Thought Leadership Blog
By Jill Patterson, Key Account Executive, ZipRecruiter, and former Board President, PA Women Work
Jill Patterson was Pennsylvania Women Work’s Board President for more than six years and has been involved with our organization for even longer. During her tenure as our president, Jill helped us transform thousands of lives, introduce a variety of new programs and initiatives, reshape our organization’s mission and vision, and so much more. She has given countless hours of her time and dedication to helping women find family-sustaining employment.
As Jill’s time as our Board President came to a close at the end of June, we asked her to reflect on her time with our organization.
Q: Why did you first get involved with PA Women Work?
I was introduced to Pennsylvania Women Work through a colleague, and it was – as some say – love at first site. The mission, vision and values of PA Women Work fit exactly what I was looking for – a way to give back to the community in a meaningful and dedicated way while still holding a full-time job.
Q: What are you most proud of during your tenure as board president?
We’ve accomplished so many different milestones as an organization over the last six years – it’s hard to pick just one. We’ve expanded services; we’ve changed offices; we’ve diversified funding. But, during my tenure, there are two events that truly come to mind as monumental:
1. After an executive director change, we launched a search for the next PA Women Work leader. During this time, we had more than 40 quality applicants. As the leader of the search committee, I conducted phone interviews with every qualified candidate and assisted in the process until the final two applicants presented their plans to the board.
Ultimately, Julie Marx-Lally, our current CEO, was selected. While I didn’t have a final vote in who was hired, we have reaped the benefits of having an amazing leader from so many quality candidates.
2. Secondly – as many nonprofit organizations – money is always an issue. When I started my tenure, funding was isolated to a single grant from the government. This year, our line item was in the Governor’s budget – not added after the fact. Not only that, we actually received increased funding for the first time in more than two decades. I am extremely proud to have played a small role in this huge accomplishment.
Q: What’s your favorite memory?
There are so many memories that come to mind, but one that stands out happened in the last few years. We were meeting with a funding organization who asked us to have a client and board member present.
At the beginning of the meeting, our client entered the room and seemed annoyed to be there. Her body language was not welcoming, and she was rather silent for most of the meeting. Then, out of the blue, she asked if she could talk, and her somewhat distracted demeanor turned into a beautifully told story about failure-to-success.
She explained how PA Women Work changed her life, and the impact was felt by everyone in the room (some tears were even shed).
It’s hearing stories like those that always provide a gentle – but GREAT – reminder that the work we do changes lives – and changes generations to come.
Q: As a professional who has worked for several large online job-search companies, what are some of the biggest mistakes you see people make?
There are three main mistakes that job-seekers make over and over again.
Mistake #1: Thinking a one-size resume fits all. With today’s technology – it’s important to take the time to understand a job and customize your resume for the position in which you are applying. If you don’t, you could be eliminated before you even begin.
Mistake #2: Applying for jobs in which you don’t meet the minimum requirements. By law, companies that post minimum requirements cannot review candidates that don’t meet the minimum requirements. Don’t waste your time, or a recruiter’s time – only apply for jobs that are relevant to you and that you meet the minimum requirements.
Mistake #3: Ghosting employers during the application process. If you are offered an interview over the phone or an in-person meeting, attend the interview. If, for some reason, the job is not a fit, you can always call and let the interviewer know – be honest and communicate well – doing nothing should not ever be an option.
Q: What is your top tip for job-seekers?
Network and show appreciation along the way. Why wait until a desperate situation to ask for referrals and recommendations? You should continue to look for growth and development options and find examples of your work before you are in the job market. And, if you appreciate someone’s work, recognize them for that even when they don’t need it.
Jill will remain a volunteer with PA Women Work and will serve as our Board Ex Officio for the next year. Leslye Herrmann, our current Board President, looks forward to working with Jill and the PA Women Work team to continue to make an impact on thousands of women across Pennsylvania.