“The job search process can come with a lot of self-doubt and frustration, but with a Placement coach working with you it feels like you have a teammate on your side.”
Meet Research and Production Coordinator, Chris R! After graduating with a degree in English, he fell into digital marketing lacking any specific direction. From there, he went on to work with a podcast and then decided he wanted to have an intentional plan for his next move. He came to Placement to develop that plan, but received so much more. Here, he tells his story:
After graduating with an English degree, what guidance did you receive to connect with your first job? What do you think needs to change regarding higher education and job search support post-graduation?
At my university, I received very little career guidance about what I could do with my degree once I graduated, so I left college with no real game plan. Upon graduating I got into marketing simply because I was offered a job by a friend’s parent who ran a marketing firm. Even though I did not have much of a passion for marketing, I felt like I needed to continue on this path because that’s where most of my professional experience resided.
At your first Placement call, you shared that you weren’t great at networking or talking about yourself in interviews. How did coaching and performing a mock interview assist with this step? How did it affect your self-confidence?
I am generally an introverted person who needs time before I can feel comfortable opening up to people. This can be a real drawback when it comes to networking and building professional connections, as my default setting is to keep to myself. Coaching helped me to realize that networking was not as difficult as I imagined it to be and that there are people out there who would be happy to help me further my career. I was encouraged to join a networking site called Lunchclub that matches you up with people who are actively looking to network. I was nervous about it at first, but over time I became more comfortable talking to people about myself and realized networking just involved having conversations with people about the topics I am interested in. These conversations helped prepare me to be more comfortable and relaxed in interviews, which I believe helped me eventually land a new job.
One of the critical factors in an effective job search is accountability. Tell us about how showing up weekly for coaching support helped you move forward.
I have ADHD and have a tendency to get distracted and lose focus easily. External accountability is a very important aspect of keeping me motivated and focused. Prior to finding a coach I would get easily discouraged and go days or weeks without making progress in my job search. The regular check-ins with my coach helped motivate me to continue my search and provided me with the emotional support to not give up so easily and the assurance that I was on the right track.
What made the job-seeking experience different from having a Career Coach on your side? What were some of the most useful aspects of this personal touch?
When you are struggling to find a job, it can feel like you are doing something wrong, and you start to wonder if you have the wrong approach. Having a coach that could review my resume, LinkedIn profile, and cover letters and provide me with constructive feedback helped reassure me that I was giving myself the best chance possible at finding a job. It was very helpful having someone I could ask questions to about the job application process and receive advice that I could trust was coming from an experienced and informed source. I felt like I had access to someone who understood the job application process from the viewpoint of the ones doing the hiring.
What was the biggest tip you received from your Career Coach that contributed to you securing your position? What was the “secret sauce” you discovered?
The biggest realization I got from coaching was that the job application process comes down to marketing yourself and selling your skills and experience to prospective employers. I knew that I had valuable skills and experience, but I did not know how to go about showing that to employers in the most effective way possible. It’s like I was hoping that hiring managers could read my mind, but the truth is you need to go out of your way to really highlight your strengths and make it crystal clear what you are looking for and what you can bring to the table. The coaching really helped me to spell out what specifically I was looking for in my next job and what specific skills and attributes I could bring to a company.
Where are you working now, and tell us what keeps you busy day to day?
I am currently part of a team that produces television segments for a company that sells rare collectibles and historical memorabilia. It combines my interests in history and television and utilizes my skills in research and creative production. I am able to tap into some of the skills I gained at past jobs while also learning new skills that I can use to further my career going forward.
What wisdom would you impart to job seekers teetering between job seeking on their own or partnering with Placement for their job search?
The job search process can come with a lot of self-doubt and frustration, especially if you are attempting to make a career shift or do not find what you are looking for right away. It can be a lonely and discouraging process. But with a Placement coach working with you, it feels like you have a teammate on your side, and you don’t have to go through the process alone. You have a source for answering all your career-related questions and a sounding board for when you just need a little bit of encouragement and motivation. When I found Placement I was on the verge of giving up in my search, but working with a Placement coach gave me the motivation to keep going and the confidence to know that finding a new and promising job would just be a matter of time.