2015-01-16

By Paul Janampa, AmeriCorps Member, Lincoln Financial and TJX Companies Supported Team,
Serving at Gossler Park Elementary School

On Friday January 9th Comcast NBCUniversal, a National Leadership Sponsor and local sponsor for the City Year team serving at Bakersville Elementary school, hosted corps members from  City Year New Hampshire and City Year Boston for Comcast Career Day. The daylong event in Boston was an opportunity for corps members to participate in a series of workshops lead by Comcast NBCUniversal employees, hear from a panel of City Year alumni moderated by NECN’s Business Editor Peter Howe and featured closing remarks by Boston Chief of Health and Human Services Felix Arroyo. The day was an inspiring and engaging opportunity for me and my follow corps members to gain valuable skills, tools and tips as we begin to explore and apply for different jobs, college and graduate school.  

The day began with corps members from both sites being split up into different groups to rotate through four sessions: Resume Building, Mock Interviews, Social Networking, and a Personal Branding workshop. My group's first session was Resume Building followed by a Mock Interview workshop hosted by Shawn Dukes-Douglass, Comcast NBCUniversal's Greater Boston Region Director of Recruitment, and Stephen Walsh, Comcast NBCUniversal's Greater Boston Region Vice President of Business Services. The presenters were very engaging and emphasized that your resume or interview must tell your story: the story of your background, skills and desires. The presenters highly encouraged us to answer common interview questions following the STAR method: start by addressing the context of the Situation, describe the Task that had to be accomplished, explain the course of Action one took to complete the task, and elaborate on the Results obtained. Mock-interviews were the next session and each corps member was paired with a Comcast NBCUniversal employee who asked real interview questions and provided feedback on our responses. This was one of the most meaningful parts for me and something that I am sure will shape the way in which I interview in the future.

After the first two sessions, corps members were provided lunch and listened to a panel made up of City Year Alumni: Angel Charles and Jamaal Williams. The session was hosted by NECN Business Editor Peter Howe. Charles is the principal of the Dennis C. Haley Pilot School in Boston and Williams is the National Recruitment Manager for City Year. It was inspiring to hear about their journeys after their year of service as corps members. They shared how they are still able to apply City Year’s values and the lessons they learned in their personal and professional lives today.

After lunch, our group attended the Social Networking session. We learned about top job search engines such as Linkedin, Indeed, and how to maximize them in our job search. We also learned about how to keep your professional image clean by ensuring our social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) have the appropriate privacy settings and/or are maintained in a professional manner. This was very applicable to our last session, Personal Branding. The session focused on what makes Apple, FedEx, McDonald's, and other big brand companies stand out and differentiate them from their competition. We learned that there are three important questions to consider when developing your brand: What is your story? What is your gift? How can you serve others? The presenter, Kevin Riffe, Comcast NBCUniversal’s Greater Boston Region Director of Technical Operations, finished the presentation by stating "don't try to be something you are not." This quote stood out to me because I feel we are often told to have role models and look up to them, however this does not necessarily mean we have to try to be like them. In order to strengthen our personal brand, we truly have to be ourselves and share our story, gift, and our service with others. For me, I get to do that every day through my work with City Year. 

The long and rewarding day came to a close with remarks by Boston Chief of Health and Human Services Felix Arroyo. Arroyo shared his life story with the audience starting from his humble beginnings as a child of immigrant Puerto Rican parents living in the City of Boston, to running a campaign to represent his city as a Mayor. "Bravery is doing what is right even specially so when you are afraid," Arroyo said. He encouraged us to follow our dreams with a "go get it" mentality because our goals may never be accomplished if we just wait for our turn. 

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