update from reader who asked about long hours and low pay to get experience

Remember those “where are they now” updates that we did late last year? Here’s a new one.

You might remember this reader from back in June, when she wrote in to ask if she should take a job with really long hours and low pay in order to get experience. Complicating her decision was this: “I haven’t had any success with my job search (the numbers are just depressing, so I’ll spare you) and I would feel guilty, and somewhat desperate, if I turned down a resume-building job.”

After her letter was published here, she and I had some further back-and-forth about the particular organization she was considering, nonprofit jobs in general, and her cover letter, which I thought was too generic (as most are). Here’s her update:

After reading the thoughtful advice you and your readers provided, I ultimately turned down the job offer. I liked the idea of the work, but the long hours, low pay, and placement – downtown Boston – made the reality of the situation seem rather impossible.

I took a long, hard look at my resume and qualifications and decided to pursue careers in a very specific segment of non-profit work. I tailored my resume, rewrote my cover letter, and signed up for job board alerts dedicated to the field I had chosen. After receiving your advice, my applications started to get noticed by a wide variety of employers, and I found myself interviewing potential organizations! It was pretty exciting to be seeking an employer I meshed with rather than desperately applying to a slew of jobs that I only had the vaguest of interest and experience.

Narrowing my job search ended successfully this afternoon, as I received an offer for an entry-level position at my favorite organization. I’m so thrilled to have this opportunity, and amazed that I was able to land my “dream entry-level position” three months after graduation without previously building a strong network. The advice you offered, both privately and through your blog, was truly invaluable, as I doubt I would be embarking on my career this soon without it. Thank you for helping me transform from a “recent grad” to a “young professional”!

This is pretty awesomely inspirational, and a real testament to the power of a focused job search, a great cover letter, and resisting the unhealthy power dynamics that are so easy to fall into when job searching. Congratulations!

{ 3 comments… read them below }

  1. KellyK*

    Congratulations! That's very good news. I'm glad you're going to help save the world without having to live on Easy Mac.

  2. Debbie*

    Congratulations to the new young professional! I'm so pleased with your decision and I am certain you won't regret it. It sounds like you're in a much better place than you would have been, and it was your initiative and gumption that got you there. Kudos.

  3. Anonymous*

    Congratulations! There's something to be said for working smarter and not necessarily harder – even in a job search!

Comments are closed.