How a Job Forum Intern Moved from High School to Confidently Finding His Own Career Choice
Zach Tang began volunteering with The Job Forum in his sophomore year of high school when he was only 16 years old. He came to The Job Forum via the SF police department “Future Grads” program.
The Job Forum launched a new program this year called Workforce for the Future, for Young people who are 15-25, to learn about career options and start to learn some vocational skills that will help them be prepared for their futures. This program is partially supported by a grant from The Miranda Lux Foundation and by individual donors who give to the Job Forum fund celebrating 70 years of The Job Forum.
Zach is pleased to hear about the new program and has some information to share about job search and what young people can do to figure out where they want to work. He says he experienced that because of his job forum experience he learned it is beneficial to start learning about career options while in high school and to get ready for looking for work.
Zach worked at The Job Forum doing cold calling and outreach to build relationships and renew Job Forum contacts with the junior colleges and universities in the Bay Area. Zach says the goal was to get the brand of The Job Forum out there and encourage students – via their career centers – we want people to come to Job Forum programs and learn how to do a proper job search and meet business people who volunteer helping job hunters. At the time Zach started volunteering, he was in high school. He had never done telephone outreach and he was certainly not experienced talking to adults about a service they should look into.
Zach says one of the most important things he’s learned is to be willing to take a risk. What if they didn’t talk to him on the phone? What if they said no? So what? He learned and decided to put his best efforts into it. He asked questions about what would be helpful to the career services at the universities, and he listened and learned their points of view as well as shared the details about The Job Forum free services. One of the lessons he learned is that he could quickly become more skilled at speaking in a professional way. He could be more comfortable around adults whom he did not know.
Zach says “It’s good to be around adult professionals at an early age because you can learn how to relate more naturally with them. After all, these are the same people who may be hiring you in the future!” He explains, “It’s really important to learn how to have an in-depth conversation and how to gain confidence about just talking with adults in many fields and walks of life.” Zach says his tip for high school and college students is:
“Go to The Job Forum to gain experience and practice having proper work-related conversation in a professional way. At the same time, you will be getting to know kind adults who want to help you succeed.”
As an intern, Zach got to attend many Job Forum events with adult job seekers.
He says this is also valuable. Zach came to the Job Forum events and learned about many job titles and careers he had not known much about. He learned how adults who are looking for jobs organize their thoughts and that they have plenty of job strategies to learn too!
He says, “I heard firsthand what their questions often are and heard how they process the priorities and the steps for a job search.”
Zach says “I got a birds-eye view and kind of a behind-the-scenes look at what adults go through. I understood better what different careers are available and heard of different job titles I had not ever known about! I heard the job hunters asking questions, so I was really seeing into the thought process of people who were in the middle of a job search. I also got another real benefit; I heard the excellent advice that the volunteers at The Job Forum give to Job Hunters. That was really so valuable. I wrote down key information so I would remember it and use it when it got time for me to look for a job.”
Zach’s career choice:
Zach is now focused on a career in construction engineering. He went to a career fair and talked with companies. He has four interviews coming up and feels confident he will meet interesting people and find a great company and team to join. He thanks the volunteers at The Job Forum for the chance to learn and get experience being professional.
If you want to support our new “Workforce for the Future” initiative and 70 years of The Job Forum, go to our donate page.
If you want to get involved please visit our volunteer page.