Building a Strong Network: Doug Hunter’s Job Search Success Story

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! In this job search success story, Doug Hunter, Vice President: Marketing and Communications for Arjuna Solutions, shares how he was able to build a network that helped him land his dream job.

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

I am a marketing person who loves working at the intersection of the qualitative and the quantitative. For example, I love writing content and then digging into the numbers to see what connects best with our audiences.

Today, I work for Arjuna Solutions, building and leading their marketing and communications team. Arjuna helps nonprofits expand and better accomplish their missions. We do that by using AI and behavioral economics to personalize how much a nonprofit asks each donor to contribute. The job allows me to both work with high technology and have a great positive impact on the world.

How long did it take you to find this job?

It took me close to eight months to find this job. I spent the first six months of my search looking for work based in Portland. After that I explored both consulting and remote work. What happened then is that a remote consulting opportunity with Arjuna very quickly turned into a full-time job.

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

For this search, I did all of the classic things: I invited six friends who work in HR to review my resume, updated my LinkedIn profile, met four to six people per week in 1:1s and professional meetings, did a lot of deep research, consulted my school’s career center, and kept my skills up to date with blogs, newsletters, and podcasts. It was a very intentional process, like a full-time job.

The key for me turned out to be the pro bono consulting work I did for several different start-ups.  After a number of people offered to pay me for that free work, I decided that it might be a good idea to explore paid consulting! A friend of mine connected me with Arjuna, who was looking for a marketing consultant. In my interview, Arjuna’s President said, “I have a VP Marketing and Communications job open. Why don’t you interview for that instead of the consulting role?” The rest is history!  

What is interesting here is that my job at Arjuna was never advertised. I only found the opportunity because I had been networking. Overall, through the job search, I networked with dozens of people, and in the end, it took four connections to land me at Arjuna. 

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

The most difficult part of the job search for me was the emotional roller coaster. For example, I would have a good conversation with someone and be on a high, then I would receive a rejection note and be at a low. I found two things to be effective for managing this. First, I kept in contact with friends and family who could talk through things with me and help me keep my perspective. Second, I took one day a week to focus on taking care of myself. Typically, that meant going hiking or snowshoeing on Mount Hood every Wednesday. Doing that broke up the week nicely and re-charged me for plunging forward with the job search.

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

Talk to people. Talk to a lot of people. Whether it is polishing your resume, looking for an inside track on positions, or evaluating an offer, it is so helpful to have a lot of people to turn to for help and advice. In my case, I had not done a good job of maintaining a network while I was at my previous job, but by intentionally meeting with multiple people each and every week, I was able to build a network that helped me land my dream job.

Why do you love your job?

I have enjoyed working in technology companies, but was troubled that everything I worked on would become obsolete 18 months after I retired, i.e. when the next tech cycle came. At Arjuna Solutions, we use very advanced AI technology, but we use it to help nonprofit organizations increase their impact. One of our favorite hashtags at Arjuna is #AIforGood. I love that I am able to help build a high technology company and enable good that can last for generations.