A Note To Those Pursuing Transition...

I wrote this note on a train riding back to Richmond this past weekend. I was originally going to title it "The Journey of Finding a New Job". But as I read it over, there's some life lessons here around transition. Lessons I learned along the way, so receive this note however you choose to.

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I should start with the most apparent part of this “career note”: finding a job is hard as hell. My first one came by chance. Alums from the university took a chance on me because I was a decent speaker and had shown signs of leadership during my tenure. I had like a 2.8 GPA. This was for an IT internship. It worked out - I eventually went on to get promoted a few times, gained certifications, and earned respect within the organization. My time at Altria was perfect.

But… it was time to get back home. Long story short, the original goal was Charlotte. But life and growth and maturity and God said Greensboro. We can talk about the details around all that offline. Until that convo, let’s start on the business things I learned along this journey of finding a new job:

  1. Your resume is wrong. Even if you recently updated it. I learned from applying to 20+ jobs and getting denied by 18 of them that it wasn't necessarily the fact I wasn't good enough, it was the reality what I had on paper didn't directly align to their specific needs. Update your resume for every job application you care about and keep a general one for the rest. Just trust me on this.
     
  2. Do not depend on a head hunter or connect, you're accountable for your own success. It's that simple. They'll come to you every single day if you have the qualifications. But understand that's just the entry point. It's up to you to close the deal for you and them.
     
  3. Your pride will be minimized, use it as an opportunity to build yourself up. It was probably month two where I was like "man, f*ck this". I kept getting denied by Spectrum and Lowes and Duke Energy. Jobs I wanted because they sounded cool.  I questioned my value, even with all my credentials and awards. Get a STRONG support system - you’ll need it.
     
  4. It’s 2018. Certifications equal just as much as an advanced degree, if not more. That's a larger conversation. But I need to make a note here so I can remember to talk about it the next time I sit on a panel.
     
  5. Put every opportunity on the table until they take themselves off. I almost didn't apply for the two jobs that ended up offering me. I don't think this was a coincidence. God is petty sometimes when it comes to forcing me to listen. I saw myself being under qualified for both. A project manager role at Davidson College and a system architect/admin title at Cone Health… nah, not me. But I remembered when Mrs. Lamonica Wilhelmi told me during my junior year to never hold back. To go for it. And I did. I got the job I wanted, secured the larger bag... all is well. All will be better.

I’m settled in now. I’m happy. And that’s all that matters for the foreseeable future. Don’t kill my vibe. I skipped a lot of “in the weeds” notes like keywords to use on your resume and interview techniques. There’s young black professionals out there who offer quality services to better equip you. Use them. Pay them their worth.

Thank you for your ongoing support, we’ll catch up again soon. 

- Jonathan Jackson

Jonathan Jackson