Statistics show that more jobs are gained through referrals than in any other way. How do you ensure that your network will refer you for positions that would be a good fit for you? On this bonus episode of Find Your Dream Job, Natalie Roger shares how keeping in touch with former colleagues helped her find positions. Natalie is also a big believer in using the LinkedIn community to help find the job that’s right for you. Learn more about Natalie’s career history below in this installment of our Success Stories series.
Find Your Dream Job, Bonus Episode 65:
Taking a Proactive Approach: Natalie Roger’s Job Search Success Story
Airdate: June 5, 2023
This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life.
I’m your host, Mac Prichard. I’m also the founder of Mac’s List. It’s a job board in the Pacific Northwest that helps you find a fulfilling career.
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, I interview a Mac’s List reader who found a job they love.
Our guest today is Natalie Roger.
She’s the recruitment and people ops manager at Trovata.
It’s a data-driven enterprise fintech platform headquartered in Solana Beach, California.
Natalie Roger believes in the power of visibility.
In a story you can find on the Mac’s List website, Natalie encourages job seekers to pay attention to your LinkedIn profile and other online platforms.
She also says you should apply for jobs even when you don’t have all the qualifications.
Why do you love your job, Natalie?
I love my job for so many different reasons. I really feel like this job at Trovata checks all of the boxes for me, and those boxes are anything from a great culture, great leadership team, feeling like I have a purpose, really good benefits, good comp plan. I love working from home. I just feel like they check all of the boxes for me.
And tell us a little bit about Trovata and what it does.
Yeah, so we’re essentially in, like you said, we’re essentially a fintech company. We are based out of Solana Beach. We have about ninety-nine employees right now, and we’ve been around for a little over six years.
And so, essentially, we’re a cash management platform for individuals and businesses, and it basically just helps them manage all of their cash. Whether they’re bringing income in from a bunch of different places, it helps manage everything in one spot.
Terrific. Now, let’s talk about your job search, Natalie. What was the biggest challenge you faced?
I think just coming out of the height of COVID, that obviously shifted a lot of things within my specialty working for start-up fintech companies. Companies like that tend to go through a lot of layoffs. There are a lot of ebbs and flows with the market, and COVID just really shifted a lot of things. I think some companies were equipped for remote work, and some just weren’t there yet. So, I think that that alone really limited job opportunities.
And then, for me, especially as a recruiter, if a lot of companies are having hiring freezes and not hiring, then I don’t really have a job at that point. Fortunately, I do do a little bit of people ops, HR on the side, so I can fall back on that, too.
But, yeah, I think, for me, just COVID was really hard with so many different aspects. I even took a job for a year working at the hospital because that was one of the few jobs I could find during that time, and around that time, I also moved from New York back over to Bend, Oregon. And so, it’s a lot smaller here, jobs are really limited, and so, I think I was really focused on finding a job where I could work from home, and fortunately, that’s what happened.
You were a finalist for another job when Trovata contacted you. How did you manage those two hiring processes at the same time, Natalie?
Yeah, so the first job that reached out to me, actually, they were based out of Portland, and it was recruiting, but it was kind of a different area of recruiting than I had done. It was more of working at an agency for recruiting for several different companies rather than just internal recruiting, and that process took a couple of weeks. I had a few different phone calls. I think, I can’t really remember, but I think I even did a take-home assignment type of thing, and I was getting ready to sign. I felt like we were approaching the end of the process.
And then, my boss, Madeline, she reached out to me over at LinkedIn and just gave the gist of what the company was, the position that they’re looking for. I loved that it was a first-time position. I’ve had that in the past, and I think it’s so fun to build your own process and start from the ground up. I love that process and kind of getting them up and running, and at the same time, I was thinking, okay, there’s no way I’m gonna have time to go through this interview process. Sometimes it can take weeks. I’d even been in some that took about a month.
So I just figured it I was like, this sounds great, but I don’t think it’s gonna work. I don’t want to put all of my eggs in one basket and lose this other opportunity. So, I just told her, I said, hey, this sounds really great, but I’m in final rounds somewhere else; unless we can somehow cruise through this in two days, I just don’t think it’s gonna work, and she was like, yeah, we can definitely do that.
So, I talked to her, and I loved how just down to earth and how excited she was about her job. She had actually just started there, as well, so she was there three months before I was. But you could just tell it was genuine. She was really excited about the mission of the company, about what they were doing. She was really excited about my background. So that made me feel really good. It was just a really good match.
And then, from there, she set me up on a few more interviews with folks on the leadership team. So, our head of technology, I spoke with; our head of finance, I spoke with; and then our CEO. He was the last round, and, yeah, we somehow got through all of those within two days, and after that time, they made me the offer.
Two days is fast, and you’d been in conversation with the other company for a period of time. How did you know it was the right offer? I mean, that forty-eight hours to collect all of that information and meet all of those people, and make a decision. How did you know that was the right direction for you?
Yeah, I always compare job offers to the job I had in New York because I liked it so much, and I felt like this was really similar. Only better, actually, in some ways. I loved the leadership team. I loved the direction that they were going, and how intelligent and down-to-earth everybody was.
But I also loved how I was gonna be a one-person team again. I was gonna be able to have a lot more responsibility and a lot more freedom and creativity to make the role my own. And then, having a mentor, also, like Madeline, was really important to me. I didn’t really have that at my last job.
And then, the other position it seemed like it was a little bit more sales focused. And so, I loved how this one allowed me to have more creativity and job freedom, and I feel like we have a really strong work-life balance. So I love that aspect of the company.
How did you communicate your decision to the other company?
I think what made it a little bit easier is that the offer hadn’t come yet. So, I hadn’t really promised anything yet. So I just told them, hey, I got this other offer. I think it’s a really good fit, and I’m gonna go with it. And I figured if they wanted to go back and forth about it, we could do that, but they just were super happy for me. They all congratulated me, everybody there that I had met with. So I felt like I made a good decision. I felt really good about it.
You mentioned in your article for us that you got your job at Trovata via LinkedIn; your current boss reached out to you through the platform. But you also mentioned that you’ve gotten jobs in the past through referrals. Tell us more about this, Natalie, about the importance of referrals when you’ve looked for work in your career.
Yeah, I think, for me, I always make it a point to stay in touch with people that I worked with in the past. You never know when it’s gonna come back around, especially working and living in New York. It’s actually a really small community. There’s a lot of overlap with companies there when you’re in the same industry, and just using people for references and then helping them out if I can, following people on LinkedIn. People are always posting about different jobs and different things that they’re looking for.
So, for me, I’ve always just made it a point to, and being a recruiter, I have a big network on LinkedIn because it’s part of the job. But, yeah, I’ve just always made it a point to stay in touch with people I’ve worked with. I’ve gotten so many reach outs if I’ve gone through a layoff or something, just people being like, hey, I think we might have something for you. I’ll send you in a referral. And I think a lot of companies prioritize that. They think, oh wow, if we have this really great employee and they’re recommending this person, or they’re vouching for them, or have worked with them in the past, I think we should look at this person first.
And this job, actually, I did not have a referral for. But my previous job, I did.
What’s your best advice for a listener who wants to generate those kinds of referrals? What’s your number one tip for doing that?
Yeah, I think just making it a point to try and get to know people in your organization. I think in HR and recruiting, it’s easier because you kind of touch all of the different departments. It’s easier to meet people. But I think just going out of your way, introducing yourself even if you work in a different department. Just putting yourself out there.
I know people oftentimes will post on LinkedIn, hey, I just went through a layoff, and then I’ve always seen so many people commenting underneath, oh, so sorry that happened, like, we might be able to find you something. And so, even if you don’t know the people, you can still just add people on LinkedIn. Maybe their story looks interesting, or they have an interesting career path that you would like to follow or something like that.
You’re a recruiter. You hire people for a living, and one of the tips in your article for us, Natalie, is to apply for jobs even if you don’t have a hundred percent of the qualifications. Why do you recommend doing this?
So I don’t necessarily think you should apply for a job that you have zero qualifications for. But sometimes, you’re able to tailor your resume and really just highlight an area that you know that they’re looking for. Or if it’s something that you can maybe learn in the meantime, and it’s not something, like, so crazy, like engineering or something like that, but maybe it’s like, oh, I can spruce up my Excel skills, or I can learn this new skill. That sort of thing.
I think you shouldn’t be deterred away from a job just because you’re missing one little thing. I think a lot of times, job descriptions are just a wishlist. But by the time you find the right person, a lot of times, that can change. Maybe they bring more to the table than you thought you were looking for, or maybe they don’t really have a qualification, but it’s not needed that much, or it’s something that they can learn. There’s no perfect candidate ever. There could be someone that’s really, really great, but maybe they’re not the perfect candidate.
And I think you should still apply. It doesn’t hurt to check. I’ve even applied for jobs where they’ll get back to me, and they’ll say, hey, this might not be the perfect fit, but we actually have something else for you that might be better. So, it never hurts to just put yourself out there.
Do you have a rule of thumb for listeners about the percentage of qualifications you should have, at least to the minimum?
Yeah, I think if a company says, hey, we’re looking for at least four years of recruitment, and you only have four months, it’s probably not worth applying. I would probably apply for something that maybe had a lower amount of time or qualifications or something like that, where it’s like super obvious.
But if it’s like, if there’s like some nice to haves in there, oh, you had to have have used this very specific program. But maybe you used a similar one, and you can probably easily figure it out. I think in those cases, you should still apply because those things aren’t as mandatory, I think.
Finally, Natalie, what’s your number one job-hunting tip?
I would say just apply for as many things as you can. Put yourself out there. Reach out to your network. Reach out to your resources. I hear all of the time people say, oh, I applied for this job, and I never heard back, so I’m just gonna sit and wait, or I’m gonna give up. And I think, you know, I applied to so many different jobs, and a lot of people don’t respond to me. So I think just put yourself out there.
Make sure you have a really strong resume and a really strong LinkedIn. Oftentimes, recruiters will just look for keywords, and I know how LinkedIn is set up. So it’s set up to look at resumes in that way. So just make yours, I would just pay attention to the job description, see what kind of keywords they use and then make sure that your resume aligns well with that job that you’re looking for.
Well, thank you for sharing your story, Natalie. To learn more about Natalie Roger’s job search, visit macslist.org/stories.
And check out the Mac’s List website for dozens of other success stories.
On the second Friday of every month, we add a new interview with a Mac’s List reader who has found a dream job. Go to macslist.org/stories.
In the meantime, thank you for listening to today’s bonus episode of Find Your Dream Job.
This show is produced by Mac’s List.
This is Mac Prichard. See you next week.