Wow, what’s in the water these days?  There’s been a great string of folks landing new positions lately — some after a pretty long stretch of looking — so I’ve typed up a third installment of alumni advice to share with you all this month, since I’ve been told by many readers that they find these “success stories” extremely informative and inspirational.

As usual, I’ve changed a few details here and there to keep the identity of these folks anonymous and not get them in trouble with their new employers, but all the rest of the language below comes directly from the e-mails of these successful clients — and reflects the advice and encouragement they wanted me to pass along to their counterparts going through the ups-and-downs of the career transition process.  Here are the two latest stories:

Career Horizons Alumni Story #1

“Matt: For almost 15 months my targeted industry was, as you know, hotels and hospitality firms.  Making that my purpose, I did everything I was told to do to find an opportunity.  Made my list of 20 employers, called the HR people, utilized LinkedIn for connections to companies as well as inside information and insights into organizations.  The more I sought out national opportunities, however, the more I found that I wanted to stay here in Seattle, so I expanded my search into other options.

The strategy became, answer as many marketing opportunities as you can in most any industry that you find.  Be swift and direct, take chances (because they don’t mean that much anyways) and spend your quality time turning over rocks for those hard-to-find hotel marketing positions.  Lo and behold, I started getting phone calls from the out-of-industry contacts I was making “in droves”.  The construction industry, dog food companies, a couple of attorney firms and finally an industrial manufacturing company called Acme Hydraulic.  It was a great feeling to get these other calls, but many of the companies were struggling, small-cap groups that had little or no future, some of which are no longer in business.  They were fishing for the last straw.  Acme, however, was a $50 million privately-held group looking for a strong marketer with solid background and someone to reposition their distribution group into a branded manufacturing unit.  They were willing to pay and most of all, willing to listen and let the marketer market!  A big deal with a private company where many times the owner knows all.

So I took the interview, portfolio and all, and was asked back.  In the meantime, I landed another interview with Aladdin Events, a leader in worldwide corporate event planning.  On my way to Boston for the final Aladdin interview, I received a call from Acme Hydraulic, offering me a very lucrative salary, a very lucrative budget, and free reign to create “buzz” for their new manufacturing unit and corporate branding push.  Aladdin, on the other hand, ended up being a total bust and reminded me of the issues one faces when dealing with a worldwide corporate group that has a better-than-thou philosophy.

Needless to say, I’ve been with Acme for about a month now, marketing to their target audience and learning, learning, learning.  We both understand we took a risk and it’s working out very well.  My advice to the unemployed?  Never stop taking risks — and stay focused on what you want, but be open to new opportunities.  Make sure to send out a ton of resumes, since you just never know who the next phone call might be from.  Trust yourself, keep digging, and be happy.  It will all work out!”

Career Horizons Alumni Story #2

“Matt: I got a JOB!  A great job.  Operations Director of a publishing company very similar to the last one I worked at, but located down in Portland!  I started last Tuesday.  I was unemployed almost 3 years, and am almost 59 years old, but followed my heart and got my dream job.  I tried to look in other areas where I could apply my skills, but I just wasn’t passionate about it.  So in January I decided to only look in the publishing field and be willing to move to follow that dream.  And here I am!”