Being Resilient in the Face of Rejection, with Lori Aoki


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On this bonus episode of the Find Your Dream Job podcast, I chat with Lori Aoki, physician recruiter at The Vancouver Clinic. Lori learned a lot from a year-long job search after moving to a new city. Though the search was discouraging at times, she found ways to build resilience while improving her networking strategy and her application materials. Then, when she was ready to move into a new role, her network came out to help, putting her in contact with a new organization where she gets to use the job search lessons she learned to recruit staff for The Vancouver Clinic.

What do you do for a career? Who do you work for?

I joined The Vancouver Clinic in April 2017 as a Provider Recruiter.

How long did it take you to find this job?

Not long; the job found me! The process took about three weeks from the time I heard about the job, applied, interviewed and was hired.

How did you find your job? What resources did you use? What tool or tactic helped the most?

A friend of mine told me about the position and recommended me to the hiring manager. It proves to me that networking really works. It’s often who you know and not what you know that leads to success in the job market.

What was the most difficult part of your job search? How did you overcome this challenge?

When I first moved to Portland in 2013 it took me a year to find a job. I got a lot of leads from Mac’s List, I attended the networking events Mac’s List hosted, and read whatever I could about job hunting in Portland. I went on several first interviews, but didn’t have the right skill set to make it to the final round. I got a lot of practice with writing cover letters, tuning up my resume and interviewing, which was extremely valuable.

Job searching can be downright depressing when you keep getting rejection letters. I read somewhere that 25% of people who are hired end up quitting in the first year. That’s what happened in my situation: I had been a finalist for the Physician Liaison job with Adventist Health, but I wasn’t hired. I continued to check the website for openings and saw that six months after I didn’t get the job, it was posted again. I applied a second time for the same job and got hired.

I got a promotion while I was with Adventist Health that ended up not being a good fit. Once I recognized this, I put the word out to my network of colleagues and friends that I was looking for a new position and landed my current job.

What is the single best piece of advice you would offer other job-seekers?

Be resilient. Acknowledge that job hunting is hard. Learn from every stage of the job search process. Get support from friends and family.

Why do you love your job?

I hire people for a living and match them to their dream job. That feels really great. I’m also hiring people who are going to impact the future of my organization. It’s challenging to find the right skillset and cultural fit, but when it happens, it’s awesome.

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