Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ara Easley shares how her LA Fellows training and volunteering helped her secure employment

Ara Easley, a proud LA Fellows graduate of Cohort 1, shares how she moved past the struggle and hopelessness of searching for a job and secured full-time employment.  Read all about how she made it happen:

"I'm not going to sugarcoat it... I was struggling at the time I was in LA Fellows, to the point of hopelessness. The people were great, the classes were helpful, but I felt like a lost cause. Then there was a job fair at LAVC. Tony asked who wanted to help set up, which gave us an opportunity to be of service in the moment, and talk up LA Fellows as well as ourselves. All of the skills honed in LA Fellows came into play. LA Fellows filled in the conversational gap of "what are you doing now?", and we had spent countless hours with all of our coaches figuring out what we wanted to do next, and how to present it concisely, confidently and with our own personality shining through.

I met a recruiter, who asked what I was looking for, and I perkily answered non-profit. He asked if I would be open to loan processing. My smile stayed just as big as I said yes. He asked what I had been making, and then presented this salary, which is a cut, but is way more than I was making while unemployed, so once again I stayed open and positive. The job turned out to be a Bankruptcy Specialist at Bank of America, temp-to-perm, and after the scheduled nine month contract it has finally gone perm! Nine of us started that day, and four of us are left.

It may have been a tip from Lynnette that put me over the edge... she said to use your real job title no matter how dry, and no matter how little it represents your actual job. I had an eight year stint at Northrop Grumman growing from Benefits Assistant to Associate Benefits Analyst to Benefits Analyst. The Bank of America job was obtained through resume alone, with the briefest of phone interviews. Those titles told the recruiter I had a background in Insurance and was very analytical and detail-oriented. I may have other skills, and they may have even come out more if I fudged my title to match the tasks from my previous position, but these are the skills I've been hired for, and am continuing to hone them while I am at Bank of America. I am truly grateful to LA Fellows for the support and the tools to get me back on my feet and back to work!"

Ara Easley, Cohort 1, proudly displays her LA Fellows certificate at graduation

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