At a recent Scouting event I spoke with a person currently unemployed. She was rejoining the workforce after an extended time performing the difficult job of homemaker. She was concerned about what to put on her resume because there was a significant gap between her last job and now. I advised her employers look at significant volunteer experience just like they look at previous employment. I knew she had been the Unit Popcorn Kernel for the last two years and these skills can directly apply for the position for which she was applying.
When I hire people, I look more at skill sets and results then if they had done the actual job before. Here are a list of skills a Popcorn Kernel can transfer to a resume:
Budgeting – Popcorn Kernels with the Unit Committee are responsible for creating a budget for the Unit. This provides a net amount needed to be raised in order to meet the goal of the Unit. In addition, the Popcorn Kernel must work within a budget to run the sale which includes factoring for promotional materials, sample product, credit card processing fees and prizes.
Forecasting – The Popcorn Kernel needs to be able to predict the amount of popcorn the Unit will sell based on previous year’s sales, number of Scouts selling and the method of selling.
Accounting – Money is involved. Most Popcorn Kernels develop a method to track the payment of funds from Scouts, payment of sales to the Council and the return of unsold product. In addition, based on how funds are allocated in the Unit, Popcorn Kernels create reports to the Committee Chair on how these funds are distributed.
Presenting – Popcorn Kernels often present the Popcorn Sale Program to the Scouts and Parents. This requires public speaking skills and perhaps creating the presentation using PowerPoint or Prezi.
Creating Incentives – Prizes are a tool to motivate Scouts to sell at higher levels. While the council may have a prize program, oftentimes it is incentives created by the Unit which provide the greatest motivation. Popcorn Kernels need to know their audience, find the items which will motivate them, and, as stated earlier, must stay within a budget to purchase those items.
Computer Literacy – Popcorn Kernels must learn a new computer system in order to track orders and place the popcorn order with the Council. Learning this program is often without any formal training. So, learning a computer system through a self-directed method is valuable to an employer.
Manage People – Popcorn Kernels often need to recruit other adults to help out with the Popcorn Sale and train them on what to do. In addition, they need to set expectations for parents and Scouts on the execution of the Popcorn Sale.
Project Management – Let’s face it. The entire Popcorn Sales is a microcosm of Project Management. The Popcorn Kernel must determine the risk in placing the order for the Unit, create a budget, determine if Scouts are on pace to reach their goal, develop reports for others, and evaluate the results of the Popcorn Sale. These are all the elements of Project Management.
Results – At the end of the Popcorn Sale, ultimately success is determined by the achievement of results. When I look at a resume, I always want to know what the results of the project were. Even if the results were not as expected, what did they learn from experience and how will they use that experience in the future.
I hope you can see how the skills of being a Popcorn Kernel can be transferred to the qualifications necessary in a Job Description. It may require teaching a perspective employer about what the Popcorn Kernel role entails. However, the skills listed above are those most any employer would be happy to have in a new employee.