Over the past 18 months, Jess Fink has experienced her fair share of
setbacks and successes.
In July of last year, she was laid off from a job she loved after seven
years. Since then, she has held three other full-time jobs—including a
stint as assistant manager for a retail store—all while attending college
But while Fink’s career path has had its detours, she says that focusing on
her education helped her maintain her balance—and her perspective.
“It hasn’t always been easy,” she says. “After I lost my job, I was
depressed. Looking for work can be a full-time job, and it’s especially
hard when you’re also going to school full time. I ended up having to
retake a few classes because there was just too much going on.”
But Fink, a West Virginia native who now lives in Pittsburgh, persisted.
While she was completing her B.S. in Business Administration (with a
concentration in Marketing) from Argosy University, she was accepted into
the school’s Masters Acceleration Program. In August, she completed her
M.S. in Organizational Leadership—with a 3.9 GPA.
“Being an online student at Argosy gave me the flexibility I needed at a
time when my work schedules were unpredictable and often out of my
control,” Fink says. “As frustrating as it was to work at jobs I didn’t
love, I did what I had to do to keep things going. School was my saving
grace. It kept me organized and motivated, and it also reminded me that I
was preparing myself for better things.”
Shortly before graduating, and right around the time Fink and her husband
were moving into a home they’d just purchased, she received a call from a
recruiter who had seen her LinkedIn profile. She told Fink about a project
manager position at Alcoa. After two rounds of interviews, Fink was
optimistic and was convinced the job would be a perfect fit.
When she received a call telling her she had not been selected, she was
disappointed. But she was also determined to learn as much as she could
from the experience, so she decided to send a follow-up email to the hiring
manager who had interviewed her.
“I figured I had nothing to lose,” Fink says. “I just thanked her for
considering me, and asked what I could do to become a better candidate in
the event the position were to become available again.”
Fortunately for Fink, she didn’t have to wait long for an answer. A week
later, as she and her husband were driving home to Pittsburgh from her
Argosy commencement ceremony in Washington, D.C., Fink received an
unexpected call from the recruiter.
“The follow-up email I sent to the Alcoa hiring manager apparently struck a
chord,” says Fink. ”When the recruiter told me they had just called to
offer me another project manager position, I couldn’t believe it! It was
such perfect timing, and a great way to end my graduation trip.”
Fink has been at her new job as a project manager for three weeks, and says
she’s never been happier.
“Working for a company I respect, in a position that allows me to use my
skills and education, is such a great way to end the year,” she says. “I’ve
experienced a lot of change—and a lot of personal growth—over the past 18
months. I’ve learned that you have to stay in the game if you want to win
it. You also have to be willing to connect, build relationships, put
yourself out there, and risk rejection. If I hadn’t sent that follow-up
email, it’s very unlikely I’d have been hired for my new position.
Sometimes you can create your luck without even realizing it.” ###