When Alison Brooks ’13 began her search for a job in event planning, she was expecting a formal process.
“A close friend told me about a position at the American Red Cross,” she says. “I had a misconception that you can only apply to a job through a formal process, that there’s a job posting and you respond to it. But when my friend told me about the job, I knew I was interested so I followed up and sent an email right away.”
After a rigorous phone interview, Alison was invited to interview in person.
“That was one of the few days in 2013 where it actually snowed, so the Red Cross office was closed,” she says. “I ended up having a Skype interview instead and was offered the job on the spot.”
Now Alison’s no stranger to doing things on the fly. As the special events and stewardship associate for the American Red Cross, she plans fundraising events across Washington state and was even deployed to eastern Washington during summer 2014.
“Washington was experiencing the largest wildfires ever recorded,” she says. “Even though I was doing office work at this time and not directly providing services, I still got to see firsthand how many people and how much technical experience it takes to give aid during a major disaster.”
She’s also learning new skills like Photoshop and InDesign, and is writing more than she ever imagined.
“I love getting projects where I’m challenged creatively, so designing invitations, email appeals, and copywriting are some of my favorite aspects of the job.”
It’s that creativity that bolstered her applications as well, thanks to the advice of counselors at the Center for Career and Calling.
“Take the time to personalize your cover letters and resumes,” Alison says. “I was able to confidently send out those cover letters and résumés knowing that they were a great representation of my skills and background.”
“It’s okay to have a standard cover letter and résumé, but with the extra 15 minutes you spend tailoring it a bit for every application, it stands out.”