Hiring Spotlight – Karalyn Garrett

December 21, 2020

Karalyn Garrett

Karalyn Garrett joined Yale University as a temporary employee in October 2019. Three months later, she was offered a regular position in the Development, Information Processing department.

2020 was a challenging year for all of us. In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, what are positive things you will remember?

This year we went through a lot, individually and as a nation. However, one of the most positive things I will remember is spending time with my family while working remotely. My professional goal has always been to grow and stretch my limits. At first, the transition from the office to remote work was a huge change. I missed being able to meet with my colleagues in person and ask for advice. However, I was able to adapt and perform well in my role.

Securing regular employment at Yale has allowed me to participate in the home buyer program and purchase a house in one of the neighborhoods where Yale’s New Haven Hiring Initiative is focused. Being a homeowner is a new experience for me and something positive that I will remember about this challenging year.

Your job search was very interesting. Can you tell us more about that experience?

I started pursuing employment at Yale almost seven years ago when I moved back to Connecticut. For many years I didn’t have much success. I was employed, so I wasn’t 100% focused on the job search. After going through a layoff with a company where I worked for over five years I joined the New Haven Works program. My job coach was very helpful and referred me for a temporary position at the Gift and Records Services department.

At the same time, I was offered a full-time job outside of New Haven. It wasn’t my dream job, but it came with benefits. I weighed the pros & cons and decided to turn down the offer and accepted the temporary assignment at Yale University. I hoped that if I worked hard, showed my skills and work ethic, I would secure a regular, full-time role. The temporary assignment was heavy on data entry, scanning, and indexing, and I wondered if I would be able to grow in that role. That said, I went into the office each day, worked hard, and remained optimistic about the future.

My managers knew that I had 15 years of experience with financials, and as the end of the fiscal year approached, they asked me to assist with financial processes. I was trained to post payments, and once a regular position opened, my supervisor encouraged me to apply. At that moment, I knew I made the right decision to accept the temporary job offer. This opportunity helped me build new skills and become a regular employee at the University.

Can you tell us more about your current role?

In my role as Information Processor, I update alumni and constituent records, making sure that all demographic information is up to date. I also cross-reference our records with gift pledges from donors and alumni and assist with financial processes.

I want to take a moment to thank my manager Giovanni Amore and the whole team for being so supportive and helping me to acclimate to my new role.

What is your message to other job seekers?

Don’t give up! Sometimes you must trust the process, even if you don’t understand it at first. When I started my search, it was important for me to land a full-time role that would give me stability. That was my focus, and I wasn’t sure if a temporary position at Yale would do that. However, if you know your work ethic and what you’re capable of achieving sometimes it’s best to bet on yourself. Go in, sell yourself, and don’t look at a temporary position as necessarily a negative thing. It took me six years to get a foot in the door at Yale, but it only took three months to secure regular employment once I got in.

I would also recommend that job seekers utilize every available avenue. If you are a New Haven resident, sign up for New Haven Works because they work closely with Yale’s New Haven Hiring Initiative, which will give you more traction and exposure to Yale’s recruitment and hiring process. Also, if you are available for temporary work, make sure to sign up through the initiative’s website or newsletter. In my case, a temporary job was the game-changer.

Lastly, I would like to wish happy and healthy holidays to all readers! I hope that 2021 brings lots of personal and professional success to everyone!