An Open Thank You Letter on My Job Search

Here’s a note I finally got around to emailing.  Since I’ve received tremendous support from many people I “met” through blogging, I though it would be appropriate to post it here, too.  Thank you!

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This is a bit late, but I wanted to thank you for your role in helping me land a new position, since it truly takes a village to find a job as well as raise a child.  I’m doing this bcc since I have many people to thank.  If you’re on this email, you’ve offered me a job lead, a networking interview, a reference, some good advice, or perhaps just a kind word of encouragement, all of which is greatly appreciated!

I’m thrilled to announce that I started a position last month as a Program Officer for the Eisenhower Fellowships. Although this is perhaps not the job I tailored my resume for, it turns out that I found a perfect fit for someone with my eclectic background and range of interests.  Bonus: it’s even related to that master’s degree in international relations I earned eons ago.
I’m not sure where else I’d find a job that requires me to research Thai television spectrum auctions, follow the status of Muslim insurrections in the Philippines, figure out the best place to stay in Research Triangle, NC without a car, and track down a variety of film producers, venture capitalists, policy wonks, and imams in various US cities.  That’s all in a day’s work, as I develop the program for each of my international fellows before they arrive to crisscross the country for a frenetic seven weeks. The job is guidance counselor, travel agent, and geek, all rolled into one.
For now, this is a contract position until early December, but it’s definitely been an experience already. I found this job through networking, and would not have landed here without countless hours of job leads, advice, and encouragement from you and others in my network.
My advice for fellow job seekers: it may be impossible to predict where your job search will eventually take you, but you WILL get there.  And eventually you’ll find that you got to where you were meant to be.  (For that matter, this advice extends to life in general.)
If I can ever be of assistance to you, in a job search or otherwise, please let me know.
Best,
Kelly
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A Not So Great Week, Or Was It?

In terms of the raw statistics, it would appear that my job search is not going swimmingly after this past week.  That’s two “NO’s”, a likely “NO”, and a big question mark.  Although I’d be lying if I said there were no moments of self-doubt, I’m not feeling defeated.  Here’s why:

  1. The No (for now): screened out via a phone interview for a contract project manager position.  I received specific feedback why, which was a concern that I wasn’t deemed a sufficient power user of MS Project.  The role seemed to be less strategy, and more just providing the documentation.  Although I’m comfortable with MS Project, I can’t say that spending most of my day recording milestones is my idea of the ideal job.   The company deemed my communications and problem-solving skills to be very high, so they’d be willing to consider me for other roles, and the staffing agency is already looking.  The company is a large bank with many positions, so there is still hope here.  They pay well, and I’m quite flexible on the role to just get in the door.  
  2. The No (and I’m glad):  a somewhat disastrous interview for a non-profit position.  This was the “hidden” job market opportunity I mentioned in an earlier post. I knew little about the position in advance of the interview.   While it’s a worthy cause, this is a coalition management position, reporting to a steering committee comprised of members of different organizations.  Funding for the position will be eliminated in about six months, so a key element of the job is development.  Yes: a new role, with many responsibilities, including finding funding within six months, under the direction of a group of people with conflicting agendas. Is it just me, or does that sound like a recipe for disaster? Oh, and the position is currently funded to be a poorly paid 20 hours a week.  I probably wasn’t deemed qualified due to my lack of experience in grant writing, but I don’t think it is sour grapes to say this is probably not the right role for me anyway.  Instead, I think I should say a prayer for the poor soul who does take this on.
  3. The Probably No (darn it!): Had the grueling interview I mentioned in an earlier post for another financial services firm which included a logic question, seriously prepared peer interviewers, and a hiring manager with wonderful technical and people skills.  I want this job.  I liked the people, the company, and the role, but sense that I might not be their leading contender after their in-person interviews  (which was the third interview in the process).   I’m hoping I’ll get closure on this next week, although it may take longer than that.
  4. The Question Mark:  Had what was supposed to be a second interview with an HR person for yet another company.  We were on the phone all of ten minutes. I still don’t have much sense of what the actual job will require, or if it is a good fit for me.  I suspect that the interviewer didn’t know, either.  She set up an in-person interview with the actual hiring manager for a later date, so it appears that in this company, the hiring managers are tasked with doing their own candidate screening through interviews.  This doesn’t seem very effective to me. Not sure if this bodes well for the company.

In summary, I’m getting interviews, lots of interview practice, and some constructive feedback about what has not gone well, so I’m still optimistic about my chances of landing somewhere reasonably soon.  

I wish my fellow job seekers good luck , too. Unless of course, you’re one of the candidates for the job I want!