Starting Fresh in a New City: Clarke Hylton’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, Clarke Hylton, Multimedia Content Manager at Capital Community Media, shares how networking might lead to an opportunity you never saw coming.

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

I have spent most of my career in broadcast media in various roles, some time in audiobook and podcast production, and a brief interlude in home entertainment packaging. I now work for Capital Community Media (CC:Media) in Salem. We’re a nonprofit media center that offers community-produced content on TV and radio, multimedia education and training, and in-house produced content. My new job is also a new role for the organization as Multimedia Content Manager. I oversee staff and content produced by CC:Media.

How long did it take you to find this job?

I was employed during my search, which took place during the pandemic, so it took a while – over a year. But I was also exploring ideas of what that next job would be, deciding what was most important, and trying to network from home (Hello, Zoom!) in a city I had recently moved to.

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

I was aware of CC:Media and took some online classes they offered during the pandemic. In a virtual orientation meeting, I met the new radio station manager by chance. I got her contact information, and the two of us had many conversations over the months. We were actually in touch weekly, as a podcast I produced got on the air at the new station. Several months later I discovered a rare opening at CC:Media. The radio station manager alerted me to it as well, thinking it would be a good role for me.

Networking was really important in the search. I met quite a few people and learned some things about myself along the way, including what I might not want to do for work. I had been a subscriber to Mac’s List for several years, and as a result, heard of “Job Jenny” Foss. Job Jenny was great! It was so helpful to tear up my old resume and cover letter ideas and rebuild everything. When I got serious about looking for a new job, I was in good shape. 

Another resource Mac suggested to me during a conversation was “The 20 Minute Networking Meeting” by Nathan Perez and Marcia Ballinger. It was invaluable in helping me, someone who is really uncomfortable with the whole networking idea, make these interviews focused and fruitful – even if they didn’t lead to a job within an organization.

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

Inertia and sometimes despair. It happens. What was helpful was to remember why I wanted to move on to a different job. I wanted a new challenge, to be closer to home (the daily commute from Salem to Portland was wearing on me and my poor car), to see my family more, and to do something I felt mattered in the bigger scheme of things. Sometimes I just needed a break and counsel/encouragement from trusted friends that the change would occur; I just happened to be looking for a job during a remarkable time in history that presented new challenges to job seekers.

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

Two things, really. Don’t be afraid to apply for a job you’re interested in, even if you don’t check every box on the job description. And networking. As you network, you may discover that what you thought you wanted to do for work isn’t as interesting as something new you discover along the way. That’s okay, and it might lead to an opportunity you never saw coming. (In the job I have now, both of these points were the case.)

Why do you love your job?

Salem is in the media shadow of Portland and to a lesser extent, Eugene. At CC:Media we get to be a multimedia platform for Salem and Marion County, which are otherwise underrepresented. Being a nonprofit, we are freed from commercial pressures and can delve into subjects in our local community that might not have a voice elsewhere. I get to work with smart, passionate people who believe in our mission.