Confession no more: My sister got her dream job

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In October, I wrote an article about my little sister, Jordi, and her seemingly endless quest to find meaningful work after graduation. I called it “Confession” because the whole situation seemed a little bit embarrassing, given my day job as founder of TalentEgg.ca.

But the problem was even deeper, as I explained in the article. Jordi is an A-Player in almost every definition of the term; super involved, accomplished, and passionate about her career of choice (not-for-profit).

I am happy to say that today, as I write this follow up, Jordi is not only employed, but employed by her dream employer in her dream job, and the ‘method’ she followed has lessons for all of you who are currently in the same boat, or about to graduate in April.

Now, I hear from dozens of Jordis every month – people like you, who are reading this article right now – who have had equally tough times landing their dream job following graduation. And just as her problem is not unique among Canadian graduates, the solution to her problem isn’t either: anyone can apply the steps Jordi took to have a better chance at landing their dream job.

How Jordi got her dream job

1. Focus

Jordi began her job search at the beginning of September 2009. She devoted some time to figuring out exactly what she wanted to do and decided she would focus broadly on entry-level opportunities in the non-profit world.

2. Willingness to change

She applied to a handful of positions, but it quickly became evident to her that her passion (or lack thereof) for some of the jobs she was applying to showed clearly in her applications. Upon realizing this, she pivoted, and decided to re-focus her job search more specifically.

3. Hard work

In October, Jordi had one of those moments. She caught wind of an opportunity that not only was perfect for her in every way, but one she knew she’d be really good at. So she put together an application.

But this wasn’t just any application. It was a 10-page document, including a Top 10 list, a short proposal for the role, a cover letter and, of course, her resumé.

While that may sound like overkill, it actually wasn’t – the document went over her qualifications, then gave actionable recommendations for the role and the growth of the organization, usable with or without her in the role. It then closed with why SHE was the best person to execute those recommendations.

4. Persistence (and more hard work)

This 10-page document was also well-researched. In order to prepare for both the application and the subsequent interview, Jordi organized meetings with people close to the organization. The purpose of these meetings was not to solicit recommendations from those people, but rather, they were genuine informational interviews, providing her with the information she needed to assess how best to approach the application process as well as if she was right for the role.

Jordi also submitted her application to be checked, edited, torn apart, and criticized by anyone and everyone qualified to do so.

5. Perseverance

Jordi didn’t get that job.

She was upset, of course, but she had a genuine interest in the organization and its mission, so she continued to volunteer for them. This led to further exposure of her talents and capabilities to decision makers in the organization.

One month later, she received a phone call from a director within the organization. A new opportunity had become available and they offered her the job.

I would love to say that Jordi handled her job search with consistent confidence, grace, and enthusiasm, but that would be a lie. There were frustrated emails and threats of “settling,” but after four months and 30 applications, Jordi has her dream job, and I’m really proud of her (just don’t tell her that).

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About the author

Lauren Friese is the founder of TalentEgg.ca. She graduated from Queen's University in 2005 with a degree in economics and had no idea how to make a successful transition into the workforce. She ended up at the LSE in London, England, and after earning an MSc in economic history, used Milkround.com – a British graduate recruitment website – to find a great entry-level role in consulting in London. She thought Milkround was fantastic, and that it was a service sorely lacking in Canada. And so the idea for TalentEgg was hatched!