The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

May 21, 2014

Abacus IT: A New Resource for Bronx Technical School Students

PerScholas
Abacus Group’s Information Technology (IT) Staffing & Recruitment division is proud to have established a volunteer partnership with Per Scholas, an IT job training workforce development program headquartered in the South Bronx, NY. Per Scholas is a national nonprofit providing free technical instruction and job placement assistance to unemployed or underemployed adults in the country’s poorest Congressional District. Its course offerings qualify students for technical roles including desktop and mobile support, network administration and software testing.

Jon Lampani, an Executive Recruiter specializing in contract IT staffing at Abacus Group, became acquainted with Per Scholas while conducting a search for a qualified entry-level infrastructure candidate for a client’s assignment. To broaden his network of applicants, Jon researched and contacted local reputable educational programs like Per Scholas to engage with active job seekers. In addition to his admiration for the school’s social mission, he foresaw a mutually beneficial business partnership between Per Scholas and Abacus Group: Jon was a connection to entry-level work for talented students, while the students were Jon’s path to successful placements with clients.

Six months later, Jon has begun volunteering as a guest speaker at Per Scholas, where he provides guidance in all areas of one’s IT job search, including resume preparation, skills presentation, personal marketability, face-to-face interview performance and realistic expectations.  Jon intends to continue his speaking engagements during the summer through the students’ graduation.

Jon teaches that a productive search begins, of course, with an effective resume. Beyond a professional layout, Jon advises his listeners to craft job-specific resumes targeting a single career path for best results. Applying his extensive experience in the staffing industry, Jon makes recommendations about which skills, certifications and coursework should be listed on one’s resume.  He explains that helping with resume revision is one the most rewarding parts of volunteering: “It supplies the students with a tangible tool to secure a job – either through Abacus Group or otherwise – and therefore a physical perception of the value I’d created for them.”

For soon-to-be graduates, Jon knows that personal marketability is crucial. He’s adamant about encouraging students to “get themselves out there” as much as possible – through resume submissions, networking and other resources – as the end goal is to secure employment.

With regard to interviewing, Jon emphasizes confident assertion of expertise. “Employers are looking for their IT consultants to be experts. They are not looking to give direction to the IT consultant; rather they want the consultant to provide direction to the company. At an interview, the student needs to walk into the room with his or her head held high and to be the expert.”

Finally, and most importantly, Jon reminds his students to be pragmatic about their options in a recovering economy. Because his listeners are soon-to-be graduates without any professional IT experience, he tells them never to reject a job opportunity on the basis of compensation, because something always trumps unemployment and even a low-paying position is a foot in the door to something better.  Jon also tells the students that they cannot realistically rely on him – or anyone else, for that matter – to secure their future employment.  He explains that total dependence on Abacus Group group’s recruiters is “a recipe for failure.” Rather, he presents himself as an available resource to students who should independently be making and maintaining as many industry contacts as possible to catapult themselves forward in their careers.

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