It’s summertime and that means we are well into our AmeriCorps member recruitment and matching season! We’re receiving applications every day from people all over the country who are interested in serving as Volunteer Maryland Coordinators or Peer Leaders. Because we receive so many applications, it takes a certain something for an applicant to rise to the top and reach the next level – the interview. As I mentioned this time last year, we’re looking for just the right combination of qualifications and passion.
We know searching for jobs and service opportunities is hard work, so I thought I’d provide three tips for success. Whether you’re submitting an application through the AmeriCorps Portal or using the application on our web site, there are some things you can do to help your application stand out for the right reasons.
- Write a good motivational statement/essay. This is our chance to get to know you. This is your opportunity to show us why you really want this position. An essay of four sentences doesn’t cut it; a typed page is more appropriate. Writing in all lowercase tells me you don’t care; make sure to proofread and use proper grammar and punctuation. Take the time to craft out your ideas before you get online or type into the application. Write professionally while sharing some personal experience. It will take more time, but it will help your application and will help you in an interview later.
- Provide professional references. Your best references will likely be supervisors (from paid or volunteer positions), teachers, coaches, or guidance counselors. Friends, family members, coworkers, and neighbors are not appropriate professional references. (HINT: Make sure to ask your references for their permission to include them before you submit the application. There’s nothing worse than contacting a reference to find out s/he won’t give one!)
- Complete the application in full! Provide a full employment history and explain your accomplishments within each position. Provide full contact information. Make sure every section is complete.
Remember that an application is a first impression. You could be the most qualified and passionate person in the world, but if it doesn’t show on your application, you’re not going to have a chance to use your skills and put passion into practice!
We receive about 300 applications for 30 positions. Think you should be one of the 30? Then take some time to complete your application. Don’t submit today; submit tomorrow!