Helping people on their journey to finding a good job has always been a passion of mine, ignited by watching the struggles of peers during the recovery from the Great Recession. In my eyes, nothing changes someone’s life more than their ability to find a meaningful job.
About a year ago, I wanted to find a volunteer opportunity where I could give back to my community. After searching around online, I found a non-profit near the Perficient Irvine office called Women Helping Women (WHW), an employment success organization dedicated to helping Orange County residents get back on their feet. Originally founded to help domestic abuse survivors, the nonprofit now serves thousands of job seekers per year.
Giving back to the community has always been a part of our Southern California office. Over the years, employees have had the opportunity to contribute their talents and skills to a variety of causes. As we began the year, local leadership sought to be more involved and enlisted volunteers to suggest activities we could do. Naturally, I chose WHW.
“According to recent studies, 300,000 Orange County residents don’t know where their next meal is coming from and 1 in 4 live in poverty,” said Brenda Walters, Education Program Manager. “With a good job, families can afford safe housing, provide healthy meals to their children, and have access to quality healthcare. A good job is not the solution to every problem in our communities, but a good job is the solution to many of them.”
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WHW serves a number of clients per week on a variety of needs, which include interviewing skills, dressing for the job, LinkedIn profile preparation, and resume creation. Having personally attended resume workshops in the past, I felt this would be a great fit for my Perficient colleagues since we regularly vet candidates who want to work in the technology field.
Our morning began with a primer on resume writing. With the job market having changed tremendously since the last recession, Brenda walked all of us through the dos and don’ts, all the way down to the verb usage. Perficient colleagues even learned a little about resume writing.
“It was rewarding to feel that we could give back to an interested and engaged audience,” said Iman Nasser, Senior Project Manager at Perficient. “I could feel that we were adding value and hoped to make a difference. Volunteering was also a good reminder on the importance of keeping skills up to date in a changing workplace.”
Once we were finished with the orientation, we joined each client in WHW’s computer lab to review resumes, develop a job search strategy, and create LinkedIn profiles. We were very helpful in being able to improve on outdated resumes or create a LinkedIn profile.
Unemployment, as we have learned through the years, can happen to anyone, and you never know when it might happen to you. That’s why it’s important to not only keep your skills fresh but also find ways to help others when they need it.
“Our job seekers come from a wide variety of backgrounds,” continues Walters. “These include survivors of domestic abuse who are trying to get their lives back together, veterans attempting to transition into civilian life, at-risk youth looking for a way off the streets, and your neighbors, brother, aunt, or child who may be facing unemployment for the very first time.”
How do you give back to your communities when it comes to employment? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s keep the conversation going.
Read more about how colleagues across all of our locations are making a difference in their communities.