Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How LA Fellows Helped Me Land My Next Job

A few weeks after the most recent training ended, the staff received the following email from LA Fellows Cohort 10 graduate Yoonsin Park. She has given us permission to post it in edited form.

I wanted to send this e-mail to notify everyone of my accepting a temporary position at Avanquest as an Order Processor. The position is set to last up until mid-to-late December.
The reason I'm sending this is because of how this job came about and how much it represents everything we have learned from LA Fellows.
I just happened to be home and on my computer when I received an e-mail from Mary (Program Assistant for LA Fellows, and an LA Fellow from Cohort 7), asking if this position would be something I would be interested in. Initially, due to the job title I didn't think I would be but when I read through the job description, I realized I would be using my Photoshop skills and would be gaining Photoshop 'work' experience which up to this point I don't have, though I use it personally on my own photographs.
Within minutes of responding back to Mary of my interest, I received an e-mail from my friend Pat Luc (LA Fellow from Cohort 8) who had been included in an outreach group e-mail by Daryl Salrin (Also from Cohort 8, whom Terry Proctor from Cohort 8 had mentioned in a talk he had with Cohort 10). Daryl was searching for candidates for this very same position. Daryl had recently gotten a position at Avanquest as a Recruiter, through her friend who is an HR Director there. Does the word 'networking' come to mind?
I immediately followed up with Daryl, introducing myself as an LA Fellows’ alumna and at her request sent my resume. Daryl then sent it to the "powers that be" and said she would be in touch. To my surprise, she contacted me the next day asking me to come in for an interview! I wasn't expecting it to be so quick.
To prepare for my interview, these are some of the things I did, remembering our teachers' advice and the many takeaways:
Keri: To calm myself for the interview, I remembered that if you are called in for an interview, they WANT to like you and are hoping you will be the solution to their problem.
Lynnette: I read each line of the job description and came up with examples of stories that utilized the skills they were asking for.
Kim: I wrote down answers that would overcome any objections they might have such as having my own company, no Photoshop work experience, long length of unemployment, etc.
Larry: Due to the exercises on "value" and being "clear", I knew I liked the company. The company is public but still currently small, creative with an easy going air and they are fine with people having their own independent side projects as long as it doesn't interfere with the job. The office is so colorful and artistically decorated. You know you are in a creative environment!
Nancy Alexander (LA Fellow Cohort 10): I wore the bracelet she made for our group so I would have Cohort 10's support with me for good luck! While waiting for the interview, I looked at it and was humming in my head Larry's LA Fellows theme song, not so much to rev me up but more to keep me calm and relaxed!
The interview went well, and the Manager I will be working with was very surprised at my preparedness.
The first interview question he asked me was NOT the dreaded, "Tell me about yourself". Instead, he first asked me what I knew about the company. Due to the research I had done, I was able to give him a general overview. It seems that alone impressed him and after that, the interview became a conversation. From Keri's class, I didn't forget that the goal was to stay focused, so in every instance, I gave him examples of what I have done and imparted my experience and knowledge.
He was surprised I knew he had an oil painting background and actually asked me how I knew. I told him I read his bio on LinkedIn. :)
The interview ended with him saying Daryl would be in touch with me.
The next day, before I had even sent out my thank you note, I was e-mailed a job offer letter.
In that letter, my pay rate was different from what I was originally told. When I pointed that out to Daryl thinking it was a typo, she told me that because I was so prepared, my manager had raised my starting rate even though the pay rate was locked. It reminded me of Lynnette's saying, "Be the shiny penny".
If you have read down this far, I appreciate your patience. This long-winded story is not in any way to self-congratulate. My pay rate is modest, and the position I have accepted is entry level. I believe this is why my manager was surprised at my knowledge and how prepared I was for his questions.
This story is more to showcase how well LA Fellows has prepared me as I continue to pursue job openings in the future.
Be assured, while in my temporary position I will be networking as much as possible to make connections as well as working hard to leave the best impression so I may be considered for any future job availability.
I know I would not have been as confident going into this interview as I was without the knowledge I have gained from being in the LA Fellows program.
THANK YOU to all the teachers in this program, you have left me with such a profound impression for which I am truly grateful!
Yoonsin Park

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Yoonsin, for your insightful comments on this excellent program. After attending graduation ceremonies for Cohort 10, and witnessing my colleagues (Yoonsin & Richard) graduate, I was very inspired and motivated to become an LA Fellow myself.

    Seeing other colleague's professional growth after graduating the program, I knew there was something special about this program. I had passed up the opportunity to enroll several times, and decided it was time to take control of my career transition. I am fortunate to currently be enrolled in the LA Fellows program. I am impressed with the caliber of curriculum, and the enthusiasm and motivation of the instructors and program directors! Their knowledge and support for all of us at Cohort 11 will help ensure our success on our journey to a successful career path.

    We have recently received our list of Non Profit Organizations we can volunteer at, for the internship part of the program. It is exciting to see such community support for this program, and I look forward to giving back, in return for my opportunity to be a part of this LA Fellows Program. In addition to the Non Profits involved, I would like to thank the Workforce Investment Board (the Canoga Park Worksource Center through WIA funding), LA Valley College Job Training Team, current instructors and program directors!

    Thank you, Yoonsin (and Richard), for encouraging me to participate in the LA Fellows program! I look forward to continuing on this journey of self discovery, challenge, growth, and success with my fellow Cohorts! I believe we are all on the right path to the future!