This is a true story as told to JustJobs Academy which houses career interviews and job search advice for professionals in any industry. Visit to read about how to tame your ego and ask for feedback on the job.
My current title is Director of Marketing. I work for a privately held hotel group that owns and operates 17 properties under five different brands that are recognized nationally and internationally. I was offered my position after being in the job market for more than two years.
Even though I enjoyed my previous employer and co-workers, I became frustrated with my former job when I realized there was little chance for me to move up the proverbial ladder. I reached out to friends I had in the hospitality industry and took my time conducting my job search. Before accepting the job I have now, I received six offers, which I turned down.
With the help of my industry contacts, I was able to find the group I work for now and ensure that I would have opportunities to move into other positions in the future.
The technology I relied on most heavily during my job search involved social networking sites. Since I was actively employed during the two years I looked for my current job, I was rarely available to discuss other opportunities during traditional business hours. I easily managed to keep in touch with people using networking sites, however, and received information about companies that were hiring regularly.
As an added benefit, I had the chance to learn about some of the individuals with whom I’ve conducted business for years, but never had the chance to meet face-to-face. I’m not sure I would have befriended many of these contacts on a social networking site before entering the job market because I just didn’t think of them when I visited these sites in the past. I’m glad I did, though. I feel like the strength of my relationships with most of them has increased and I’ve come to look forward to hearing from them in something other than a work context.
If I decided to look for a job as a Director of Marketing with another company, I would separate myself from other candidates by discussing the success I’ve had marketing different brands of hotels in unique ways while adhering to the guidelines dictated by the owners of the brands. My ability to satisfy my company’s shareholders as well as the companies that allow us to use their brand names in exchange for a fee, would distinguish me from others applying for the same job.
I still use social networking sites to connect with professionals in my field even though I’m out of the job market. I believe these sites along with the prolific use of the phone are the most effective tools to help anyone trying to find a job in the hospitality industry.
While I searched for a new job, I had the displeasure of participating in an interview that was an absolute, positive disaster. I agreed to interview for a senior level marketing position that was vacant within a hotel group that owned more than 200 upscale properties, but did not know the name of the person who was going to conduct my interview. When I arrived at the scheduled time, I found myself being interrogated by a person I’d shared a major with in college – our major was hotel administration.
We hadn’t gotten along while at Cornell and we didn’t get along in my interview. We ended up spending two hours arguing about issues we’d disagreed on twenty years earlier which, apparently, are issues we still can’t agree on now. We only stopped our heated discussion when my interviewer’s boss entered the room and told us to lower our voices. It was embarrassing. I learned to always keep my voice low no matter how passionately I feel about something and to not reignite whatever issue burned down the bridge of friendship between me and someone else from this experience, no matter how tempting it may be to do so.
The most important thing I’ve learned on my own about the professional job search process is that it never ends. Even though I’m content with my current job, I still exchange information about opportunities with my contacts all over the world. I remain up-to-date with this information because I don’t know when I’ll be looking for another job in the future. I feel I need to be prepared at all times, especially because people are not traveling as much as they used to in today’s economic climate.
Even though my school has a great career services program, I did not use it during my most recent job search and probably wouldn’t in future ones either.
If I could redo one event from my professional past, I would not have left a job I had working for a museum in Boston, MA, after graduating from college. I left my fundraising position because of a conflict with a co-worker. I still regret my decision now, more than 20 years later. I thought I was making some dramatic point by tendering my notice, but all I really did was succeed at acting like a spoiled child.
Even now, I feel foolish for letting my emotions and personal opinion of someone else justify one of the poorest decisions I’ve made during my career. I hadn’t learned that I don’t have to like everyone I work with, or be liked by them, to get a job done and done well. I hadn’t yet experienced the reality that sometimes differences between people actually help to get something accomplished more effectively that it would get done under different circumstances. I wish I had stayed at the museum; I still love long enough to learn these critical lessons and many others.
Job search lessons image from Bigstock