Tapping Into Community: Rae Rawls Dunnaville’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, Rae Rawls Dunnaville, Communications Innovation and Technology Analyst at RISE Partnership, shares how she tapped into her community for job search support.

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

RISE Partnership is an organization that delivers union-won training and benefits to 80,000 workers across Oregon, including state workers, homecare workers, long-term care workers, and more. My role at RISE Partnership sits at the intersection of communications and information systems. I help ensure program communicators are able to get their messages about benefits and training out to the right workers, and look for ways to streamline and improve our communications with new platforms and processes.

How long did it take you to find this job?

For the past decade, I’ve been a labor union communicator. I loved the work, but as a parent of two young children, it was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the hours and workload. Although I knew I needed to start looking for a career shift, I knew it would be tough to find an organization and a role that would offer the challenges and flexibility I needed. I can’t say exactly how long it took to find this job because I wasn’t actively out searching and interviewing, but I’d been keeping my ear to the ground for a while.

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

I was talking to a friend and casually mentioned that I was thinking about looking for a new career path. My friend knew that RISE Partnership was hiring for this position and encouraged me to check out the job description. I was instantly interested in applying because I’d heard great things about working at RISE, and the job made use of the tech, design, and communications skills I’ve acquired over the years – not to mention my knowledge of union member messaging and outreach. It seemed like a perfect fit!

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

The hardest part of my job search was ensuring I could find a role that allowed me to use the wide variety of skills I’ve developed as a labor communicator while also giving me the flexibility I need as a mom with two young children. 

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

If you’re looking for a new job or even just open to the possibility of new work, it’s helpful to tap into your friends, former coworkers, and extended networks for leads on positions that they may know about. Sometimes you may be an excellent fit for a role that might not show up in your job search due to your search criteria. 

Why do you love your job?

Working at RISE Partnership is great because it’s a mission-driven organization that is well-run, organized, and rapidly growing. More workers are seeing the benefits of union membership. I feel good about working for an organization that helps union members access the healthcare and educational benefits they’ve bargained for in their contracts.