Hit The Ground Running: How Jenny Found Her Dream Jobby Sima Dahl
The following is an interview with my friend Jenny Weigle who I admire for bravely leaving behind a strong network and FT job in Florida to follow her heart to Chicago. To her credit Jenny landed a fabulous new job inside of three months! Here’s an insider’s peek at how she did it:
Q: You recently relocated here from Florida – tell us what job you had there and what prompted the move.
A: I was working in marketing and business development for a community bank in Tampa. It was a successful company and great work environment, however, I knew that I did not want a long-term career in the banking or finance industry. In August 2008, I decided to start saving up and make a plan to move to my favorite city, Chicago! After visiting family here numerous times since I was 12, I knew that I had always wanted to be a part of this city. In May, I made it official by resigning from the bank and packing up for Illinois.
Q. You were an active networker in Florida – please give us some highlights.
The mentors I have had throughout my life have always encouraged me to network and meet as many people as possible because you never know what you will learn from the people you meet. Plus, I’m not the kind of person who can just go home after work. I enjoy being out and about and socializing. In Tampa, I was involved in my university alumni group, my sorority’s alumnae group, as well as various leadership and women’s organizations.
Q. The idea of moving out of state without a job would freeze many of us in our tracks – how did you get the ball rolling?
A. Two words were key to this transition for me – planning ahead. In August 2008, I created a budget and job search plan that would allow me to move to Chicago in Summer 2009. The first part was to save enough money to be able to handle the move and a few months of unemployment. In this economy, it isn’t realistic to expect an employer to pay relocation fees for someone at my career level. I understood this and planned accordingly. Also, since I frequently visited my friends and family in Chicago, I tried to set up interviews and networking appointments on my trips to the city. For the job search, I prepared my resume, LinkedIn profile, Facebook profile and business cards. I found MarketingJobWire.com through a Google search and immediately signed up. I knew that today’s marketers had a deep understanding of social media and what it means for business, so I took on a part-time non-paid internship in Tampa to begin gaining experience. I also got my certification as an Inbound Marketing Professional through Hubspot.com.
And finally, I made plans to stay with friends and family when I arrived and so that I would keep my expenses minimal.
Q: When you landed in Chicago, how did you prioritize your time and energy?
A. My job search was my job when I arrived…except that I was working more than 12 hours a day, seven days a week. I had budgeted two months where I could immerse myself in the job search, and after that time, I would have to take on a part-time job to keep up with the bills. The hard work during those two months paid off…I attended as many marketing-related networking functions as I could. I reached out to referrals of friends and relatives. I signed up for job alerts, e-newsletters and coupon sites. I created a blog to offer advice to fellow job seekers. I anticipated each and every e-mail from MarketingJobWire.com. I researched companies on the Internet and became more engaged with social media. If I were sitting on the couch watching TV, I felt like I was “skipping” work. When my friends were out having cocktails, I was out at networking functions. It was an intense, exciting and scary two months!
Q. You have a great new job – tell us what it is and how you ultimately found it!
A. I made sure to be active on all of the social media networks, and I especially found LinkedIn to be helpful. An old friend, Justin, saw that I had updated my location to Chicago on LinkedIn. Justin had also lived in Tampa and had moved up to Chicago a year prior for a sales position with a reputable IT consulting firm. We reconnected, and Justin submitted my resume for a marketing opening with his company. When I had my interview, the company’s executives were impressed with the inbound marketing and social media experience I had acquired. They wanted to implement some initiatives in these areas as well. I got the job and am now the first-ever Director of Marketing for RKON Technologies!
I am living the life I had always hoped to live in Chicago! Currently, I’m exploring various networking groups to join, and I stay active on social media. The decision to move here was the biggest risk I have ever taken in my life, and the rewards have been better than I ever expected!
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