Finding A Path Through Different Careers: John Vernon Peterson’s Job Search Success Story

It’s rare to find a professional who’s stayed in the same job throughout their career. It’s more common, and more interesting, to meet someone who has worked in more than one or two vastly different careers. John Vernon Peterson is one of the latter.

While he’s currently a MBA-carrying business strategist, John has also served in the military and worked in the airline industry over the course of his professional life. John shares some of the resources he found most helpful during his last job search, in which he landed a job he loves as Regional Sales Director  at Momentum Food Brokers. Here’s John’s story:

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

I spent 14 years in the airline industry, 11 with Midway Airlines in Chicago, and three with Evergreen in McMinnville where I live now.  Then, I spent a decade with Hewlett Packard in Corvallis.  Military wise I took the oath in 1985 and got out in 2005.  I served in the Air National Guard for 10 years, and then as an Individual Mobilization Augmentee reservist for the next ten years; then served on active duty for two years after 11 Sep 2001 for both the Air Force and Joint Forces Command reaching the rank of Major 0-4. From 2005-present I worked as an Independent Business Consultant working contracts for the State of Oregon, Department of Administrative Services-Technology Support Center, McMinnville Water & Light, PERS, Iberdrola Renewables and Vigor.

I now work for Jerry Stevens, the President and founder of Momentum Food Brokers, LLC.

How long did it take you to find this job?

Two months

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How did you find your job?

Jobs for Life course held by Hope On The Hill in McMinnville, Oregon

What resources did you use?

  • Attending a seminar with Mac Prichard at a job fair, reading Mac’s blog and his books.
  • Kevin Kopsa at the Goodwill Job Source helped with my resume.
  • Jeff Long at the State of Oregon Employment Center in McMinnville, Oregon (Jeff has been working with me since 2005 when I became an independent business consultant after Hewlett Packard and the military.)
  • Robert Earhardt, former Veterans Employment Representative at the State of Oregon Employment Center in McMinnville, Oregon

What tool or tactic helped the most?

Without a doubt, the best piece of advice I have ever received for a job interview came from Mac Prichard:  At the end of the interview, first ask when you will hear back on the results of the interview.  Then ask this:  “If we were to sit down six months to a year from now, what three top goals would you be thanking me for accomplishing for both you and the organization?”

What was the most difficult part of your job search?

The most difficult part of the job search for me is being without money, and/or when your emergency account runs out.

How did you overcome this challenge?

I tried to remain positive and earn money as a musician playing gigs, funerals, weddings and teaching when able.

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

Read Mac Prichard’s blog and books and ask that question in an interview. Also only put in for a job that you really want to do.  Concentrate on jobs that are a good fit for you.

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Why do you love your job?

I love my job for a number of reasons:  first off my boss and I get along really well, and we are constantly working on business strategy and development including the use of the SWOT matrix (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats).  Business strategy was my favorite part of grad school when I was earning my MBA from George Fox University.  Although I am really always working my job while awake, I am able to take off time when necessary which is a great benefit.