When you’re clear about your professional purpose, the job search becomes easier. You can focus on finding a good fit for what you have to offer.
Sara Francis has been able to reach that point in her career, through focused study, patience, and an emphasis on innovation. Find out how Sara built her communications career and landed her job as a communications specialist at national firm Booz Allen Hamilton.
What do you do for a career? Who do you work for?
I am a Public Relations/Public Affairs/Communications professional. I have a wide skill set that boils down to a couple main points: I write a lot and communicate across mediums to share information with the intended audience.
How long did it take you to find this job?
This one didn’t take too long, thankfully.
I had been working as an Air Force Public Affairs Specialist so I had the background. It was a very good fit and they knew it. However, before that, I’ve had job searches take anywhere from three months to eight months just to get something! Sometimes with some really heartbreaking rejections.
How did you find your job? What resources did you use? What tool or tactic helped the most?
For this job with Booz Allen Hamilton, I applied on their website and made sure I emphasized my Department of Defense experience as well as my education (Masters in Strategic Public Relations).
What was the most difficult part of your job search? How did you overcome this challenge?
I think for most job searches, the biggest obstacle is being a faceless name. Everyone wants you to apply online anymore. Networking is so hard, but it is key most of the time. Being available, being human, being out there makes a huge difference.
Even if you only have a few minutes to go in and talk and say hello, that short introduction can make a difference when the department sees your resume come across their desk.
What is the single best piece of advice you would offer other job-seekers?
PATIENCE! I know looking for a job is terrible, and rejections can breed so much self-doubt. Stay confident in your skills and abilities and know that you will find something. Also, don’t be afraid to aim high! Apply to a job you want, even if it’s a little bit of a reach–within reason, though; be realistic.
And remember: you can always be the one to say no if a job doesn’t seem right for you.
Why do you love your job?
Well, I just started so I’m not sure yet! But when I have loved a job in the past, it is usually because of the people and the culture of the place I work.
Also the Air Force does encourage you to be proactive, not just reactive. It’s in the culture to respectfully question a process or a structure. You might be surprised by the response, you might not, but either way, they do encourage you to speak up. Innovation in all areas is always welcome.
Want to learn more? Connect with Sara on LinkedIn.