There are two parts of every successful job search. First, you need to figure out what you really want to do in your career. Then you need a plan to get the experience, training, and connections that will help you reach your goals. Mac’s List reader, Cheryl Curry, followed this exact roadmap in finding her job as a Training and Support Specialist. Here’s Cheryl’s story.
What do you do for a career? Who do you work for?
I create and share resources, to solve problems and empower people. Often, this is through “point-and-click” development on a platform called Salesforce. I recently joined the nonprofit Grounded Solutions Network, where I support the HomeKeeper app to help housing programs track their data and their impact.
How long did it take you to find this job?
I consider my job search to have lasted a full year. During that year, I was continually trying new tactics, and talking to trusted friends and professional contacts. When I applied to this job, I felt prepared by my prior experiences.
How did you find your job? What resources did you use? What tool or tactic helped the most?
I found this job from a longstanding email alert on Idealist! However, I also consciously sought out people whose work I found intriguing. I attended specific networking events (such as PDXWIT), and subscribed to inspiring email lists, like Fairygodboss.
To work with Salesforce, I knew it was important to become a Certified Administrator. I first took this exam in December 2016, and was disappointed when I did not pass. However, I learned many people I admired had not passed that exam the first time.
In January 2017, I earned a spot in an online study group, which was invaluable. I passed my Certification Exam in April 2017. (For the Salesforce Community – follow Deepa Patel!)
These activities reminded me why I was interested in finding a new role, and exposed me to ideas that kept me motivated.
What was the most difficult part of your job search? How did you overcome this challenge?
I had to constantly remind myself why I was seeking a new role. I was safe and comfortable in my company, and grateful for that. But I wanted to be challenged and do mission-focused work. I started writing out my thoughts in a stream-of-consciousness style to work out my discomfort and plan next steps. I have done this online (750words.com), but now I typically write 1-3 pages by hand (after I learned about “morning pages”).
What is the single best piece of advice you would offer other job-seekers?
Hold yourself accountable to pursue your goal. For example – ask a peer to be your “accountability buddy” and check in regularly. My accountability buddy and I would share job search stories, then look for each other’s patterns or opportunities. This relationship was very grounding, and we still cheer for each other.
Why do you love your job?
I love helping people solve problems big and small, and I’m honored to work alongside passionate people.