Kristie Vrbich / An Open Mind
Kristie Vrbich / An Open Mind
She is proof that an open mind, a strong skill set, and a little help from employment matchmakers can propel a career forward -- even in a tough economy.
Degreed with a fashion merchandising major and business minor, Kristie Vrbich worked hard to scale the corporate ladder to a competitive position coveted by many: shoe buyer. Then, with the economic downturn, she found herself out of the job she loved as the store closed its doors for good.
From Peep Toes and Platforms to Gaskets and Castings
The reality was that there are not many options on the West Coast for buying positions in retail fashion, and Kristie wasn’t interested in moving. As she looked at her local options against her experience, she knew how well her skills could transfer. She just needed the opportunity to find and convince the right company that she could easily put her agile number-crunching, relationship-building capacity to work for them.
It was a temp-to-hire placement through BennettFrost that positioned Kristie at the ground floor of her career almost a decade earlier. But she didn’t want a temp position at this point, and she hadn’t thought about coming back until a friend reminded her.
Connecting with Executive Recruiter Karena Riley, she then faced the unexpected: a temp-to-hire position with an industrial manufacturer. Temp work wasn’t Kristie’s first choice at first glance, she says. “But I knew that Karena knew me, and I valued her input for what would be good. I felt I could trust that she heard me and I could trust her about the situation. Karena really ‘got’ me and what was important to me.”
Kristie accepted the position and in just a few months became a permanent employee.
“It’s a really fabulous company, and I don’t know if I would have given them a second look, or if I would have gotten my foot in the door,” she said.
Not Just Employment, but Advancement
“In this economy, getting a job is tough,” Kristie says. “Just to get an interview is not that easy anymore. I feel very fortunate to be put in such a great position.”
It all came together because of an open mind on the part of each link in the chain.
“Just because I love shoes and I love fashion doesn’t mean I can’t like another job,” Kristie says. “What do I know about a gasket or manufacturing plant? But it turned out that things are interesting. It really worked out.”
Perceived glamour aside, at the end of the day buying is buying and purchasing is purchasing, she says. “The difference is that previously I was buying for the consumer. Now I’m buying bits and pieces to be manufactured.”
Kristie conveys just how frustrating the job search can be. “Many companies want an agency to have checked you out,” she says. Yet not all agencies are the same. For some, she says, you’re simply business.
“But at BennettFrost all the people – Karena, Cathy, Jan, Nancy, and everyone -- have been very personable, friendly and caring.”
Experience and outcome are both important, and in the aspects of her new position Kristie sees a good fit and a good future. It’s also a source of encouragement as she thinks of the prospects for those who are still displaced.
For tips on job searching, please see our blog: Successful Seekers Transfer Skills.
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