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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

update from reader who asked about long hours and low pay to get experience

Remember those "where are they now" updates that we did late last year? Here's a new one.

You might remember this reader from back in June, when she wrote in to ask if she should take a job with really long hours and low pay in order to get experience. Complicating her decision was this: "I haven't had any success with my job search (the numbers are just depressing, so I'll spare you) and I would feel guilty, and somewhat desperate, if I turned down a resume-building job."

After her letter was published here, she and I had some further back-and-forth about the particular organization she was considering, nonprofit jobs in general, and her cover letter, which I thought was too generic (as most are). Here's her update:

After reading the thoughtful advice you and your readers provided, I ultimately turned down the job offer. I liked the idea of the work, but the long hours, low pay, and placement - downtown Boston - made the reality of the situation seem rather impossible.

I took a long, hard look at my resume and qualifications and decided to pursue careers in a very specific segment of non-profit work. I tailored my resume, rewrote my cover letter, and signed up for job board alerts dedicated to the field I had chosen. After receiving your advice, my applications started to get noticed by a wide variety of employers, and I found myself interviewing potential organizations! It was pretty exciting to be seeking an employer I meshed with rather than desperately applying to a slew of jobs that I only had the vaguest of interest and experience.

Narrowing my job search ended successfully this afternoon, as I received an offer for an entry-level position at my favorite organization. I'm so thrilled to have this opportunity, and amazed that I was able to land my "dream entry-level position" three months after graduation without previously building a strong network. The advice you offered, both privately and through your blog, was truly invaluable, as I doubt I would be embarking on my career this soon without it. Thank you for helping me transform from a "recent grad" to a "young professional"!

This is pretty awesomely inspirational, and a real testament to the power of a focused job search, a great cover letter, and resisting the unhealthy power dynamics that are so easy to fall into when job searching. Congratulations!


KellyK said...

Congratulations! That's very good news. I'm glad you're going to help save the world without having to live on Easy Mac.

Debbie said...

Congratulations to the new young professional! I'm so pleased with your decision and I am certain you won't regret it. It sounds like you're in a much better place than you would have been, and it was your initiative and gumption that got you there. Kudos.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! There's something to be said for working smarter and not necessarily harder - even in a job search!