I love a good success story, don’t you? And, given my profession, I especially love a good job search success story. This week I heard two of them and I want you to be inspired by these two professionals who used their networks and their talents to land jobs they love!
Success Story #1: Stay-at-Home Dad
I met Winslow Yee at the Connect – Work – Thrive Conference where I spoke several years ago. He attended my presentation, “Traversing the Resume Gap.” Winslow was a stay-at-home dad and Human Resources professional who had not worked in his field for ten years! He had taken a huge risk by stepping out of the workforce for so long.
To address his gap on his resume, Winslow chose to do what many are frightened to do: absolutely nothing. He listed his most recent position, Senior Employee Relations Specialist at a semiconductor manufacturing company, at the top of his experience section. This job had ended in 2003.
Then Winslow started networking. His wife connected him with someone at a company that is now his employer of 9 months.
Here’s Winslow’s summary of his strategy and the response he received:
What I noticed was that some recruiters and interviewers missed the detail [of my gap] entirely and thought I was still working. So it gave me a foot in the door to talk with them before they filed away my resume. I’m not sure it is a strategy I would recommend but it is what felt right to me. I think some of my interviewers (in particular women) were impressed by the decision I made to be a stay-at-home dad.
During my interviews I conveyed my passion for coaching, teaching and mentoring with examples of my involvement in youth sports, school, church and scouting. This passion was a key factor in my prior success as an HR professional and was still fresh and current.
Winslow also did address his gap in his cover letter. Following a convincing account of his experience and qualifications, he added this as his second-to-last sentence:
At the end of 2003 I voluntarily left the workforce in order to devote more time to my family. I am now resuming my HR career.
Winslow did not apologize for his choice and he did not hide it. His strategy worked. As he said, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to a resume gap. But if you’ve been trying something that hasn’t been working, you might want to give Winslow’s strategy a try! Again, a central part of this strategy was asking everyone he knew whom they knew who could help him. It’s unlikely he would have found a position without having an inside lead on what became his new job.
Success Story #2: Not-So-Passive Job Seeker
Paul Elsass, according to his article The Day Apple Called Me to Interview, was minding his own business on LinkedIn when a recruiter from Apple called him to interview for a job. The next thing he knew, he was flying to Cupertino on Apple’s dime to talk to them about being the Lead Evangelist for the Apple Watch. He did not get that job, as Apple chose a candidate with better-matched experience. But it wasn’t long before another recruiter, whom he knows personally, tapped him for his current position at ShapeUp, which he calls “the best job I ever had”! Here’s Paul’s advice for getting your dream job (see The Day Apple Called Me to Interview):
- Expand your network beyond just the expected type of profiles you would normally look for. You might be surprised how folks with a variety of backgrounds can make great connections.
- Never rule out new discussions with people, even if it seems like it may be nothing that would immediately benefit your job or career. Keep in mind that conversations are about more than “what can it do for me?”…maybe it’s about what you can do for someone else.
- After you talk with new connections, store that information in your mental file cabinet. I cannot tell you how many times I have had past conversations, from years prior, resurface and become valuable in a current need.
- Keep your profile polished and up to date. You never know what phone call you might get tomorrow!
I asked Paul some more questions and found out that the Apple recruiter also liked that Paul was publishing content regularly on LinkedIn Publisher. So don’t ignore the opportunity to put your ideas and writing out to the LinkedIn community!
Success Depends on You
What phone call would you like to get tomorrow? Are you doing everything in your power to get it? And do you have a job search success story to share? Please tell us all about it!