Almost one year ago, I got the chance to start working at Randstad Romania as a Junior Content Marketing Specialist, after a brief experience in marketing acquired in Turkey.
The friendly atmosphere, the flexible way of working together with the vast opportunities to grow and develop myself in this company lured me right away. However, even more than this, I was in awe when I heard that Randstad has been engaging in a lifelong partnership with one of the most prominent non-governmental organizations fighting poverty through the knowledge and skills of volunteers on a global scale: Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).
By supporting VSO's work to help young people with less opportunities get access to the labor market, acquire employable skills and develop personally via soft skills, Randstad is undoubtedly VSO's global employability partner.
Having a wide background in activating in NGOs present in Romania and other European countries, I went further and joined the VSO program as a mentor. I must admit that while waiting to be matched with my mentee, I was on pins and needles the whole time. However, as soon as I got matched and had the first mentorship session, I knew that we would put the basis of a win-win mentor - mentee collaboration as well as a strong friendship that would connect our countries: Kenya and Romania.
Our mentorship sessions were in line with my mentee's needs and learning objectives - things that we have thoroughly discussed upfront. Thus, we focused on discussing tips and tricks on writing a CV, hard versus soft skills, job search and interview suggestions. Moreover, due to my mentee’s wish to build a career in marketing, we tackled topics like keywords (on the resume and in content creation), conducting market research, branding as well as the significance of professional networking and career development platforms such as LinkedIn.
Our way of working was mainly backed up (supported) by concrete actions as we've created exercises for each and every subject addressed. As a consequence, my mentee who has already had a sustainable beauty blog, has engaged in developing a brand strategy for her website. Besides this, she has created articles while identifying the target audience and conducting market research.
To immerse ourselves in each other's cultures, we had a session in which she taught me how to wrap the head tie according to the Kenyan customs and traditions as well as about their specific culinary, cultural and linguistic heritage.
Due to our instant connection, desire to learn new things and curiosity about each other's cultural and linguistic backgrounds, I am proud to say that we have easily surpassed the average number of the mentorship sessions needed.
The things I've gained outweigh all the effort put in this volunteering program. I've learned to listen more, to take on new challenges, to contribute by helping someone who really needs it and, ultimately, a dear friend.
If you ever get the chance to volunteer or become a VSO mentor, please do it, because, as Simon Sinek once said, successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others while unsuccessful people are always asking "what's in it for me?"