How I Found My Jam: A Journey in Job Searches

Photo of my desktop with a laptop displaying the Find Your Jam Job Search Coaching website, a stack of notebooks, a branded coffee mug, and paintings on the wall in the background.

My “jam” is helping other people find theirs. My greatest professional pleasure is when my clients are successful in getting that interview, new job, or promotion.

It was a long, twisty road to get here. After I finished my undergraduate degree in psychology, I changed my plans from graduate school to travel. I backpacked through South America and South East Asia and did working holidays in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Picture of me playing with two little girls on the floating reed islands on Lake Titicaca from my backpacking trip through South America
Hanging out on the floating reed islands on Lake Titicaca

Moving to new places several times over, I spent quite a bit of time looking for jobs. I could fill a book with all of the cover letters I’ve written. My record is landing a job in a single day. I’d arrived in Darwin, Australia from an outback cattle station and used the janky hostel computer to apply for jobs. I got a response from a family looking for a nanny, met them that afternoon, and moved in later that evening.

I’ve held all sorts of jobs: childcare, office administration, farmhand, property management, English and social studies tutor, ESL instructor, humane society animal adoption and admissions, retail, and telemarketing.

Picture of my with a kangaroo joey in the outback grocery store one job search led me to.
Perks of working in the Australian outback:
baby kangaroos!

One of my favourite jobs was working in a grocery store in the Australian outback that catered to the surrounding Indigenous community. The job itself was nothing special: cashier, inventory, and short-order cook. It was the location that was amazing. Staff lived on site, in a little constellation of trailers and houses next to the store. It was a four-hour drive northeast from Alice Springs, right in the middle of nowhere. I loved living in the desert. I had no idea I would like it so much when I applied. It just sounded interesting so I gave it a shot.

When I moved to Oxford, I lucked out and found a job that really suited me: research for an executive search agency. We worked with all sorts of international non-profits, development banks, and UN agencies, helping them fill senior leadership roles. The research aspect really indulged my curiosity. I got to learn about global politics, international development, human rights, history, cultures, economics, and best of all, about people. My job was to find and sort through candidates. So I got to learn all about senior-level people in the third sector, their backgrounds, passions, and goals.

Photo of the Radcliffe Camera in Oxford, UK
I also just really loved living in Oxford

It’s this experience from both sides of the hiring table that informs my work with clients today. I know what recruiters, head-hunters, and hiring managers are looking for and I know how tough job searching is. My job search services are guided by empathy. I give my clients space to be vulnerable and help them identify and amplify their strengths.

In hindsight, it’s an almost perfect trajectory. I didn’t know I wanted to start a business helping people with their job searches until the pandemic hit and it occurred to me to charge money to people who were asking me for advice on their resumes.

Three years on, my digital marketing certificate has gotten a ton of use, I get to write as more than a hobby, and I get to keep working with fascinating and talented people.

And that’s how, over years of job searches, I found my jam!

Photo of my cat, a large, long-haired black cat wearing a blue checked scarf.
My assistant is useless but very cute