I was ready to give up. The timeframe: Pre-COVID.
With the appropriate experience, the right tech platform knowledge, awesome interviewing skills, key sales results, smile, style, and rapport-matching, there was a problem.
The problem: I was and am over 50 with, unfortunately, decades of experience.
One of the perceptions that come with 20 years too much experience is hiring manager fear that I will want to rule the world in two months.
I have done the research. I have expert HR antennae. I have since made this my business. Ageism and Age Discrimination are real. There, I said it.
I was in Technology/SaaS Sales with Microsoft on my resume. There were a ton of Inside Sales jobs in Seattle (onsite-only at the time) and I even kept my job search stats.
Applying for jobs, like sales calls, is a numbers game: More is better.
Over 3-5 months I applied to 300+ jobs (not a ton), and from that had 65 initial/HR phone screens. Great conversion. I told “tell me about yourself” in a succinct and engaging way - as if it were the first time every time.
Of the 65 HR phone screens, I had approximately 40 follow-up hiring manager phone screens. From there, about 22 first-time onsites. Where required, I had about 10-12 second onsites.
I had 3-5 offers in Seattle where I just couldn’t afford to work for $25/hour and pay tolls and parking (bus not possible for a single mom with a school-aged kid) and health insurance premiums. All had upside potential. One company was a super-cool SaaS Unicorn. Upside or not, I would have gone super-broke even with my modest lifestyle.
We have all been there in one way or another. The bills were adding up, my car needed new tires, the dishwasher motor was making funky noises, I promised my son a Summer camping trip (low budget), etc., etc.
After watching and listening to GaryVee (Jets green) for years, “The only way to win is to make it super-personal”, it was time to get vulnerable and ask my LinkedIn network for assistance.
Over time I had seen people post their resumes in their LinkedIn feed, and more importantly, I saw the community rise up and support them. It was my time.
I knew my post would need to be brief, clear, and incorporate story. If I was going to ask for assistance, I would need to attract and engage as many people as possible. This was go big or go home.
Remember: A job search is also a marketing campaign.
Secondly, since my resume was going to be an image in my post, it needed to have a lot of white space and a bit of color.
Viewers would need to know:
They wouldn’t be reading a lengthy history, and
They wouldn’t need to spend a lot of time looking at it to determine if they could assist.
Luckily, my resume already fits these criteria.
Remember: A resume is a marketing document and not a detailed career history.
Here was the content of my post:
"Dear Seattle-Eastside LinkedIn Network,
Sometimes we need to reach out to our network, and this is my time to reach out to you.
At this point, interviews are great but I need your help with the big kahuna - a job.
What have the challenges been?
1. Starting a new career from HR Exec to Sales Rep. I believe in learning from the ground-up.
2. I'm not 25 anymore. It is definitely tougher for us GenX folks, especially in tech ... and go figure, I'm completely cool!
3. My hunch: There is a perception I won't be satisfied in an entry Sales role given my experience *when the exact opposite is true*. My experience enables me to be an awesome team player.
What am I looking for?
- INSIDE SALES
- BUSINESS/SALES DEVELOPMENT Rep
- ACCOUNT EXEC
- GENERAL SALES, tech or non-tech.
From beer to software, I have been there.
Oh, all requiring going 100 mph.
I bring an amazing amount of talent, skill, and hustle - and most of all, I make people laugh.
Seattle/Eastside, can we do this?
I repeated the post seven times over 10 days at different hours.
The posts received a total of 96,389 views and hundreds of shares. This is just one of the reasons why I accept all Invitations to Connect on LinkedIn.
About 150 people wrote comments, some with ideas, others with words of encouragement or stating the post was a great idea, and many tagged people in their network who might know someone.
I responded to every comment even if it was to say thank you.
That said, only one person thought it was a bad idea. How did I know this?
He asked me to schedule a phone call with him which I thought was about a job opportunity.
With great care, he said that posts like mine often aren’t well-received by people and create negative perceptions.
I thanked him for his concern.
In one comment I used the word ageism, and a woman messaged me to let me know I shouldn’t use that word because it’s risky.
I also thanked her for her concern.
Was this scary? Hell yes!
What went through my head as I was about to click ENTER:
The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work.
People will consider me brave rather than a loser (we've all felt this way people) because I’m sure many would love to do exactly this.
It’s clear my job search was resulting in nothing. If anything had a chance, this would.
Multiple people, probably hundreds, are at this point every day.
Don’t suffer in silence.
Seriously though, what’s the worst that can happen?
Feel the fear and do it anyway.
I clicked ENTER and didn’t look for a day.
When I did look, I was wowed. Absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude.
It’s true, the human spirit even exists on LinkedIn as overly-polished as it can be. People really do love to help.