Tell us about yourself and your career.
My name is Ron Vitale, and I am a digital project manager focused on launching websites with experience in agile and waterfall methodologies.
Why were you looking for a job?
After eight years at my former company, my position was eliminated in July 2020. With the pandemic still in full swing, this was the first time in my 25-year career that I was out of work. With companies hesitant to hire due to the pandemic, I needed to learn how to adapt quickly to a new job market.
How did you discover PAGCG?
A few years ago, my wife had mentioned the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group to me, and after I lost my job, I decided to go all-in and learn as much as I could from the group.
How did PAGCG help you in your job search?
I cannot stress enough how much value and help PAGCG offered to me. I signed up for the Bronze membership, and it was the best $35 I ever spent. I met dozens of people, attended online webinars that helped teach me the latest on resume writing and interviews, and aided me with my elevator pitch.
How did you find your job? How long did it take?
I found my job through an informational interview. After I was laid off, I reached out to my network and asked if anyone had contacts at one of my target companies. From there, I contacted people and asked if they would spend 15-minutes talking with me on the phone. I focused on learning and listening during those informational interviews. I made sure that I honored the 15-minute time commitment and then asked the person if they knew of anyone else within the company they thought I could speak with to learn more.
During my job search, I had a multi-pronged approach: I worked with a recruiter, applied for positions that I found through my search queries, and I also applied for positions recommended by my network. However, the position that I landed came through one of my informational interview calls.
The whole process took ten weeks for me.
What kept you motivated during the job search, especially during the downtimes?
I signed up for a PAGCG weekly professional networking 2-hour meeting. The weekly meeting helped me be accountable for my job search goals as I shared those with the others on the call, and I also practiced my elevator pitch each week. When I struggled, I made sure that I focused on self-care activities or called up a PAGCG member to talk through how I felt. Hearing other people’s stories and having an outlet to talk through challenges really helped me get through the tough times.
What were the lessons that you learned during your job search?
Many people in our area are willing to help you. Since I was open to networking and taking part in PAGCG events, not only did I learn new skills for interviewing and resume writing, but I also met some great people.
After I was laid off, I put together a daily schedule to know what job-searching tasks I wanted to complete each day, but I also built time into my day for self-care activities. I went into my job search knowing that it would take time due to the pandemic, but I didn’t let that get me down. I kept working each day to take small steps to reach out to others, apply for jobs, schedule informational calls, and talk to as many people as possible about my looking for a job.
I took a diversified approach by trying many different ways of finding a job. And when I hit a wall, I took a break, eased up a bit, but then got back to work.
Do you have any networking tips or tricks that you can share?
I recommend putting together your job search plan. Join a weekly professional network group through PAGCG, and you’ll learn what others are doing, what’s working for them, what isn’t, and then you can create a plan that works for you. I approached my job search like a job, and I went in knowing that the more people I talked with, the better my chances of landing a new position.
As an introvert, I’m not shy, but reaching out to people through a Zoom or phone call does take energy and makes me tired at the end of the day. I planned my day to make sure that I didn’t overschedule myself and talked to as many people as possible.
What will you do in your new role?
I will be a Digital Business Lead to help oversee the launch of websites in the pharmaceutical industry.
What is one takeaway or nugget of wisdom that you would like to share?
Don’t give up. Take a risk, talk with people, listen to them. See what help you can provide them instead of going to them for a favor. You’ll be surprised by how many people will then help you in return.