15 Unconventional Ways to Find Your Next Job, From Women Who’ve Pulled It Off

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AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger

Worried that finding your next job — especially a job you love — is an elusive reality or just plain infeasible?

In case you need some major inspiration, women shared with us how they landed (or created) their own dream jobs in unconventional ways. Here's some food for thought for you.

1. She found her job on Craigslist.

2. She sent an effective email.

"I’m working my dream job as the CMO of Chanty at the moment," says Olga Mykhoparkina. "Before I started working here, I used to work in a digital marketing agency, like many marketers when they start out. As part of my job, I used to do a lot of outreach to other websites and I contacted webmasters, editors and blog owners. One day, I reached out to Dmytro, who founded Chanty, and he asked me if I could come in for a talk because he liked the way I think and maybe he had a job for me. At the time, there was no mention of Chanty yet, so he asked me to join as the CMO and founding member of a brand new startup. Needless to say, I was thrilled about the opportunity and I couldn’t wait to get started. The story of being a marketing assistant who becomes a CMO is a reality for me, and all it took was a single email."

3. She made friends online.

"I found my dream job by chatting to online Facebook friends," says Bianca Riemer. "I was a multi-award winning Stockbroker for 10 years, working for Morgan Stanley, but when my parents died, I wanted to spend more time with my children. I resigned without having a job to go to and we traveled around the world for a few months. While researching my trip, I made a lot of online friends who had traveled to the places that I wanted to go to. When chatting to people, they realized I knew a lot about wellness and stress reduction in a high-pressured environment, and they told me I should look into coaching. Today I'm a certified health coach and I help high achievers who find it hard to switch off and get a good night's sleep."

4. She rang in the right woman.

5. She turned a friend's complaints into a job opp.

"I worked as an interior designer for a boutique design firm for years," says Jeneva Aaron, a home decor blogger at TheHouseWire.com. "I was visiting my cousin at her apartment during the winter break of my senior year. A few of her friends came over, and one of them was complaining about her job. It turned out that she was an interior designer, which was exactly the field I was trying to get into. I asked her a lot of questions about why she disliked the job, but none of it sounded too bad to me. So when she mentioned that she was thinking about quitting, I asked her to recommend me as her replacement. A few months later, she quit her job and I found myself with an interview, just in time for graduation! Sometimes you just find yourself in the right place at the right time. Just make sure you take advantage of it!"

6. She took a leap of faith while pregnant.

"I am living my dream job now kind of by accident," says Allison Quintanilla Plattsmier. "I was laid off from my full-time executive director role while seven months pregnant. With no one willing to hire me that late in my pregnancy, I decided to focus full-time on consulting. I had always been doing it as a side job until then. Now 10 months postpartum, I have 10 clients, I have complete ownership of my schedule and activities, I have worthwhile relationships with all of my clients, and I am finally making a living wage. It has also helped me establish credibility as a thought leader in the sector."

7. She relied on her online brand.

8. She took a pay cut (and started her own business).

"I am 59 years old and worked full time at Edward Jones as a branch office administrator until a couple of months ago," says Catherine Waldron, publisher and author. "It was a good job with a steady paycheck, but I wasn't living my dream. For the past year before leaving this job, I searched for another that was closer to what I enjoyed most: writing and graphic design. Unfortunately, although I'm the author of four books, am very computer savvy and creative, I lacked formal education. That, coupled with my age, was against me, and I couldn't even get a response in many cases. So, I decided to start my own business instead. I had a professional website created, rented an office, planned, advertised, etc. My new company is a publishing company and I do what I love now. It was a scary big step leaving a guaranteed paycheck, but it's working out well, and I'm living my dream!"

9. She went to law school — and became a YouTube editor. 

"I’m a full-time YouTube editor, but I haven’t always been an editor," says Emily Olson. "After college, I was able to score a job at a highly coveted law firm, just three days after graduation and with only my undergrad degree (no law degree). Before graduation, I called every law firm I could, asked family friends and drove to the city I wanted to get a job in (Minneapolis) almost 10 times just to interview at various places. I landed a paralegal job a few days before graduation, honestly, I think by just... not giving up. Law firm life prepared me for my ultimate dream job: a YouTube editor."
She started making videos on the side, since law didn’t offer a lot of creativity during the day for her, she says. After one year, she had 1,000 subscribers. But she eventually realized something: she hated filming. So she chatted with friends in the influencer space and started editing for other channels.
"Now, I was running a YouTube business and editing for celebrities with audiences of 10s of millions per month, yet I knew more people needed editing skills and editors," she says. "I edit for the beauty community and noticed one thing: There are no editing resources teaching women how to edit. I decided to create a program that costs less than the price of my per-video rate so that others could learn how to edit for YouTube (or just business), too. EditingRecipes.com was born. My program teaches you start-to-finish in a weekend how to edit videos for the internet. I still edit for clients (I love it), but the program is my baby, and I want to help empower women to create businesses they love with ease and freedom."

10. She made a connection on a dating app.

11. She hustled like crazy.

"I graduated from FIT, Fashion Institute of Technology in the late 60s when Ready-T0-Wear was just starting to get traction in NYC," says Pat Fiore. "The talent graduating from FIT at that time was fierce, with names like Donna Karen and Perri Ellis and Ralph Lauren just entering the fashion scene. I decided early on that I better be working in the industry at any job I could find while attending school. I took night courses in addition to my day classes, as professionals in the industry were teaching or attending night classes — and I knew I needed to meet and connect to anyone who could help me find a job."
Her part-time jobs while going to school included fashion illustration work for a furrier, working in an off-7thAvenue knitwear factory, working on the production team for the FIT big yearly fashion design gala and research writing for WWD and Co-ed Magazine.
"All of this extra exposure opened doors for me to my first full-time job, working for a big, children’s knitwear firm and led me to a top design position in that company, and that job led me to work with and eventually for Dupont on the launch of LYCRA. I believe it’s the small steps I took that led me to the big leaps I made in my career. I don’t regret any of my work experiences, as difficult as they may have been for a girl who grew up in a tenement house in New Jersey and whose parents refused to support my decision to go to college, especially in NYC and to FIT. I continue to learn new and wonderful things throughout my career."

12. She took inspiration from her grandmother.

"My grandmother died, and I wanted to preserve her recipes, so I started writing them down," says Maggie Unzueta. "Then it dawned on me that someone might be looking for these authentic Mexican recipes. So, I published them in a blog. This was back in 2010 when blogging was still relatively new. In the last almost 10 years, I have developed a loyal following of readers and followers who love my grandmother's recipes and those that I have discovered traveling around Mexico. I'm also a native Spanish speaker. This job came naturally to me. Please don't get me wrong. Blogging is not easy, by any means. There are a lot of people who help in making Mama Maggie's Kitchen successful. I still pinch myself that I get to work from home, make up my own hours, cooking recipes that warm my heart."

13. She started with one client.

"I was working in a 9-5 as a hair-stylist, and one day a client came in for highlights," says Rachel Pedersen CEO The Viral Touch, Social Media United. "She asked me to be her 'tweeter.' I realized she was asking about social media! She hired me to help her set up her social media. A few weeks later, I went full time into marketing, and I built a business as a marketer!"

14. She relocated countries.

"I found my present job, my dream job, when I had to move to Cairo, Egypt, due to my husband's job relocation," says Senida Kiehl, founder of EEE Award. "I have already been an experienced educational consultant, but the salaries in this country were way beyond my expectations. After six months of being a housewife, I starting researching among the expat community for things that were missing in their transition from country to country. Surprisingly, their children's education turned out to be their biggest worry. I knew exactly what I had to do, and I was 100% sure that it was my calling. That's how Excellence in Expat Education was created. It's a company dedicated to helping expat parents identify the best school for their children wherever they might be in this world."

15. She struck up a convo in an Uber pool.