People may find it hard to believe that I spend a lot of my time as a camp director finding my employees work at other companies. It is a philosophy I think companies will start to employ as the economy turns around and the competition for the top talent heats up. Let’s face it, even if you are not a summer camp, the staff you now have don’t stay for 30 years and the gold watch as in generations past. People that work for you now may be people who end up in positions to hire you in the future. My passion has always been helping people find their best work and it happens to help my recruitment and retention because people want to work somewhere that values who they can become.
Here are a few of the things we do at camp to help our staff find another job:
Resume Writing: Lets face it, no one likes to do it and the worst time to write a resume is when you find that great job posting. By that point you should already have a resume ready to be tweaked rather than starting one from scratch. At camp we give people computers and deadlines to get draft resumes submitted and get a group of people reviewing it. This is a great time as a summer camp director or supervisor to help your employee get the bullet points for their current position written correctly.
Interviewing Tips: We do often have people interviewing over the summer for jobs in the fall. I realize a more traditional workplace may not be as open to helping an employee interview but I think this is healthy. Let’s face it. When people are looking for a new job it will be with or without your help. Lending a hand improves the workplace and makes it more likely you will be recommended to their friends as a great place to work. Employees who are supported also stay around longer. We drill our staff going out on interviews, help them gain confidence in their story and find examples that go with all their positive traits. It also helps us build work systems that lives beyond any one employee. If we talk about the fact that no one works here forever, it forces people to think about a succession plan for their position so critical information is not lost when they leave.
Recommendations: Schools, more than future employers, often want letters of recommendation. I do quite a bit of letter writing as well as serving as phone references. It is helpful if staff ask if you can provide them a “positive reference” so you don’t have to tell a less than stellar employee that you may not be their best choice to serve as a reference. I know some people are hesitant, on a reference call, to be honest when asked about an employees “weaknesses.” I am often very passionate about a person when I give a reference and it comes through on the call. I can pull-off talking about a “weakness” in a way that makes someone happy to hire the applicant. Not everyone can do that and so I would make sure you are clear on your company’s policies with regard to giving references and take some notes ahead of the phone call so you can hit your main points succinctly and with confidence.
Cover Letter: I suppose this should have been grouped more with resumes. Cover letters seem to allude me. I deal more in email when staff apply for a job than in traditional cover letters so they have not always been an area of strength for me. This post from Lifehacker, How to Write a Cover Letter That Employers Will Actually Read, and it is quite helpful. I will be adding it to my reference list to refer to as I help staff find their next place of employment when they move on from camp.
Do you have favorite resume, cover letter, job seeking sites? How do you help employees find their next job? Post them in the comments.
Found any typos? send me a note jennselke (AT) gmail.com