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Staff Spotlight – Zach DeRossette, Career Coach

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Rithm School

May 22, 2019

We’re excited to have Zach DeRossette join the Rithm team as our Career Coach! You can find him meeting with and supporting our students and alum throughout their job search. Here we learn a little bit more about Zach, his role on the team and his advice to job seekers (including spend less time applying online!)

Zach DeRossette Headshot

Can you tell us about your role at Rithm and how you support students?

I am the career coach here at Rithm and I support students throughout the entirety of their job search. I work with students on a one-on-one basis and give group presentations on job search strategies. The job search can be a daunting endeavor, especially for people changing careers, so I am here to help with all of the issues that pop up along the way. This can be in the form of giving resume and cover letter feedback, doing mock interviews, and other times it is helping deal with the nerves that pop up during the process. Above all, I strive to help students develop their unique voice, discover their values, and craft goals to find enjoyable and meaningful work.

What’s one interesting fact or story about you that current students would be interested to learn?

I think the story about getting my first job after college is pretty relevant, so here it goes. I moved to San Francisco from the midwest after graduating college with no job and no place to live. I was young, optimistic, and determined to make it work. I was hoping to get a job at the startup that sold me all of my music equipment. I applied and was immediately rejected… I didn’t let this discourage me and decided I had to take matters into my own hands. I rode my bike to the company’s address and rang the doorbell. When the founder came to the door I told him I was there for the job. He was surprised (probably didn’t even remember my application) and offered to interview me on the spot. The interview took its course and he thanked me for coming in. I later received an email explaining that he was going with another candidate because they had previous experience, and I was fresh out of college. I was not going to take no for an answer, so I reached out again and offered to work for free on a part time basis to show him that I could handle the job and add value to the company. He agreed to let me come in for two months in exchange for store credit. By the end of the second month I had been hired full time to the position that I had originally applied to, but had been rejected from twice.

This experience changed the way I looked at the job search. Sometimes to get a job you have to be willing to do what other people won’t. Knowing what you want and putting all of your effort towards that, is always better than wandering around and taking whatever comes your way.

How did your previous experience lead you to Rithm?

I worked at a startup for a couple of years and realized that my interests revolved around people in the workplace. I went back to school and got a Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology hoping to use this knowledge to improve the way people work. I then worked several years in employee selection, helping companies find the “best” people for the job. While I enjoyed most aspects of this job, I sometimes found myself being forced to disqualify people who I strongly believed were capable for the job. I decided I could use my experience to be on the other side of the hiring table and help people get the careers they dreamed of. I enrolled in a coaching certification program in early 2018 and haven’t looked back since. I also teach a couple of Psychology classes at San Francisco State mostly focusing on motivation and how companies hire employees.

What do you enjoy most about career services work?

People spend such a large percentage of their lives at work that having a job that you love is crucial to enjoying life. The difference between someone who just tolerates their job and someone who loves what they do is night and day. I find it very exciting to help people get a job that creates a positive change in their life and gives them meaning and fulfillment. I enjoy helping people find roles that push them outside of their comfort zone, and into places they previously thought were out of reach.

Why are coding schools a good choice for prospective developers?

It’s an excellent choice for people looking to make a big career change quickly. In the short time I have worked at Rithm, I have seen students who have dramatically changed the course of their career by attending this bootcamp. For someone who knows what they want, a coding bootcamp allows them to jump start their career much faster than going to a traditional university.

What advice would you give someone who’s just starting out on their job search journey?

Don’t go at it alone, and ask others for help along the way. Spend less time applying to jobs on the computer and more time speaking to people in the industry face to face. Even though technology is taking over the hiring process and applicant tracking systems are scanning your resume for keywords, the hiring decision is still made by a human at the end of the day.

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