Written by Ilene Rein
Job Search Strategist & Executive Recruiter
No matter your starting point in FIRST®, the impact will stay with you throughout your professional life.
As part of the FIRST community, your involvement has undoubtedly been a rewarding experience. It's an investment that will benefit you in many ways, including future career opportunities!
FIRST programs build and grow your skill sets and exponentially increase prospective job opportunities for your STEM career. By working on robotics, business plans, presentations, interviews, marketing tactics and strategies, organizational structure development, and community outreach projects (Whew! We do a lot!), you not only gain indispensable skills for the workplace but you are also making yourself more attractive to employers, giving yourself an edge over your competition.
Creating immense amounts of visibility is the key to getting your dream job in STEM. However, reaching for the stars and bringing attention to yourself and what you have to offer can be challenging.
Let's create that visibility for you and help ensure that recruiters and companies can easily find you and view your experience and reach out to you for job opportunities.
Stand Out To The Recruiters Who Are Searching For Your Expertise
This is what I want you to do RIGHT NOW to get found by employers.
Showcasing the FIRST logo on your profiles will create the visibility you are looking for to stand out to recruiters who are searching through thousands of resumes of potential candidates.
By including the FIRST logo, you demonstrate your ability to think critically, solve problems, and collaborate with others. This will increase your chances of rising above the sea of job applicants and create an immediate impression.
In addition to adding the FIRST logo, I want you to include the program name in spelled-out text of your participation. For example:
FIRST® Robotics Competition Team #XXXXX, Team Name
FIRST® Tech Challenge Team #XXXX, Team Name
FIRST alumni should also join the “FIRST Alumni Network” group alumni group on LinkedIn (so recruiters can filter by membership) and request FIRST badges on Tallo.
Although this may seem like a simple task, I am astonished by the number of FIRST Community members who still have not completed it.
Always Show Gracious Professionalism®
Despite your FIRST experience being incredibly valuable in the workplace and to employers and recruiters searching for FIRST community members, I have heard many specific stories from the FIRST community that they have been discouraged from highlighting their FIRST experience on their professional resumes and profiles.
You and I both know better, and I am here to tell you that I want you to proudly display the FIRST logo to identify you as a member of the FIRST Community and grab Recruiters' attention for new career opportunities.
If you are advised against including the FIRST logo on your resume, politely express gratitude and offer a pleasant smile. The FIRST organization and the corporate world appreciate and applaud your involvement.
Whenever we meet, I will be reminding you of the benefits that come with displaying your FIRST Logo on resumes and profiles.
Why And How This Will Work
I want to explain why including the FIRST logo and your experience will lead to your career success.
When you're strolling through a festival and spot a FIRST team presenting their robot and mission, it's almost like being pulled in by an invisible force to that table! You introduce yourself, start up a conversation and share your experience with FIRST. Before you know it, hours have flown as you chat away.
The same concept applies when you are job hunting. Employers and recruiters will be drawn to your resume and profile seeing the FIRST logo. You'll be moved to the top of the pile of applicants and they will eagerly reach out to speak with you. Even better, if these recruiters are part of the FIRST community, your entire interview would be an engaging conversation instead of a stuffy Q&A.
Go The Extra Mile
Now, let's take this one step further.
Not only should you include your experience with FIRST, but I want to challenge you to also add a few impactful statements on how each FIRST experience has been beneficial to your growth as an individual and leader and what you can now offer to a potential employer. Your FIRST experience DOES count as ‘work experience’. Explaining in detail what you learned and accomplished connects the dots for the recruiter that you have been exposed to that type of work project and that now you have the experience to do that type of work successfully at their company.
Think about it... Employers want to hire problem-solvers and team players. The skills you have developed while in FIRST are some of the most valuable and sought-after by employers - don't be shy about it! Showcase your achievements!
For example, if you were the Captain of your team, talk about how this role has helped you develop leadership skills such as communication and delegation or how it helped you understand the importance of working with different personalities to achieve a common goal.
These simple yet powerful statements will help employers see that your involvement in FIRST has been showcasing all that you've learned and experienced in FIRST and how you can now be successful at their company.
Your task for today...
As a member of the FIRST community, you have an advantage over other job candidates: recruiters who find your profile will be familiar with your technical abilities and overall excellence. This means that you are positioned to make a significant impact on the organizations where you decide to apply – stand out from competitors by highlighting this unique qualification!
So, set yourself apart from the competition! Add the FIRST logo and your FIRST experience to your resume, LinkedIn, and Tallo profiles.
You'll benefit from being instantly recognizable as part of the FIRST community known for excellence. Showcase yourself and let recruiters know you're an ambitious, superior candidate - bringing exceptional skills to any company fortunate enough to hire you.
Showcase yourself to the world!
In upcoming blogs, videos, and presentations, I will offer advice on careers, job searching, resumes, and interview preparation.
This April in Houston, at the 2023 FIRST Championship presented by BAE Systems, I will be a conference presenter discussing career topics to help you land your dream job in STEM. I hope to see you there in person!
We’ll have more blogs and videos over the next few months - be sure to keep an eye out and catch up on what you missed!
- How to Turn our FIRST Experience into your STEM Dream Job
- Do this NOW to Increase Your Visibility to Employers
Good luck with your job search!
Written by Ilene Rein
Job Search Strategist & Executive Recruiter
Pounding Pavement 101
Connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ilenerein/