Focus Your Job Search Before Applying for Positions: Brock Vasconcellos’s Job Search Story

Brock Vasconcellos started his job search by spending six months coming up with a targeted, focused list of his career interests and values. He discovered that looking for a new career was more exciting, once he reframed his perspective and started looking at his previous positions as a portfolio of strengths and interests to build upon. Read Brock’s story to see how he focused his job search and used his network to discover a job opportunity.

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

I’m a nonprofit development professional specializing in peer-to-peer fundraising and volunteer leadership engagement.  

Currently, I’m the Field Operations Manager at the National Psoriasis Foundation.  Our field operations team raises funds by delivering peer-to-peer fundraising event experiences to our communities across the nation. I manage our processes that deliver our event experiences and support the field staff with resources for generating revenue.

How long did it take you to find this job?

Before actively applying, I spent six months or so honing in on my career interests and values.  I really liked what I was doing in my previous role, but I wasn’t confident my career was moving in the right direction.  It took about three months of active networking and research after committing to a job search to land my current position.

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

After I started sharing with my network that I was searching for a new career opportunity, I discovered that others were also actively seeking new employment.  We started making introductions for each other, serving as references, and forwarding on job postings that matched our career interests. Ultimately, this is how I discovered my current position – one of my connections came across the posting in a search and sent it my way.

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

My biggest challenge was finding the motivation for a job search.  I loved my previous organization and I loved the people I worked with even more!  It was easy to stay content where I was, even though I really desired a new challenge.  Even when I committed to a job search, I had trouble becoming excited about many of the positions out there.  It was tough knowing I had to make a career move, but not finding the passion in a search.

Honoring my career interests and values got me through my job search lull.  I started looking at job postings not as career pathways, but as learning pathways that aligned with my career interests.  I searched for opportunities to leverage specific strengths and skills, and for positions that allowed me to pick up new ones.  I made better links to how my job search was contributing to my career narrative. When I started looking at my career as a portfolio of skills and strengths and interests, rather than a timeline of jobs.  That made finding a job much more fun!

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

There are a ton of great resources out there and there’s certainly no shortage of good job search advice.  The messages that resonated the most with me were the ones that I told myself. Like many job seekers, I faced rejection and uncertainty, but it was never helpful to hear it from within.  Beyond keeping a positive mindset: be good to yourself and surround yourself with people who are supportive of your career aspirations.

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Why do you love your job?

My job allows me the opportunity to assist others as they launch, develop and maximize their fundraising and philanthropic activity. In other words, I get to empower volunteers and fundraisers to change the world for the better. I’m lucky enough to be in a role where I can encourage and support these individuals, and I’m inspired everyday by the works of people who see a need and choose to do something about it.