Hello friends! I’ve been eager for the day to come when I’d be writing a post about the great new job that I’ve accepted. Something that is the true manifestation of what my spirit has been chasing. Food writer? Professional travel blogger? International Bird Guide? This is not that post. This post is about the journey to get there. I’m writing this partly to remind myself that the journey is as important as the destination. Probably more important. I’m confident that my door will open when it’s time. But I decided to share my experience because I’m betting that someone else who reads this is also in need of a reminder to accept the journey.
When you decide to make a 180-degree turn in your professional path, you have to get creative with building a resume. I started by sitting down and making a list of all the different skills that I had based on my experience. It’s a big list, thank goodness! I did some reading online about how to write a resume for a career change. “The Experts”pretty much universally recommended that you start with a list of transferrable skills you have instead of the actual jobs.
The next question was what to write in my mission statement. What is my mission? It seemed somewhat vague to put, “Pretty much open to doing anything different that I’ve done in the past but ideally something that involves food, travel, or birds”. It seemed a bit pretentious to use, “To become the next Food Network star”. And it seemed downright desperate to put, “Anything that will pay the rent bill in California.”
The reality is that I ended up writing several different resumes which took a ton of time. I bet I’ve got 20 different versions and I update at least one almost every day. I have resumes that are focused on my passion for the food industry, the travel industry, and a couple of different versions that I use to apply for jobs that involve writing or product marketing. I have some healthcare resumes that focus on transitioning from the sickness industry to the wellness industry. There is no truer statement than, “it’s a full-time job to find a job”.
Accept the journey. This is part of it. As I edit, I’m reminding myself that I am a talented and experienced professional and that something will pan out.
Not only are there resumes to revamp constantly, but I also believe that every job application should have a customized introduction letter. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I tend to spend a lot of time on these. An article on a job search site the other day told me that not only are cover letters a waste of time because they are not being read, they might actually hurt your chances. The article also suggested that Mission Statements are a sign of being old-fashioned and are a no-no.
The Digital Age
The truth is, we are in the digital age. Incoming job applications are scanned by software to identify pre-set criteria of either keywords, years of experience or who knows what. It’s a bit discouraging, but it’s reality. Accept the journey. I haven’t decided yet whether that means I should be spending even more time perfecting my resume or whether I should just have one generic one and hope for the best.
I did decide to bag the Mission Statement and replace it with more of a summary. Call me old-fashioned, but I haven’t given up on intro letters yet. You can’t believe everything you read on the internet. Accept the journey but trust what feels right.
It’s All In Who You Know
As a former sales professional, no one understands this concept better. The best way to get a new job is to network into it. I’ve got a pretty robust network of connections on LinkedIn, but apparently, the worlds of healthcare sales have zero intersection with the professional world of food or travel. Probably doesn’t help that I moved across the country from the majority of my network (smile).
If fact, one of the only successes I’ve had in terms of pursuing a job I thought I wanted DID happen because I was able to use my network. It wasn’t as straightforward as getting a colleague to introduce me, but I’m going to tell you the story because it shows that even the smallest point of commonality can matter.
I decided I was interested in a job as a Customer Service Team Leader for a certain electric car manufacturer. It’s not food, but that IS technically related to travel. I went to their page on LinkedIn and started combing through employees to see if I had any 2nd level connections. Found one, but when I reached out to my person they said, “sorry, I accept LinkedIn invites from pretty much anyone and I don’t know that person.”
I resisted the urge to point out that the entire point of LinkedIn is to build an actual network of people you know, not people you don’t know. What good is having a connection that you can’t actually use? But that’s not uncommon so if you are one of those people, I’m not judging.
Persistence and Determination
I didn’t give up. I decided to specifically look at the recruiters for this company and I dug into their profiles looking for any kind of commonality in their backgrounds.
Found one. A recruiter that went to Tulane for his undergraduate degree. It was a long shot, but worth a try. I’m not a Tulane alum, but I worked for the medical center. I sent him a message via LinkedIn introducing myself, used the Tulane connection, and guess what? The next morning I got a reply from him. He helped me to get my application in front of the right hiring manager and I got the interview.
The Power of Choice
I applied for about 30 positions of varying scopes during my first month of the job search. So far, I’ve received 2 rejection letters. I never heard anything from the other 28.
While it seems like every industry is struggling to find adequate staff based on what you read in the news and experience day to day, it certainly doesn’t feel that way from a job seeker’s perspective. I can’t help but be a little nervous. I have to pay the bills like anyone else.
But I made a commitment to myself that I was not going to take a job that required so much of my time and energy that there wouldn’t be anything left for the pursuit of joy. I went through 2 interviews for the car company and then pulled myself out of the running because that is exactly what they expected. I know it was the right decision. It was a tough part of accepting the journey. But if it feels wrong, it is.
Trusting Your Gut
I’m keeping busy at Whole Foods. They’ve been great about giving me nearly full-time hours and in turn, they get the best online shopper the world has ever seen. I still love it. I walk an average of 6 miles per shift. If you have extra time on your hands and want to get paid to exercise while also getting a discount at Whole Foods, you should apply.
I’m enjoying 2 hard-earned days off this week. And I’m not touching my resumes. I”m not looking at LinkedIn job postings. I’m spending time on what I love. I’m writing this blog post. Working on my book. And I’m in the kitchen. I actually ordered groceries online from my own Whole Foods store last night and had them delivered just to see how it worked on the customer side. The internet is truly miraculous. And this downtime is also an important part of the journey.
When You Least Expect It
Guess what I got in my email this morning.
A company contacted me about my application to be their freelance food blogger. They said they were impressed by my background, shared the compensation number, and asked if I was still interested.
My interview is Tuesday.
They may hire me, they may not. I’m doing my homework and it feels like a potentially good match. It isn’t a full-time job, but it’s a step in the direction of my dreams.
No matter what happens, I will continue to accept the journey.