when the time comes.
How a Hobby Can Help You Get a Job
The last, but certainly not least, part of this story with me transitioning into a new position is that I wouldn’t have even been considered for the job if it had not been for this (and many other) blog. Yes, you read that correctly – blogging helped me get this job. It not only proved that I was capable of managing a website, but it gave me the supplemental skills that made me unique. Since the organization that I will be working for is a small non-profit, they were looking for someone who would be able to do multiple things. This means not only the technical skills, but familiarity with marketing strategies and such. As I was putting my resume and cover letter together, I realized that I do this on a regular basis with my blog. Marketing? Check! I interact with PR and Marketing departments of major organizations all the time to talk about sponsorship opportunities. Email marketing? Check! I recently started a newsletter for this blog, so I am familiar with email blasts and newsletters. Basic Graphic Design? Check! Not only do I design some basic logos, but I have also created some promotional material. Even though I hadn’t set out to develop a lot of skills that would directly contribute to me getting this job, that is what happened as a result of starting this blog over a year ago. I’d say that is a huge success. I have proven that I not only have what it takes to create something successful, but I can learn new things and propel myself forward.
This job not only marks a significant success in being offered the job, but it also marks the beginning of a new realized career. There is a lot of potential for growth and I am sure there will be many new challenges. As I mentioned, I will be sad to leave many of my current colleagues, but I am excited about the new opportunity. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up on. Not only does it mean a change in job titles, but it also means a huge change in my finances. I will continue to unpack the implications of such in the coming weeks. Some of the biggest changes are to my health insurance, buying a second car since I can’t commute by train anymore, and of course, a little bit of a pay raise. Stay tuned for more updates!