Everyone’s job search story is different, but each individual story can inspire and empower others who are on their own unique path. After moving across the country, Mallory Searcy embraced a “try everything” approach to her job search. Here’s Mallory’s story.
What do you do for a career? Who do you work for?
Currently, I’m an executive assistant for Eye Health Northwest. In this role, I help facilitate effective office functioning, and I also get to work cross-departmentally to help with event planning, stakeholder engagement, PR efforts and more. My last job (before I moved to Portland) was very similar in nature and I was a communications coordinator for a specialty physicians’ association. I really enjoy providing strategic communications for the healthcare industry!
How long did it take you to find this job?
My total job hunt process was about five months. I moved from Florida to Portland at the beginning of November. Things were pretty slow through the holidays, but I picked up some great temp jobs to have some income while I searched for my long-term position. In January and February, I started receiving a lot more responses and getting interviews; I landed my current position at the end of March, and I plan to stay at EyeHealth for a while. The bigger your network grows, the faster your seeds of effort will start to bloom.
How did you find your job? What resources did you use? What tool or tactic helped the most?
My experience was lucky and rare: I applied for the job on a Monday, they called later that day to set up an interview, I interviewed Tuesday and landed a second-round interview for Wednesday, and by Thursday I had the job offer in hand.
It’s ironic, because I actually got my job from applying online, and I used to be really skeptical of whether online applications would even get in front of the right person. But a wise friend of mine was spot-on when she told me that I wouldn’t be able to predict where my job would come from–that it often happens from avenues you wouldn’t expect.
That’s why it’s so vital to use all of the resources and strategies you have when you’re job hunting. Don’t just rely on one method. Make a top-notch LinkedIn, resume, portfolio, business cards, etc. and then go to all of the networking events you can. Talk to lots of people, and then actually follow up with them. Reach out to people in your industry or at the companies you might like to work at, and don’t be afraid to send messages to people you haven’t even met on LinkedIn! Offer to buy someone a coffee or beer, and then ask them questions about the industry and potential connections and any other info that can help you form your next strategic move. (But make it obvious that this is for an informational interview).
What was the most difficult part of your job search? How did you overcome this challenge?
For me personally, the most difficult part was when a few months went by and I still hadn’t found my long-term position yet. Everything worked out perfectly in the end, but it took a little bit longer than I had originally thought it would. I’m very fortunate that I have an amazing aunt who let me live with her until I got a job, but it’s still very stressful when you’re not established on your own two feet and there’s that uncertainty of not knowing when things will come together.
To overcome it, I really just had to live in the fear and embrace it. When you start to get stressed out or afraid or down on yourself, see the process as part of your journey for developing the grit you’ll need to be your most empowered self; visualize how much of a badass you’ll be then because of the strength and knowledge that you’re developing in your current hardship. In life, we don’t usually realize how far we’ve grown until after the pain is over.
What is the single best piece of advice you would offer other job-seekers?
Don’t let fear take over and slow you down. Go to those networking events and be outgoing and charismatic, even when your confidence has taken a lot of blows that week. Make cold-calls and send the LinkedIn info meeting requests, and don’t be afraid about talking to strangers. (Spoiler: the people in Portland are kind and wonderful, and I never once encountered anybody who was rude to me because I reached out to them in my job search). Use different avenues–a mix of online applications, LinkedIn, using your network, and thinking outside the box in every way you can. Send thank-you cards and emails after each interview; take the extra steps that other people don’t. It will make you stand out.
Why do you love your job?
I love my job because it lets me use my skills and talents in a capacity that contributes to a meaningful outcome–helping people get the excellent eye care they deserve. I also get to be challenged by multi-faceted work in an uplifting team atmosphere where we can all thrive as our best selves.