“I had no idea what to do,” said Michael Hoffman after he lost his job in July of 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “My resume was 20 years old and I never had to look for a job before—my two previous jobs found me.”
Hoffman said he tried a few things on his own, “but I wasn’t at all organized. I thought it would work like it did before—I just tell somebody I was looking for a job and they would point me to one.”
That’s when a friend recommended he start attending the free webinars for job-seekers from JVS Career Services. “I started to go to those, and that became part of the schedule I made for myself,” Hoffman said. “Having that to look forward to every Monday afternoon gave me something to focus on.”
Hoffman explained it was through those webinars that he learned the basics of finding a career in the 21st century. “I found out the things I learned in the 90s are outdated, and what was standard practice then would make me look out of touch now,” he said.
Eventually he took advantage of JVS Career Services’ offer of a free career coach to anyone who had lost their job due to COVID-19. “Brian Kerstine was my coach, and he was very helpful in getting me more focused,” Hoffman said. “He looked over my resume, set up practice interviews, and helped me polish my networking skills. He also helped me set goals—one of which was to send out 12 applications between each of our visits.”
Hoffman said Kerstine really pushed him out of his comfort zone and helped him apply for jobs that he normally wouldn’t. “Michael had skills that he didn’t know he had—we helped him discover those skills,” said Kerstine.
Kerstine recalls when he first encouraged Hoffman to apply for that position, it took some convincing. “He kept telling me that he wasn’t an analyst, and I had to point out to him his transferable skills that did qualify him for the role.”
“There’s no doubt in my mind,” said Hoffman, “that without the help I got from the team at JVS Career Services, I would still be unemployed.”
“The job I have now,” Hoffman said, “I never would have applied for without JVS Career Services understanding the talent I had within me—talent I didn’t even know I had. Long story short, I ended up in a position that is the best of two worlds. I had previously been in marketing research, and my new position is a marketing position. So I’m learning that role, but am also heading up the marketing research that will assist us with our marketing. So I get to do a little bit of what I know, and then I’m learning new stuff, too. I’ve even done a little analysis of market research that we’ve done in-house. So I can now say, ‘Yes, I can analyze data, too!’”
JVS Career Services helped Hoffman find his competitive edge, and expand the scope of his job search, while helping him articulate the skill set he had already developed. Hoffman believes that without JVS Career Services’ expertise, he would still be floundering; clumsily trying to network, while neglecting the scope of positions for which he was qualified. “I’m certain I would still be looking for work. Brian and the JVS Career Services team kept me focused,” Hoffman insisted. “They pushed me. Then, when I started having success, and going on interviews, that encouraged me; it showed me that I was doing something right—that people saw something in me and wanted to talk to me. That success keeps you going.”
Hoffman has already encouraged a few of his former colleagues to reach out to JVS Career Services. “About a dozen of us lost our jobs this summer,” he reflected. “And I’ve told them about my experience. I can’t recommend it enough. Brian was like my coach, teacher, and boss—all rolled in to one. Everyone at JVS Career Services was always very helpful, and very willing to give advice.”
To learn more about the wide variety of services JVS Career Services provides, please visit their website at: jvscareers.org.