Customer Stories

Success Story: Isabel Echeverria

For the first time in my life, I lost my job, on November 7, 2014. I thought it would be easy to find another one. After all, I had been recruited into my last two jobs, and always consistently rated as a top performer. When my friends heard I was unemployed, some of them recommended NOVA. At first, I didn’t go. Surely I would find a job; NOVA was for losers, and I was not a loser. Months went by and it became apparent to me that nobody was going to come knock on my door and offer me a job. I had applied to about 150 jobs and gotten 2 interviews. I was a divorced mother of two children and wanted to keep the family as stable as possible. In March, I joined NOVA at the insistence of my friends. I found the staff very friendly. I took some of the classes and met with a career coach, who suggested I join ProMatch.

When I finally made it to ProMatch in May, I used to hate going to the meetings. There were all these cheerful people. Why were they so cheerful? Didn’t they know that looking for a job sucks? And how come they all knew exactly what they were looking for? I was lost!! Oh, and then there was the “success stories” part. I hated that part. I would sink deeper in my chair and bury myself in my fear. And then, one day, I gathered the courage to ask for help. I went to talk to Connie. She somehow, magically I felt, understood what I was going through. Bob chimed in from his cube. I felt welcome - not a stranger anymore. I started participating more. Made friends. Joined a success team…. something inside me started to turn. When the opportunity finally came, I had my confidence back - I knew what I wanted to do and had my story ready. I had done all my numbers and knew my needs and was prepared to negotiate. I felt calm, strong, myself. Guess what - it was easy.

It has been a long and difficult journey. Networking, contributing, asking for help. You will be here one day, too. 

Success Story: Steve Wright

I was laid off in May, and was really not looking forward to starting my search again. I've been laid off before (a normal part of our business, I'm afraid). I was basically depressed and not at all motivated to search for my next opportunity. I took the summer off. I joined NOVA. I heard about ProMatch, and thought "I don't need a bunch of unemployed folks telling me I'm worthy, and pushing positive attitude, etc." I could not have been more wrong.

A couple of friends (also laid off with me) joined ProMatch and threatened to disown me if I didn't join, so I did, with some concern that I might be wasting my time. Again, I was wrong. The safe environment ProMatch provides in invaluable. Nowhere else can you do an interview and get honest, straight feedback on what you did well or what you messed up on. I cannot stress how important this is. You go on real interviews in the real world, and you either get the job or you don't. You never know why in either case. In ProMatch, you can do an interview with a panel of folks and get honest feedback so you can correct behaviors. I don't know of anywhere else you can get this kind of critical feedback. The training classes on how to use LinkedIn (the most popular job search method today), write a good resume, create effective business cards, etc. are simply incredible. They go into far more useful detail than I received with the outplacement service my ex-company paid for. But the most useful thing to me ended up being the wonderful, supportive atmosphere. The smiling faces, and yes, the folks telling me I'm worthy, and having nothing but well wishes for everyone there. [ProMatch staff] foster this environment, and have built a truly unique and wonderful place for those of us that had all but given up.

[This customer is now gainfully employed as a senior program manager, contracting to a major high-tech company.]

Success Story: Rose Wang

When Rose came to NOVA, she had been out of work since May 2013. Rose had worked in advertising and marketing for the last 10 years but was interested in transitioning into either database administration or computer programming. Facing a tough job market, Rose and her NOVA training advisor discussed the reality of competing for programming jobs with those with significant education and experience in the field. Rose realized that she needed to have both a long term and a short term goal. A good short term goal would be for her to get skills that would get her foot in the door in the technical field, while continuing to pursue additional computer programming education for the long term.

Rose attended all of NOVA's on-site Microsoft Office classes and took full advantage of NOVA's various workshops, including Resume Facts, Informational Interviewing, Basic Interview Practice, Behavior-Based Interviewing, and many others - some more than once! Rose also chose to explore Software Quality Assurance training at Portnov Computer School. She visited the school, passed the entrance exam, and started her QA training. After several months of intense training at Portnov and with assistance from NOVA on her resume, job search and interviewing skills, Rose landed a paid internship at QVC as a software tester. Rose continued her job search while in this internship and recently shared her good news that she has landed a six month contract with Google as a QA engineer. She plans to further her computer science studies on her own.

Rose says, "At NOVA, I not only improved my technical skills and people skills, but more importantly I did not have time to feel sorry for myself or sad for my future. I just followed NOVA's program and worked on what it takes."

Success Story: Susan Edwards

In January of this year, I decided to go back to work after 14 years at home taking care of my children.  Prior to my long hiatus, I had earned a degree in environmental engineering and had worked in environmental consulting for a number of years. When I started my job search, I had a very small network in the environmental field, a 20-year old resume, and very rusty networking and interviewing skills. Within the first week of my search, two different contacts recommended NOVA and ProMatch. At my initial career counseling appointment, the counselor recommended that I attend the Career Exploration workshop to help me see if I qualified for training funds.

As it turned out, the training that I wanted was not covered, but the process of assessing the job market and skills needed was invaluable and helped me formulate a plan for re-entering the workforce. As a first step, I decided to pay for the training I wanted myself, and spent the next few months taking training classes and attending as many NOVA workshops as I could. 

In early July, I joined ProMatch, and again, attended as many of the workshops as I could. I found many of these workshops very challenging.  I don’t think I will ever feel completely comfortable with PSRs [Problem Solutions Results exercise]. But I kept working on all of the skills, even those that I didn’t feel comfortable with. In late August, I started working with a small environmental consulting firm as an independent contractor, and because this job was for only a few hours a week, continued with ProMatch. In early October, I was offered a full time position at an environmental consulting firm.

NOVA and ProMatch were essential to my job search journey. I feel very lucky that I took the Career Exploration workshop early on because it really helped me figure out the local market for environmental engineers and how I wanted to fit into it. Also, I found the networking opportunities that ProMatch offered me to be invaluable. I met with a lot of people in the environmental field for informational interviews with contacts that I met through ProMatch. Finally, the community that ProMatch offers is unique and gives members the support needed to succeed during an often stressful time.”

Success Story: Noriko Loveridge

Noriko Loveridge came to NOVA via a flyer her son found at his high school. She hadn't been employed in almost 14 years and needed to return to work. She has a BA degree and had studied graphic design, and decided she wanted to enter this field. She had been volunteering at a non-profit as a graphic designer to gain work experience for her new career. However, job searching after all this time was not easy and she needed help and support.

Noriko and a NOVA career advisor discussed the realities of a career as a graphic designer, including the importance of building a portfolio to showcase her work. Noriko also sought out feedback on her resume, and took the advisor's suggestions to heart to better highlight her skills and experience and draw attention to her online portfolio.  

All of her efforts paid off when she was offered a position at Saki America. It's a part-time contract position but suits her current situation just fine, given her lack of recent experience. As Noriko says, "It's like I am in a rehabilitation stage to start walking slowly." As it's a small office, she gets involved in almost everything, which was "very confusing in the beginning. But it's good experience for me to learn in various areas. I can use this as my first step to lead to a more desirable job in the future."  

Noriko summed up her time at NOVA: "The experiences and knowledge I gained at NOVA were very useful and I was glad I stopped by and joined. Thank you very much for all the support."

Success Story: Tony Gallo

August wasn’t a good month for the Gallo family - my wife and I were laid off on the same day! While she found a job immediately, I was getting nowhere. I’d spent my entire career as an engineer and manager in semiconductor processing but most of that has moved overseas. I wanted to find a way to use my knowledge of semiconductors in a different technology but had no connections. Then I heard about ProMatch from my brother-in-law, and we joined together.

At NOVA I took classes in LinkedIn and learned about presenting my accomplishments, and I began to think about how to spin my experience in a different area. One thing I learned immediately was that I needed to target my resume for different positions, especially since I was changing fields. But I was getting discouraged – I probably sent out resumes to 60 companies with responses from maybe two percent of them. I was afraid that employers were looking for a specific skill set that I didn’t have. I started to realize that I needed to expand my network. ProMatch is all about networking and getting in front of people to tell your story.

I greatly enjoyed my ProMatch experience. I got to talk to incredibly smart people in various fields, all going through the same experience. I had been motivated by my work all my life, and it’s hard for others, even a spouse, to understand what you’re going through when you lose all that. At ProMatch I found people to identify with. My success team was super important – we pumped each other up, and they kept me honest and gave me the motivation to keep moving forward. When I met with a ProMatch volunteer consultant, I learned that I might have been derailing myself in interviews because I still harbored some bitterness from being let go. I also felt I didn’t need to prove myself to interviewers 30 years my junior! I took a hard look in the mirror and knew the consultant was right, and I was determined to change my attitude.  My next interview was with Pacific Biosciences, and it was totally different from the others – it was actually fun! The hiring manager and I really listened to each other and I was able to be myself. I was not just answering their questions, but I was asking them questions as well. It was engaging and it was truly the perfect interview!

The result – I just started my new job as a Senior Process Engineer. Working with the fantastic people at ProMatch and hearing those success stories every week really motivated me when I needed it the most!”

Success Story: Ma Luisa Lacson

Ma Luisa Lacson came to NOVA after having worked as a caregiver and nanny, following a lengthy career in education in the Philippines. She needed direct help with her job search and with expanding her computer skills. Ma Luisa was so motivated that she attended all of the NOVA workshops offered that first week! She says she found all of them “relevant to whoever wants to learn and ultimately find a job.” A NOVA career advisor showed her how to customize her resume for caregiving jobs and provided job leads from the NOVA job board, in addition to the name of a caregiving agency that was hiring. “I found the individual advising very inspiring and very appropriate,” Ma Luisa says.

Ma Luisa contacted two caregiving agencies. Both responded, and she arranged an interview with one immediately. She wanted to be prepared, so she located the agency the day before. On the day of the interview, she arrived early. She says she felt well prepared and answered with ease all of the questions asked during the hour-long interview. After a short break, she was told, “You’re hired! Ma Luisa was so amazed that her excitement brought her back to NOVA so she could let her advisors know the good news. Since then, she says, “I’m promoting NOVA Job Center’s accomplishments to those who wish to avail themselves of its great services.”

Success Story: Kel Kanady

In 2012, I began the difficult journey of searching for a new job. I was trying to do it alone, not realizing that the job search world had changed. A friend told me about NOVA’s ProMatch networking program, but I hesitated to make a regular drive to Sunnyvale. After various frustrating job search experiences, I gave in and attended an orientation where I learned more about the NOVA Job Center and ProMatch.

Through NOVA, I attended workshops where I learned to overcome objections, take control of an interview, and perhaps most importantly, I learned the power of LinkedIn and how to network to empower my job search. I also took classes in PowerPoint and Excel to boost my resume and confidence level. The front desk staff is first-class. They show respect and kindness to people who enter shell-shocked and bruised over recent job loss. The skills I learned at NOVA helped me to obtain contract work while continuing my search for permanent employment. I soon found myself called in for several layers of interviews, but still I couldn’t quite conquer the final hurdle. That’s when I turned to ProMatch.

By the time I reached ProMatch, my confidence was low and so was my hope for an opportunity on the level of my former job. Previously a content manager, I had been responsible for multiple publications and various public relations projects. I am an exceptional writer with editing experience. Yet when I joined ProMatch, I introduced myself as a copywriter. ProMatch puts participants on a schedule of productivity. While taking on leadership roles, members build self-confidence and learn the subtle techniques to step ahead of the field. I landed a dream job that uses the skill set I have and will allow me to grow into much more.

When I first heard the ProMatch line, ‘Step into your Magnificence’, I thought it was a little corny, but that is exactly what I am about to do.