With an engineering degree and several years of experience, Sam recently completed a lengthy contract assignment working as a consultant and was looking for a new job. He had a resume, but since English is not his native language, it had some spelling errors, incorrect word usage, and lacked a summary to capture the readers’ attention. He had applied for several positions, but was getting nowhere.
While attending MAM’s orientation at the Texas Workforce Commission, Sam learned about the Employment Certification Program and the help that could be provided in his job search. Working with a job coach, Sam’s resume was reformatted to be more appealing and readable and a powerful introductory statement was created outlining his skills and his accomplishments. For each application that Sam submitted, his resume was modified to focus on the skills the employer was seeking and he started getting interviews.
Today, Sam is gainfully employed in his chosen profession and is a testament to the premise that a resume doesn’t get you a job, it gets you an interview, and the interview gets you the job.
Pete has the demeanor of a “natural-born salesman”. He is articulate, aggressive, persuasive, confident and has a track record of success in the sales profession. Most of his experience, however, was in the world of retail, selling high-end merchandise. While successful, Pete’s dream job was to secure a position in real estate, selling new homes to prospective buyers. The issue became how to leverage his selling skills into a job in an entirely different industry.
Pete enrolled in MAM’s Employment Certification program and worked with a job coach to revise and customize his resume to target a specific job. The new resume zeroed in on his generic selling skills such as exceeding quarterly sales goals, negotiating/closing techniques, follow-up abilities, relationship building and others; skills that are needed for sales success, regardless of the industry. Importantly, he also made an unequivocal statement that he was interested in transitioning from retail to new home sales, leaving no doubt in the readers’ mind what he was looking for. In the program, Pete also learned the value of networking and was able to use family connections to get his resume in front of a developer who was building new homes in northwest Houston.
He credits both his new resume and networking efforts with getting an interview with the developer which resulted in a request for Pete to visit two development sites and write a letter stating where he thought his talents might best be utilized. He returned to MAM for assistance in writing the document and mailed the final product to the developer.
Bottom line… Pete is now working in his dream job looking forward to a career where both his professional and financial goals can be achieved.
Jack and Jill*
Sometimes lightning does strike twice in the same place, or in this case, the same family. Both Jack and his wife Jill found themselves unemployed as a result of lay-offs due to the worsening economy. They came to MAM for assistance in finding a job, and, during the intake process, it was learned that not only were they unemployed, but they were also struggling to pay their rent, utilities and other household bills. A double whammy, no household income and limited cash reserves to feed and house themselves and their children! It was then that the combined forces of the Memorial Assistance Ministries team sprang into action.
From an employment perspective Jack and Jill enrolled in the Employment Certification Program where they met with job coaches for resume assistance, developed a job search strategy, set goals for themselves, practiced their interview skills and learned that the “soft skills” in life are just as important and the technical skills required to do and keep a job. But concentrating on finding a job is difficult when you’re worried about whether your electricity is going to be turned off and how you’re going to pay the next month’s rent.
From a monetary perspective, MAM’s Family Assistance team stepped in to help alleviate some of these concerns with short term and long term solutions to ensure future self-sufficiency. We were able to provide rental and utility financial assistance for a limited period of time in the short term, but equally as important, Jack and Jill met with a financial coach for some one-on-one training on how to create a budget, live within their means and set some money aside for a “rainy day”.
It didn’t happen overnight, but thanks to the diligent and persistent efforts of both husband and wife and the supportive backing of the MAM team, Jack found a job at a construction company as a site supervisor earning a sustainable wage and Jill also found a position at a different construction company as a project manager. They weren’t satisfied though and kept coming back to MAM to use the computer lab to search for a better position and meet with the staff. In February, 2017 Jack received a job offer for a new position as lead technician for a manufacturing company earning a high five-figure salary.
The mission of Memorial Assistance Ministries is to assure that families have the means to meet their basic needs. In this family’s case, it is fair to say: “Mission Accomplished”.
As an immigrant from Central America with her family in 2008, Maria brought with her a 12 year career as an Anesthesia Technician in a reputable hospital and dreamed of continuing her career in health care once the family was established. As with most newcomers however, Maria’s English language skills were lacking and were an impediment to finding a job, so she put her dreams aside for the time being and enrolled in an English literacy class while helping to support her family working as a housekeeper. Once her language proficiency improved, Maria was referred to MAM’s employment services department, attended the orientation and enrolled in the Employment Certification Program. There she met with job coaches, developed an effective resume, practiced her interviewing skills, mapped out her career goals and developed a strategy to fulfill her dream of resuming her career in health care.
In Texas, as is true in most states, you can’t get a meaningful, hands-on position in the medical profession without some sort of certification and being licensed by the state. In Maria’s case, it was determined that the best route for entrance into her chosen field was to become licensed as a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA). This choice coincided with MAM sponsoring an eight week CNA training program and Maria enrolled along with nine other clients. The class graduated in November, 2016 and Maria passed with flying colors and also passed the state exam in early December. She immediately found a job with a Home Health Care Agency working on a part-time basis. Never satisfied with the status quo, Maria enrolled herself in a Phlebotomy certification program and became licensed in February, 2017. She is currently pursuing a full time job using her newly acquired skills.
Maria’s success can obviously be attributed to seven years of hard work, persistence and dedication. Equally as important however, Maria teaches us that success isn’t always immediate. Sometimes you have to develop short term goals and successfully complete them before achieving that long term dream.
Sometimes, it really does take a village, or in this case, the combined talents and services of the Employment Services Department of Memorial Assistance Ministries to find meaningful employment.
Simon* is an irrigation technician. With over 10 ten years of experience installing and repairing sprinkler systems for both private and commercial clients, there isn’t much he doesn’t know about the trade. He is also a single father whose employer drastically cut back on his hours as a result of Hurricane Harvey, and therefore cut into his ability to provide for and support his family. After receiving some rental assistance from the Family Services Department he came to Employment services to try and improve his job prospects.
Meeting with a job coach revealed a couple of things. He was hampered in his job search by the lack of an impactful resume, his on-line job search skills were lacking and he had lost his driver’s license as a result of his inability to pay an outstanding fine for a minor traffic violation. The very first thing that was done was to help him rewrite his resume with a strong summary statement that zeroed in on his tenure and expertise as a skilled tradesman. Secondly, he met with a computer coach who helped him research several job opportunities and make on-line applications using his new resume. Within a matter of two weeks, he had multiple interviews and 6 job offers. Success was imminent, but he still had one obstacle to overcome; a valid driver’s license.
Irrigation technicians are required to have a valid driver’s license so they can drive company vehicles to and from the various job sites. The cause and amount of the outstanding fine for Simon’s traffic violation were researched and MAM was able to use some of its allocated resources to pay the fine. With a valid license in hand Simon was able to accept one of the job offers and is on solid footing to becoming self-sufficient and without the need of further assistance.
While no single aspect of MAM’s services can be attributed to Simon’s success, in his own words “Without the resume I never could have gotten the job” played an important role and is a testament to the fact that together, MAM’s mission can be accomplished.
*Client names have been changed to protect their privacy.