Aaron Roberts (left) appreciates his mother, Joan (right), and the job-hunting tip he received from her when she recommended that he contact JVS Careers.
Something wasn’t quite right… but what? Joan Roberts knew that her son, Aaron, was smart, talented, and personable. She also knew he had excellent credentials, in the form of an Environmental Science Bachelor’s degree from Denison University. What she couldn’t figure out was why—six months after graduation—Aaron hadn’t found employment. Aaron didn’t know, either, but he was beginning to suspect that his job-seeking skills left something to be desired. Fortunately, a friend at Joan’s temple had often raved to her about JVS Careers. When she shared this insight with Aaron, he was initially skeptical, but quickly realized that he didn’t have much to lose. “At the very worst,” he told himself, “I would be out a nominal fee.” Three months later, Aaron felt as though he got the choice end of the bargain. And Joan was so pleased, she decided to give back with a Create Your Jewish Legacy (CYJL) pledge—a portion of which she directed to JVS Careers. [CYJL gifts are not the same as annual giving; CYJL payments occur in the future, and can be set up through a will, retirement fund, or life insurance policy.]
“After four long years of school, I sort of shut myself down for a bit,” Aaron admitted. “And when I did start to look for work, I realized that my job searching skills weren’t necessarily the best.” While Joan was always there to support her son, she too felt out of her comfort zone. “I’m a professional, but I hadn’t looked for a job in forever,” she said. “Social media changed. Everything’s changed. And I didn’t really know how to help him.” Complicating things further, Aaron was uncertain as to his career path. “Despite coming out of a really good college,” Joan explained, “Aaron didn’t have a firm sense of what he wanted to do.”
As Aaron started to read over the JVS Careers materials, he realized the process wasn’t nearly as complicated or mysterious as he’d come to think. Finding a job was about learning basic, strategic steps—and following through on them. Yes, it would be hard work, but once Aaron understood the scope of his task, he got excited about his prospects.
Aaron was introduced to Dedra Perlmutter, Senior Career Coach at JVS Careers. “Dedra was my coach, and the very first day, she and I just talked,” Aaron said. “She explained the specific steps she wanted me to take. But she also stressed how she wasn’t merely going to help me get a job; she was going to teach me job-finding skills that would last me a lifetime.”
Dedra’s confidence quickly transferred to Aaron; in a short period of time, he had a much better grasp of what he wanted to do in his professional life. As Joan recalled, “Dedra helped Aaron in ways that I just couldn’t. I think she may have done some role playing with him—interviewing and similar practices. She was just such a positive, positive influence.”
Aaron spent the first few weeks working on his resume. Dedra would show him some polished examples, then he would create his own version that they would review together. This interplay repeated until Aaron’s resume was ready for prime time. “Dedra helped him create an incredible resume,” Joan noted. “It was the nicest one I’d ever seen in my life!” Whether or not this was the biased opinion of a loving mother, it wasn’t long before Joan’s accolades were supported by real-world success: the resume—combined with a healthy dose of Dedra’s expert coaching—landed Aaron an outstanding job offer.
“I’m pleased to say I now work with a company called Midwest Environmental Services,” Aaron said. “We are an environmental company that helps companies manage or reclaim their industrial waste. I’m one of the field techs. We go out and either clean up spills that companies have created, or we clean up machinery and collect the waste.”
Aaron and Joan couldn’t be happier with the progress he was able to make under the strong guidance of Dedra and JVS Careers. “Without Dedra, I don’t know if Aaron ever would’ve found a job that he likes as much as this one,” Joan said. “And he is still at the same job. He bought his own house. He owns his own car. He’s doing great for somebody his age!”
Joan’s enthusiasm didn’t stop there; she was determined to give back to the Jewish community that had served her and her family so well. However, she wasn’t entirely sure how she would do that. “I am on the Board of Rockdale Temple,” Joan said. “I’d heard about the Create Your Jewish Legacy Program, but I honestly didn’t understand it. I imagined it was complicated, and that only the wealthy participated. But then, Josh Rosen [CYJL Development Officer, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati] spoke to our Board and I learned I was mistaken on all counts. Bottom line: CYJL is simple and it’s for everyone.”
When Joan made her pledge, she was sure to steer a portion of her legacy to JVS Careers. “I literally created the legacy gift on the heels of Aaron’s success. I just wanted to help other people have the same good experience that he had had. There are times in your life when you don’t have money to give, but when you do, I feel it’s your obligation and responsibility to do what you can.”
Last fall, Joan and Aaron ran into Dedra at the 2021 ish Festival in downtown Cincinnati. Dedra was enthusiastic, as always, and she assured Aaron that her door was always open to him. Recalling the encounter, Joan said, “Dedra was so nice—she insisted, ‘Aaron, you are always welcome to call me! Even if it isn’t about looking for a new job, even if you just need advice on handling a situation at work, call me!’ and I thought that was incredible; that was very generous of her.”
If you or someone you know needs career assistance or coaching, call JVS Careers at (513) 936-9675. If you would like to support the Jewish community through the Create Your Jewish Legacy Program, contact Josh Rosen at (847) 345-1616.