Navigating a Niche Field: Member Josh Gould Shares His Secret Job Search Weapon

Name: Josh Gould
Locale: Brooklyn, NY
Alma Maters: Claremont McKenna College; Dartmouth/Tuck School of Business (MBA)
By Day: Business Development in the renewable energy field
SoFi Member Since: 2014

When your senior-level government job has a term limit, you have to start thinking about your next job while you’re still getting settled. Learn how SoFi member Josh Gould navigated his latest career move in the niche field of renewable energy—with a little help from an unexpected place.

Are you originally from New York?

I was born and raised in Seattle, but I love living in Brooklyn—hanging out in Prospect Park on a nice day, great food, the farmer’s market in DUMBO, and the Barcade in Williamsburg.

How did you end up there?

I moved here in late 2015 for a job with a large company in Manhattan. Before that, I lived in DC and worked for a government agency that does applied R&D for very early-stage, high-risk/high-reward renewable energy projects.

I loved my job and didn’t want to leave, but the agency I worked for has employment term limits, so employees are expected to move on after four years.  I knew I’d have to start thinking about my next move two to three years into it.

That must’ve been stressful.

It was. Renewable energy is a niche field, and with my specialized experienced doing R&D for renewable energy projects, I estimated there were maybe 50 jobs in the country I’d be interested in and qualified for. Thankfully, I was about 2.5 years through my term when I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and started working with Bob Park, SoFi’s Head of Career Coaching.

How did Bob help you with your job search?

I was skeptical at first that my lender could really help with my unique situation, but Bob proved me wrong. He provided a lot of frameworks that could be tailored to my job search. For example, since I was targeting a such niche field, networking was a crucial part of my search. I thought I was a pretty good networker before working with Bob, but he gave me tips I hadn’t thought of—like setting reminders to regularly follow up with contacts, even if they didn’t have a job that was relevant for me the first time we talked.

But it wasn’t just Bob’s expertise, it was the fact that he was available for any career-related help I needed. His role as my coach and partner was invaluable, especially when it came to the negotiation stage. It was so helpful to have someone knowledgeable to bounce things off of—I believe he helped me land a better deal than I would have on my own.

What drew you to a career in renewable energy?

I knew I wanted to make a positive impact on the world, but I have a competitive drive as well (probably leftover from playing soccer in college). Renewable energy marries the best of both worlds—it’s solving one of the greatest challenges of our generation through real business opportunities.

Are you still a soccer fan?

One of the great things about living in NYC is they have everything—including a bar dedicated to my favorite English Premier League football (soccer) team, Arsenal, just a few blocks from my office. You’ll see people from all over the world and all walks of life in there, cheering for the same team.

There’s probably a good metaphor in there about soccer and working with Bob—maybe something about getting an assist to score a goal?

(Laughs) Yes, something like that. We definitely made a good team.

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