Net-working out

When you’re in the midst of a job search, every interaction starts to look different to you. Parties and gatherings become potential opportunities to find work and advice, to connect with people in fields you’re attempting to find work in. I’ve certainly found this to be the case in my recent experiences, whether they are with friends or strangers–every day I seem to find a new connection. These connections continue to branch out like chains pointing me to the perfect job.

I spent this weekend canvassing for a local candidate for committeewoman, and met a group of wonderful people involved in the politics of my town. At these meetings, I spoke with an organizer who mentioned that she has many writers and editors working to create campaign materials and get the word out, and would help me get in touch with these people. The candidate also had hired local students to serve as editorial interns on the campaign. I learned that local politics are a great place to look for editorial work experience, and gained new experiences and connections.

Other connections came from a book club that I attend monthly. One member works for the publisher Penguin Random House in publicity, and was happy to meet with me to offer advice on working in the world of publishing, and to help me apply for jobs and internships.

Still more so have come from friends, family, and local acquaintances. I have recently joined Toastmasters, which also serves to improve my skills within the workforce, particularly in an area that has scared me for a while (public speaking). One member happened to be the mother of a girl I attended high school with, who was working at the health information technology company IQVIA. She put us in touch to speak about possible openings that would be a good fit for me.

Later on, I even won a small award for speaking about my job search experience at Toastmasters, which was about finding the positive in rejection. I related this speech specifically to finding the positives in specific rejection letters that, instead of merely telling you off, explain why you were not chosen and, in turn, allow you to build upon those mistakes and improve upon your skills. I’ve certainly experienced both “good” and disheartening rejection in this job climate, and I’ve found it quite helpful to focus on constructive criticism on your way up the ladder.

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