Moving to a new state presents a unique set of challenges, even for well-equipped job seekers. After completing graduate school in 2014, I moved from Alabama to Charlotte, NC. I was looking for a job in Human Resources – the field in which I had a master’s degree – but I had a limited social network and an even smaller professional network. I soon took a position at a call center because that was the only work that I could find. After working there for a year, I found myself unhappy with my career in Charlotte and moved back to Alabama to regroup. Another year later, I decided to move back to Charlotte to try finding a career in Human Resources one more chance.
Shortly after moving back, I went to a job fair that my local Goodwill was attending and met Craig Kalhagen, a member of the Goodwill Industries of Southern Piedmont business relationship management team. He specializes in connecting qualified clients to hiring employers and he suggested that we set up a time to meet and talk about my experience and aspirations. I never knew that local Goodwill organizations helped people find employment – I only knew about the local Goodwills retail stores. Knowing how important it was to meet new people and expand my network, I decided to give it a try.
Over the next few months, I was worked with a few temporary staffing agencies, but working with Craig and his team was more personal. I felt valued, and they really took the time to help me find what I was looking for. Craig would contact employers on my behalf, advocating my skills, capabilities and strong work ethic.
During my job search, I felt frustrated at times but knew I couldn’t give up. When I was a child, my three sisters and I were placed in the foster care system. My foster mom told me that foster kids rarely amount to anything, and I have always used that as my driving force to succeed.
One day, Craig sent me a job posting that he thought I was perfect for. After reviewing, I felt the same way! Craig soon connected me to the hiring employer, and our hard work and perseverance paid off when I was hired as a Human Resources Coordinator for a local home health agency. Today, I am thriving in my career and enjoying the stability that full-time employment offers. I recently purchased my first home and spend my free time enjoying my new life with my family. I have a one-year-old daughter, and it feels great to be able to give her the life she deserves.
Despite my recent accomplishments, my journey is far from over. I have aspirations to continue growing in my career and making a name for myself.
My advice to anyone who feels like giving up is to keep pushing through and searching for new opportunities. I can’t stress how important it is for job seekers to grow their social and professional networks, whether they can do so on their own or need the assistance of organizations like Goodwill®. Get out, meet new people and see what opportunities are out there.
Today, my future is looking brighter than ever, and I want to pay it forward by sharing my story in hopes of inspiring others to persevere.
NOTE: This story was originally posted on Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont.