US Recruiter Academy: From schoolteacher to recruiter
Throughout her eclectic career, Sommer Foreman had long envisioned what a career in recruitment would be like. In 2022, she finally took the leap and joined the Recruiter Academy, Resource Solutions’ fast-track career-change training program.
Sommer’s passion for helping people is matched only by her professional drive and ambition. After graduating from college, she took a job as a receptionist at a US-wide company. She quickly worked her way up to become HR Director of Personnel, winning numerous awards along the way.
Sommer graduated from the Recruiter Academy in March 2022 and is now working full-time as an Associate Recruiter in Jacksonville, Florida. We caught up with Sommer to discuss what inspired her career shift, her experience of the Academy, and how she’s enjoying life as a recruiter.
What did you do prior to joining the Recruiter Academy?
Long before joining the Academy, I was a schoolteacher for about five years. After completing a program with Georgia’s Department of Education, I taught special education from kindergarten to 12th grade, specializing with autistic children.
After the Covid-19 pandemic, I took a short break to reflect and refresh, before starting a job as a Loan Processor for the Small Business Administration. It's a government entity, so I was working on programs for Covid relief funds for small businesses. I was there for two years when I decided to enrol in the Recruiter Academy and start my Resource Solutions journey.
What inspired you to join the Academy?
I have worked in human resources and related roles throughout my career and had often envisioned what it would be like to be a recruiter.
A friend of mine had just joined the company and as she told me more and more about the culture and the opportunities available, I ended up asking a lot of questions. She mentioned that the company were launching new program called the Recruiter Academy – and the rest is history!
How would you describe your experience of the Academy?
In a word, extraordinary. I gained a wealth of information throughout the 12-week program, and I’m still learning on the job today. The Academy taught me a lot about myself as an individual, as well as how vital it is to work hard and complete my tasks to a high standard.
By the end of the program, I felt empowered to get out into the real world and be the best recruiter that I could be. I was ready. In my experience, it’s rare to undertake a training program like that and feel so confident and capable afterwards. When I left the Academy, I remember thinking to myself, “Okay, I can do this for real.”
Which training modules did you find particularly compelling?
There was a module about knowing your brand which was fascinating. It led me to consider how I could not only represent brands to the best of my ability, but also how to optimise my personal brand and set myself apart from other recruiters.
At the end of the day, my name – and the character and reputation that’s associated with it – is everything to me. When I interact with a client, I'm representing Resource Solutions. When I interact with candidates, I’m representing the client. I’m basically a walking billboard for all these different entities. There are layers to how you conduct yourself as a recruiter and this module broke them down in a way that I found engrossing.
What aspect of the Academy surprised you the most?
The biggest surprise was the outpouring of support from pretty much every team member that we encountered throughout the training. Everyone was warm, welcoming and friendly – regardless of their seniority. We were encouraged to ask questions. It very much felt like an open-door policy to me.
Now that you’re up and running as a recruiter, what’s the job like?
I’m really enjoying the experience. It's a simply matter of prioritizing and managing your time wisely. These skills are crucial to building relationships, and ultimately, that’s what this job is about. Making the effort to keep up with market trends and adapt to them has also been key to achieving my goals.
You don’t have to be a “people person” in the strictest sense or have a loud and gregarious personality. But you’ve got to enjoy helping people. That’s where a lot of my satisfaction comes from – and why I go the extra mile.
How would you describe the culture at Resource Solutions?
I’m pleased to say everything my friend told me about the company was true! It’s a culture of transparency, internal mobility, and work-life balance. There’s plenty of career development opportunities available and I feel encouraged to ask questions and discuss any challenges or obstacles I may be facing.
As for my own career development, I appreciate that many of my colleagues have been able to progress into roles they created for themselves because they identified a need for that role within the organization. If I was able to develop my career in a similar way, that would be very rewarding. But as long as my future roles enable me to continue helping people, I think they will be right for me.
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