Resume building experience through volunteering is what Jon Carter needed and gained as an Apparo Change Agent.
He shared his story with us.
“My background is in mechanical engineering and manufacturing and I have been responsible for managing several research & development projects throughout my career. After spending five years in a position with no hopes of upward mobility, I started seeking a career change. When I found myself commuting for hours while working 12 hour days in a manufacturing environment, I knew my job was destroying me and something had to give. So, I went back to school to study project management and get something on paper, while simultaneously studying for Agile certifications, hoping to move into the technology space because of the growth opportunities. After my first two classes, COVID hit. All networking opportunities stopped, and I kept hearing from recruiters that my mechanical engineering background made me the wrong fit for the type of role I wanted, even though I had the transferable skills and knowledge.
“I continued to study and network virtually, but I felt like I had hit rock bottom in my career. I was self-employed while simultaneously working as a bike mechanic making $10/hour to try and make ends meet. Fortunately, it was then that I connected with an Agile coach who suggested that I gain some hands-on technology project management experience with a nonprofit, so that I could demonstrate skills of coalescing a project team and moving them in the right direction within the context of a technology environment. It was then that I found Apparo and the Change Agent program on LinkedIn. It was exactly what I needed. Apparo became my bright spot in this dark time.
“I was matched to facilitate the technology assessment for A Better World with Hylaine through the G.A.I.N. program. I had the opportunity to ask the right questions and to drive discussion. It gave me the confidence boost I needed to say, “you know what, I can do this.” Everyone I worked with was so happy and motivated. It built my confidence and made me certain that I can drive a team, and this is the direction I want to go.
“Being able to make a difference, to help a nonprofit grow made me feel certain that I want to do more of this. It fired me up and gave me the kick I needed to dig deeper and go harder to find the right job. I was burning out in my job search and career change and working with Apparo gave me back my motivation. This project made me realize that I was going to succeed.
“During the time that I was volunteering as a Change Agent, I met someone at CapTech who helped connect me to their recruiting process for scrum master roles. Lavonne (McLean, Apparo’s Chief Program Officer) provided me with a reference. At every one of my CapTech interviews, my experience with Apparo ignited discussion. So many people at CapTech know and respect Apparo. My connection with Apparo gave them the confidence that I was already somewhat vetted.
“They recognized the value of the work I had done with Apparo as a Change Agent and they gave me a chance. Having technical experience on my resume through Apparo, an organization that CapTech respects, made a real difference. Apparo helped me open a door that might have been very hard for me to open. Apparo helped me go from rock bottom to starting a new career, one with a lot of upward mobility. Apparo was the gas pedal for me to jump on, to accelerate my move into the tech space. For that, I’m incredibly grateful to Apparo.”