Tell us about yourself and your career background.
My name is Daria Duda, and I am a career marketer focused on entertainment and technology, specializing in product and content marketing.
Why were you looking for a job?
My company closed its office in King of Prussia, and I was part of the 80 or so folks laid off as a result. It was a huge change because I was consistently employed for 20 years, even surviving mergers, acquisitions, and company layoffs.
How did you discover PAGCG?
I discovered the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group (PAGCG) by happenstance and didn’t even know that an organization such as this existed. I heard about PAGCG from two people: a recruiter and a friend at my gym. When they both raved about how helpful the chapter meetings were, I knew I had to check it out.
How did PAGCG help you in your job search?
The chapter leaders helped me stay positive; they were motivational, and the sessions were informative, often highlighted by expert guest speakers. At first, I was skeptical because I had never joined a networking organization, and I didn’t know what to expect. What I discovered was a wonderful community filled with smart, hard-working people. We all had the same goal of finding the right next job that would maximize our specific skills. Many folks were employed but looking to transition to a different position or even different career, and it was inspiring to support others on their journey.
How did you find your job? How long did it take?
Well, it did take longer than I thought. I also learned that taking the first option didn’t mean it was the right one for me. While I had plenty of interviews, I quickly recognized it would best to be particular about choosing the right company for me. It wasn’t without effort – lots of networking through PAGCG, lots of meetups, and events at Venture Café, along with adjustments to my LinkedIn profile. Then simultaneously, two good options came forward. One was from a personal connection who introduced me to a business acquaintance. The second was a posting on LinkedIn, and having been taught all the tricks by the PAGCG folks, I contacted the recruiter on LinkedIn before applying. Having a personal connection with the recruiter added an authentic element to my job search and made the right impression of getting the interview and landing my job.
What kept you motivated during the job search, especially during the downtimes?
Hah – chocolate, and of course, the PAGCG chapter meetings! Seriously though, support from my friends and family. My husband was one of my biggest motivators and would encourage me to attend all the events possible – I was going out nearly every day to events all over the city!
What were the lessons that you learned during your job search?
There were many things, and PAGCG helped me tremendously. It is not just about networking, optimizing, and maintaining a LinkedIn profile, or doing practice interviewing – but with the building of personal connections. I look at my contacts now on LinkedIn, many of whom I met through the group and now follow their successes, and it’s humbling to be a part of it all, and know that we are all worked together to help each other be successful – in whatever way that meant to each of us.
Do you have any networking tips or tricks that you can share?
I would say, strive to have two meaningful conversations during an event. As an introvert, networking was difficult and exhausting for me at first, but I found that meeting even just two people and having meaningful conversations truly matters. It’s best not to overthink what you should talk about with someone and instead relax. Don’t panic and enjoy the conversation, be engaged, and work on your listening skills, make eye contact. You never know who will keep you in mind when an opportunity arises. When you let yourself have a great conversation with someone, you end up finding some common topic to discuss or learn something new – it’s a great way to stay motivated.
What will you do in your new role?
I am the Director of Marketing for a start-up focused on safety for automation and robotics. The subject matter is all new for me, and it’s exciting and exhilarating to be a part of emerging technology.
What is one takeaway or nugget of wisdom that you would like to give us?
Personal connections are more important than online job applications. Even when my resume keywords matched a job description, it still wasn’t a guarantee that I would get a response at all, and, most of the time, I got no responses. Talk about a downer. Instead, reach out and add that human element to your job search and meet people, exchange ideas, and you’ll find inspiration and even advice in every conversation.