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Find Your Dream Job: Insider Tips for Finding Work, Advancing your Career, and Loving Your Job

Jun 11, 2018

Julie Dalrymple moved to Portland from a small, tight-knit community in Napa, California. When she first moved to the Pacific Northwest, she missed that built-in network of connections. But from attending networking events, volunteering with local organizations and conducting informational interviews, Julie was able to build a solid network of contacts who opened up new opportunities for her career.

On this bonus episode of Find Your Dream Job; I talked with Julie Dalrymple about how volunteering opened up new possibilities for her career and helped her secure a job she loves. You can read more about Julie Dalrymple’s job search below in her essay for our Success Stories series.

What do you do for a career? Who do you work for?

I am the marketing & communications manager for Classic Wines Auction ( in Portland. We are a small but mighty organization that produces food and wine events to raise funds for local nonprofit organizations. My job involves creating and implementing the marketing and communications strategy, promoting our events via traditional and digital marketing methods, social media, and community outreach. I do a lot of hands-on graphic and web design as well.

How long did it take you to find this job?

The entire process from the first interview to joining the organization took about six weeks. However, it took several years of searching for the right job. I have a significant background in nonprofit marketing but had a difficult time getting my foot in the door after I moved to Portland in 2014.

How did you find your job? What resources did you use? What tool or tactic helped the most?

As many others will attest, networking is such a powerful force in the job market. When I moved here three years ago, I focused on cultivating connections by going to events, volunteering, and meeting new people through introductions from friends.

Several people alerted me to this particular job opening because it was so well suited to my skills, experience and interests (of course, I had already seen it on Mac’s List). Before applying and interviewing, I researched, followed their social media, reviewed their website thoroughly, and read anything I could find in the media. My prior experience and volunteerism also helped with this position, as I was familiar with the unique nonprofit model of the organization.

What was the most difficult part of your job search? How did you overcome this challenge?

In the case of my longer-term search for the right job, the most difficult part was dealing with rejection. When I first moved to Portland, I interviewed for a number of organizations and seemed to always be the “runner-up.” I had to learn to not take these rejections personally. It’s hard not to doubt your worth when you don’t get that job offer, but a lot is happening behind the scenes that you may not know, and any number of factors can contribute to the final decision.

Also, with every job application comes a good deal of vulnerability and energy. It can be difficult to jump through all the hoops of a job search – to put yourself out there – and not know if the effort will pay off. Many organizations require detailed projects, plans and personal analysis toward the end of the process, which can be exhausting. But it can also be the key to a life-changing career move (and you can learn a lot about yourself).  

What is the single best piece of advice you would offer other job-seekers?

Find a way to get local, hands-on experience in your desired industry. And, if you’re new to an area, explore the region, meet people, volunteer and find new connections.

I volunteered a lot when I moved here – as a tour guide at the Pittock Mansion ( (which introduced me to new friends and helped me get acquainted with the city), as a committee member for the American Cancer Society’s annual gala ( (which provided valuable insight into the Portland nonprofit and event scene), and as a marketing consultant for other small nonprofits (which opened new doors). I can’t stress enough the value of volunteering. It was critical in building my foundation here in Portland.

Why do you love your job?

The people, the mission, the work… and the wine. The people you work with make all the difference, and I’m grateful for great colleagues and an awesome boss. CWA is making a difference in the community, by serving worthy charitable organizations and bringing people together through wine, food and philanthropy.  I’m excited to come into the office every day and do such great work.

I’ve always loved creating memorable experiences for people, especially for a good cause, and I’m glad to be a part of an organization that shares that value.

Want to learn more about Julie? Connect with her on LinkedIn (!