The Power of First Impressions
Reach Job Training #3 was all about impressions. First impressions set the stage for how people are judged both personally and professionally, which is important for REACH participants as they prepare to step into real-world positions. Once a first impression is made it cannot be taken back, so it needs to be a positive one. REACH participants had the chance to leave positive impressions on DC professionals who were kind enough to volunteer their time to conduct live practice interviews later in the day.
In keeping with the theme, the day started off with a session on interview preparations and first impressions. And guess who made their third Reach Job Training appearance? The ducks! Participants were tasked with assigning the ducks positions in a company based solely on their appearance. It was interesting to see the impact first impressions had on the ducks’ career paths! After teams discussed and developed their nonprofit organization’s mission statement, vision, structure, event, and funding plan, they split up into three sessions on writing (format and layout), the top ten workplace issues they might face, and a step-by-step guide to their service projects. While participants were in session, volunteers from a variety of organizations and backgrounds started arriving for a brief orientation before the practice interviews began.
Live Practice Interviews
It’s time to step into the hot seat! With resumes in hand, participants were able to choose from disciplines such as political science, health, IT, business and engineering for their interviews. This was a great opportunity for participants to get real-life practice before they start applying for positions and internships in their respective fields. Volunteers provided feedback on their interviews, which we will discuss next month.
After lunch, participants broke into two groups for sessions with very different, yet equally important subjects: writing cover letters and using math in everyday life. During the writing session, participants learned that cover letters are effective tools that expand upon their resumes and help differentiate them from other applicants. They developed their cover letters and will receive feedback next month. The session on math in everyday life illustrated the impact math has on all career fields. Participants were tasked with translating written data into an easily readable graph.
For the second session in a row, participants were privileged to have another illuminating guest speaker. Ralph McCloud, a former Councilman and Mayor Pro Tempore of Fort Worth, Texas, offered some enlightening advice and thought-provoking stories. He stressed the importance of remaining loyal to your community and finding what really interests you.
Since participants will form nonprofit organizations and plan an event with real donors, it’s imperative they be prepared for a possible crisis! The session on public relations and crisis management offered participants an introduction to PR, and stressed the importance of relationship building and gaining positive reputations. But this wasn’t simply a lecture; teams were given crisis scenarios and were tasked with running a press conference for their nonprofits. Teams had to figure out their organization’s stance, choose a spokesperson (or two), and handle questions from the “media.” They faced some real zingers, but everyone succeeded in preventing any full-blown crises!
It was a busy, productive day that ended with some time for participants to reflect on everything they learned. The next session will be held on Saturday, April 5th and will focus on the power of “one.”