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About Jennifer Anderson
When I wake up at 3AM, I just want to fall back asleep.
When that doesn't happen, my "please help me to fall back asleep" prayer usually starts as a simple request. By 4AM, it's a frustrated plea for divine assistance. By 5AM, I've either solved the world's problems or created new ones. Never once have I considered that the Lord may keeping me awake for a reason.
But after talking to Jen Anderson, career coach, recruiter, and author of the "3am With God" Journal, I am starting to wonder if He's been trying to tell me something.
A 3am Wake-Up Call
The "3am With God" journal and guided course is something Jen felt prompted to create after she received an impression at (you guessed it) 3AM.
After pushing the idea aside for a bit, she finally got to work collaborating with God on what is now a tool she uses to help others figure out what the Lord may be prompting them to do.
Of that experience, she said, "What that did for me was it introduced a new product into my business world that was basically telling the world that I am a Christian woman, and as a woman of faith, I'm inviting other people to recognize the inspiration they're getting at 3:00 AM in the mornings. That that's a secret divine time. If you read in the scriptures, there's many examples of people being awakened from dreams and visions and all sorts of stuff in the middle of the night."
It's changed my career coaching with people because it's coming from a space of all the variables that are in your job search equation. Let us not omit the variable of God.
- Jennifer Anderson -
A Better Recruiter
The funny thing is, the journal is not why I wanted to interview Jen.
I wanted to talk to her because she's been a career coach and job recruiter for more than two decades. She's helped thousands of people find meaningful employment through a process I know very little about. But after talking to her on this subject as well, I'm starting to wonder what I might have been missing during the day now too.
I learned in this interview that a recruiter could be your biggest ally in making a faithful career move. A good recruiter can help you find employment opportunities that are not posted on job boards, make sure the hiring manager carefully reviews your resume, get you in for an interview, and help you negotiate a higher salary.
Why wouldn't you use a recruiter?
Listen to this interview with Jen Anderson to learn more about the role of a good recruiter, how to find one that specializes in your field of expertise, and what you need to do to make the relationship work.
I promise, after listening, you too will be wondering what else you've missed.
What is it that you want to be known for?
When you are clear about that, you back it up to today and say... 'What is it that I'm looking for?
- Jennifer Anderson -
What You'll Learn in this Episode
- The role of a good recruiter
- The difference between a recruiter and a corporate recruiter
- How to find a recruiter who will be a good fit for you
- How to manage the recruiter relationship
- How Jen came up with the idea to create the 3am With God journal
- Most Importantly: How Jen has seen the Lord’s hand in her career
Download the Transcript
Everything You Need to Know About Working With a Recruiter
Guest: Jennifer Anderson
Shelley Hunter: You're listening to the Faithful Career Moves podcast. I'm your host, Shelley Hunter. This is a place where we talk to people who recognize the Lord's hand in their lives and specifically in their careers.
Thank you for joining me on episode 10 of the Faithful Career Moves podcast.
Today, we're talking to a career coach, Jen Anderson. She brings over 22 years of experience helping working Christian moms navigate career development. She's helped over 100,000 people with job changes and workplace issues, just getting passed up for a promotion or being on a performance plan, and dealing with the fear of getting fired or navigating the job search and more.
Now, I wanted to interview Jen because of her work as a recruiter. Knowing this is another tool for job seekers to use, I figured we should know more about that. I didn't anticipate finding out that her focus is closely aligned with my own.
Jen is passionate about helping working Christian moms tap into the inspiration that God has for them in all areas of their lives. One of her tools is the 3am With God journal that helps you to write down your inspiration, and then take guided action on the prompting.
Now trust me, when you hear more about that, you’ll wonder if the middle of the night wakeup call you've been getting for years is actually the Lord trying to tell you something. [chuckles]
We'll start off talking about how, when, and why you should work with a recruiter like Jen Anderson.
Jen Anderson: I would say the best way to describe me in just a quick sentence is that with 22 years of career development experience, it is an amazing reality for me to see how there's this commonality for everybody everywhere that we have careers. It doesn't matter if you are some mom in the middle of North America or you're in the middle of Africa. We all have work that we do. The more we can tap into how that's a blessing in our lives, I think it brings an overall space of less chaos, less overwhelm, and less of that just kind of those anxious feelings when we stop and we recognize that our careers really are an amazing thing. This is a wonderful way that God actually uses us to make a difference in the world.
Shelley: That's one of the ways He brings us together.
Jen: Yes and I love seeing people awaken to see that, "Oh, work actually is a beautiful thing. It's not a bad thing. [chuckles] It's amazing. There's actually a lot of beauty to it." In fact, often, I like to reference Proverbs 31. I personally am striving to be a Proverbs 31 woman. It starts in verse 10. "A virtuous woman is more valuable than rubies." Then it gets into what is a virtuous woman. It's interesting because several of those scriptures in there, those verses in that scripture, I should say, talk about what the woman is doing to bless the world with her talents.
As a career coach, I love that I get to be right in that space of being on the frontlines to help people wake up to what their blessings are and use them and know how to navigate that. It's a true honor for me to do that. I've worked with over about 100,000 people over the last two decades. It's remarkable. It's really lovely.
Shelley: Let's talk specifically-- Today, we're going to talk about a recruiter. You are a recruiter. Is that the correct vernacular these days?
Jen: [chuckles] Yes, yes. Often, it's referred to as recruiter. Sometimes you'll hear people say things like a corporate recruiter and that’s somebody who works inside of a company. So take Google, for example, they have their own recruiters that work in-house. All they're doing is recruiting to find people to work for all the many different pieces and parts, I should say, related to Google specifically.
That's a totally different person and a different type of interaction versus somebody that's a recruiter that's outside of companies, and they're introducing candidates to a company. Then, even within the recruiter space for people who are outside of companies, there are people who work for a recruiting firm. If you were interested in accounting jobs, for example, there's staffing agencies that specifically place people in accounting roles only. If you were a nurse and you were to call up that staffing agency, they wouldn't be able to do anything with you because all they do is they place people in accounting.
Likewise, there's recruiters who specifically place people in nursing. If an accountant was to call them, they wouldn't have anything to help them because all they have would be nursing jobs.
I just want to make sure we’re really clear about that because sometimes, people get a little confused in their mind as to who is the recruiter and where do they fit, and how does that all come together? There can actually, for a job seeker, there could be multiple different recruiters they could be interacting with from those different walks of life.
Shelley: I didn't know that they specialize. Do you specialize?
Jen: For me, personally, no, I do not. I have specialized in the past. I used to work in a technology recruiting company. All we placed were people who were software developers, QA testers, project managers, business analysts, people who were specifically in the tech space. I started my own company in 2009. I did it because I wanted to be able to be helpful in the recruiting process, but I also wanted to do more career coaching.
I think that's something that's really important for people to understand, is that they think, "Oh, I'll find a recruiter and they're going to help me get a job." Here's the thing is that recruiters can be fantastic to get you introduced to a manager of the company and to help shepherd your resume through the process to get to the right manager, which is the number reason, in my opinion, to work with a recruiter instead of having your resume lost in the black hole of an applicant tracking system. [laughs]
Shelley: For sure.
Jen: It's just horrible. We could do a whole another podcast episode about how the online stuff has ruined recruiting, but when it comes to working with a recruiter who's actually going to help to get your resume, that's what I mean by shepherd, they're going to help to guide your resume through the process and get it to the hiring manager and following up with the hiring manager.
They're there to really encourage that manager to make sure that they have a conversation with you and to really push the manager to do that because sometimes there's the tendency on the manager’s part to look at the resume and just say, "No, I don't think we're going to be a good fit." But the recruiters already had a conversation with the candidate, so the recruiter can speak on behalf of the candidate and say, "No, no, no, Mr. hiring manager. This is the reason why you’ve got to talk to this candidate because of X, Y, Z reason."
What I was mentioning about me and what was happening with my business, the reason why I wanted to do it is that at that point, I had had many conversations with job seekers. Again, many, many tens of thousands of people. What I noticed is that people would come to a recruiter and say, "Hey, I need a new job." The recruiter says, "Okay, great. That's fine. What are you looking for?" "Oh, I don't know. I'm a project manager right now," or "I'm a nurse right now," or "I'm an insert whatever right now. All I really want to do is I want a job closer to home," or "I want to make X thousands of dollars more per year," or just some-- There'll be very high-level reasoning why the job seeker wants to make a job change. Then you have a recruiter who's trying to navigate and understand where that candidate is coming from.
What I found often is that I would dig and totally understand who the applicant is, who this job seeker, and I'm asking questions about, "Okay, what's your long-term career goal? Where are you headed with your career today? What do you see yourself doing later? What are some things that you're worried about in your career? What are some black spots that you're a little bit worried that might be tarnishing your career? What are those bright spots?"
As I've talked to job seekers, they often they would be like, "[thinking]"
Shelley: "I don't know. I don't know. I just want more money."
Jen: Yes, "I just want more money." I'm sitting over here doing the forehead slap going, "Oh. Aah, this is not good. You are not going to present yourself very well to a company."
Shelley: Right. If I can interject, it means, "You're asking me to represent you and to push you through and to use my name and my reputation to push you through, but you don't even know if you actually want this job."
Jen: Right. Exactly. It's not even just about wanting the job specifically, but even knowing who are you? What are you about? What's your intrinsic value that you provide to the world? What are those successes? What are those things that make you shine? That's why I moved into this space of a hybrid of career coach and recruiter so then that way, I can help people to make sure that they're glowing and shining and without all those rough spots smoothed out a little bit.
Also, the other piece of it too is that I just happen to know a lot of people by the nature of what I do. It's just really helpful to make those introductions accordingly, plus I get to know people who know people. [laughs] That's really helpful so I can help them to navigate and to connect to those different people, but when they're ready to connect with them. I think there's a lot of job seekers who think that recruiter is going to swoop in and be a superhero if you will and just save the day. It's like, "No, my friend. That's not going to happen. It's your career, you need to make sure that you're handling it."
In fact, I’ve got to tell you a story, Shelley. This happened multiple times. This one particular story will really highlight what I'm trying to say here about people managing their own careers. I get this guy's resume. He has, overall, really good experience and he had applied specifically for a posting that we actually had on our company website so I reach out to him. I jump on the phone and call him and he answers the phone. I said, "Hey, it's Jennifer over here at such and such staffing agency and I got your resume for XYZ position." There's just this long pause on the other end of the line. He says, "I'm sorry, who are you?
Again I said, "This is Jennifer and I'm with such and such staffing agency. You applied for XYZ position." There's this long pause again and he said, "I am so sorry. I don't know what this is about." We started talking a little bit more. I said, "This is a position I thought would mean--" Sometimes job seekers get in that mode of applying to lots of different jobs. I just thought, "Okay, that's fine". I can tell I had caught him at work. We start digging in and all of a sudden the guy says, "Oh, oh, oh, oh, I know what this is. My wife told me she needs me to make $10,000 more per year." I said, "Okay. that's fine. Go find me a new job and I'll make you $10,000 more per year."
Shelley: Oh my gosh.
Jen: He was at work. What do you think his wife was doing?
Shelley: She's submitting applications for him.
Jen: [laughs] Yes, absolutely. Without telling him where she was sending his resume to. Now, you got this guy who's getting calls from who knows who saying, "Hey, you applied for this job," and he doesn't even know that his resume has been sent. He doesn't understand any of this. Tapping back into what you said a minute ago about how job seekers are expecting that recruiter to use their reputation to get you in the door. Here I am in a situation very uniquely positioned to introduce this guy to a fantastic opportunity, probably more than likely, negotiate to get him higher pay because I'm quite good at that. I refused to represent him.
I said, "You're setting yourself up for a very very difficult job change right now," and I said, "and also it's quite possible you're ruining your reputation in this marketplace," because marketplaces can get really small because people know each other. I said, "If I were you, I would have a conversation with your wife as soon as possible and talk more specifically about what your serious job search could look like. Now, maybe she could help you by doing administrative tasks such as sending your resume but you need to know which those opportunities are." To me, it's a perfect example of somebody abdicating responsibility to somebody else to do that job search for them.
Shelley: When would somebody engage a recruiter if they do need a job change?
Jen: When you're working full-time and you're getting that nudge to go find another job, it's okay to start talking to a recruiter right away. You can just be very upfront and honest with them about, "I want to take my time with this to find the right position. I don't just want to go and jump into the next thing." It's okay to have those conversations. In fact, I was talking to a friend of mine. She's in the health care space as a recruiter and she was saying how she loves to have very proactive conversations with people and I said, "I know. Isn't it so fantastic?" So that that way in advance you get a feel for what that person's looking for. Then, in essence, the recruiters out there shopping and keeping an eye out on your behalf, and then as soon as they find something that aligns with what you're looking for, then they can circle back with you.
Shelley: Is a recruiter for anybody or is it just the C-suite?
Jen: If it's a recruiter that works inside of a corporation. They're the corporate recruiter. They, of course, going to work with anybody all the way from the entry-level, all the way up through the C-suite but if it's somebody who's outside of the company, usually those types of recruiters will be helpful on multiple different levels but they're completely different types of recruiters.
For example, if you've been a stay-at-home mom for the last 12 years and you're looking to transition back to working in the workforce and maybe in the past, you had an executive position or whatnot, it's very likely that an executive C-suite placing recruiter is not going to want to talk to you because you've been out of the game for 12 years. Maybe you're not going to go back in a C-suite but maybe there might be a senior-level position, anything that you can get into the company, and then you can move up from there. There'll be different recruiters who will focus on people who are more in the middle of the pack of a company but often they'll be a totally separate individual person who's focusing on the C-suite.
At the entry-level positions, the jobs could almost be for somebody who hasn't even graduated from college or they did graduate from college then you're almost going to be going to a place that places temporary employees with the idea of doing temp-to-hire.
Shelley: Oh, which I think is a great option.
Jen: I personally feel getting in the door as a temp is a fantastic way to prove yourself and get back out there. It's a lot less skin in the game on the company's part to hire you.
Shelley: How do you go about finding a recruiter then?
Jen: Sure. I think the fastest way to start is just go to Google and search for a recruiter. Let's just use the example of accounting. You would do accounting recruiter and then put in the city and state where you want to be working because maybe you're living in Idaho but your intention is to move over to Chicago so you want to connect with a recruiter who's in Chicago. Let's just start with that and you'll be amazed to see what pops up.
The other thing you can do while you're getting that process started is to stop and think about who do I know. If you're an accountant, you would just stop and say, "Okay, I want to go to Chicago. Who are accounting friends of mine that are in Chicago?" You would contact them and say, "Okay. Who's a good recruiter that places accountants in Chicago? Who have you worked with?"
Shelley: I really had no idea that recruiters specialized like that, but it makes sense. As you talk, the analogy that comes to my mind is that of a real estate agent. I know I've been guilty myself of doing this and thinking, "I don't need a real estate agent. I can see all of the houses that are available just looking on Zillow," but then you do meet with an agent and suddenly they have all these listings you've never seen. The function of a recruiter seems similar to me.
Jen: Oh, absolutely, yes. There's a number of companies that will never post their positions publicly. They will only work with a recruiter and here's the reason why. Is that it's a very long arduous process for companies to take applicants through the whole process. Some companies will just say, "You know what? It's not worth it for us to try to handle that internally. It's cheaper and more effective to bring somebody in from the outside."
That recruiter becomes almost part of the team of that company, their client company because they're going to know what's important to that company. They'll know what's important to those managers in those different positions, et cetera but the recruiter is not embroiled in running the business. The recruiter is out there doing what they do well which is keeping an eye on the marketplace, looking at the candidates, doing networking, et cetera.
Shelley: There are jobs that we just may never even see.
Jen: Again, the company is not going to waste their time sometimes posting it on their website because they're going to use this recruiter. They want the recruiter to do all of that. Screening of the candidates and to narrow it down and then present them with maybe three or five top candidates for that one position.
Shelley: It's so much more efficient.
Jen: I want the job seekers who are listening to this to think for a moment. Aside from hiring this new accounts receivable person, what else could be on the mind of that controller or that CFO?
Shelley: Yes. Everything else on my to-do list today.
Jen: Yes, absolutely. That is going to be harder and more important to them than hiring somebody. Even though yes, they need to hire because maybe the team's expanding, maybe somebody quit, maybe they're promoting somebody. There are seven different reasons for any particular position why it exists and then you start to see the value of how recruiters really actually can help make a difference so that manager can say, "Yes, out of those five resumes you sent to me, I want to talk to these four people." They get off the phone with a recruiter. That controller goes back to the handling all the other stuff that they need to do for the day.
Meanwhile, the recruiter gets on the phone with those five candidates. They can call the one person and say, "Hey, thanks but no thanks this time. Let's keep an eye out for other things." They'll call the other four candidates to say, "Okay. These are the interview time slots I have. Let's get you scheduled." Then at the end, if the company hires somebody, then the recruiter gets paid.
Shelley: I love the feedback nature of that. My goodness, when you are submitting applications online, you just don't hear anything.
Jen: Right. Oh, it's horrible.
Shelley: All right. Anything else listeners should understand about working with a recruiter?
Jen: I really want to impress upon the job seekers that you need to understand that as much as you think the recruiter is your best friend, they're not. They are in a very precarious situation where they're straddling the fence between the job seekers and the hiring managers. They're trying to do the best for both as they possibly can. One thing that we didn't really talk about is how to navigate the relationship with the recruiter.
Let's say you've engaged with them, you've identified that "Yes, I'm a project manager." They place project managers wonderful. They understand about what it is you're looking for, et cetera. Then you need to ask the recruiter, "How do you want me to stay in touch with you?" Ask them that because there might be some recruiters who like, "Hey, you know what? Don't call me. I'll call you when I have a job opportunity." It's not because they're being rude or pushing you back. It's just that they might have a lot of other stuff that they're navigating and they don't have time to sit and chat on the phone with you all day.
You can just simply just say, "How should I best be helping this whole process?" Then also ask them what you should expect from them as far as how this should go because recruiters will have their own flair, their own style, a little bit of how they'll handle this. I'll give you an example of what I do with peoples. I will tell them, "If for some reason, you haven't heard from me by the end of the week, please give me a call on Friday at two o'clock." Then I will do everything I can to make sure I follow up with that person. I might text them, e-mail, call them, or something, but every once in awhile, stuff falls through the cracks.
Jen: I know that that job seeker and I are working in tandem together, that they're going to call me on Friday at two o'clock to check-in, but also another reason why I do it as a recruiter is I'm checking to make sure, is that job seeker actually doing what they say they're going to do?
Shelley: Yes or no. I should work with multiple recruiters?
Jen: I would say work with two at the most. Especially if they're specialized. If you're that project manager, you're working with two recruiters that are specifically working on project management type positions. That's it because they might have similar positions that they're working on and you do not want to have two recruiters submit your resume for the exact same position at the exact same company. I've seen that happen before and what ends up happening is that the manager will actually kick the candidate out of the runnings for everybody because it goes to show that the job seeker is not doing a good job of managing their resources.
I'm not sure what you've shared with the job seekers on other podcast episodes, but I think it's really important that people keep some kind of a tracking system, just like a simple spreadsheet, for example, keep a list of every single job that they've applied to. Who helped them to get to that application? Then this is where you would put, "Sally Sue Recruiter sent my resume on X date" and then that way, if the following day or a week later, you get a call from another resume and it's Jim Bob Recruiter, and he says, "Oh yes, I've got a position at such and such company." You can pull up that spreadsheet and say, "Oh, you know what? I actually have already had somebody else submit my resume last week."
Shelley: It sounds like it's okay to say, "I want to let you know that I'm already working with Sue Recruiter or no."
Jen: Yes. You can let them know that you're working with another recruiter because then it just helps the recruiters understand that you're very serious about looking for a job. They also understand the competitive landscape that they're working within because, again, they don't get paid until you take a job and start. Actually, a lot of recruiters don't even get paid until you've been there for at least 30, 60, or 90 days depending on the contract. They're going to want to make sure that they're working with somebody, that they have a very high probability of placing.
Really, in the end, all of this stuff goes back to one of the first things we talked about in this interview is that the joy in recognizing the blessing that you have of your talents and making a difference in the world is what's most important here. Leveraging a recruiter to help you to get into that next position is one of your tools, just like using the realtor to leverage their talents and their skills to help you find your ideal next home. What's most important with all of this is taking a deep breath, recognizing that you have a lot of value to bring, therefore it's okay that you're working with more than one recruiter. You're leveraging them to help you get into the next right place where you can continue to bless the world with what talents you have.
Shelley: Thank you for bringing that full circle here. The job search is scary when you think it depends on you and you think it's about your talents, abilities, and networking, and nobody wants to hire me, and I'm not very good at interviewing. All of that can feel ominous, but when you step back and you recognize this is about me sharing the talents and abilities that I've been given, and trying to bless my family. The Lord has a plan for me here. I just have to keep walking through the doors to see if I can find the right path. Then it becomes less intimidating and more like a search. We're following a map and we're looking for clues of where we go.
Jennifer, before we wrap up, you already described a leap of faith that you took when you decided to go out on your own and you wanted to provide some career coaching. Are there some unexpected blessings that came through that move?
Jen: When I made that change, I was married to somebody who was fine with me to go do an entrepreneurial endeavor. He came from an entrepreneurial family. He was fine. I was successful right out of the gate as far as I knew a lot of people. When I hung up my shingle to say, "Hey, I'm in business." There were a lot of people who were interested in working with me. It wasn't because of who I had that job with. They liked who I am and what I stand for. Fast forward then, a number of years later, that marriage fell apart and we were divorced and the unexpected blessings have come in two different ways.
Number one, when I moved out of that house, so we did not have children. I moved out and moved in by myself. Because I had my own business, I could pick and choose what I wanted to do. It was really nice because I could let my heart heal. We'd been married for 14 years and dated for two years before that. For a big part of my 20s and 30s, I was with him, and that all fell apart. When you go through a divorce, it's the death of a living breathing relationship. To see that go away and all that we had been working toward was tough and I needed time to heal. I needed time to just lay on the bed at 9:45 in the morning and cry my eyes out. Whereas if I was working somewhere full-time, I don't know that I would have had the time and the space to heal.
The other blessing that came from it-- Later I got married, I got pregnant, and I had my first child at the age of 41. There I was in a circumstance of, "Huh, I want to spend time with my baby and my child, and I want to do my work. I love what I do." I did not have to go and put her in daycare, Monday through Friday, all day. I could navigate things. Through nannies, through some daycare, through a number of different things, I was able to piece together a quilt that felt really good to me and my heart and felt peaceful for how I wanted to run my business and felt peaceful for how I wanted to mother. It was really grateful to have my business in place before she showed up.
Shelley: It's such a gift.
Jen: I have a third blessing that's come to me because of this I want to share is that I never realized how much I would enjoy working with a variety of different people. The companies, the variety of companies, the variety of managers, the job seekers, et cetera. That was really lovely before I even started my own gig, but when I started doing my own thing, it allowed me to pick and choose who I wanted to work with and to identify what were my non-negotiables and what I'm willing to put up with and what I'm not willing to put up with. When you're working for somebody else, you have to just run with what they say. I'm not saying that every company is this horrible place you have to put up with all of their shenanigans. I'm not saying that, but for me personally, that just really resonated with my heart.
It's nice for me to stop now, and look back over the last 11 plus years of having my own business and to see how I've been able to work with companies and individuals that I would have never have had that type of opportunity had I stayed working full-time for somebody else. To me, it's just another example of seeing really truly the hand of God in my life using me in ways that I would not have been able to do had I stayed in Corporate America full-time.
As I said before, in striving to be a Proverbs 31 woman, to me it's important that I use my time in a way that makes a difference for others because that ripple effect back even to me in my personal life. When I'm done with this time and I get to go back and check back in with the Lord to say, "Hey, I did it." I did it in a way that was peaceful and felt good and I know I made a difference.
Shelley: That's wonderful. I think it's interesting that you felt the urge to go off on your own because, in your mind, it was about offering career coaching. The Lord knows what will prick our heart and get us to move. He knows what we'll respond to, but he has so much in store for us if we just follow it.
Jen: Yes. You just never know what it's going to be in the end. I think that often we try to plan everything out to the ends' detail and we don't need to, which is just what's that next step, that next inspired step, and it's okay to take that. It's okay to ask for help along the way. We've all been getting help all along the way. Even Jesus got helped along the way on his path as well. He needed help.
Let's just give the example of Mary Magdalene. She helped to finance some of his trips and help make a difference. When you really start to see how remarkable things can happen when we will put our talents and our efforts together, that will make a big difference in the long run. That's what I would invite our listeners to stop and just think about "When it's all said and done, what is it that I want to be known for?" When you are clear about what you want to be known for, then you back it up to today and say, "Okay, what am I going to do keeping that post in the road, if you will, as my target of what it is that I'm looking for?"
For me, personally, Shelley, what I want to be known for is that I activated people. I fully expect to be at my funeral in angelic form, looking down at people at my funeral who are getting up and testifying about how I helped them to activate to go do something. I'm going to be up there doing a fist pump from heaven, "Yes babe. Aha. That's right."
Just excited to see those people who were activated to go do something, but the reality is, all you need to do is take that first step on what seems like possibly a very, very long stairwell, but just take the first step up. Then from there, you'll go to the next one. It's really amazing how God will put people on your path that you need just at the right time.
Shelley: I love that. I think you've already answered this, but I didn't ask it specifically. How have you seen the hand of God in your career?
Jen: Oh, sister. So much. Certainly following the prompting to go and start my own gig. [chuckles] I just remember my former coworkers looking at me with their cocked head a little bit like, "What are you doing? Why would you leave a full-time thing that has base pay and commissions and paid time off?" I'm like, "Because this is what the right thing is for my soul."
In looking back for over the last 11 years, I would have never realized I've had all these adventures and twists and turns from that just that first thing of deciding to leave. I know for myself from a career coaching standpoint, I had a really remarkable experience that happened back in July of 2017. At that point, I'd already had my business for several years, but I often wake up at three o'clock in the morning and get little bits of inspiration from God. I would write them down and back in July of 2017, God woke me up and He said, "Okay, Jen. I need you to create a journal for writing down the 3:00 AM moments." I just thought, "What? This is weird. Okay."
I wrote it down on a piece of paper, woke up the next morning and I thought, "A journal for writing down inspiration in the middle of the night? Okay." I remember literally saying out loud to God, "I'm a career coach. I don't know how to create a journal." [laughs] Then I thought, "Oh, okay." Then my next thought was, "Oh, somebody somewhere must have created this journal."
I jumped online. I looked all over in different Christian denomination like bookstores online. I went to some bookstores in person. I just looked everywhere. Nothing was out there that was a guided journal for writing down the inspiration. I remember saying out loud because I came back to God and I said, "Okay, uncle, there's nothing out there." He's like, "Yes, exactly. That's why I needed you to create this."
I spent the next four months creating this journal. Absolutely co-creating it with God. Now, the 3am With God journal is a real thing. When I went through that experience, Shelley, I was already absolutely a woman of faith, very much checking in with God every day, having my regular morning spiritual routine, going to church, going to the temple, doing all sorts of stuff. I was already fully on God's team.
What that did for me was it introduced a new product into my business world that was basically telling the world that I am a Christian woman and as a woman of faith, I'm inviting other people to recognize that inspiration of getting at 3:00 AM in the mornings and that that's a secret divine time. If you read in the scriptures, there's many examples of people being awakened from dreams and visions and all sorts of stuff in the middle of the night.
I put that out there and I've had people come back to me and say, "How dare you put a Christian product out there? You are a business consultant. You are a career coach. You should not be doing that." The backlash from that was a little bit like, "Whoa, okay." I will tell you what, for every one of those that I have received that feedback, I have instead received hundreds if not thousands of people say, "I love that you are being very upfront about your Christianity. I love that you're willing to embrace this." It's changed my career coaching with people because it's coming from a space of all the variables that are in your job search equation. Let us not omit the variable of God.
Shelley: Gosh, yes.
Jen: Then, with that, you can accomplish some pretty remarkable things in your careers. At first, I was all sorts of nervous and all sorts of flutters in my stomach, but it's pivoted me to this other space where now it's very common for me to talk about things publicly about being a working Christian mom. What does that mean? What does that look like? How do you navigate that? I don't know if the journal request from God would have come had I still stayed in Corporate America. I don't know. Honestly, I will never know until I get on the other side and I can check in with God and say, "Okay, answer to that question."
What I do know is that I was in a place where I had that freedom and flexibility to do what I wanted to do without asking my employer, "Hey, I need to go take the day off from work because I need to go trip around town to go check out some Christian bookstores." I could just do it. I could do what I felt was right. I think because, when it's all said and done, I want to be known as an activator. I think God knows that about me and because I'm willing to go and do that He asked me to create that journal. There are a lot of millions of other Christians on the planet, but He asked me to do it.
Shelley: He asked you.
Jen: I did. I've built more and more of that trust with Him over the years. Seeing the hand of God in my career to me is plain as day and I cannot, cannot hide that light under a bushel. It is impossible for me to do it because He continues to deliver time and time again and in ways that I don't even know that I could possibly fathom.
Shelley: I love that. Thank you so much for being on the show today.
Jen: You're welcome. Thank you for having me.
Shelley: I love this. 3am With God. I haven't ordered the journal yet, but I'm going to because I get frustrated when I wake up in the middle of the night like that and I do it often and my mind starts to race. I start thinking of injustices from decades ago or business ideas that I should do right away, worries about my kids, and all sorts of things that do nothing to help me fall back asleep. What if all along the Lord was just trying to catch me in a quiet moment. Trust me, I do talk to God at 3:00 AM, but it's usually more of a begging prayer that He'll help me fall back to sleep. I bet taking a moment to write down thoughts and inspiration could actually quiet my mind so that I can fall back asleep.
Here's a couple of other points.
I shared Jen's concern about mixing my professional life with my personal faith, but like Jen, I know I needed to do this, so here we are.
Finally, have you ever worked with a recruiter? I haven't, but after talking to Jen, I really feel like I should have. Like those home listings that only realtors know about. I had no idea recruiters had access to job opportunities that never even make it to the job boards. I'm definitely going to start digging deeper for myself as well. If you want to learn more about Jen Anderson, go to careercoachjen.com to download your free copy of 10 Easy Ways to Develop Relationships at Work and to see other offerings to help you build a great career.
One more plug, if you are a stay-at-home mom who really needs to go back to work or wants to go back to work and you're not sure how to get there, then go to faithfulcareermoves.com and get the guide.
Once again, thank you for listening to the Faithful Career Moves podcast. It's my hope that listening to this episode will inspire you to think more broadly about how your career and your spiritual journey intersect.
If you like that idea and want others to have a similar epiphany, then please share this podcast on social media, leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts, or leave a comment on the website. Doing so will help others find this content as well.