Michael’s Seven Month Job Search Finally Pays Off, Thanks to JVS Career Services

“In September of 2020, my position at Wise Temple was eliminated,” said Michael Freeman. “I had used JVS Career Services in the past, so reached out to them when I needed help again.” Talking to Michael over Zoom is fun—he’s likable and easy to get along with. The Zoom call was scheduled for 10 a.m., but Michael logged in early. “That’s just a little something Brian Kerstine [his career coach] taught me about these virtual meetings; try to be about three minutes early.”

10 a.m. on Fridays was Michael and Brian’s designated, weekly meeting time—over Zoom because of COVID-19 restrictions. “Every Friday, from when I lost my job in September to when I started my new job in April, Brian and I would meet to talk about how the process was going.”

Michael is an award-winning television producer who had worked at two stations in Cincinnati before he decided to take time off to become a stay-at-home dad of twins. Once his kids were a little older and he was ready to get back in the job market, he contacted JVS Career Services. That was how he got the job at Wise Temple, where he spent nearly five years handling their digital marketing efforts. When COVID forced the organization to downsize, Michael said there were no hard feelings. “I understood what was going on, and I know it was a hard decision.”

But that led to a drawn out, seven month stretch of Michael being unemployed. “My job search lasted a long time, and there were definitely times where I was getting very, very discouraged; times I wanted to give up, throw in the towel,” Michael said. “But Brian helped keep me driven. He helped keep me accountable. He helped keep me on schedule. He helped with my motivation,” at this point Michael began to get emotional, “Brian was patient, he was encouraging. He helped nudge me in the right directions when I needed it.”

When Michael paused for a moment, Brian jumped in and said, “Michael was doing everything right, but sometimes, things just don’t turn out the way we hope they will. Michael’s got a lot of things that are special about him, and I think he knows that, and I told him it was those qualities that we needed to focus on.”

Brian went on to say that one of the most valuable things Michael did during the job search was to allow himself to mourn the loss of jobs he didn’t get. “Doing that is so, so important. Every job search has its highs and lows, and while I continued to help encourage and excite him about the next steps, there were times when you just have to just say, ‘this a bummer,’ and be in the moment and shed some tears.”

Brian said Michael’s job search was tough, and that there were “a lot of times in his particular search that it was the right place at the wrong time. And that really hurts. Really hurts. But we had to keep going on, and I had to help him understand how much he has going for him, and at some point, somebody is going to be lucky enough to give him an opportunity to work at their company.”

Michael was already a good networker, but Brian helped him develop that skill even further. “We talked a lot about the concept of networking, and how it’s a much more efficient way, and more proactive way, of attacking your job search.”

It was through networking that Michael found his new boss. “I reached out to Marie, and we hit it off immediately,” Michael said. “I wasn’t asking her for a job, but was asking for advice and information, but because I was on her radar, she created an ‘Office and Communications Coordinator’ position specifically for me—based on seeing my resume and the networking opportunity with her. It worked exactly how networking is supposed to work.”

“If I may add on to that,” said Brian, “It obviously speaks to Michael’s personality—people gravitate towards him, and he’s someone you want to be part of your team. But he also didn’t let that relationship end with just a networking meeting. He stayed in touch, and when the opportunity was available, he was the first in line.”

Michael, who is Jewish, first reached out to JVS Career Services because it’s an organization based on Jewish values. “There’s a commonality—not only is JVSCS a Jewish organization, but the fact that Brian and I share that background is a really big benefit to me. I know JVSCS has clients who are not Jewish, but for me, having that shared background certainly benefited my experience.”

Without Brian and JVS Career Services, Michael said he would have floundered. “I wouldn’t have met my new boss, I wouldn’t have had the accountability, the support, the weekly check-ins—none of the tools JVS provided,” Michael said. “Everything from the webinar series that JVSCS hosts—to learning how to optimize my LinkedIn page.”

As this was Michael’s second time using JVS Career Services, he spent a little time explaining why he chose to come back. “The process works. The people are great. The people are helpful,” he noted. “Everything they provide just is invaluable and it does help.”

“When Michael got his job,” recalled Brian, “it was this incredible, incredible celebration. He had been through so much. I hated what he had to go through, but I am so happy that he’s found a job he loves, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to have met him.”

As for Michael, he is now encouraging family and friends to seek out JVS Career Services. “I’m telling anyone and everyone about JVSCS. I am so grateful to Brian for all of his support—for seeing me through several months of ups and downs—the laughter and the tears. I’m just so grateful.”