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Speaking the Lingo (Translating your Year of Service)

While many employers (especially official Employers of National Service) understand what AmeriCorps is, many do not. While marketing AmeriCorps and the skills you’ve gained, it is important to translate your service into the native lingo of potential employers.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about AmeriCorps; by all means, your service term is a great method to communicate your employability! Here’s how:

  1. DO talk about the “year-long commitment” of an AmeriCorps member. You served your community and your country for a designated, contracted amount of time. You completed that commitment. Market that (strongly) to potential employers. They want evidence you’ll stick around for more than 2 weeks. Employers and recruiters typically think long-term.
  2. Give employers numerical evidence of your success. Abstract ideas don’t market as well as statistics. “I underwrote loans to move 100 people into affordable housing units in 2015” sounds much more marketable than “I built hope for families.”
    • Pro-Tip: Keep track of statistics during your term (I used an excel spreadsheet for this actual underwriting statistic) define them how you will, but DO track numbers. National Service reports are a good place to start.
  3. Sell your skills, even if you are only beginning to develop them. What better employee to hire than someone who is already pursing training? Ambition is a valuable asset to a company. Not every prospective employee can demonstrate it like AmeriCorps members, who are learning and developing their skills for most of their service year.
  4. Don’t sell yourself short: talk about your program. Welcome to the 21st century: a new era of business. Companies these days are looking for community projects and ways to connect with them (especially banks and financial firms) if you’re already passionately devoted to a non-profit, your connections could be incredibly valuable to the firm. Sell that.
  5. Brand yourself as a citizen personally invested in the welfare of communities. Employers will notice if you have your own personal brand. AmeriCorps stands out: not everyone does it, enjoys it, or completes it. Some people have never heard of it. Almost all employers today ask if you have community service experience. Trust me: you have the best type of community service experience.

Test out translating your year in AmeriCorps at our upcoming Exclusive Networking Fair on May 25th at Seattle’s Impact Hub. Doors open at 3:00 p.m., register for your spot today.


picture.jpgAbout the Author Danielle is a 2nd year AmeriCorps VISTA serving with Habitat for Humanity. Last year, she served in Homeowner Services in Sacramento, California. This year, she is serving as the Store Development Coordinator for the two Habitat Stores in Seattle. She has a bachelors’ degree in psychology from UC Santa Cruz, and she plans to work in non-profit management. Danielle enjoys hiking, running, and reading on the docks of Lake Washington.

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4 Tips for Mountaintop Experiences: Budgeting Success

You push yourself hard, you drink lots of water, and you finally get to the top of that incredible climb. Wow! What an amazing view! Worth the climb!

Finances, to me, are a huge part of your “Life After AmeriCorps.” Finances can enable us to do great things- but they can also majorly limit where we go, what we do, and even where we live. People think financial planning is complicated and scary, but it’s truly not- it does take some time, but like that incredible mountaintop view, it’s worth it!

Last year as a Homeowner Services Coordinator, I was financially counseling families in the program, but I was also taking a look at my own personal budget and cutting expenses. It really astounds me that people don’t care for their finances the way they care for their teeth- you need regular check-ups to make sure you’re still healthy.

Here are my personal budgeting tips:

  1. Stop Hiding. Get real with yourself. Create a spreadsheet of all your financial accounts. Include your savings, your debt, and your goals. Include how much you want to pay in bills, for food, gas, etc. each month. Give yourself a reward when it’s finished. It might be painful, but it will be incredibly valuable. Own your finances, don’t let them own you.
  2.  Stop Being Afraid. Set up automatic payments. Set an auto-pay into your savings account, EVERY MONTH, because you should always pay yourself first (without even thinking about it). If you’re afraid your balance will be too low, keep it simple. Set auto-pay at $5. Having an emergency fund is one of the very first steps to financial success, and you should have enough money to cover the basics.
  3.  Think in Baby Steps. Think about what you want to accomplish, what it will cost, and then split that into daily amounts. Think about what you can pay each day towards your goals. Large costs can overwhelm us. A monthly payment of $350 is $12.50 each day. That doesn’t sound so bad, right? (By the way- that’s $4,200 per year.)
  4.  Don’t Ignore Finances. They find you. They also have an unfortunate tendency to grow. Late fees, interest, debt collectors…you need to contact the financial institution and work out a plan. Financial institutions WANT to work with you to solve problems.

It’s a challenge, I’m not pretending it’s easy to live the #StipendLife. I have had to limit myself to only basics during the last 2 years. I have been paid in free t-shirts and claimed more free food than I care to admit. It is a challenge, but one that you can conquer. Keep your eye on the prize: I promise there’s a really beautiful view at the top.

Plan for your life after AmeriCorps at our upcoming Exclusive Networking Fair on May 25th at Seattle’s Impact Hub. Doors open at 3:00 p.m., register for your spot today.


picture.jpgAbout the Author Danielle is a 2nd year AmeriCorps VISTA serving with Habitat for Humanity. Last year, she served in Homeowner Services in Sacramento, California. This year, she is serving as the Store Development Coordinator for the two Habitat Stores in Seattle. She has a bachelors’ degree in psychology from UC Santa Cruz, and she plans to work in non-profit management. Danielle enjoys hiking, running, and reading on the docks of Lake Washington.

5 Tips for The Road Trip of a Lifetime!

What is the first word that pops into your mind when I say “networking”?

“Sharks”? “Feeding Frenzy”? “Terrifying”? “Fear”?

What about “adventure”?

I hate the word networking. I will be substituting the words “adventure” and “road trip,” because most people love adventures and road trips. Think of networking as the road trip of your lifetime: it isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey. Most people try to network (adventure) with the effort to GAIN something from someone. I’m here to tell you that’s not really the point.

The point of networking (or road trips) is to connect with other people. That’s it. While the connections could possibly lead to a new job or a career, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t work like a simply transaction.

Networking (and road trips) take work & relationship building. That’s right. Real, hard work. In order to truly have incredible adventures with people, you have to be prepared. Here are 5 ways to prepare for your networking adventure:

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare. You aren’t going to get anywhere if you don’t have a plan of action. Where do you want to go? How are you going to get there? What will you do if that plan doesn’t work out?
  2. Don’t be afraid to meet someone new. Take your friends along for the ride, but don’t be afraid to make new ones. New people challenge us: our skills, our thoughts about ourselves, and our dreams. They take us places we never imagined we’d go.
  3. Be yourself. Let people know the real you – what your interests are, what your dreams are, what challenges you have overcome, and where you want to go. Don’t hide behind your phone. Set it down, walk up to people, and have a conversation. Stop “social networking” and start “connecting.”
  4. Learn about THEM. What drives them? What inspires them? Why do they do what they do? Think of other people like your “road map.” In order to plan YOUR path, you must be aware of how other people have traveled theirs!
  5. Be prepared for flat tires. Sometimes, life will throw you a flat tire: a job that doesn’t work out, an employer you didn’t get along with, a fundamental change that leaves you jobless. The most important test of our character is how we handle the “flat tires” of our lives. Things change, and we must keep going.

There are always challenges to face on the road trip of life. Traveling pushes our limits, gives us the opportunity to grow, and builds our friendships with each other. Isn’t that the goal of networking too?

Test your road tripping skills at our upcoming Exclusive Networking Fair on May 25th at Seattle’s Impact Hub. Doors open at 3:00 p.m., register for your spot today.


picture.jpgAbout the Author Danielle is a 2nd year AmeriCorps VISTA serving with Habitat for Humanity. Last year, she served in Homeowner Services in Sacramento, California. This year, she is serving as the Store Development Coordinator for the two Habitat Stores in Seattle. She has a bachelors’ degree in psychology from UC Santa Cruz, and she plans to work in non-profit management. Danielle enjoys hiking, running, and reading on the docks of Lake Washington. She is a member of the SAC Career Fair Committee.

Launch Your Career at Our Exclusive Networking Fair

You’ve just spent an entire year, or two… or three, as a dedicated AmeriCorps member. You’ve gained incredible and tangible professional experience, put in hours of volunteering, improved your leadership skills tremendously and impacted your community. And all of this was done on a teeny tiny living stipend.

Now, you’re transitioning out of service. You may know what you want to do, or what organizations you’d like to work for… Alternatively, you don’t know what you want to do, or you’re open to new opportunities.

Whether you are a member transitioning out of service or just getting started, we are supporting you this May by providing the opportunity to meet potential employers in your field of interest.

Our mission is to ensure that every AmeriCorps member’s year of service is as fulfilling and impactful as possible; leveraging the talents, knowledge and resources of a connected and service minded community.  That’s why you’re invited to the Seattle AmeriCorps Collaborative’s first annual exclusive networking event – Resources for Success: SAC Networking Fair.

Take a step out of your comfort zone and step into your community! Join us on May 25th at the Impact Hub for food, networking and fun. Doors open at 3:00 pm. REGISTER today.

Thus, the Powerpuff Girls were born!

I’ll never forget jumping out of bed early on a Saturday morning to catch Cartoon Network’s morning lineup: Dexter’s Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, and the all-time best cartoon in the history of time, The Powerpuff Girls. I don’t think I am the only one who recently fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a Powerpuff Girl with the #PowerpuffYourself campaign from The Cartoon Network (try it out!)

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Here is me, a Powerpuff Girl, fighting the patriarchy and tackling adulthood.

 

Come reminisce with other AmeriCorps members at Central Cinema: A two hour block of FREE classic cartoons plus food and drink specials from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Check out their happy hour menu. Let us know you’re coming by sending your RSVP. Hope to see you there!

We host monthly events around Seattle to foster connection and collaboration amongst our service-leaders. We always welcome ideas and suggestions – let us know your thoughts at seattleaccollaborative@gmail.com.

Like our Facebook page for organizational updates and upcoming events. Join our Facebook group for resource-sharing and support.

Social at Spinnaker Bay Brewing

Join us in South Seattle at Spinnaker Bay Brewing on February 23 at 6:00 p.m. for some company and brews.

Founded in 2012 by Janet Spindler and Elissa Pryor, Spinnaker is currently Washington state’s only 100% woman founded and owned microbrewery. Rooted in family heritage, Janet’s great great great spinnakerbaybrewing_familyphotograndmother is the woman who brewed the barrel of beer shown in the picture below. Written on the original photograph are the words “What is home without beer?”

We say, hardly home.

Located at 5718 Rainier Ave S., Seattle WA 98118 (map) in the Hillman City neighborhood (1/2 mile south of Columbia City), you can get to Spinnaker via public transit on bus route 7.

They also offer growler refills, Cider, Mexican Coca-Cola, San Pellegrino sparkling water, hotdogs and other snacks. You are welcome to bring in food to enjoy. If you’re gluten-free they have bottled beers available right now, Omission pale ale, Dogfishhead Tweason’ale, which is made with straberries, sorghum and honey and Fox Tail Gluten-Free Pale Ale.

What’s more, we will be viewing the Sounders v Club America game that night – starting at 7:00 p.m.

Remember to follow us on Twitter @AmeriSeattle and join our Facebook Group for event updates and online connecting. Can’t wait to see you there!


Do you want to host the Seattle AmeriCorps Collaborative? Do you have a suggested location for our next event? Email us at seattleaccollaborative@gmail.com.

Story Sharing at Chuck’s

We had over 30 AmeriCorps members (and friends) come to Chuck’s Hop Shop to celebrate and connect on MLK Day!

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On Monday, January 18, Seattle AmeriCorps Collaborative members gathered at Chuck’s Hop Shop in the Central District to share stories and laughs. We took up an entire long table right in the middle of the shop, and took some time to share our MLK experiences and reflect. We heard conversations from social justice issues, non-profit management troubleshooting, Star Wars and upcoming hiking trips. Corps members made connections about our open board positions, new interests, and sparked conversations for almost 5 hours.

Overall, we are incredibly happy about the amount of people who were able to join us on MLK Day. We can’t wait to see you at our next event!