A Guaranteed Way to Find a Job! One Woman's Journey

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I met with Dara O'Regan today to interview her for a blog for the company, B Organized, only to be intrigued by her success story in finding not only a job, but a new career in organization!  As I listened to her talk about what her company does, I was impressed with her enthusiasm about what she is doing.  She represents the company she works for well; obviously the owner of this firm saw her potential and hired her.


Dara is 29 years old.  She was raised in Evanston by her single mom who is a fitness expert and wellness coach.  Admittedly close to her mother, she shared with me her story on her career to date.  Dara wasn't sure what she wanted to do when she attended Oakton and Holy Cross College, and never received her degree. She jokingly says she has OCD, but I think she just needed some guidance and skills assessment to help her find her own path.


Dara worked at a company in an entry level purchasing position where she remained until she got laid off in early, 2009.  She says she was almost relieved to get let go since she hated the job.  She went on unemployment and says that she "played" the first few months and didn't bother seriously looking for a job.  But, then realized she needed to find something to do to support herself, but what?


She reached out to her mother who suggested that she meet with a friend of hers who had a friend who worked at an outplacement firm.  Through this contact Dara received a two-day assessment of skills and interview tools, pro bono!  She was lucky to get this valuable service for free, yet when you tap into your resource pool, you'd be surprised what favors you can get if you are specific in what you ask for.


It was through this outplacement firm that Dara was introduced to the topic of being an organizer.  It was a job that she never considered, yet connected with right away since she was a natural organizer.  She says that she had been organizing things all her life and was really intrigued by the potential of making a career out of it.


Her next step was to test her ability to do the job.  Her mom introduced her to a friend who was a lawyer who was moving and needed help in organizing and clearing out the clutter.  He was thrilled to pay her to help him and she affirmed to herself that she was indeed very good at organizing.


Her mom, once again, had a contact with the owner of B Organized, Laura Oliveras, with whom she told Dara to call.  She met with Laura for coffee and contacted Laura a few months later to touch base and inquire about any intern opportunities. Laura promptly returned Dara's call and offered her an opportunity to shadow her for four months, without pay.


Dara continued to collect unemployment while she interned at B Organized. She was impressed with Laura's method of organizing and her approach to business.  At the time Laura had already opened her second location of her company in New York.  A few months after Dara finished her stint with Laura; she called her and asked if she would be interested in working for her.


Dara gladly accepted and is now running the Chicago operation when Laura is in New York.  Laura had limited staff, with just an assistant for 13-years, so having another employee with added responsibilities was a big move for her.  Laura still comes to Chicago once a month to visit with her clients.


Dara's story is important because it demonstrates how someone who is struggling can find a path to success.  It also is reminiscent of many people that are unemployed that really don't know what they want to do and/or can't get a job in what they had been doing in the past.


My suggestion is to always go to a career coach, outplacement service or even a staffing firm to get some third party feedback as to what your skills are, how you appear to a potential employer and on coaching to write a provocative resume and nailing an interview. 


Once you have an idea of what you want to do start reaching out to everyone you know for a contact in that area.  Go cold if you have to and call the owners/Presidents of these firms to see if they will hire you as an intern.  This is how you get experience in a new field of work.  Even if the firm doesn't hire you, you can at least see if you like the line of work and gain experience to place on your resume.


I have changed careers by doing what Dara did and have always recommended this process to my clients.  Job seekers, career transition seekers and people looking for a more fulfilling life, heed my advice.  It works.  Spend your money on skills assessment, taking unpaid internships, and reaching deep into your network for introductions. Good luck and share your own success stories!



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