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Frustrated, overqualified and unemployed in Sonoma County

Dear Joan,

My husband and I moved to Sonoma County six months ago for a great job he got at a major corporation in Santa Rosa. We are both professionals from Europe and now have two lovely sons who have settled well into their charter schools in Santa Rosa. We just love the public school options here! The problem is my employment. I have a 10 year track record of professional work and top business credentials, and I  took ten years offf to raise the children. I know I have a gap and I have managed to get part-time job in a winery in a tasting room, but it is not the challenge or pay that I am qualified for. I apply for jobs and have periodically gotten to the interview stage but I am never the one selected. Any ideas?

Frustrated, overqualified, yet unemployed,


Dear Sophia,

First off, welcome to Sonoma County and I am so glad your husband is well employed and your sons are settling well into good schools here in Santa Rosa!

Now the challenge is your employment.

My first suggestion is to see this as a marathon and not a sprint!

You have two things that are challenges in your career portfolio. One is that your experience is from other countries and the other is that you have a 10 year gap in employment. The good news is that you do bring both academic and professional credentials.

But you will need to re-build! Even if you were in Europe you would find that a gap is a challenge or barrier to overcome.

That said, it is taking you longer to find employment that is both challenging and remunerative.

I would suggest you see your employment goal as having several steps in the process and all involved PREPARATION, PEOPLE and MAKING CONNECTIONS, NETWORKING!!

Getting a positive profile in this, local community. It is excellent that you’ve worked in a winery and presumably have some people who will give you positive recommendations.

  1. Getting affiliated in some professional local groups like the Chamber of Commerce and other professional associations in your field. Check with the local chamber to learn about local professional organizations.
  2. Have your professional sales tools ready. This means an updated resume and both past and local letters of recommendation. Include examples of your past contributions and projects that show IMPACT and CONTRIBUTION.
  3. Get to work! Volunteer in local organizations that appeal to your interest and get to know people! You never know when you’ll meet people who can refer you to appropriate connections, while you demonstrate that you are DOER and a CONTRIBUTOR.
  4. Find others who have relocated from your country or from Europe. See how they have made their connections. See if you can affiliate and contribute to get known in their community.
  5. Get to know the parents of your kids friends at school! You already have the school community in common and I’m sure that many of them are affiliated with local employers. See what impact you can have via the school and the school community.

Sophia, it is never easy being a re-entry professional and it is especially difficult as someone from another country, but realize that once you are IN, you are IN, and it all starts with getting to know people and making positive connections through being willing to work and contribute!!

See this as a marathon and not a sprint and you will see, step by step, that you will develop your own community of people, supporters and advocates for you.

Best of luck to you Sophia,

Coach Joan

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