If I tell you how I found my dream job, will it help you get yours? Maybe not.
Job hunting isn’t like following a recipe. What worked for me may not work for you. That said, I want to share my job search story because it’s a little unusual and it has a happy ending. Just for giggles, let’s pretend it was a recipe. If my job hunt was like baking a cake it would go a little something like this:
- Free time punctuated by bursts of consulting and childcare
- Twitter handle
- WordPress site
- Copious blog entries on casseroles, soups, and cakes
- Massive network expansion and new friends
1. Quit great project management job with a lovely organization in order to spend more time with young children.
2. Spend time contemplating the gnawing feeling that past wonderful jobs and winding career track (biologist to budget analyst to public affairs to project manager) were somehow not fulfilling work.
3. Hang a shingle out as a consultant and start to define what fulfilling work would look like.
4. Cast a wide net for new assignments in, well, anything – project management, writing, scientific communications, copywriting, food safety, communications, public relations, etc. etc.
5. Learn Twitter, wrestle with WordPress, network through LinkedIn, dip a toe into SEO, and dabble in Facebook.
6. Take self-indulgent detours in posting recipes and family pictures.
7. Begin to identify as a food blogger, meet fellow food bloggers, and become totally inspired by all things food.
8. Mystify husband by diving into social media, gluing butt to couch, and calling it “job hunting.”
9. Have an epiphany that fulfilling work and dream job is to write for a firm on the full continuum of food from farm to fork.
10. Shout the new, detailed dream job to close friends, former colleagues, strangers, and the @world.
11. Start fielding offers on several possible positions that look very much like the dream job.
11. Two weeks later, walk into a party, get introduced as a freelance food writer, and get asked, “Hey, are you interested in a full-time job writing about food for a Fortune 500 firm 3 miles from your house?”
12. Accept dream job position and count blessing for the time to dream and friends willing to open doors and network.
As you can see, my job search was not linear. It involved six months of quasi-tortuous self-reflection and relentless networking.
If I can share any advice on what worked for me, it’s this: I allowed myself time to focus on what I really wanted to do with my life, I built up my confidence through blogging that I could write about food for a living, I found my niche and what made me happy, and then I doggedly worked to make my dream job a reality.
I will also add the notion that while it looks like “I” found my dream job, I believe that by listening, questioning, dwelling, dabbling, sharing, creating, and helping others that the larger community found me my dream job.