HIRED LEARNING: Elaine Ferrie – “It’s not who you know but who knows you!”

By Frances Chaves
After 20 months in transition, Elaine Ferrie has landed as Telemarketing Representative at GENEWIZ Inc. in South Plainfield, NJ. Elaine will be in a business development role reaching scientists in academics, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and agricultural industries as well the government for this global contract research organization that specializes in DNA services. Starting September 4, she will be there 20 hours per week.
Elaine’s job search taught her, “you should ABC (Always Be Connected). Networking is key if you are in a job as well as when you are looking for a job. Keep your connections alive and well because another Marty Latman (from Careers In Transition) phrase is ‘working is temporary’ and ‘in transition’ is happening more often.
A PSGCNJ alumni, who knew Elaine through her work with the Training and Job Fair committees, brought the position to Elaine’s attention before it was even posted.
At first, she wasn’t interested in the positions because the position description said it was temporary, part-time, and telemarketing. But with some prodding from her PSGCNJ contact, she opened up her mind: “I started looked into this company and the potential for growth was amazing. I started to concentrate on the positives; a foot in the door back in healthcare, a way back into sales & marketing, a short, twelve-minute commute, a company that was in a growth mode.”
Elaine submitted her resume to the HR hiring manager and sent a separate copy to the internal employee who referred her. That employee delivered Elaine’s resume to the HR manager with her verbal recommendation that Elaine would be a good candidate for the position. HR then interviewed Elaine by phone. While one of the HR managers was concerned that Elaine was overqualified, Elaine was able to overcome that issue by demonstrating her interest in the position and to build on their common ground: “I had been employed by Johnson & Johnson for 20 years where she had also worked. Although we never worked together, we knew many of the same people which helped to establish my qualifications.”
With the backing of her PSGCNJ contact and this HR person, she was then interviewed by the Vice-President of Sales & Marketing. “He was also concerned about the part-time work but now that I was in front of him, he began to explore the possibilities of how my experience might aid him far beyond the entry level position. By the time I left the interview, it was no longer temporary, and I was asked if I would be open to full-time in the near future.”
Elaine gives PSGCNJ a lot of credit for her landing. She was a very active volunteer with the Training Committee, where she served as co-chair for eight months, and on the Job Fair Committee, reaching out to local companies with in-person visits. Elaine was the speaker for the final PSGCNJ group presentation on the Job Fair, explaining what participants could expect.
“PSG helped me to maintain and reinforce my skills: public speaking, staffing/scheduling, team building / leading, planning and organization skills. PSGCNJ is not just a once a week or bi-monthly activity. Attending the general meetings; working on a committee or committees; and training the newly unemployed brought members together several times a week and helped to form strong bonds within a short period of time. I helped train ten to twelve new people at each training session. Spending four hours with them, sharing what works in the job search, I too kept learning new things.”
On job interviews, when asked how she had spent her transition time, Elaine answered: “Delivering instructor-led training and career coaching designed to help the newly unemployed reenter the workforce. The inteviewers were always impressed by what I had to say about PSGCNJ and the team that I worked with.”
Elaine’s suggests that job searchers: “Volunteer and make yourself known. Don’t just superficially participate in groups and networking events. Get to know some individuals well by working with them on a team; meeting individually for coffee; or forming a networking group around your discipline (marketing, accounting, etc.) and periodically meeting to share job search ideas. Later, these individuals won’t need your business card to identify you, they will remember you by name because they truly know you.”
Best of luck to Elaine!

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