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Searching for your New Job

October 5, 2010

I know there are a lot of moms out there that are looking for work—either because you are just entering the job market, you have lost your job for one reason or another or like myself because you want to find a more suitable career.  In my recent job search I learned some things and wanted to pass along my findings to any of you out there who are also searching.

The first step in your job search is to identify what type of job you want.  For me this was the biggest challenge.  I knew what I was good at—but what would I enjoy?  I was currently in print & online advertising sales for Yellowbook for the past 5 years, I had been in sales management at Enterprise for about 5 years prior to that and taught high school science for 3 years after graduating.  I loved being in sales because I like having the ability to control my paycheck through my performance but I also enjoyed teaching.  I have a passion for helping people and my selling style is very much that of a consultative approach.  I am also a bit of a tech geek and I love the digital world.  After reading 48 Days to the Work you Love and a lot of prayer and reflection, I realized that selling digital marketing was probably the best fit for me.

Once you figure out what you want to do, the next step is to create your resume based on your ideal job. Now creating a resume can be fairly daunting especially considering that it is the first impression that potential employers will have of you.  If haven’t been keeping an updated resume—which by the way you should definitely do, then pulling together all of your information will take some time.  Fortunately there are a lot of resources out there to help you create the perfect resume for your situation—whether that requires an industry specific resume, a resume designed for changing careers, a re-entering the workplace resume or really whatever you need.  My resume needed to be rewritten to focus more heavily on my skills and interests rather than my experience since I was looking to get into an industry that was different than my past positions.

Once you have your resume created then you need to begin sending it out.  No longer are the days of finding a job in the newspaper—there are so many places where jobs are being posted online and it’s tough to weed through the good opportunities from the bad.  Rather than relying on sites like Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com, my approach was to seek out companies that were involved in digital/social marketing in the Indy area and to submit my resume regardless of whether they had job postings listed.  Luckily, one of the best digital marketing companies—ExactTarget is headquartered right here in Indianapolis.  I even knew a few folks that were employed there, so I submitted my resume through their website and followed up the next day with one of my contacts there to provide some additional influence.

Hopefully after submitting your resume you will begin the interview process.  Every company is different but it’s pretty standard to have multiple interviews.  My first interview was by phone with someone in human resources.  One luxury that I had was that I was still employed and therefore I could really do some research to determine if the company was as good a fit for me as I was for them.  This was really important to me because for quite a while I had felt that I just wasn’t doing what God had planned for me.  Researching the companies you are interviewing with shows potential employers that you are truly interested in their business and not just looking for any job that comes along.

As any salesperson knows, asking for the “sale” (aka the job, the next interview) is critical.  Too many times I hear of interviewees that don’t want to bother the company by being too pushy.  The fact is that most employers want someone who can close the deal.  Even if you are not in a sales position, every role within a company has an element of selling—whether you are client facing or not.

For me, the next step in the interview process was an in-person interview with the 3 sales directors.  By this time I had done some pretty extensive research on the company using resources like LinkedIn, searching Google for competitors and how ExactTarget compared as well as looking at comments on sites like Glassdoor.com that allows current and past employees to post about their experiences/salary etc.  It’s important to remember common courtesies like sending a thank you note after an interview.  These days it is perfectly acceptable to send a thank you through email but many candidates will still send a personal note.  Since I was interviewing for an email marketing company—I chose to use email.

I knew that prior to an offer that they would require a 3rd and final interview.  I was pretty anxious about this next step because by this time I was pretty confident that ExactTarget was a great fit for me and they were starting the next training class in just a few weeks.  The problem was that I had already planned to go out of town on vacation just a few days later, so I informed the hiring managers that I would only be able to come in for a final interview when I returned.  Well, I did not hear anything the entire time I was out of town and I was almost sure that they had chosen another candidate.  When I got back into town I emailed all the individuals that I had interviewed with to follow up.  I was informed that before the next step that I would need to take an online assessment.

I absolutely despise online personality assessments.  As I mentioned before, my sales approach is more consultative and I do not fall into a typical sales personality.  I completed the assessment and although I second-guessed every answer I gave.  I submitted the assessment and then I waited.  I thought for sure that this was the end of the road for me but I followed up a few days later and as you may have figured out—I was called in for that final interview.  One of the first questions of course was about the personality assessment—I remember thinking at that time of my dear friend Tina.  When I started at Yellowbook (before we became BFF’s), Tina predicted based on her initial view of my personality that I wouldn’t make it even one month.  Well, I did and in fact I was a top performer for most of my 5 years there.

The good news is that I did in fact get the job offer that day and resigned my position at Yellowbook to accept this position the very next day.  While I felt compelled to give Yellowbook a two week notice, I quickly discovered that giving notice is really no longer necessary or even expected.  The day I gave notice was my last day of employment and the last day I received benefits and pay.  Now it certainly wasn’t what I was expecting to have 2 weeks off, but it did allow me to spend some quality time with my kids before I started my new job and the kids went back to school.

Now I know that my experience is probably not typical.  I only interviewed with the one company I was most interested in so I am very fortunate.  If you are beginning your search or have been searching for a while I wish you the best.  I know that the process can be overwhelming and can put a strain on your emotional well being if it drags on.  Just trust that you will find the right job—even if you don’t know what that job is yet.

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