Finding New Opportunities by Volunteering, with Julie Dalrymple

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Find Your Dream Job, BONUS Episode 004:

Finding New Opportunities by Volunteering, with Julie Dalrymple

Airdate: June 11, 2018

Mac Prichard:                  

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, find the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard, founder and publisher of Mac’s List.

To get your dream job you need clear goals, great skills, and a good network. You also have to know how to look for work. One of the best ways to get good at job hunting is to talk to people who do it well. That’s why once a month on our show, I interview a Mac’s List reader who found a job they love. Our guest shares how they did it and offers their best job search tips.

Our guest today is Julie Dalrymple. She’s the marketing and communications manager for Classic Wines Auction of Oregon, here in Portland, Oregon.

Mac Prichard:

When you look for work you’re likely to hear the word ‘no’ a lot. And it’s not surprising. It may take you awhile to find the right fit. And every job you apply for won’t lead to an offer.

In an article you can find on the Mac’s List website, Julie says she learned to deal with these challenges by not taking rejection personally. She encourages others not to doubt your worth when you don’t get that job offer. And Julie says it’s also important to recognise that a lot is happening behind the scenes that you may not know about during a job search.

So let’s talk about that, Julie – welcome to the show!

Julie Dalrymple:

Thank you so much, I’m glad to be here.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, it’s a pleasure to have you.

You’re the Marketing and Communications Manager at Classic Wines Auction of Oregon. Now tell our listeners, Julie: why do you love your job?

Julie Dalrymple:

Gosh, there’s so many reasons.

When I saw [the job description], I just immediately knew it was the right job for me. It’s the work I love to do  doing fundraising events, raising money for nonprofits; it brings in a little of the background I have in the wine industry, and in events, nonprofits, and marketing. So it really kind of tied everything together really well.

And what I really knew I would like about it immediately when I went to the interview was the people. The team I work with is amazing, my boss is such an incredibly – she’s a powerful person, but she doesn’t sweat the small stuff, she kinda has fun and she lets us all do what we’re good at so we’re able to really have a solid team of people who are good at what they do and have a lot of fun while we do it.

It’s the people I work with, the work that we’re doing, and the wine, I love the wine. [Laughter]

Mac Prichard:

[Laughter] That’s a big benefit, isn’t it?

Julie Dalrymple:

Yeah, it’s good fun.

Mac Prichard:

I can imagine. Especially – you have a lot of Oregon wines, I’ll bet.

Julie Dalrymple:

Yes! So, I’ve been able to learn a lot about different Oregon wineries, and the stories behind them and it’s been really great.

Mac Prichard:

Well, it just sounds like a perfect job.

Julie Dalrymple:

Yeah, I mean every job has its ups and downs, but this job has been a really good fit for me.

Mac Prichard:

Good. Well let’s talk about how you got there and your job search. What made the biggest difference in your success, Julie?

Julie Dalrymple:

I would say… well, I moved here about three and a half years ago, from a tight-knit community in Napa, California, where I kind of knew everybody and had a really good network of people that I could rely on. And when I came here, that was all gone and it was scary, so what I did was just researched as much as I could. I went out and looked for organizations that I respected and thought I might want to be a part of…

And I still remember sitting on my couch in our little rental when we first moved here and opening up the Classic Wines Auction website and wondering, “what is this? What do these people do? I need to be a part of this.” So, I just kept exploring and keeping my eyes open, and I have to say, I looked a lot at Mac’s List. [Laughter]

Mac Prichard:

[Laughter} Well, we appreciate that.

Julie Dalrymple:

Yeah. So I was refreshing that a lot. But I think the most important thing is to just get out and network and talk to people. And I realized that pretty quickly I needed to build my network here, and you can’t do that just sitting on your couch.

I went to networking events, which aren’t always easy, as everybody knows, and you just kind of have to put yourself out there and show some vulnerability and try to just meet people and build your network.

I also did a lot of volunteering. I found organizations I liked – like the Pittock Mansion; I started volunteering there and it was amazing to me the doors that that opened. I met some really interesting people and did some work I really enjoyed, and you know, that just started opening up doors.

Mac Prichard:

Talk a little more about your approach to volunteering, because some people think perhaps if they volunteer at an organization, it might lead to a job – was that your strategy when you approached the Pittock people?

Julie Dalrymple:

No, it wasn’t really. And I think it was healthier for me not to think of it that way, because I wasn’t angling for anything; I was just there because it was a passion of mine and they were doing the work I enjoyed doing.

I remember sitting down with their Marketing Manager, who is wonderful, and just having an informational interview with her, asking her things like, you know, “how did you get into this industry in Portland..,” and asking her a bunch of questions and it was great. But I never really thought I would work there. I guess, sometimes [a job] can be a by-product of [volunteering], but I did it because I loved it and I think that’s the thing with volunteering: look for organizations you love, and you’d be surprised at the doors that are open and you never know, maybe it would [lead to] a job.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, and for the benefit of listeners outside of Portland, the Pittock Mansion is a wonderful home on a bluff overlooking the Willamette River. It was built before WWI by the first publisher of The Oregonian, so that must have been really cool to be able to work there

Julie Dalrymple:

Yeah, it was really fun; my passion is really history, so being able to be a part of that…. And now i give tours and behind the scenes tours and all of that, so I meet the most amazing people up there, it’s incredible.

Mac Prichard:

I’d like to hear a little more about that, because you said it opened doors – what kind of doors did that kind of volunteering open for you, Julie?

Julie Dalrymple:

It was just meeting people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. There were a couple staff members and the volunteer coordinator that I worked with up there who became my friends and I would chat with them about what I was looking for, and I was just trying to get my foot in the door in Portland so it really helped me meet people and get to know other organizations.

A lot of times, if people knew I was in the market for a new job in the area, they would say, “oh I have a friend who works in marketing at ‘so and so,’” and that would open up other avenues that I wasn’t familiar with.

Mac Prichard:

In your article for the website, at macslist.org, you talked about two qualities that are important in every job search. One is resiliency, and the other is vulnerability. Tell me about what it was like to be a runner-up a couple of times for a job

Julie Dalrymple:

Oh, that was so hard! I like to say I didn’t take it personally, and I always tried not to, and I think that’s something that comes after a while. And especially, I think, once you get into a job and realize how much there is happening behind the scenes, that’s when you start to realize, okay, maybe it wasn’t that they just didn’t like me, or whatever, but it’s hard, and I think it’s something you have to realize could happen. It’s a risk of looking for a new job, and it’s not easy. You have to do a lot of research, and when you get further into the job process, they expect a lot of you so I found myself writing marketing plans and doing timelines and jumping through all these hoops of interview process questions that they were asking me to do, and it’s a lot, and when you get that call and find out, “oh, there was somebody else that just had a little more local experience that we went with,” it’s very difficult.

I think it’s just about knowing upfront that that’s definitely a possibility and being hopeful but not putting all your eggs in one basket and thinking [getting the job is] definitely gonna happen, because you never know.

Mac Prichard:

And, every time you’re applying for a job, you’re being vulnerable, aren’t you?

Julie Dalrymple:

Yes! That’s the thing. And like I said, a lot of these organizations, and anywhere you’re interviewing, they expect you to know a lot about them and it’s kind of being poked and prodded, once you’ve gone through that enough times.. it’s pretty exhausting to have to put yourself out there so much.

I tried to take breaks and not try to line up too much at once, and to not be so hard on myself. I think that’s the hard part, to just sit back and realize that it’s all part of the process, and all the jobs I didn’t get made sense, you know? Now, when I look back, they made sense [why I didn’t get them]. And a lot of times, I met really great people out of it, too, and we ended up becoming friends, or other people in my network that I can refer back to and so, you know, usually, everything happens for a reason.

Mac Prichard:

Now let’s talk about what didn’t work in your job search. You talked about the importance of networking and the benefits you got from volunteering; what didn’t work, Julie?

Julie Dalrymple:

I would say… sometimes when you get to a point in your job search, you get.. not desperate, but you start looking at opportunities you might not otherwise, or that might not be a good fit. I think there were a couple times I did that and [I’d] find [myself] in an interview, realizing this is not at all what I want to do, and having to kind of force your way through an interview. And like I said, they can be exhausting and take a lot out of you, and when you realize that, it just puts you in an awkward position and puts the interviewer in an awkward position. So I would say, keeping an open mind, but also not following a path that you know isn’t the right one.

Mac Prichard:

How long did your search go on?

Julie Dalrymple:

Well, I had an interesting situation because I came here and I was working from home but I knew pretty quickly that working from home in a new city was not the right path for me. I missed being with people and missed talking to people, and it took me a good year I think to find a job here and then when I did find a job here it was a great organization, but for several reasons wasn’t the right fit and then I kind of found myself back out on the job search, which was really challenging. And that took a good ‘nother year. So, you know, it took a while to find the right thing.

Mac Prichard:

And how did you find this job? Through an advertisement? Through word of mouth?

Julie Dalrymple:

Um, both. I know I saw it on Mac’s List, so that was nice. And kind of simultaneously, I had a number of people email me who knew I was in the market and said, “this would be perfect for you.” That made me take a little closer look at it and realize, this really would be perfect for me. So, I had people looking out for me, which was nice.

Mac Prichard:

And when you were going through the interviews, how did you figure out that this was indeed the right fit for you?

Julie Dalrymple:

I knew immediately. [Laughter]

Mac Prichard:

[Laughter] Was it instinct?

Julie Dalrymple:

Yeah, I think… Like I said, I went through a lot of interviews, and interviews where I saw a lot of red flags that worried me as I was going through the interview process, whether I could sense tension in the office or behind the different employees there, or whatever was happening. But this one, I sat down and I just felt good immediately. I knew.. I felt comfortable, I felt good with the people, it was easy, I didn’t feel like I was forcing anything or that I was at a loss for words, it just was an easy process. So I think I knew pretty quickly when I walked in the door that it would be the right place for me.

Mac Prichard:

Well, for our listeners, what would be your number one piece of job search advice, based on the hunting you’ve done for this position and the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Julie Dalrymple:

That’s a great question. I would say, try to keep a light and open mind while you’re going through it. I think it’s really easy to get bogged down in the negativity if rejections start coming through and it can make you feel smaller than you are and I think if you find ways to build yourself up and learn from the experiences, as opposed to letting them bog you down. And just keep going. I think you have to just keep moving and keep moving forward and keep looking for your right position.

I wish I could go back a couple years ago and tell myself that. You know, don’t let it… Don’t take it personally. Like we talked about earlier: there’s a lot going on behind the scenes.

Mac Prichard:

Great. Well, thank you, Julie, for sharing your story.

Julie Dalrymple:

Of course. Thank you!

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. It’s a pleasure to have you here in the studio.

Now, you can learn more about Julie’s job search by visiting macslist.org/stories, and check out the Mac’s List website for dozens of other success stories like Julie’s. Every Friday, we add an interview with a Mac’s List reader who has found their dream job. Again, go to macslist.org/stories.

In the meantime, thank you, our listeners, for downloading today’s bonus episode of Find Your Dream Job.

Julie Dalrymple moved to Portland from a small, tight-knit community in Napa, California. When she first moved to the Pacific Northwest, she missed that built-in network of connections. So she started attending networking events, volunteering with local organizations, and conducting informational interviews. Soon, Julie had built a strong network of professional contacts who opened up new opportunities for her career.

On this bonus episode of the Find Your Dream Job podcast; I talked with Julie Dalrymple about how volunteering opened up new possibilities for her career and helped her secure a job she loves. You can read more about Julie Dalrymple’s job search below in her essay written for our Success Stories series.


What do you do for a career? Who do you work for?

I am the marketing & communications manager for Classic Wines Auction in Portland. We are a small but mighty organization that produces food and wine events to raise funds for local nonprofit organizations. My job involves creating and implementing the marketing and communications strategy, promoting our events via traditional and digital marketing methods, social media, and community outreach. I do a lot of hands-on graphic and web design as well.

How long did it take you to find this job?

The entire process from the first interview to joining the organization took about six weeks. However, it took several years of searching for the right job. I have a significant background in nonprofit marketing but had a difficult time getting my foot in the door after I moved to Portland in 2014.

How did you find your job? What resources did you use? What tool or tactic helped the most?

As many others will attest, networking is such a powerful force in the job market. When I moved here three years ago, I focused on cultivating connections by going to events, volunteering, and meeting new people through introductions from friends.

Several people alerted me to this particular job opening because it was so well suited to my skills, experience and interests (of course, I had already seen it on Mac’s List). Before applying and interviewing, I researched, followed their social media, reviewed their website thoroughly, and read anything I could find in the media. My prior experience and volunteerism also helped with this position, as I was familiar with the unique nonprofit model of the organization.

What was the most difficult part of your job search? How did you overcome this challenge?

In the case of my longer-term search for the right job, the most difficult part was dealing with rejection. When I first moved to Portland, I interviewed for a number of organizations and seemed to always be the “runner-up.” I had to learn to not take these rejections personally. It’s hard not to doubt your worth when you don’t get that job offer, but a lot is happening behind the scenes that you may not know, and any number of factors can contribute to the final decision.

Also, with every job application comes a good deal of vulnerability and energy. It can be difficult to jump through all the hoops of a job search – to put yourself out there – and not know if the effort will pay off. Many organizations require detailed projects, plans and personal analysis toward the end of the process, which can be exhausting. But it can also be the key to a life-changing career move (and you can learn a lot about yourself).

What is the single best piece of advice you would offer other job-seekers?

Find a way to get local, hands-on experience in your desired industry. And, if you’re new to an area, explore the region, meet people, volunteer and find new connections.

I volunteered a lot when I moved here – as a tour guide at the Pittock Mansion (which introduced me to new friends and helped me get acquainted with the city), as a committee member for the American Cancer Society’s annual gala (which provided valuable insight into the Portland nonprofit and event scene), and as a marketing consultant for other small nonprofits (which opened new doors). I can’t stress enough the value of volunteering. It was critical in building my foundation here in Portland.

Why do you love your job?

The people, the mission, the work… and the wine. The people you work with make all the difference, and I’m grateful for great colleagues and an awesome boss. CWA is making a difference in the community, by serving worthy charitable organizations and bringing people together through wine, food and philanthropy.  I’m excited to come into the office every day and do such great work.

I’ve always loved creating memorable experiences for people, especially for a good cause, and I’m glad to be a part of an organization that shares that value.

Want to learn more about Julie? Connect with her on LinkedIn!