How growing her community landed Jessica’s best job yet.

Jessica was laid off from a job she hated in June. While it was hard to be upset about the loss, she recognized that if she didn’t take an active and assertive role in making her next move, she was going to wind up in another dead end.

That’s why Jessica devoted her summer to growing her community in a deliberate and strategic way, with the ultimate goal of finding the job that was right for her – not making herself ‘right’ for just any job.

As a passionate advocate fighting on behalf of underserved communities in the nonprofit sector for years, Jessica knew that she wanted a position in service of others and recognized that her skills and experience were valuable assets.

Informational interviews for the job search

Instead of searching for and applying to jobs online, Jessica initiated a series of informational interviews with key stakeholders she respected. She reached out to executive directors at local charities and nonprofits she admired and asked them to coffee. One by one, they swapped stories and explored their common passions. Each meeting ended with a series of referrals to other bosses for Jessica to contact.

“This approach felt like more of a conversation than an interview. It helped me focus on exploring what I was interested in and really allowed me to be myself,” says Jessica.

Tapping your community for help

By reaching out with clear, concise emails that made it easy for these stakeholders to help, Jessica grew her community and made her skills and availability known.  “I took one step at a time to figure out what I wanted to do next,” Jessica shared. “I was focused on being myself, living in the present moment, and making one truly great contact each week.”

After two months of consistent outreach and one-on-one meetings, Jessica found the organization and role for her, formally applied, and received an offer higher than she anticipated. Even though she was pleased with the salary, she decided to negotiate and counter-offered with a 5% increase that was accepted by her new boss.

Jessica started her new job after Labor Day and says “it’s going great!” She’s in a challenging but rewarding new position to help decrease the risk of HIV and STDs amongst young women in her community through promoting self-efficacy through safe sex education.


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