Monday, November 21, 2011

Joy Gemberling shares how the hidden job market worked for her!

I’m proud to announce that I’ve landed as a consultant for Plus Delta Consulting Firm, a LA-based firm specializing in leading organization development and change initiatives to produce better business results.

My story is very different from the majority of LA Fellows Cohorts since I started my job search in a new environment having relocated to California less than a year from attending my first LA Fellows class. In 2009, I reconnected to a high school buddy through Facebook and we fell in love. We both grew up in New Jersey; he’s been living in the SoCal area for quite a few years while I was still living in New Jersey. We had a long distance romance for several months. In January 2010, I was laid off from my Jersey (pronounced “Joisey”) job, relocated to California in May 2010 and got married in August 2010. During the Fall 2010, I began my California job seeking adventure, joined the Los Angeles chapter of the ASTD (American Society for Training & Development) and attended locally-based job seeking groups to network and learn more about companies/organizations within the area. Through the ASTD-LA’s LinkedIn group, I saw Allison Silver’s posting regarding the LA Fellows program and thought it would be a great opportunity to expand my network, partner with a nonprofit to gain new skills and expand my job seeking skills.

Being new to the SoCal area, I needed to make friends and expand my network. During our first LA Fellows class, I met Victor Beauchamp and Monqiue Carroll who both lived nearby in Pasadena and I suggested that we start a carpool. During our drives to and from classes, we commiserated regarding our job seeking woes and how it was affecting our families. Being so new to the area, I didn’t have any close friends to talk to and their friendship came at a perfect time in my life.

Back in Jersey, I was active with a variety of nonprofits and was looking forward to my LA Fellows internship. I had chosen three nonprofits that I was interested in working with, but wanted more information. I decided to contact LA Fellows who had interned at these nonprofits through our LA Fellows LinkedIn group. I was excited with the outpouring from many Cohorts graciously offering their experience and advice. I decided to accept an internship at Chrysalis where I recorded and edited 24 videos of their core classes to create 10 train-the-trainer videos in order for new volunteers to successfully facilitate specific Chrysalis classes to clients. I reached out to Ana Gamboa, who was in Cohort 2, had interned and now has a full time position as an Employment Specialist at Chrysalis. I hit a few bumps in my internship and Ana was very sympathetic and generously offered her job seeking advice. I also met Kimberly James, who was in Cohort 1 and also interned at Chrysalis. We’ve become friends and will be serving as Co-Directors of Community Services for ASTD-LA in 2012. Now remember, I’ve only lived in California for just over a year and have met some great people who have become friends all through the “joys” of networking (yes, a pun IS intended).

Since attending the LA Fellows Program, I significantly changed my job seeking philosophy and strategy. This job opportunity happened though my LinkedIn network. Having been an active member of my professional organization (ASTD national & ASTD-LA chapter), I decided to join ASTD affiliated LinkedIn groups. I read a posting on the ASTD-LA LinkedIn group from the owner of this consulting firm, checked out his LinkedIn profile and company website. Per Lynnette Ward’s advice, I sent a personalized cover letter seeking a consulting position with his firm along with my resume. Within 10 days, I was offered a consulting position at his firm. Before the LA Fellows program, I wouldn’t even have thought about seeking a position that wasn’t posted on a job seeking website. The recession has made it quite challenging in seeking a full time job. Through the LA Fellows program, I realized the value of the hidden job market, being open to endless possibilities and the power of networking.

There’s no good luck charm or one size fit all solution in finding a job in this turbulent economy. However, I hope sharing my story will open your eyes to new opportunities and possibilities towards your job search.

Joy Gemberling, Cohort 4

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