NSCN Member Success Story: Q&A with Rohit

Learn how a change in job search strategy, volunteering and working with an NSCN Volunteer Career Coach helped Rohit land a job.

What is your new job?

Company is a global company and a leader in Customer Experience Platform (both in the cloud and on premise)

Is this new job in a different occupation or industry for you?  If so, how did you position yourself to make the change?  

My areas of responsibility are similar but in a different industry. Prior it was Human Capital Management and now a technology company specializing in customer experience and contact center infrastructure.

New role is Senior Director – Global Database Engineering (DevOps and Cloud)

What type of career/job did you have before you were unemployed?

Senior Director – Database Architecture and Service Strategy at ADP

How long were you unemployed before finding a new job?

Approx. 8 months

What was most challenging about your job search?

Had never been out of work in my career even for a day over the last 25+ years career.
Last change in job was 14+ years prior and was approaching job search with the methodology that had worked in the past – speaking with select recruiters that I had a good relationship with and working with contacts who mentioned to help put my resume in front of some managers. This did not yield much benefit.

I did not apply to too many positions as I did not get too many positions matching my skill set (E.X. I have a lot of experience with all kinds of database and big data technologies along with experience with DevOps and Cloud. However, most job descriptions required extensive cloud infrastructure and/or DevOps experience).

The resume did not match more than 70% for any job description for which I was applying even after attempting my best to try to match resume to the job description. This probably was a cause for not getting any call back from HR.

My salary expectations / range probably was keeping me out of most jobs. Although I was open for a lower package, HR / recruiters probably did not have too many positions for me due to it.

I realized that market has lesser senior (management positions) now with more competition.

Did not get many in-person interviews. Overall got 2 in-person interviews. First one in mid-July where the process continued until Sep and I made as one of the final candidates but was not selected. The other one was in mid Nov. and I was chosen as the candidate in December. So, in my case getting interviews increased my chances substantially of landing but was challenging that applying via job boards or asking a referral after applying online did not help me land an interview.

Decided to change my strategy – looked for more advice from coach and also keep open for a possibility of relocation in east coast if a good position matching my skills and experience opens up.

What strategies or tools helped you get this job (online tools, personal contacts, job fairs, etc.)

Had to stay motivated regularly and keep a positive attitude. There were lows many days. But attending other network meetups, doing volunteering, spending time to update my skills helped me keep focus. These would be beneficial to mention when a potential employer would ask or to show you have been actively engaged. For the company where I was selected, many references were required and I was able to get a reference for my volunteer work leading the technology committee in one of non-profit associations.

How did you learn about the New Start Career Network (NSCN)?

Came to know through Rutgers Alumni website

In what ways did NSCN assist you in your job search?

Attended a session where it reinforced what I had learnt in other network meetups and presentations. Regular newsletter with Tips is very informative.

Some key areas that were very helpful are building your unique value proposition, creating CAR (Challenge – Action – Results) stories of your accomplishments. These helped me brand myself better and prepared me well during the interview process as I was asked many behavioral and situational interview questions. I could narrate my accomplishments using the CAR model very effectively.

I also requested a coach to get advice and another / different perspective on my resume, job approach. Michele Martin helped identify an excellent coach matching my need. I had just started my interview process with the company that hired me when I had a scheduled session with my coach. The coach was able to understand my background, understood my key strengths and mentioned to help with my pitch. This was extremely helpful as part of my interview process. I followed up with my coach to share progress update and even asked for tips on compensation negotiation.

How did working with a NSCN Career Coach help you professionally and/or personally?

My engagement with NSCN coach has been just 1 meeting and a quick call. However, these sessions have been very productive and helped give me a better direction and approach to generate my unique value proposition and highlight my strengths in a well-rounded manner from an executive style perspective.

What advice would you give to other NSCN members?

I learnt quite later in the job search that folks with a lot of experience especially looking for senior roles or higher compensation need to focus more on their network - especially people they know, have worked for or with recently or in the past. They would be best positioned to potentially introduce you to a few other folks, provide you some leads or perhaps even be in a position to hire.

Any job posting one likes or thinking of applying to – they should review in LinkedIn if they have any contact from their network working in that company and reach out to either get more info or have that person refer you for the position.

I also encourage one to keep working to improve their skills in their field especially to be more up-to-date as much as possible.

Finally, also find a way to volunteer your time. If you could do in an area which you are skilled in and potentially a good fit for the new position you are considering – that would be even better. This way you are helping an organization, keeping your skills fresh, and can use the experience as reference in discussions with your employer.

What recommendations would you make to NSCN to better help job seekers?

I see a lot of excellent info on the website.

I think your newsletter with tips is great for folks not having time to login regularly. This acts as a good reminder. I see sometimes the newsletter tips come weekly but not sure if it is always weekly. Perhaps, increase the frequency to weekly if not already, so folks see and find time to review wealth of information to help towards their job search.