In this job search success story, Bridget Bimrose, associate dean of admission communications and special projects at Reed College, shares how staying open, curious, and adaptable has served her in her career.
What do you do for a career? Who do you work for?
I am currently the Associate Dean of Admission Communications & Special Projects at Reed College, located in Portland, Oregon. In my role, I am responsible for developing and implementing comprehensive marketing and communication strategies for various groups in the admissions process. This involves overseeing the creation and distribution of compelling content across multiple channels with the ultimate goal of improving yield and conversion rates. Additionally, I work to cultivate strong relationships with key vendor partners to enhance the visibility and reputation of the institution within the higher education community.
How long did it take you to find this job?
Actually, I wasn’t actively seeking a new job at the time. I was already employed and enjoying a successful career in the private sector, specifically marketing affinity member-based travel programs at Criterion Travel. However, I’ve always valued staying informed about the job market and keeping up with professional development opportunities. That’s why I have been following Mac’s List and occasionally scanning their email outreach and special-interest articles. For me, it’s just good business to stay in tune with industry trends and job-related news.
How did you find your job? What resources did you use? What tool or tactic helped the most?
For me, networking and meeting new people has always been a priority. I don’t limit myself to niche or industry-specific connections, either. I currently serve on the board of the Goose Hollow Foothills League neighborhood association, and I make it a point to attend at least one professional development or networking event each month. I believe in taking a multidisciplinary approach to both my career and education, and I stay genuinely curious about business models and career paths. In my experience, opportunities can present themselves in unexpected ways, so it’s important to stay open and adaptable.
What was the most difficult part of your job search? How did you overcome this challenge?
I think the most difficult part of the job search process is being honest with yourself about your non-negotiables. It can be challenging to balance your desire to be employed with expectations around remote work or bandwidth requirements. For me, it was important to think through the impact a new role would have on my quality of life before rushing into anything. At this point in my career (I’m in my 40s), I’ve only worked for two employers, and I take those commitments very seriously.
When I was offered my current role as Associate Dean of Admission Communications & Special Projects at Reed College, I had to carefully consider the impact of returning to an office environment after working remotely for years. I took into account factors such as my commute, doggy daycare costs, and my overall lifestyle. Ultimately, I decided that the leadership role and opportunity to work with a high-performing team at one of the best colleges in the country was worth the adjustment to my routine. It’s all about weighing the ROI and being mindful of what matters most to you in both your professional and personal life.
What is the single best piece of advice you would offer other job-seekers?
My advice to job seekers is to always consider their long-term value in the workforce. When I began my career in marketing and communications as a temp at the University of Portland, I worked hard and sought out mentors. I was honest with myself about my strengths and weaknesses and tried to be adaptable and realistic about deliverables. In today’s ever-changing job market, the ability to adapt to new situations and continue to learn is crucial to success.
Looking back at my career path, taking a step away from higher education public relations to manage marketing in the affinity member-based travel industry really increased my hireability. I learned so much about the backend of a small business operation and leadership during the pandemic at Criterion Travel, which enhanced and refined my skills. This ultimately made me more competitive when I threw my hat in the ring for a leadership role at Reed College. So, my advice would be to always be open to new experiences and opportunities to learn, as they can often lead to unexpected paths and increased value in the workforce.
Why do you love your job?
In many ways, my job at Reed College is my dream job. I have the privilege of working with a high-producing team of both industry veterans and newly minted employees who are passionate, data-driven, and lead with kindness. I’m particularly drawn to mission-driven work and higher education, and being able to lead the Admission Communications team at a highly esteemed institution like Reed College is a point of pride for me.
Despite being new, I’m not shying away from the learning curve and appreciate the opportunity to continuously grow and develop. Additionally, the Admission Office staff brings me joy, and the beautiful nature reserve on campus makes my lunchtime power walking sessions truly spectacular. Overall, I feel incredibly fortunate to be working in a role that aligns with my values and allows me to work with such a talented team in such a beautiful environment.
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!