What if you were unemployed and did not know how to conduct an Internet job search? What if you were further hampered by the belief that no one wanted to hire you because you were too young or too old? Where would you turn for help?
A group of IBM employees in Buenos Aires, Argentina wanted to help unemployed people in the local community of the Vicente Lopez barrio (neighborhood) of Buenos Aires, Argentina, a diverse neighborhood with homes, business, and a mix of socio-economic groups. More than 4,000 IBM employees work at a site in this area. “We all work in Vicente Lopez and we wanted to provide unemployed people with some useful tools and tips for an effective job search – including showing them different ways to look for a job, such as on the Internet – as well as provide them the opportunity to write their own CV (resume) and have it reviewed by someone from IBM HR,” said volunteer team members Pablo Andrés Alvarez, Jorge Diaz, and Maria Nazarena Suarez.
The group used the resources from IBM’s On Demand Community, a global community that combines the skills of over 174,000 IBM employee and retiree volunteers with the power of access to innovative IBM technology, training, and support. They also partnered with the Santiago Rainier Municipal Vocational Training School in the Vicente Lopez barrio. Together, they began planning a series of three workshops on resume writing, interview skills, an overview of the business world, and techniques for finding work, including using the Internet and networking.
The team said, “Most people had no idea about how to look for a job through the Internet, and most of them were frustrated because they thought that they were not considered for jobs because they were considered either too old or too young.”
The team members had experience in human resources and learning and development so the workshop participants got immediate, real-world feedback on their resumes and interview skills. In addition, the workshops allowed very different people to talk about their own experiences and difficulties in looking for work. Many of the participants had not graduated from high school and many had never created a resume.
For three Tuesdays in a row, forty people gathered to learn, and exchange ideas and experiences. One participant said, "IBM's course gave me a whole new perspective on looking for a job. It also has helped me correct some bad mistakes I did not know I was making when creating my resume."
Team Argentina continued mentoring after the workshops ended. The group responded via email to ongoing questions about individual job searches and continued to offer suggestions and tips to improve resumes.
More than 89.7% of the participants found the contents of the workshops very useful and so Team Argentina is working to expand the program. “We are working to get a grant so we can continue offering different coaching, training and enablement sessions to empower people to find better job opportunities and also to help entrepreneurs succeed with their own business initiatives,” said the members of Team Argentina.
IBM is marking its centennial year with a worldwide celebration of volunteer service. Throughout 2011, IBM invites everyone to join our global community of employees, retirees, families and friends as we support the communities where we work, live and learn together.