Getting Hired in Your Life After AmeriCorps
As you’re looking for a new job in your Life after AmeriCorps, you’re going to be spending a lot of time working on your resume and practicing your interview skills. You’ll be going through your AmeriCorps service history and finding those key experiences to highlight the recruiters at your potential new employer.
Before you go further down the application process, make sure you know exactly what recruiters are looking for when they are hiring AmeriCorps Alums. Join us for our next Professional Development Webinar: Human Resources and Hiring Best Practices on May 23. 2012 from 12pm-1:15 pm ET
Today we are bringing you an interview with Alexandra Lee, an Alum who is currently an Corporate Recruiter for Frontier Airlines.
Where did you serve in AmeriCorps, and how has it shaped your current career path?
I served as an AmeriCorps National Direct Member through the HandsOn Network at the Denver affiliate, Metro Volunteers. During my service, I developed a database program to match potential board members with nonprofits in need of volunteers to serve in this role. In addition, I planned and implemented large-scale service days as part of the HandsOn Schools initiative.
My AmeriCorps service taught me many transferrable skills I use everyday in my current job. It taught me how to work in an office environment, manage budgets and communicate with diverse populations from board members to high school students. As an AmeriCorps member, I was exposed to almost every aspect of what it takes to run an organization. However, the most valuable thing I gained in AmeriCorps was a greater sense of self-awareness.
As a corporate recruiter for Frontier Airlines, I am responsible for screening and interviewing potential hires for positions in various fields including: maintenance, engineering, finance, publications, and the positions at all of our stations in the mountain and west coast regions.
As a corporate recruiter, what advice do you have for job-seeking alums about what can make their application stand out?
First, make sure your resume is easy to read and that the pertinent information is accessible in 10 seconds or less. Recruiters are looking for several things:
- Your education – where & what you studied
- Your experience – where you’ve worked, your job titles, what you did (in simple & measurable terms)
- Job hopping – show that you’ve made commitments and followed through on them. Put points of emphasis in bold.
If your education is not directly relevant to the position you are applying for, articulate why you are still the right person for the job despite not having a ‘traditional’ background. I just hired a political science major into a financial role because he was able to show us how his unique perspective would provide value to that department and our company.
If you don’t have a lot of job history, emphasize other things you’ve been involved in that show commitment – volunteer work, clubs, sports, etc.
I am also a big fan of an “interests” section – this shows recruiters the unique aspects of who you are and it makes your resume stand out from the crowd.
From the perspective of an HR professional, what are the most effective ways for AmeriCorps Alums to leverage their AmeriCorps experience when searching for a job?
I’ve often encouraged AmeriCorps members to be creative in how you present your service. Unfortunately, “AmeriCorps NCCC Member” as a stand-alone title still doesn’t mean that much to people, especially in the private sector. Instead, you may want to describe what the primary function of your service was, and then note that it was part of AmeriCorps (i.e. “Project Planner, AmeriCorps”).
Boil your service experience down into non-AmeriCorps terminology; don’t use jargon (Corps member) and acronyms (CNCS). Provide measurable outcomes that show an outsider the impact that you made during your service (i.e. developed marketing plan to recruit 56 new volunteers in one year).
When and how is it most appropriate to reach out a company’s employees regarding a job position?
Every recruiter is different on this issue. I personally love it when candidates follow-up with me, as long as it isn’t every day. This is a great way for a job seeker to remind me that they are still interested and I do take an extra look at their information. This truly helps them to get a second glance.
I’ve met some recruiters who don’t want candidates to contact them, but most don’t mind if you do. The recruiters who really don’t want you to contact them will let you know this by adding a “please don’t contact” line to the job description.
As a general rule, if you interview, get a time frame from your contact person on when you will hear an update and follow-up with them 2-3 days after this time frame has passed.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about HR Departments that they should know?
Hiring processes can very slow. We try our best to avoid this, but the volume of positions to hire for, budget approval process, and coordinating schedules with hiring managers can really slow things down. Please don’t take this personally – and try not to worry too much. You are the right person, with unique skills and talents, and you will find a job.
Also – in the last few months – there have been less candidates applying and the market is shifting back in favor of job seekers rather than employers.
Join us for our next Professional Development Webinar: Human Resources and Hiring Best Practices on May 23. 2012 from 12pm-1:15 pm ET.