Scrum Master Discovers Group on Meetup and Still Volunteers for Nonprofit After Landing

Tell us about yourself and your career.
My name is Michael Dieterle and I’ve been leading software implementations and knowledge management programs for the last 20 years. In recent years, my focus shifted more towards agile transformation and how it can make software development projects more successful by delivering more value to the business.

Why were you looking for a job?
My contract ended in the Fall of 2019.

How did you discover PAGCG?
I believe I initially discovered my first meeting on Meetup.

How did PAGCG help you in your job search?
The Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group (PAGCG) was a tremendous help. Both from a tactics perspective and also through the supportive dynamics of the group. Everyone is extremely helpful. You quickly expand your network and your knowledge of how to be more successful in the job market. I am deeply grateful to Lynne Williams, the powerhouse behind this remarkable group, and many other region volunteers. In fact, I am a volunteer and recommend that others pay it forward by volunteering.

How did you find your job? How long did it take?
A recruiter contacted me through LinkedIn. I was searching for six months.

What kept you motivated during the job search, especially during the downtimes?
What kept me motivated was the group’s ongoing support and my belief that it was only a transition to something better.

What were the lessons that you learned during your job search?
Master the ground game (resume, applications, LinkedIn profile, etc.) and increase your success by networking diligently.

Do you have any networking tips or tricks that you can share?
People who stood out during many networking events where the ones who selflessly put my interest first. I tried to pay it forward in the same manner when I had a firmer grasp on the current mechanics of job search.

What will you do in your new role?
I am currently leading a couple of agile teams at ASTM International as part of a more extensive transformation program.

What is one takeaway or nugget of wisdom that you would like to share?
Stay true to yourself in the process and determine what matters most to you. It will give you the clarity to apply to the right organization where you’re more likely to succeed.

Career Education Organization Receives Award as They Help Job Seekers
Even nonprofits that help job seekers can scale as a small business.

Help job seekers is the answer! The question is … as a small business owner, whether a for-profit or a nonprofit, what do you do when you want to scale your business? How do you get help so you can help others?

First, let’s define what scaling means. According to SCORE, “Scaling a business means setting the stage to enable and support growth in your company. It means having the ability to grow without being hampered. It requires planning, some funding and the right systems, staff, processes, technology and partners.”

SCORE provides further details for these five steps to accomplish scaling:

  • Evaluate and Plan
  • Find the Money
  • Secure the Sales
  • Invest in Technology
  • Find Staff or Strategically Outsource

Let’s add a few more challenges. Let’s say you are a nonprofit and have little to no money, you just built a website to begin to monetize, are volunteer-based with no employees (yet), and have emotional attachments to what you do. Now what?

How do you get out of your own way and get a fresh set of eyes to have someone review your business? How do you get helpful advice and recommendations?

Contact SCORE, of course! There are chapters across the country, so you can find a chapter near you to get help and request FREE mentoring sessions!

Although I volunteer for more than one SCORE chapter, there is one particular SCORE chapter I want to highlight today, which is Chester & Delaware County SCORE.

Why? Not only have I been a SCORE volunteer on the SCORE speaker’s bureau since April 2013, but I reached out to SCORE to request a mentor as a small business owner.

I got great ideas from my mentor, Frank Millheim, that I shared with my Board of Directors and steering committee to scale. Our success story and others written about this 10th-anniversary awards celebration will be added to this Google doc.

Register for the virtual celebration.

The annual celebration for the small business award winners is on Thursday, September 24, 2020, from 12 to 1 PM, and it’s virtual, so register here.

Thank you to Citadel Credit Union for sponsoring this 2020 event and honoring me with the 2019 Community Hero Award.

To let my network know about this award and ceremony, I will be leveraging LinkedIn and will also be driving traffic to my website. Could you do the same for your business with your story?

Here are four tips of what you can do on LinkedIn, even with a free account:
  • Publish a full article on LinkedIn or write an enticing first paragraph on LinkedIn that makes people want to click your read more link that leads them to your blog, which drives traffic to your website. Or include your BIO with website links in the article.
  • Share short posts with a link to your article or blog on the feed on your homepage. It’s best to post on your company page and then share that company page link (three dots at the top right) on your home page. LinkedIn’s algorithm likes it when people stay on the platform longer, which is a way of accomplishing that.
  • Share short posts in groups following the same technique as above, but sharing the link from your company page.
  • Include a native video in your post (rather than take people off LinkedIn to Youtube or Vimeo), so they remain on LinkedIn longer. Again, the algorithm will like it more if people stay on the platform longer. Speaking of video, watch the 3-minute video about my SCORE story on our home page or our Youtube channel.

This article was originally published on vista.today, montco.today, and delco.today.

BIO Lynne M. Williams

Lynne M. Williams, Ed.D. Candidate is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, an all-volunteer 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides career education and networking connections for: 1) jobseekers in career transition, including veterans and 2) employed and self-employed for career management. In addition, Lynne is also the owner of Around the Clock Executive Helper, a writer of resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Lynne presents unique research-based workshops on LinkedIn, resumes, the Applicant Tracking System, the Art of Networking In Person & Online, and other career-related, social media, and technology topics. She is currently working on writing her doctoral dissertation and is a contributing author to Find Your Fit: A Practical Guide to Landing the Job You Love along with the late Dick Bolles, the author of What Color is Your Parachute?. In addition, she writes a weekly career column in Vista.Today Montco.Today and Delco.Today and other publications with LinkedIn tips and more. Connect with her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/lynnewilliams with a personalized message and visit the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group website and read our SCORE Success Story!

Career Pivot To Follow Passion Lands Job Seeker in Wine Industry

Tell us about yourself and your career.
My name is Mary Lou Cummings and I started my career 30 years ago in IT, specifically data storage and search technology, and graduated to sales from there. I recently made a career choice to follow my passion, which is wine and the wine industry.

Why were you looking for a job?
I had taken a job as a wine salesperson in the Philadelphia area, selling an Italian wine portfolio to restaurants and private clubs. I decided to deepen my knowledge of the wine business – import/export, wine laws, and marketing – to catapult my career. I took a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take courses in France about the international wine trade; I thought I would land quickly from this but found the search to be more difficult than anticipated.

How did you discover PAGCG?
In March 2019, I sought out further assistance from a friend, where I ended up discovering the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group (PAGCG). She was laid off and suggested that I join the Meetup group. Through this group, I cherry-picked the topics that I found to be the most interesting to me.

How did PAGCG help you in your job search?
Because of my unique industry, I shifted my focus to functional topics such as LinkedIn and the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), where I learned about the resume black hole. The camaraderie within the organization was especially helpful because I could speak with others in similar circumstances.

How did you find your job? How long did it take?
I found my job through LinkedIn. Before I landed, I immersed myself in conferences and wine events where I eventually found my current company, a conferencing company focused on print, digital, and live marketing. I was intrigued by this company and searched them on LinkedIn and, to my surprise, I found a fitting role. I grabbed the bull by the horns and reached out to the recruiter. She got right back to me, and we took off from there, which was back in November 2019. Due to some delays, I didn’t join the company until February 2020.

What kept you motivated during the job search, especially during the downtimes?
It was tough, but I reminded myself that this was on me and that it was up to me to find a job. No one would hand me a job – I needed to own this and take charge of my career. I wanted to make my schooling in France count for myself and my family.

What were the lessons that you learned during your job search?
Be targeted in your approach. Don’t just apply to something just because it sounds good. I nearly fell back into IT because I was so desperate to find a job; however, it was apparent to both the recruiter and me that my heart was not into it. Looking back, it is not worth the effort to fall back on a job you know isn’t your passion.

Do you have any networking tips or tricks that you can share?
Follow the basics. Read about the tips and tricks, the latest and greatest, about your industry. If I saw an article that was meaningful to me, I would find the author on LinkedIn and reach out to them and say, “Hey, your article was very interesting, I would love to be a part of your network and watch you grow!” Reach out to people on LinkedIn if you are interested in what they do, volunteer for events you find interesting, do some online work, and help others.

What will you do in your new role?
My role is an account executive to sell space at our conferences, and my regions are Europe and South America. Being fluent in French, and partially in Italian, helps me perform well in my role.

What is one takeaway or nugget of wisdom that you would like to share?
No matter how many times you hear “No,” believe in your innate knowledge and talents that you can offer to others.

New Jersey HR Business Partner Drives to Pennsylvania to Learn and Network

Tell us about yourself and your career.

My name is Joseph Turkowski and my background and undergraduate education focus were Math/Computer Science. After graduating, I began my career as an Actuary Trainee. From there, I moved to tech support, tech training, systems administration, project management, and then management. Next, I planned and executed a career transition to Human Resources. An HR opportunity became available, and I transitioned to an HR Manager role. I have been in HR for 10+ years now. An unusual and fairly unique career path!

Why were you looking for a job?
I was looking for a new opportunity closer to home.

How did you discover PAGCG?
My network connection, Ken Lang, introduced me to Lynne Williams and we met at a deli in New York City before she headed to LinkedIn to meet with a group of veterans. Lynne shared information about Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group (PAGCG) services and what it offers.

How did PAGCG help you in your job search?
PAGCG helped in many ways; here are just a few:
· Expanded my network in the Philadelphia market
· Fine-tuned and polished my resume
· Fine-tuned and updated my LinkedIn profile

How did you find your job? How long did it take?
I found my job posted on LinkedIn. My job search was approximately three months.

What kept you motivated during the job search, especially during the downtimes?
Networking and learning kept me motivated. I expanded my network groups outside of Central NJ and NYC. I took several leadership classes on LinkedIn, volunteered as a Career Advisor, and supported a disabled family member.

What were the lessons that you learned during your job search?
Never give up, always stay positive, take breaks, and pace your job search. Think of it as a marathon versus a sprint.

Do you have any networking tips or tricks that you can share?
Measure your success and adjust if you do not produce the results you desire. For example, if your goal is to meet three new people at the next networking event, seek out those you may be able to help. Send an introduction email to connect on LinkedIn and share your knowledge of what may help them. Measure your response rate and adjust as needed.

What will you do in your new role?
My new role is an HR Business Partner supporting our Engineering and Project Management teams. My focus is on building trusted relations across the employee life cycle from recruiting, onboarding, career growth, and development, to retirement.

What is one takeaway or nugget of wisdom that you would like to share?
Track and measure your job search success weekly. Adjust as needed. As a Bronze member, there are several job search trackers available.

Banking Professional Lands Job as Manager of Client Services

Tell us about yourself and your career.
My name is Melanie Deutsch and my experience is in banking. For the past 18 years, I have brought a holistic approach with my background in retail banking, marketing, and bank operations. Most of my career was in some facet of banking.

Why were you looking for a job?
I was a Team Leader at BB&T until January 2019 when, due to restructuring, my position was eliminated, taking me on a different journey in 2019.

How did you discover PAGCG?
I was at the Chester County Public Library in Exton, went to the research section, and realized that they have job hunting sections! I picked up one of the calendars, which I found out later, was Lynne’s calendar. I saw a class for LinkedIn 1 of 3 and a free headshot and thought it sounded great. Through an acquaintance at the Chester Country Chamber of Business and Industry, I met Drew Braun. He was the co-host of the King of Prussia chapter, and he invited me to their chapter.

How did PAGCG help you in your job search?
I was doing multiple things throughout, but the events and networking helped solidify focus. The Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group (PAGCG) helped me hone in on my elevator speech, brand, and networking skills. I took the Job Search Accelerator All-Day Workshop, and that gave me some great tools I used in my job search. I took advantage of the many programs they had to offer. PAGCG showed me the different capabilities of LinkedIn and how to make the page look the way it needed it to be.

How did you find your job? How long did it take?
I was actively looking for six months. I did many different things to get this particular position and started networking early, even before joining the group. I was networking in different chambers, specifically the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry; at the PAGCG King of Prussia meeting, someone shared information about an opportunity; I connected with the hiring manager and went through a series of interviews to get the job.

What kept you motivated during the job search, especially during the downtimes?
What kept me motivated were the people that I met. I met so many wonderful people on this journey and so many people in the same spot I was in even though our situations were unique. Having that kind of support was very motivating, knowing if I had to do this on my own, I couldn’t have done it. Supporting other people also gave me an outlet to help others. It’s the camaraderie where people would help me, and I would help them.

What were the lessons that you learned during your job search?
Never let your stuff go stale: don’t let your resume or your LinkedIn profile go stale. Always be networking even though your networking may be different, and you aren’t starting from scratch.

Do you have any networking tips or tricks that you can share?
Start with who you know, and don’t be afraid to reach out to people and have conversations. It’s about conversations because it’s how you build your brand. It does take time to develop, and I learned how to get better at it. Have conversations because you never know where your path is going to lead. Be open to all possibilities.

What will you do in your new role?
Manager of Client Services in the financial services industry.

What is one takeaway or nugget of wisdom that you would like to share?
It’s all about networking. Don’t spend all your time on the computer or the job boards. The job boards have their place, but I learned to balance the job boards and networking.

Contract Project Management Role Lead to a Full-time Job

Tell us about yourself and your career.
My name is John Whiteley and I was in a director-level position in project management for over ten years. I was later transferred to another company performing a couple of different roles for an additional seven years. After that company lost the contract, around February 2018, I realized it was becoming more difficult to find a job, so I worked various contractor positions in project management before landing my current role.

Why were you looking for a job?
The company lost a contract I was working on with billing systems, and I was laid off. I found other contract positions throughout 2018 and 2019 but sought to find more steady employment in my expertise area.

How did you discover PAGCG?
I hadn’t been laid off before, so I started with CareerLink’s office in Media. I would hear different names and groups while there, and because of this, I discovered Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group (PAGCG) and Lynne Williams. I went to a couple of career fairs and got to talk with Lynne and decided that I should attend some of the many meetings that PAGCG was having. To help me improve my job search methods, it would be better for me to join PAGCG as a member, which I did.

How did PAGCG help you in your job search?
PAGCG helped me find a job in several ways. First, I attended all of Lynne’s LinkedIn classes and gained a great deal of value from all three workshops. Afterward, I attended many chapter meetings where I could talk with others in professional careers in the same boat. For example, to use Les Segarnick’s interview prep group, there was no teacher, no seminar, just accountability questions such as “What are you doing this week?” and “Where have you applied?” With more than 700 events in the area, I found that many of them were a big help, and I recommend them to anyone looking for employment.

How did you find your job? How long did it take?
My current company had many people from my former company, which helped me. In the summer of 2019, I reached out to someone I knew in West Chester, a program manager at this company. He got me an interview, but unfortunately, it didn’t work out during that time, and I continued my search. Fast forward to January 2020, and I reached out to my friend again, who mentioned that a position was available. By February, I landed a contractor position, which helped me get my foot in the door with this company because of someone through my network.

What kept you motivated during the job search, especially during the downtimes?
There was a lot of rejection and general “Why me?” feelings, but in the face of that, I took classes in September 2019 with three certifications in mind. I received two out of the three, ITIL 4 Foundation and Scrum Master, and still plan on pursuing my Project Manager Professional (PMP) certification. Giving myself a goal and a routine where I could focus on my family, faith, and health helped build my confidence and give me a sense of self-worth. I would volunteer at my church to give back, and constructive, positive things in my life kept me going.

What were the lessons that you learned during your job search?
You should never assume and always be persistent. There are many variables, so just because someone told you “No,” today doesn’t mean that if you reach out later on, it is still a “No.” Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and try to get your foot in the door. Ultimately, you must believe in yourself and your abilities because a lot of this responsibility is on your shoulders.

Do you have any networking tips or tricks that you can share?
You get out of it what you put into it. If you don’t network and you’re sort of in the corner not attempting to meet new people, you won’t get as much of value out of the event as opposed to initiating conversations with a few people and learning something from them. I would pay it forward for others who needed help because if I can help others out, they can help me. It’s all about bringing each other up. Networking helped me understand the value of reaching out to others every once in a while, to see how they were doing.

What will you do in your new role?
I will be a Project Manager who focuses on training employees. I organize classes and update the training database with information on who has been trained and even teach some training classes myself.

What is one takeaway or nugget of wisdom that you would like to share?
It can be a very frustrating and sometimes lonely journey being unemployed, especially when you’re older. It would help if you reach out to as many people as possible, remain positive, and communicate your value succinctly. Keep a positive attitude so you can focus on constructive activities. There is a lot of rejection, but you will land something sooner or later, and I do firmly believe that. It may take a while, but you can’t ever give up.

Career Education Group Welcoming to Multicultural Community

Tell us about yourself and your career.
My name is Julia Fell and I grew up in Russia. There, I majored in journalism and worked for newspapers covering the automotive industry. It was a time of significant transformation when international manufacturers were entering the Russian market, and my mastery of German and English was a competitive advantage. Eventually, one of my German newsmakers offered me a job in public relations. “You know too much about us, we have to hire you,” he joked. Later I had a child, took a break, and relocated to the US to join my family. Here, I had to start from scratch, with a new language, new culture, and no connections. Again, the German background helped me. I found a German technology company that needed an all-around marketer who could write content, organize trade shows, set up email campaigns, and do anything else marketing related. From there, my career took a new start.

Why were you looking for a job?
I was laid off because of budget cuts.

How did you discover PAGCG?
I was exploring networking opportunities because the statistics say that 70% of jobs are found through networking. That’s why I went to a LinkedIn Philadelphia event. There, Lynne Williams, who is Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group’s (PAGCG’s) Executive Director, gave a presentation about LinkedIn profile optimization and best practices. Since then, PAGCG has been on my radar.

How did PAGCG help you in your job search?
When I got laid off, I went to every workshop that PAGCG had to offer. That was almost every day and sometimes twice a day. Even though it wasn’t my first round of job search, I learned something new at every workshop, whether about resume optimization, personal branding, or negotiation. Also, talking to people in the group about myself helped me understand what I am looking for and what I bring to the table. From Les Segarnick, who brands himself as “The Interview Doctor,” I learned how to tell a story to highlight my experience instead of just saying that I could do this, and I’ve done that. Eventually, it was LinkedIn optimization that got me my job.

How did you find your job? How long did it take?
It took me 2.5 months. It was faster this time because I knew the tips and tricks and devoted all my time to the job search. There were times where I had good traction on my search and periods of downtime. Near the end, I had four different opportunities: one from a job fair, another from a job board, a third through networking, and with the fourth, the recruiter found me on LinkedIn because I had the relevant keywords.

What kept you motivated during the job search, especially during the downtimes?
I felt a strong sense of urgency because I am the breadwinner, and I have a child. There was no option for failure. I knew that I had to take one step at a time, keep moving, and stay resourceful.

What were the lessons that you learned during your job search?
Every step of the way you learn. Even if it feels like a lot of rejection or time spent spinning your wheels, it makes you better next time. Also, there isn’t just one recipe for success. The stats are that only 7% of people find jobs through job boards and so the recommendation is that you should ignore them or spend just 7% of your time there. But I met someone who developed a method to work with job boards that got her a job faster than her previous networking efforts. So next time, job boards will be in my job search tool kit.

Do you have any networking tips or tricks that you can share?
Talk about your experiences with others and crystallize your story by talking about it to different people. These conversations will help you find a natural and straightforward way to explain what you do and what you bring to the table. Finally, learn to talk about your failures since these are opportunities from which you have learned.

What will you do in your new role?
I am a marketing manager for a radio-frequency identification (RFID) company. For example, they use technology to track every piece of clothing or shoes from the factory to the store. That allows for minimizing losses, theft, and mistakes. It makes the experience better for the customer, for example, allowing them to find an item in the store through an online search. It’s a growing market, and the company has a strong position, so I’m thrilled how it worked out.

What is one takeaway or nugget of wisdom that you would like to give us?
There is no one recipe for success. Keep moving, keep learning, and stay resourceful.