Careers & Coffee #14: Keep at it and you will find your fit

careers and coffee podcast

In this week’s episode of Careers & Coffee, Adamu joins Liz and Dan to discuss his recent job search and how he landed at The Gazette.  There are lots of good takeaways from this podcast, make sure to tune in!

Need some help with your resume?  Check out IowaWORKS or Kirkwood Community College, which is available to anyone, not just Kirkwood students.


Full Transcript:

Dan Holterhaus 0:00
All right. Good morning, and welcome back to another episode of careers and coffee. Hi Liz.

Liz Kennedy 0:08
Dan got my coffee here.

Dan Holterhaus 0:10
Hey, I do too. And we are pleased to be welcomed by Adamu Muhammed, who just joined our team, with The Gazette and corridor careers as a web developer, so we thought it’d be awesome to have a Adamu and just share his experience as a job seeker. Being that he just went through the process of looking for a job. This is your I think third week with the Gazette. Is that right? That’s right. Yeah, third week. So we wanted to ask you some questions put you on the spot a little bit. So my first question is, has to do with your resume? And I just want to know, how long and maybe how many drafts or versions of your resume did he you go through before finding one that you liked and felt comfortable with?

Adamu Muhammad 1:01
Yeah, absolutely. I’m glad to be here. And cheers have my own coffee.

So So yeah, I, like Dan mentioned, I’ve been with the Gazette for about three weeks now. And before then, I was actually in the job market about a year ago. So I have recent experiences, looking for jobs. So as far as my resume, so because I think the version of my resume that I applied to the Gazette, that was done. Actually, couple years ago, I was laid off, where a couple of us were laid off in one of the jobs I held before, back in 2017. And after that, the company hooked us up with an agency. So that employment agency kind of helped me out, draft a resume. And I’ve been using that resume, since all I need to do is just to change to add the jobs or to change the job description, date. But during that time, I would say it took back and forth with the resume people to get that all ironed out. And then after that, it is adding dates and removing dates, as far as working on my resume. So I got lucky with that already have that.

Liz Kennedy 2:47
Would you say it kind of helped to work with another person on your resume to, you know, put things in perspective or with the structure of it?

Adamu Muhammad 2:56
It definitely, it definitely did. Before I work with the agency that helped me with my current resume, I had a resume. But when they did it, I had like their own better. So I would say absolutely, if you can get a hand on someone, get a hold of someone that will help you. Maybe review it, or maybe even help you with some directions on how to do that. That is always welcome. And I know there are some services, the job search website used to help people for free, you will submit your resume to them, they will schedule a call with you actually do your resume. But I think that discontinued a service this year. So yes, I will to question yes, if you can get a hold of someone you really helped me.

Liz Kennedy 3:51
We do have some career, resume service, links on our Career Resources page on the Gazette. So we’ll make sure we link to those in the show notes. There are people in the community that do help out with that. And there’s also free services with Kirkwood with IowaWorks and some other even the library offers some consultation on resumes, which could probably be helpful to an average job seeker.

Dan Holterhaus 4:21
We’ll make sure to link to those.

Liz Kennedy 4:24
Well, I had a question for you. And it was really kind of just kind of put it in perspective. What do you think the hardest part of job searching was for you?

Adamu Muhammad 4:35
Oh, man, the hardest part of job searching. Like just the uncertainty for me. So you want a job? And you know, like and with the COVID so you know that you are competing with a lot of people I think I kind of mixed because with the COVID we are hitting a situation where not a lot of people are applying. But also a lot of people have been laid off that are probably applying. So for me was the uncertainty. Like, when would I find a fit? That was really I have kids they need to eat. And I want to do what I like doing. Right? They say find something you like doing and find somebody, that’ll pay to do that. So, yeah, the uncertainty was the biggest thing. For me, I have my resume ready. And I kind of know my ways to apply. So website, in person, even referrals. So the biggest was the uncertainty.

Liz Kennedy 6:01
Yeah, I would say that it’s probably on the lot of minds of job seekers right now. And not only that people currently working that are maybe considering another job. Definitely, that is something that is gonna play a role. So another question I had was, how did you know when the job was the right fit? Because you said it took you a while to find something that was the right fit?

Adamu Muhammad 6:26
Yeah, absolutely. So as far as right fit. So I know. So like the way I know everyone has his or her own way of finding what they like. I know, personally, even without getting paid, there are some, there are some certain things I like to do. So like that, like Dan had mentioned, I do web stuff with the Gazette. And there’s some certain aspect of web that I like. And so as much as I can, I try to find a company that does that. Now they say, a beggar can’t be a chooser. So there’s that balance, okay. Do I find something? Or do I really become particular? About, Okay, I like this, I must really find a job that does this. Can I find something general? Or maybe I would like it. So that is that you might be going through that. But for me, it’s the constant battle. And when I saw the job with the Gazette, one of the things that attracted me was the fact that is a website that constantly people see. And I like something like that, like, how do you improve a website so people can use it? I like the aspect a lot. So for me, that’s what one of the reasons why I applied.

Liz Kennedy 8:07
That’s great. Well, we’re glad. We’re glad you did. When you were going through that process, well, I guess now that you’ve come out of it, right. So now that you’ve got a job and you’re you’re you’ve been here three weeks, so you’re you’re the old you’re not even the new guy anymore. Because we’ve had a couple hires since you came on board, what what advice would you give to current job seekers about you know, finding that right fit or getting through those moments where you’re just really kind of overwhelmed with that uncertainty?

Adamu Muhammad 8:39
Yeah, I will absolutely say, no matter the rejections, you get there is always a company that you will be a fit. I know. I have had rejections. I think it’s common in the job market. And sometimes when I get rejections, I take it personally. And what I mean personally is like, maybe this is not my field. What am I doing? But it is one of that. I think it’s more than that. Sometimes it’s more by a fit, not because you’re not good at what you do. Not at all. Maybe you could know “ABCD”. And the next company is not looking for “B” is looking for “E” or you don’t have “E” but you have all these other skills. So So I, it’s always kind of in the back of my mind not to take it personally. To see that’s okay. Maybe I’m not a fit. Not because I don’t know what I’m doing. And there really, eases my anxiety as far as, “am I even worthwhile for anyone? Would I bring value to any company?” So, as long as you know something in your field, you can absolutely bring value to someone else. Just keep looking. Keep going, I will say that will be, if there’s only one advice I will give, that will be the thing. Just keep pushing, you will find someone that you can contribute a value to.

Liz Kennedy 10:26
Wow. Yeah, that’s great.

Dan Holterhaus 10:31
Cool. Well, there’s any other questions for download before we call today here on careers and coffee?

Liz Kennedy 10:39
No, I think we got the soundbite right there, you know, just keep at it, keep going. You will find someone that knows that you can contribute to their company. So it’s just making sure that your skills are the skills that they’re looking for. Yeah, just one last thing that came up. Sorry, Dan, one thing that last came came up this week, I was talking with our HR manager, and we were talking about cover letters. And, Dan, I know it’s been a while since we’ve applied for jobs. But I know I put a lot of time and effort into that cover letter. What about you,

Dan Holterhaus 11:13
I probably spent way more time writing out cover letters then I have resumes. Five times as much time writing out all these paragraphs and different experiences on onto a cover letter.

Liz Kennedy 11:25
Yeah. And so what I was hearing that was kind of shocking to me from the manager was that, yeah, we don’t really look at cover letters too much anymore. And it wasn’t so much that she didn’t look at them and consider them, they definitely stand out when she did see them. But it wasn’t really part of the application process a lot. As long as they got a resume, they weren’t paying too much attention to the cover letter. So my guess is if you’re waiting to pull the trigger to apply for a job, because you haven’t got the cover letter, right, just right yet. Keep it simple. You know, don’t worry about you know who to dress it to just just say hello, you know, my name is so and so. And here’s what I’m looking for if you want to write a cover letter, but don’t feel bad about not including a cover letter, unless they specifically ask for it, you’re going to be just fine. Because, you know, it could be a web system. Uh, you know that Adamu plays and that’s going to be reading your resume, you know, and it’s not even going to be a person for a little while until they pick out some of those keywords. And then they route you into a system folder for an HR manager to take a look at so don’t don’t let that be a barrier because I know it can be very easy and that uncertainty when you’re as a job seeker to put up, put up roadblocks for yourself of like, well I can’t apply for that job because I don’t know who to address the cover letter to just get rid of that barrier and just go ahead and apply anyway. Put your resume in there and put yourself out there.

Dan Holterhaus 12:54
Yeah, what do you have to lose right? Yeah. All right. Well, that’s gonna do it for us I love the message today. Keep after it. And the one thing I picked up on was -hey, find an employer to pay pay for what you like doing and go work for them. Right? I love that little nugget there pretty pretty simple. So Adamu, thank you so much for coming on to careers and coffee but with Liz and I you know Liz and I, we usually do okay with the banter, but it’s always good to have another person on, don’t you think?

Liz Kennedy 13:26
Yeah, let’s get some more guests.

Take care everyone.

Dan Holterhaus 13:34
Thanks a lot. Bye.

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