Networking to a New Job

I have been spending every free moment I have aggressively pursuing a new job.

Networking to a New Job Mintly

Three new jobs, actually.

I found my very first job by accidentally networking (the friend of my college roommate mentioned he was leaving his job and told me to apply), but this is the first time I’m actively networking (read: spending all my free time) to get an edge when I apply for these jobs. A while ago, I would haven’t felt like it was a good idea to put myself out there so aggressively – I was shy and lacking self confidence. Being fresh out of college, I remember feeling like I was unqualified for all of the jobs I was applying for. However, although I know I don’t have every degree or all the experience some of the job postings describe, I do know what I’m good at now. I also believe that once I can break into the interview part, I can pretty much rock it. Out of all the jobs I’ve interviewed for (my 12+ years out of college), I’ve been offered all but one (which, frankly, I didn’t deserve, so that’s cool).

Job 1: Part-time telecommuting job (I’ve mentioned this one before in previous posts)

  • Description: instructional design (as far as I can tell from the description on the site)
  • Positives: could do this in addition to my current job for some side hustle cash, can do the work after we put L down to bed at night
  • Negatives: Not sure yet!
  • What I’ve done so far: I did an informational interview with the woman who is over the position (though she may or may not be on the job search committee); applied in November.
  • Working in my favor: Doing that informational interview; I used to work at the organization in the past, but in a different department; I have a reference from a person who still works there and she’s well-respected and liked; I have the skills to do the job (yeah, that’s a plus, right?).
  • Working against me: the job was posted in November (when I applied), but no one will get back to me about whether the job has been filled or where they are in the search process; the appropriate HR person hasn’t returned my calls; the woman I interviewed back in November responded to an email I sent in December and said they were going to get started sometime soon… but she didn’t know when.
  • My thoughts: I’d love, love, love to have this job! I’m feeling frustrated that the search hasn’t moved forward (or that, if it has, I can’t find out that fact). If I can’t get a full-time position somewhere, this would be a great way for our household to bring in extra money to save and put towards our debt.

Job 2: ePortfolio Director

  • Description: Initiating and implementing an ePortfolio program at an educational institution
  • Positives: Full-time; in-person job (I think I prefer working with other people to telecommuting full-time, though I haven’t actually had the opportunity to do the latter)
  • Negatives: No salary posted; the school is about 20 minutes away from my house; hours are 8-5, which means that picking up L from kindergarten could be difficult (I would hate to leave her in an after-school program for 2.5 hours a day)
  • What I’ve done so far: researched the institution online; reached out to a whole bunch of people on Facebook (asking if anyone knew anyone who worked there); followed up on a bunch of recommendations for people to contact; interviewed two people who attended the school, interviewed someone who has the same job at another university; found ePortfolio resources online; created a new ePortfolio with one of the programs I found online; researched change theory; sent my resume and my cover letter.
  • Working in my favor: I have the skills to do this job; I am familiar with the community; I fulfill most of the qualifications they’re looking for.
  • Working against me: The job has been posted since November (I’m sensing a pattern, here), and when I contacted them, they said they were engaged in the search process, but that I was welcome to submit my information – it’s possible that it could take them a loooooong time to get back to me.
  • My thoughts: I think I would really enjoy implementing an ePortfolio program; it’s a one-year renewable position, but I’m not that afraid of that kind of situation. In this field, shorter jobs (or contract work) is pretty common. It’s kind of scary (moving from a regular teaching job to a more unstable position), but I’m ready for that risk. From talking to the ePortfolio director at another institution, I think it would be kind of a stressful position, but not more stressful than my current job – just a different kind of stress. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Job 3: Library / Instructional Design Job

  • Description: A dual-role job in the library of an educational institution and instructional design.
  • Positives: Great institution; good location; not telecommuting; salary range posted is higher than my current salary!
  • Negatives: Dual roles might get stressful; it may be that the job should really be done by two individuals, not one, but due to restricted budgets, the institution may have been forced to combine the positions.
  • What I’ve done so far: I did the same thing I did earlier with the Facebook networking – I put out a request for anyone who knows anyone at that institution; I researched and then emailed three different individuals who hold similar positions at libraries in similar institutions (but I haven’t heard back from any of them yet); I researched the names of the people who already work at the institution and looked them up on LinkedIn; I examined those people’s skills and proficiencies and researched those programs online; I added more to my ePortfolio and added a link to my resume and cover letter for it; I tweeted a woman with a similar job description whose contact information I couldn’t find anywhere to ask her for an informational interview (she said she’s in the middle of moving right now, so I can contact her later, perhaps); I did one really scary thing: I attempted to connect on LinkedIn with one of the people who works at the institution by telling her I was interested in the position (haven’t heard anything back on that – but I’m glad I took the risk anyway, even if it ends up working against me); I called a friend of mine who has experience in Library Science and technology and talked to her about the position to get her recommendations of how to best sell myself; and more I can’t remember right now.
  • Working in my favor: I am aggressively pursuing this job – obviously someone who wants something will be more appealing than someone who doesn’t do much more than send in their application, right?; I fulfill a lot of the qualities they’re looking for.
  • Working against me: I don’t technically have an MLS, which is what they want; the online application system automatically makes me look not-as-qualified as if they would look at my actual resume, which showcases all the things that would really be perfect for this position (I’m hoping that after actually selecting to apply for the position via the website, it will allow me to either copy and paste my cover letter into a little box, or maybe even let me upload some “supporting documents” or something).
  • My thoughts: I would love to have this job, though I do think it would be a ton of work. However, I’m ready for a ton of work (as long as it isn’t the same work that I’ve been doing). I love working in academia, especially with faculty and older students. I think it would be fun to do all that organizing, too. I would love this challenge. I worry, though, that the application process will put me at a severe disadvantage. I will apply after I’ve spoken with someone who works at UNCA (really hoping someone comes through for me on that!) so that I could perhaps get an edge on this. The job closes next week, so it’s important that I talk to someone soon!

So, there we are. I actually enjoy the networking and application process more than I thought I would. The research has been a lot of fun and very informative. I initially wanted to write this post as a way to take a break from all that focus on the job-search and application process, but I think that the reflection process has also been good! It’s not bad to sit back for a moment and realize that I’ve done some hard work towards earning these positions. At the very least, I’m perfecting a networking technique that seems to be working well so far. If it pays off, maybe I’ll write a post that’s more specific about the steps I took, if anyone would be interested.

What networking tips do you have to share? Have you gotten a job via networking that otherwise might have slipped through your fingers?

– M

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