Being Open to New Opportunities: Berk Nelson’s Job Search Success Story

In this job search success story, Berk Nelson a Policy Analyst for Oregon Health Authority, says you never know who can connect you with your next great job opportunity.  

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

As part of the State’s efforts to support local health systems prepare for COVID-19 surge capacity, OHA will be building capacity to use existing Regional Health Care Coalitions to track local surge planning capacity and help organize state and federal resources needed to support local communities. The Regional Health Care Coalitions provide a setting for regional planning and cooperation between health care organizations. This helps to maximize local resources and provide technical assistance for planning, logistics, and communications support to capitalize on regional partnerships. The coalitions (organized into five regions) currently exist and have liaisons that work with local health care emergency managers.

Additional staff are needed in Salem to support the liaisons. Desk managers will be located in the Salem Emergency Coordination Center and will be the Salem-based counterpart to coalitions liaisons who are based in the community. The desk managers will serve as a vital connection between the state’s emergency response team and local health care systems. The desk managers will track surge capacity efforts that are occurring around the state. They will field requests for information or support from local communities so that the state can support community efforts to plan for and respond to COVID-19.

How long did it take you to find this job?

A month.

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

I used my connections and relationships. Being honest with your friends and former work colleagues. You never know who knows what is open, available, and who is looking for an employee. It also helps to be open to other opportunities that may not be in the front of your mind. At this time it is beneficial to look in other employment sectors that are immune to blowback from COVID-19. Grocery stores are thriving, certain government jobs, health care assistance.

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

Being patient and waiting for responses. Because I had so much time on my hands without working at the time, I had to learn not to badger my contacts and check on progress. I had to learn to let the process take place.

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

Apply to as many jobs as possible whether qualified or not. You do not know what they are looking for. But the best advice is to talk to friends and former co-workers.   

Why do you love your job?

It provides an opportunity for me to help others in their time of need.

Everyone’s job search story is different, but each individual story can inspire and empower others who are on their own unique path. We love to hear how our readers have found rewarding careers in Portland, and we want to share these stories with you to inspire you in your job search and to help us all better understand the local job market!