[Noozhawk’s note: One in a series on Santa Barbara Partners in Education volunteers. This article is sponsored by Schipper Construction, a Partners in Education President’s Council member.]
Participating in mock job interviews and after-school tutoring sessions are just a few outlets that Loretta Redd Ph.D. uses to give back to the community through Santa Barbara Partners in Education, a nonprofit organization run under the umbrella of the Santa Barbara County Education Office.
Redd chose to volunteer through Partners in Education when a friend told her about the opportunities that were available through the organization’s Volunteer Recruitment and Coordination program. After learning more about the program, Redd knew that she could contribute her expertise.
“I received an email from a friend describing both Mock Interviews and Career Day opportunities,” she said. “I’ve had many different careers, and thought I could be of help.”
Redd’s doctorate in psychology and her experience as a transitional coach make her a prime candidate for helping students to realize their goals and assist them in reaching their full potential.
“My expertise as a coach enables me to help students clearly define their career intentions,” she explained. “I have been an Air Force officer, director of nonprofits and foundations, entrepreneur and retail owner, and have had experience in food service and management. For these reasons, I can help students anticipate good interview responses to a variety of different career choices.”
As the owner of Crisis Communication Navigation and an expert on human relationships, Redd realizes the importance of good communication when interviewing for a job. She teaches the students with whom she works about the opportunities that come with knowing how to communicate clearly and effectively.
“Every interview is a communication opportunity,” she said. “But they can also be very scary and intimidating. Helping students describe — in their own words — their interests, passions and backgrounds will make the interview easier.”
Like Redd, many professionals in the community have the knowledge and experience it takes to make a difference in students’ lives through volunteer work. Redd urges professionals to share their knowledge within the public school system.
“Every professional in Santa Barbara who can recall their first — or even most recent — job interview should want to assist students in helping them prepare for theirs!” she exclaimed. “The more business professionals help kids prepare, the better the pool of applicants will become. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
As Redd has become more involved in the volunteer program, she has noticed that many students struggle with similar issues or have made similar mistakes and are in need of a few pieces of advice.
“To the future applicants, I would say three things: 1) speak to your parents or other adults (even your teachers) about their interview experiences, 2) go check out businesses where you might like to work and see if anyone there would tell you more about what they do (it’s called information interviewing; you’re not asking for a job, just learning about what is required), and 3) pay attention to your social media sites. Take down anything you would not want your employer to see, even if the posting or photo came from someone else.”
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— Michaela Ford is a senior at Santa Barbara High School and a Santa Barbara Partners in Education intern through the Partners Job Readiness & Internship Program. Partners in Education programs are administered under the Santa Barbara County Education Office.