Job search is challenging.
I have said this at length over the past six-plus months. The added layer of job-seeking for a neurodiverse job-seeker is often overlooked by recruiters and those in positions of hiring authority.
Our superpowers are often missed.
For me, the added layer of being neurotypical passing added a complexity to my 2020 job-seeking journey that I did not anticipate with the pandemic. My large professional network that I could tap into was impacted by COVID-19. Not only did it take members of my community away, it put many of them in the unemployment line.
After applying to and interviewing with many organizations, I moved nowhere fast in the late Summer of 2020. I shared some of these experiences in my blog post, Words Matter earlier this year.
I have been asked many times over the past year, what was the “game-changer” in my job search. Some of it had to do with the job market itself but mostly, what changed the game was working with a career coach. I chose to work with Laura Mazzullo, an exceptional HR Professional and owner of East Side Staffing. Laura’s website says, “With 13+ years of experience in HR Hiring, Laura knows what works, how to help you to stand out above the crowd, gain clarity, and how to reach your HR career goals. Her support for the recruitment and human resources community is undeniable.” and she backs this all up with action in her coaching.
HR Professionals should work with coaches 1:1 more often.
How did coaching help me?
It gave me a safe place to be unapologetically who I am - neurodiverse, SHEro, and all. I was reminded that the power of networking is still fruitful, I just needed to adjust my tactics for 2020 and the future. I was given constructive feedback and never once was made to feel like I was anything less than phenomenal. My coach gave me support and tools to get where I needed to be. I was also allowed the space to get over myself. We (Recruitment and HR Professionals) often forget that we need coaching and career development, too. Our jobs in HR are to put others first in the workplace. We are Human Resources! Laura reminded me that I am a human that deserves resources too (as silly as that may sound – sometimes we need this reminder). The value of using a coach for 1:1 coaching is immeasurable. You can sift through the non-sense and work on what you personally and professionally need to work on or work towards to be successful. A great career coach will help you navigate your career from top to bottom - career search and more.
By early fall of 2020 I needed to get back to work. Through networking support and my coach, I was introduced to someone who was hiring who then introduced me to my current employer. I had not considered contract recruitment work before these introductions. The idea of 1099 work was the scary unknown. I had been approached by many organizations over 2020 for contract roles but had dismissed them for lack of stability.
Something was different for me during my interview with my current employer. I spoke to the recruitment operations manager who truly understood recruitment, sourcing, and staffing. Ironically, with all the interviews I had before this interview, very few were with seasoned recruitment pros who understood the roles. I was rarely ever asked anything technical to display my abilities. As an example, three out of the many more than I can count interviewers I encountered in 2020, asked me about recruitment metrics and Boolean strings. THREE! My current employer was one of the three.
I took the leap of faith and began the journey as a contract recruiter. My first contract was for 90 days (about 3 months). I was scared. What happens after 90 days (about 3 months)? What if they end the contract sooner? Guess what, the client did end the contract early for me and I was once again not working. My operations manager at my current employer assured me I would be right back to work and had done excellent work. She was not lying. I was back to work within a week and had the opportunity to spend a month sourcing for roles in the medical field. I had mentioned to her that I had hoped to gain some experience in that industry as well as my interest to one day recruit for NASA and be a part of building DEI Recruitment within that organization.
Fast forward to spring of 2021. My current employer offered me a permanent role. You may have read the quick announcement about it via my blog. Talk about dream come true. I was being offered a role to work permanently on a team that already had proved to be exceptional and of their word.
My first assignment in my new role is supplying recruitment and sourcing support for a client in the aerospace industry that is 3D printing rockets to launch into space. Rockets! Space! Once again, confirmation that my leader and team saw my value, saw me, heard me, and supported my success. When a leader and an organization support the success and interest of their employees it only creates more success for the organization. My employer gets that.
All of this because I worked with a coach.
If I leave you with anything from reading this, I hope it is that contract work is not as scary as it seems (or scary as I thought it was), networking is important and needs to be looked at differently, Recruitment & HR Professionals need coaches too, and finding an organization that truly sees, values, and hears you is paramount to your future success. Words matter. Actions matter more.
I want to hear from you. How did you land your job?