What works and what does not – Job Search Lessons Shared after a long search.
Radiology was fine for a while. Until it wasn’t. Abby wanted something more.
Abby loved radiology, loved the interaction with the clients. But medicine has been changing over the last ten years. She got laid off from her original hospital. The latest large hospital system implemented a new scheduling system that essentially put her on call with reduced hours and lower pay.
Abby was ready for something more. More challenging, more stimulating, more reliable. So she got her MBA and discovered she loved the business side of medicine.
She had no idea how to find her new job in her new career. That is when I met Abby. We worked on her resume and got her set up in LinkedIn. But Abby had trouble with the whole networking thing. It was a totally new way to look at job search. She was not comfortable.
She started to accumulate LinkedIn connections but it was slow.
She enrolled in a promising program for emerging leaders in the hospital system that looked like networking on steroids. Monthly meetings with department heads and executives that combined stimulating ideas with interaction with the right people. She worked on some project teams and shared some of her ideas with the hospital’s thought leaders. Now she was really networking!
The program was great. But the payoff? Nothing.
Abby applied for at least five positions in the hospital system with no response at all. Crickets! No acknowledgement from the leaders she met. Not even a “no thank you”. Nothing.
The hospital system was sending a strong message that despite their words, their actions were telling her Abby was not valued. She did not fit. She needed to think outside the hospital.
Abby was also getting the message that job search via the application process is frustrating and often ineffective for the job seeker. It was time to network in a different way.
To fill the down time from her reduced schedule and still continue to network, Abby started volunteering at the local Visiting Nurses’ outpost at another hospital she worked at years ago. It started as a way to give back, to pass the time and learn new skills. She liked the impact the organization had on the community.
She liked the people. She fell into an easy rhythm with the clients and the organization’s leaders. When a leadership position came up she got the job! Networking really works!
Abby looks at her story as a question of fit. At her last hospital even after a few years she was still an outsider. She was never really accepted. Even the emerging leaders program did not bridge the cultural mismatch.
She didn’t volunteer to get a new position but volunteering exposed her to new people with new ideas in a culture she really loved. Abby says, “Of all the organizations I have worked for these past 4.5 years, none of them have been the right fit for me like [this one]. I won’t be in the hospital but will be a part of [this hospital]… So excited for this!”
Abby’s story shares some critical lessons:
- Cultural fit is critical. Even participating in an “emerging leaders” program did not bridge the cultural fit. Abby was never going to get promoted at that hospital because she did not fit. She needed to find an organization that values her for who she is.
- A foot in the door is not always valuable. Abby says, “The biggest take away I see from it is don’t think just because you have a foot in the door somewhere that it’s going to land you something else later in that company.”
- Volunteering is valuable networking. You never know who you will meet who can be helpful. Plus you have the added benefit of contributing to a good cause while you network.
- Networking wins every time. It is not what you know but who you know that makes the difference. Being the most qualified is no guarantee of advancement unless you can build relationships with people to demonstrate your fit.
- Patience is a virtue. It took Abby almost two years to find the job she wanted. In the meantime she worked strange schedules, finished her MBA, got very frustrated but persevered. Volunteering made the difference for Abby but the real lesson is Abby’s patience.
Congratulations to Abby for getting what she wants!!!