I mentioned that I had a small targeted list of companies, but as my job search went on I expanded my list to even include long-commute companies. Ugh. What was the world coming to?
The same thing started to happen with the actual roles. Kind of. I saw some roles where I thought “Hm… maybe I could do that. I’m certainly qualified, but would I enjoy it?”
I really wanted to stay in software development as a product manager.
Apparently, hiring managers didn’t want me to. I was having flashbacks from 12 years ago, with all of the rejection, where I had the self-doubt thoughts. I’m worthless. No one wants me. I really am not competent. I can’t do this job. It’s clear that I should just go get a burger flipping job (even with my CIS and MBA degrees, and almost 2 decades of experience in software).
It was at this point where I thought “Okay, time to be honest. Let’s focus the resume more on product manager.” Or, what were my other options?
I opened my job posting alerts and saw a job for Program Manager. I don’t know what that means. At Microsoft it’s what they call Product Managers, but really, what is a program manager? I don’t want to manage a program… is it outside of software?
But then, I look and it is at one of my top target companies. So I open it and read the duties/expectations and find that every single thing list (with the exception of one, which turned out to be a copy/paste error from another job posting) was a perfect fit for me. They wanted someone who would create (YES!) and build (DOUBLE YES!) a totally new program that had to do with stuff I’ve been doing for the last 12 years.
There was a bit of software involved, and later I’d learn that my (future) boss was a product manager for 20 years (!!), but I’d get to take something else that was a passion, thought leadership and personal and corporate branding and blogging and videos and courses and speaking, and build it out like I have at JibberJobber, at my target company.
WHAT? IS REAL?
It was just too perfect.
So, I applied. I didn’t tweak my resume (I might have changed the name from product manager to program manager, I don’t remember), and I applied. I gave myself a 20% chance of hearing back because that is where my mind was. No one cared… why would this be different. Even though this was a perfect fit, my mind had already discounted me as as candidate.
But I applied anyway. It was the first time I applied to something that was not software product development. And it would be the last time. This was my “out.” This was my dream job. I just had to get someone on the inside to see that and believe I was the right person.
My point? In your job search you should get hyper-focused on companies and opportunities. But, as you learn more, be open to other right opportunities.
It may feel weird at first, but who knows? This job search is a journey, definitely not a destination. And as journeys go, things can change. Be open to the change. Be ready to take a detour. It might just be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.