• I've been working in healthcare and project management for many years, but when my last position ended in November, I realized I needed help to focus my job search and develop some new skills. I learned about the NOVA Job Center in San Mateo and started taking classes there, including résumé and LinkedIn workshops.

    The team in San Mateo was great, but I wanted to do something with more involvement. A friend of mine recommended ProMatch. I came to orientation, but I didn't know what I wanted to do. Connie encouraged me to join and get help exploring. I needed to take the time to assess my skills and future direction and ProMatch helped me to do that.

    I can't say enough about ProMatch. It's the whole package—I've taken classes and workshops but ProMatch puts it all together for job seekers. It gets you out of the house away from the computer so you're not just blasting resumés off into the internet. The whole community has been amazing. ProMatch helped to build my self-confidence and determine my value and worth. It's such a supportive environment, where you're not afraid to fail or make a mistake but rather to take a leap of faith and try.

    I credit NOVA and ProMatch with helping me to be prepared and focused, so that when an opportunity came up to interview at UCSF Medical Center, I was ready to take action. I start my new position as a Lead Project Analyst next week! My advice for other job seekers? Practice your PSRs [Problem-Solutions-Results] (the best thing I learned), and also get yourself out the door - go to events and talk to people. You never know when the right opportunity will come along.
  • After working at AT&T for over 15 years, Dene' was laid off as a result of a company reorganization. AT&T referred her to a staffing agency to assist her with her transition, which is where Dene' first became aware of NOVA. NOVA and the local office of the California Employment Development Department were invited to present to the staffing agency's customers about the workforce development services they provide to job seekers in the community. After the presentation and at the conclusion of her time with the staffing agency, she joined NOVA in September.

    Dene' took full advantage of the services offered at NOVA. She participated in most of the workshops, finding the ‘Beyond the Resumé’ and ‘Interviewing’ workshops particularly helpful. Through these services, she was able to think about her professional presence, how she presents herself to others and what makes her unique. She formulated her story and learned how to share it with others, further refining it along the way. She joined NOVA's ProMatch program where she had an opportunity to participate in the interactive networking elements of the program, getting to know the community of job seekers and benefiting from their support and encouragement, as well as her contributions to their job search. Through ProMatch, she re-gained her sense of confidence and a newfound appreciation of the invaluable skills she can offer an employer.

    The end result is that in January, Dene' was hired as a project manager with EOS IT Solutions. She recognizes that what she learned from NOVA, about who she is and the direction she is going in life, personally and professionally, will continue to be of value to her in her future journey. Her advice to job seekers: “Keep going! A job search is a rollercoaster ride but what helps is consistency in attending NOVA's workshops and participating regularly in ProMatch.”
  • I came to NOVA because a board member at my previous employer told me he had HR connections for me, but he wanted me to join a program at NOVA called ProMatch, before he would make the introductions. My circumstances were pretty complicated. I was a stay at home mother for 16 years and then went through a contentious divorce. Toward the end of my marriage, I did have a part-time job that turned into a full-time management job after I divorced, but I felt the need to go back to school to attract better opportunities. I graduated with a bachelor's degree and began my job search in the fall of 2016 but found the transition from management to HR and from nonprofit to corporate extremely challenging. The longer I searched without getting interviews, the more my confidence plummeted. I agreed to take the board member's advice and joined NOVA.

    I have a love of learning, so I took as many workshops as possible at NOVA. Each workshop was very good. I learned much more than I had expected. The workshop about Informational Meetings was the one that I found most beneficial. I realized that I had been doing all the wrong things. I also found great benefit from the career advisors' input on my resumé. Then I joined ProMatch where EVERYTHING was beneficial. Right away, I was put to work on the Interview team where I felt useful and received great feedback. I was encouraged every day to step out of my comfort zone. The safe environment was a wonderful place to try to spread my wings in areas I needed growth in. The networking was fabulous. There are so many talented experts that join ProMatch, it is amazing. There are people with anywhere from 12 to 20+ years’ experience to share experiences and stories with (and informational meetings).

    As a result, my confidence soared. The ProMatch staff and members saw value and great potential in me. I also first saw my HR connection at ProMatch. She was a guest speaker a few times. I ran into her at another networking event where I introduced myself to the room. She liked my introduction very much (a product of working at ProMatch) and said she would like to get together with me for an informational meeting. A few months later, she introduced me to my current manager. We met for coffee and two weeks later, I was working for ViewRay as HR Generalist. I never had a formal interview, the job had not been posted yet and I would never have known about this opportunity if not for my relationship with her, ProMatch, or the board member.

    Don't discount any information received at NOVA. Try to experience as much as possible. There is always something to take away. Learn new things, meet new people. NOVA is a Silicon Valley treasure! It impacts and saves lives. Thank you.
  • I’ve been working as a microwave/rf [radio frequency]/antenna electrical engineer for over 20 years and have been a NOVA customer three times! During my last layoff, NOVA staff came and spoke to my group and it was good for all of us to hear about the current services offered.

    This go around, I took advantage of a number of workshops including ‘Job Search Tips for the Mature Worker’ and ‘Behavior-based Interviewing’. The instructors are really knowledgeable and the workshops are very helpful; I’ve been very impressed. Also, ProMatch is great. You’re not just learning from the workshops—it’s also a support network. It lets you feel like you have a purpose each day of the week; it’s a place where you can be productive in advancing your career goals. There are a lot of good, very experienced people to learn from. I was fortunate to be part of a very productive success team.

    I wanted to broaden my career outlook and increase prospects outside of the industry I had been working in and found training in an Embedded Systems program to be a good fit. I attended classes through UC Santa Cruz Extension and have just one to go to complete my certificate. I’ll need to do it online because I’ve just moved to Colorado for a new job.

    I credit NOVA especially for the soft skills and interview training I received. In ‘Behavior-based Interviewing’ I received a list of about 50 questions that I reviewed. That helped a lot in getting me prepared and focused for my interviews. Also, I had a couple of PSRs [Problem/Solution/Result] ready and was able to use them.

    I’m settling into my new job at Lockheed Martin and taking on more responsibility. NOVA’s services gave me more confidence and helped me obtain a job that I enjoy and is a good fit. As a repeat customer, I can truthfully say that I’ve used other career enhancing services and found NOVA to be the best.
  • Two weeks before Christmas, Monica was unexpectedly laid off due to corporate restructure. In the 11 years at her previous company, her responsibilities grew from the local area to international reach. With confidence, Monica began to apply to many jobs online. In late January, EDD [California Employment Development Department] required Monica to attend a reassessment appointment where many resources were offered and an additional requirement was shared. By this time, Monica’s confidence in obtaining new employment was beginning to falter because she was learning how much the job search process had changed. She was thankful for the information provided by EDD to assist. To satisfy the additional requirement, Monica chose to attend a ProMatch informational meeting where she was introduced to NOVA.

    NOVA’s services were very appealing and the following morning Monica signed up for registration. She hit classes hard and within one month had taken 18 out of the 22 offered. She met with multiple career advisors as well as attended LinkedIn and job-search labs. While Monica found every class extremely useful, ‘Generating Job Leads’ and ‘Who Am I?’ were the most impactful. They helped Monica learn how to effectively use her network and reaffirmed the types of employment she was searching for were appropriate for her skillset and interests. At the next orientation, Monica joined NOVA’s ProMatch group, finding it tremendously helpful and rewarding. Through participation, she regained confidence, stepped up to co-facilitate workshops, and she also learned new skills from other members. She was able to practice her elevator pitch in many environments, which gave her more courage to speak to others and attend various networking events.

    The NOVA staff, teachers, advisors, and ProMatch leaders are all friendly and encouraging, which makes a very welcoming environment. Monica is thankful to have had the honor of being a NOVA+ProMatch member and growing professionally while unemployed. She encourages other job seekers to “Say something to anyone and everyone. You never know which conversation will lead you to your next success.” Monica said something in a chance conversation with a stranger and caught wind of a possible opportunity. She used her network to find the opening and in May she began her next success at Santa Clara University. She credits NOVA and ProMatch for making her better than she was and teaching her many valuable lessons for increased success in her future. She enjoys giving back as part of the Facilitation Skills Workshop Team, teaching facilitation skills to future members.
  • As a past NOVA customer, Roy Wells knew where to start his job search when his employment ended. He came to the NOVA Job Center determined to thoroughly explore his career options. A veteran with many years of IT experience from both the military and private industry, Roy learned through interviewing that upgrading his skills would enhance his employment prospects. He decided to focus on building his project management skills and was able to take advantage of training funding through NOVA’s Ready to Work grant to attend UC Santa Cruz Extension and complete a Project Management certificate.

    Roy excelled at his training but needed current work experience to add to his resumé. NOVA’s Internship to Employment program provided the opportunity for him to work with the City of Sunnyvale’s IT department on its Smart Cities project. Roy completed his internship with flying colors: the City’s IT director commented, “Roy is absolutely amazing and we are thrilled with his level of detail, technical skills, and organizational skills.” Through his work on this project, Roy made contacts with other cities and will soon begin working with the City of Mountain View as a project analyst, focusing on assisting with their own Smart Cities project.

    Roy says his NOVA experience has been top notch. He has even spoken with soldiers getting off active duty and told them to ask about NOVA once they get home. When asked for his advice to other job seekers, Roy stated, “It doesn’t matter how far you’ve got to travel, come in and work with the best—join both ProMatch and NOVA—their programs work! Take advantage of everything offered, because the contacts you make in the program will serve you well throughout your career.”
  • I am 52 years old and have worked in the healthcare field for 25+ years. I am a lifetime Bay Area resident. In the Spring of 2018, the company with which I was employed outsourced my position (and other roles within the team) to a firm in Southern California. Our positions were eliminated in Northern California, so as a displaced worker, I was eligible for EDD [California Employment Development Department] benefits. I learned about NOVA from an EDD representative. I registered with NOVA right away and began to attend workshops. One of the presentations discussed funds for training/re-training within a professional's genre, and I decided to apply. Lo and behold, NOVA accepted my application to the training program and my career pivot from clinical health educator to pharmacy technician was completed at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills.

    My career advisor and I spoke on the phone, in face-to-face meetings, and via email at least once weekly to ensure I had the support I needed as a mature worker returning to school. She helped me keep my chin held high as I studied so hard! To take 21 units/quarter was one of the most difficult journeys I could have undertaken. The experience mirrored the rigors I faced in graduate school. (I have a Master of Public Health degree.) In addition to one-on-one mentoring, I took a myriad of workshops on resumé retooling, job search, and networking, and enrolled in the mature worker program. I received emails from NOVA about workshops, job openings, mature worker meetings, networking, job fairs, and a host of other resources. The WHOLE NOVA package in which I participated was beneficial. I believe the “back to work” tapestry that NOVA provides—and I only tapped just some of the offerings—was of incredible value. I owe NOVA a debt of gratitude for its backbone of support in my career re-launch!

    I earned my California Board of Pharmacy technician license on June 5, graduated magna cum laude from Foothill College with an A.S. degree in Pharmacy Technology on June 28, and passed my national PTCB certification (CPhT) on July 19. I started a full-time, union, benefitted pharmacy technician position with Regional Medical Center of San Jose on August 19. I have additional goals in healthcare, but those plans can proceed after I have a full year of experience in pharmacy under my belt.

    NOVA was an absolutely, positively, critical piece in my navigating, surviving, and thriving in this incredibly challenging working world of the S.F. Bay Area. My tips for current job seekers: (1) Ask for help. NOVA has an array of coaches with different areas of expertise. So ... there's no such thing as a silly question. And (2), attend as many workshops as you can to ensure what you think in your head matches today's reality. Update your skills. Listen to what others have to say. Network. Be open to new ideas. And ... stay positive!