PROOF: Job Seekers Who Did It - Shannon Forrey

PROOF is an occasional series that showcases (and celebrates!) people who employed new job search strategies and landed THE job or promotion they wanted. Today, we feature Shannon Forrey of Los Angeles. (Story by Emily McIntyre)

As a girl, Shannon Forrey was fascinated by science and spent many hours in the garage working on projects with her dad, an engineer. Understandably, science fairs were her favorite part of school. Shannon would also often stay up late, reading books on astronomy and dreaming of the day when she would work for NASA.

In spite of these dreams, Shannon’s experience in the school system was common to many women; she found herself slanted away from STEM subjects.

"I was a good writer," she says, "and I just got kind of pushed into communications."

She earned a degree in advertising from The Art Institute of California—San Diego and spent the next decade working as a designer, an art director and a digital strategist for organizations like The Salvation Army. The work was fulfilling in some ways but, at her core, Shannon knew that she wanted to return to science and… NASA was waiting.

Over the years, Shannon had taken some biology and astronomy classes and had applied for a few positions at NASA, even reaching the interview stage once. She knew, though, that if she wanted to go in this direction she needed to pivot her focus and find a way to ensure she could land her dream job.

In 2016, she quit her job and went back to school full time, to earn a Master of Science in Space Studies at the University of North Dakota. During her studies, she participated in a NASA design challenge specifically for university students. Fresh out of school again, she freelanced as a Senior Marketing Specialist for a deep space company, while continuing to position herself for her dream job at NASA.

And here's where the magic of Jenny comes in.

What Did Jenny Do For You?

According to Shannon, the question is more, what didn't Jenny do for her?

She purchased the Whole Enchilada service and began the process of restructuring her professional and personal presentation, starting with LinkedIn and moving on to resume and cover letter, as well as personal social media profiles.

"I really enjoyed working with Jenny on my cover letter in particular," said Shannon. "Cover letters are just the worst. I do a custom cover letter for every job and it's so hard because you have to be professional, but have some personality so they can get a feel for you. Jenny really helped balance my experience with my sense of humor in a way that really highlighted who I was.

“When you present something like that to a recruiter you stand out so much, and then you are consistent in person."

How Did the Application Process Compare with Your Last Try?

Shannon remembers applying at NASA just before she quit her job and went back to school. She’d been called in for an interview but didn't get a callback.

"It was so disappointing!" she said.

Two years later, with a relevant degree under her belt and Jenny at her side, Shannon applied for a position that seemed tailored to her abilities: Social Media Producer for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. With a customized, personable cover letter, she demonstrated exactly what she could walk through their doors and deliver.

The results were stunning.

"I got a call the next day," she said. Six interviews and two weeks later, she received an official offer letter. Just over a month from the first call, she started her dream job at NASA! The process had been seamless and she credits Jenny's help with giving her the confidence she needed.

"You really have to be able to talk with everyone and support what your resume says! Luckily, Jenny wrote my cover letter in such a way that I felt exactly like the same person going into the interview as I was on paper."

Do You Have Any Advice for Job Seekers?

Shannon said that a common blind spot for job seekers is personal social media profiles.

"My boss mentioned that the hiring team looked me up on Instagram, and that's partly why I got hired."

She said that the extra time she took to ensure her personal social media reflected her professional aspirations paid off.

"I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to make my career change," she said. “But I think that, regardless of whether you chose to be in a job seeking position or not, there's a professional way to present yourself. Jenny, having been a recruiter, knew exactly what she would have wanted to see. This insight was so beneficial to me."

Congrats, Shannon!

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Photo: Provided by Shannon Forrey