January 20, 2012
Career makeover: Ex-construction worker aims to switch gears
There’s a lot in Jared McGlinchey’s academic life that he’s proud of. He was an editor of his high school and community college papers, competed on a debate team that ranked fourth in the nation, and developed a passion for public speaking and communication that led his friends to dub him “the king of wedding speeches” for his ability to turn a phrase and capture what everyone in the room is feeling.
But the 32-year-old Renton resident does have one major academic regret, however: not finishing his college degree.
During McGlinchey’s first year enrolled in Washington State University’s communications program, he says, “I decided the social scene was more important, and that didn’t lead to very successful academics.”
After a series of financial and personal setbacks, he was forced to drop out of school. He ended up working in painting, construction and other odd jobs until those dwindled as the Great Recession set in.
Though he has been collecting unemployment benefits since August, McGlinchey takes up management of his family’s Christmas tree farm each winter. And whenever he can, he indulges his real passion: managing boxers and planning sporting events.
“I never considered myself a construction worker,” McGlinchey says. “I’m good at it and I work harder than anyone, but I see my skills being most effectively used in event planning because I can motivate the people around me, I handle stress exceedingly well and I’m not afraid to stick my nose in and do the smallest job.”
After being selected for a NWjobs career makeover, McGlinchey met with Seia Milin of WorkSource Redmond. She says that on his résumé, McGlinchey was putting too much focus on the work he wanted to leave behind, while relegating his event-management experience to the bottom of the page as something he thought of as a hobby.
“Looking at his résumé and hearing about his career goals, it’s like talking to two different people,” says Milin.
She reorganized his résumé, also playing up his long-term skills managing the tree farm, handling everything from the marketing, permits and daily operations to the tree transportation, set-up and breakdown. “It pretty much is event planning,” Milin says. “It’s a Christmas event.”
McGlinchey also attended a free ProLango career seminar, which brought him up to date on networking tools such as LinkedIn and career mixers. The seminar also highlighted the importance of using social and professional channels to make a connection with a potential employer before submitting a résumé in order to stand out from the mountains of other applicants.
Milin says that McGlinchey is a natural-born networker and is able to leverage his people skills to get just about anyone on the phone he wants to -- he just needed an update on the resources available to him.
His makeover sessions in October, McGlinchey says, “completely restored my confidence in myself and that is invaluable.” He stopped seeing the fact that he didn’t finish college as a major roadblock to the success that he desires.
“Just because I didn’t get my diploma from WSU doesn’t make me any less of a contender,” McGlinchey says. “I know that I’m capable of doing what I want to do.”
He had two job interviews, attended a career fair and connected with a hiring manager for Starbucks. Then, a breakthrough: After applying for a technical-recruiter position, McGlinchey discovered that some of his college connections worked at the company.
“My hard work and determination got me in the door,” he says, “And my network of friends and my interview skills sealed the deal.”
McGlinchey starts Monday.
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