For this client-volunteer, Charlotte Works is “North star”

May 16, 2014 |

Deborah Craig discovered Charlotte Works as a client about a year-and-a-half ago.

“I was so impressed with the workshops I took and the instructors,” she says. “My background is in learning and development and I went to Julie [Paul, volunteer manager] and said, ‘Can I volunteer?’ and she said, ‘Sure!’ and I’ve been teaching and coaching ever since.”

Craig regularly leads resume development and interview skills workshops and provides individual resume coaching weekly – all while continuing her own active job search.

After spending more than 15 years as a learning and development professional specializing in leadership development coaching in the financial field, she wants to put her talents and passion to good use in the nonprofit sector.

Deb Craig - Article“One of the things that’s been brought back to me by [volunteering at Charlotte Works] is my ‘north star’ – that thing you know you want to do,” says Craig. “This is where I get the most joy out of work. That’s been made very clear to me. Here, you’re helping people get somewhere they need to go.”                                                      

Her biggest surprise comes in the resume development sessions. “I always ask, ‘How many of you have a resume? How many has it been five or 10 years since you’ve written a resume?’ I’m always amazed – no wonder they’re scared!”

She points out how things have changed in those years, citing the salutation of a cover letter as an example: “To Whom It May Concern” is no longer an acceptable greeting; current practice calls for “Dear Human Resources Professional” or “Dear Hiring Manager” if a candidate can’t find an actual name and title to address the letter.

Craig uses humor to ease the fears of workshop participants while delivering valuable information, noting that a professional email address is preferable to “hotpants@gmail.com.”

She also warns clients to be mindful of keeping pets and children out of the room during Skype interviews from home, telling a story on herself of a recent incident during which her own cat kept jumping on the keyboard during an online video interview. “The whole time, I kept putting her back down, putting her back down, putting her back down! They must have thought I was crazy!”

Craig gets the most reward from one-on-one resume coaching. “You get to actually sit down and talk to people to improve their resumes. That’s when I’m the most satisfied,” she says. “When I walk out the door of coaching session or a class, I feel pride in myself. I’ve done something worth doing. I’m proud of my activities and proud of being part of this organization.”