Three days before Thanksgiving Shannon O’Connor started her new career. “I’m so excited,” Shannon said. “When my phone rang several hours after my job interview and they extended an offer, I was blown away.”
Persistence, she said, was the recurring theme of her job search efforts. She sent hundreds of resumes – close to 300. She went on job interviews – probably about 15 separate interviews over a 6-month time frame. She was running out of options for housing and for paying the bills, but she never lost faith or determination that her efforts would lead to finding her footing in the workforce again.
She found renewed energy in her job search when she met Employ Up Career Coach Cortney Perez. “She encouraged me, helped me identify opportunities for employment, and I gained renewed hope,” Shannon said. At the same time, Cortney introduced Shannon to other job seekers. Shannon quickly felt a sense of comfort. “When you know you’re not alone in your struggles, that really helps,” she said.
Shannon’s tips for success include:
- Don’t define yourself by your age. In fact, use that to your benefit. “It seems harder to find a job when you are older,” Shannon said. “But they didn’t know what they were missing.” Shannon had worked for years in the healthcare field in administrative and patient registry positions. She used that experience to her advantage during interviews. It made a difference, she said, when she could demonstrate her skills during the interview with her new employer.
- Don’t hesitate to be honest when discussing salary and benefits. Shannon showed confidence in her experience and abilities and clearly articulated what she felt that experience was worth. That made an impression with her interviewer, she believes.
- Don’t forget to listen and make eye contact during job interviews, she said. It’s easy to get lost in your own agenda during an interview, but carefully listening during an interview can help you communicate what’s most important to the interviewer.
- Don’t give up. “It’s hard not to give up when you are down and out,” she said. “But persistence wins.”
- Find an advocate. Not only did Cortney help guide Shannon in her job search efforts, give her renewed confidence and energy, she also connected her with Dress for Success to help her build her professional wardrobe.