Making The Leap From Service To Career

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Making The Leap From Service To Career

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Helping @CityYear AmeriCorps members transition from #nationalservice to career with @ComcastImpact’s #CYCareerDay
Thursday, February 25, 2016 - 4:30pm

By Charisse Lillie, Vice President, Community Investment, Comcast Corporation, and President, Comcast Foundation in Community Investment

Among our many traditions at Comcast NBCUniversal is setting aside time each year to provide career advice to a group of dedicated young adults who commit their weekdays to supporting children at many of our nation’s most challenged and impoverished schools. Called Comcast NBCUniversal Career Day, this is one of the ways we support City Year AmeriCorps members – enabling us to give back to these passionate young adults who work so tirelessly day in and day out to change outcomes for students.

Since we began hosting Career Days in 2005, more than 10,000 City Year AmeriCorps members have participated in mock job interviews, received resume tips, and heard from potential employers on why their City Year experiences set them apart from the competition. This winter, we are helping prepare an additional 1,500 AmeriCorps members for the next steps in their professional journeys. Together, they represent 11 City Year affiliates that our company supports across the country in cities including Denver, Detroit, Boston and Orlando.

I invite you to read the perspective shared below by Alex Friske, one of about 90 City Year Philadelphia AmeriCorps members who recently attended Comcast NBCUniversal Career Day in our company’s hometown.

From Alex Friske:

If I had to summarize Comcast NBCUniversal Career Day in three major takeaways, they would be:

  1. Always proactively think about your personal brand.
  2. The City Year experience makes you valuable.
  3. Like you, your career path will constantly evolve.

At the first session of the day, held at the Comcast Center, we were all asked the pointed question, "What are three words to describe your personal brand?" This question, asked by Neen James, attention expert and self-proclaimed Energizer Bunny® set the tone for the rest of the day. She had all of the AmeriCorps members chew on the fact that you only have 7 seconds to make an impression. The things that matter in those 7 seconds? Everything from your body language, eye contact, handshake, clothes and more. We also practiced, responding to the popular introductory phrase, "So tell me about yourself" in an articulate and creative way. I used the analogy of Nancy Drew to describe myself, because I am always piecing together information in order to solve problems or investigating how to make my school community stronger.

Another helpful part of Comcast NBCUniversal Career Day was the mock interview and resume review session with Comcast employees who made time to speak with us one-on-one and in panels throughout the day. Matthew Foster, my teammate on the Woodrow Wilson Middle School team in Northeast Philadelphia, was also thankful to these employees, saying, "It’s always helpful to have another set of eyes look over your resume, especially when it comes from somebody with a different perspective on your City Year experience." Through this activity, I reflected on the strengths that I have cultivated at City Year. These include but are definitely not limited to, staying level-headed under pressure, being solution-oriented and having the ability to work both on a team but remain individually motivated.

During the day, we also heard from four local professionals about their career journeys – including Bill Strahan, executive vice president of Human Resources at Comcast; Stephanie Monahon, chief service office for the City of Philadelphia; Keith Leaphart, board chairman of the Lenfest Foundation and founder of Wallsome; and Susan Segal, program officer at Lincoln Financial Foundation.

Susan said something that rang true to me. In discussing her personal career path, she encouraged us all to explore our different options up until our 30s, and Keith echoed that sentiment by noting, "You will continue to evolve." These words were comforting to me as a young professional who is two years out of college and still exploring long-term career options that are suited to my strengths.

I have served on the Comcast Team at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Northeast Philadelphia for the past two years, tutoring and mentoring students attending under-resourced schools. I help students believe in themselves and make a difference in their academics and their lives. I have seen not only the impact of Comcast’s contributions as a team sponsor, but also their encouragement and faith in what City Year is doing. I already know they see the potential in our students, but on days like City Year Career Day, I know they see the potential in me, too.

This article first appeared on Comcast Voices, a place for conversations with Comcast. Read more blogs about our impact in the community here.

Keywords: Diversity & Human Resources | Careers | City Year | Comcast NBCUniversal | Service | comcast impact