True story: How I found my dream job using Facebook

Growing up I had always dreamt of wearing the uniform. Later I developed a passion for photography. Upon graduating college, I scored my ultimate dream job: I was a military photographer.

I had been working up the ranks in the military for about 10 years and my next promotion meant that I would need to move and become a manager. That also meant I would not do what I enjoyed the most in my job anymore; taking pictures. Our family was now well established in Gatineau/Ottawa and we had no desire to move. Conclusion: I had to transition to civilian life and find myself a job. Easier said than done in my field.

Sgt Serge Gouin

Portrait of myself before I retired. Photo credit: DND

I started my process by taking a course offered by the military called “career transition workshop”. They taught us how to build our resume, use our network and how to explore the hidden job market.

Our instructor was fantastic. The one thing he told us that struck me the most was about using our network:

“The biggest mistake people tend to do is hiding that they are looking for a job, by fear of having their current employer finding out or to have opportunities taken away from you by a friend or colleagues also looking out”.

I decided I would give Facebook a try and publish a post with my intentions. I wanted to do it in a manner that would open the discussion, be respectful and most of all would not break the relationship I had with my employer in case I would change my mind or the process would take a while.

Screen Shot Facebook

Screen capture from my Facebook post to activate my network

I was nervous and excited at the same time to reveal this news to the world. It really felt like a coming out.

At first, people were curious and asked questions, which is totally normal. Then about a day later, I received a private message from a friend I had gone to photography school with. I had not seen/talked to for almost 10 years! She was going on maternity leave and said she could get me in touch with her manager to see if I could take over her spot while she was away. Perfect timing! Awesome!

Two interviews and a security clearance process later, I finally retired from the stability of a 20 year contract for a 9 month adventure in a temporary position. I was committed to this transition and even if that was a huge risk on my end, this was the first step in the direction I wanted to be going. A few months later they posted my dream job internally and as a temporary employee, I was allowed to apply for it. I landed my second permanent photographer’s position of my career within the federal government, but this time as a civilian. This meant no more moves or promotion, unless I apply for them, and I would still be taking pictures in a federal government organization.

That was exactly what our teacher had told us. Not all job are posted and this one was definitely hidden. Obviously, there is a lot more than Facebook involved in this process, but to this day I still feel that it was the one thing that made it all work.

Taking a selfie during the North American Leaders' Summit (NALS)

Photo by Chris Roussakis

Since then Facebook now has a job search feature that might help, but the real power of Facebook comes from your network.

What would your dream job be? What kind of risk would you be ready to face to get it?



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12 thoughts on “True story: How I found my dream job using Facebook

  1. This is wonderful Serge. I truly beieve that your passion for photography has lead you to where you wanted to be and your determination to find a job that you love has finally paid off. Every social media platform is an opportunity to network and connect, Facebook is no exception, it is afterall the largest social network in the world. I wish you all the best!

    • I do feel fortunate to be able to work in a field that is my passion. I pinch myself regularly (no joke). I have always liked this quote from Napoleon Hill: “A goal is a dream with a deadline”. I guess we just need to go for it.

  2. Super inspiring Serge! I went and read that Forbes article on the Hidden Job Market too. I hadn’t heard the term but it is entirely true that the job search depends so so much on connections. The article reminded me how much I need to update my Linkedin! I also had no idea that Facebook had a job search feature! It’s interesting how many social media platforms are so multifunctional! They’re all built for connecting people in so many different ways, and integrate different medium into one platform. Facebook is especially great at that, but it’s worth noting the rise of Instagram. The Instagram live and the TV feature especially are reminiscent of Youtube! It’s really fascinating to watch them grow and adapt to their users!

    • I am glad I managed to show you a few things! I do have a LinkdIn and update it from time to time, but don’t use it much – probably unless I am looking for a new job… Since I wrote that blog I am curious what the strategy would be to use Instagram (which I love) to find a job. I feel that Instagram Stories would be great for this. In the end the main goal is to use our network to our advantage. Right?

  3. Wow Serge what a truly inspiring story for me. I never thought of posting on FB that I wanted a job in Ottawa. It is daunting to say the least to start over in a new career. Your post gives me hope 🙂 I’m happy you found your new career in a field you love. Keep me in mind if you come across one for me! Lol Ottawa here I come….

    • Hi Cynthia! Change is good if you do it for the right reasons. My family was going to follow me if it was for me to pursue my dream job, but for a job behind a desk, there were no real reason to move. I had to revise my notion of sacrifice. Granted, I have been lucky with my transfer to civilian life. Because I was doing it for the right reasons, it didn’t really matter where I ended up I am convinced I would have found something interesting somewhere. Same for you, if you are looking within government or even private sector, there are plenty of interesting positions in Ottawa! Best of luck!

  4. Hi Serge, this is Lynn. I had no idea you could use Facebook that way so thanks for the insight. I too find it inspiring that you went after what was best for your future and your family. I feel stuck in my current job so I love reading stories about people like yourself who follow their passion. I thought how you started a great headline and an image of yourself with your uniform and your camera was so fitting!

    • Hi Lynn. Thank you for your kind words. I find it’s easier to speak about my story than to find something I don’t really know about. I hope you find a way to an inspiring position or at the very least better your current situation. Best of luck!

  5. I absolutely loved your post! I think one of the biggest challenges can be admitting you are finished with one portion of your career and accept that you are ready to move on. However difficult it might be. I think you explained the path you choose very clearly and it was a pleasure to read!

    • Transitions are not easy but they can be liberating. It’s nice when you feel you are taking control and feel you are heading where you want to be in life. Even if that process takes years, it’s all worth it. Glad you liked my post!

  6. What an inspirational story! Thank you for sharing, reading about stories like this really opens up my mind. I tend to get stressed looking at job sites never seeing ones that really peak my interest, this has reminded me how important networking and putting yourself out there can really change things for a person! So happy everything has worked out for you!

    • Glad I managed to inspire you. I am with you with job sites, it’s like shopping for something you don’t really want, but really need. I worked hard to get to where I am, but there is a big part of timing in there as well, and that is probably the hardest part to predict. I wish you all the best!

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