Originally posted in the June issue of C@reer Connections. You may sign up to receive this monthly e-newsletter.
“I am a person who lives with a daily challenge – I have a stutter,” explained Jensen. “I was looking for a company with a diverse hiring background and had always heard that Sodexo was willing to give opportunities to people who are the correct fit. So, I applied for other positions in Houston and California, but I was not selected. I was starting to get discouraged (as many people do), but now I know that divine intervention played a role, as the job I did get was better than those I had applied for before.”
“I worked with Jim on a few of his applications,” said Sodexo Senior Recruiter Debbi Oryszak. “And while he was qualified for a number of jobs he applied to, it turned out that he was not the best qualified until he interviewed for his position as the Director of Concessions Operations at the University of Texas, Austin. Part of his success was his willingness to hang in there and wait for the perfect job for him.”
But as a person with a disability, Jensen couldn’t help but worry there was a link to his speech.
“When searching for open positions, I started to think that maybe I was being judged professionally because of how I speak,” explained Jensen. “But there are so many other ways to communicate, not just verbally. Thankfully every person that I had met on the Sodexo journey assured me that it was not an issue.”
Oryszak added that the important thing for all job candidates to understand is that in today’s fast-paced, digital world, recruiters often receive hundreds of applicants for each job. So, while there are often a number of qualified candidates, recruiters are challenged with providing hiring managers with a list of only the *best* qualified candidates.
“Since I’ve been working for Sodexo, I’ve learned that talent and skills come first in our company,” said Jensen. “For someone like me, with a day to day challenge, it’s nice to know that all of the other qualities and characteristics you possess are what the company truly looks at when you are chosen to become part of the bigger picture, and you as the individual are finally given the opportunity to prove yourself.”
Proving yourself through persistence can also be part of your job search strategy – whether you have a disability or not. And, remembering to tailor your resume for each job application will help make your related experience and skills stand out as recruiters review candidates. Some other key things to remember while looking for that perfect job include being flexible on location, considering multiple types of roles and always research a company thoroughly to ensure your values align with the company’s.
“I know I’m very good at what I do, but for everyone, challenged or not, it’s about getting a chance to prove yourself,” said Jensen. “Today, I couldn’t think of a better place to be than at the University of Texas. I get kind of an ‘adrenaline rush’ each time the gates open and I know that I’m basically putting on a party for 100,000 fans.”
Have you been applying to jobs without success? Take a moment to reflect on those opportunities – maybe they weren’t as perfect as you imagined, aligning with your interests, background and experience.
“In the end, trust in your abilities and know that someday, somewhere you’ll find the right position,” said Jensen. “Every day my feet hit the floor, my wife Paulette and I, along with our family are thankful and grateful for the people at Sodexo who gave me a wonderful opportunity. Because in the end, what you DO is sometimes more important than what you have to say.”