Blog Contributor: Chandra Hardwicke
I hire Instructors. After 14 years with OB, getting hired seems simple to me—but joining the few, the wild, the unwashed can look a little mysterious from the outside.
First things first: You need skills. I’m not talking about “catch a rabbit with your bare hands, skin it and cook it over an open fire” skills. I want personal experience doing the activities that Outward Bound does. If you don’t have skills—get some. Take an Outward Bound course or beg your more experienced friends to help you log miles doing things you love in wild places.
Here are some more tips to landing your dream job:
• Research what activities Outward Bound offers and where. Then do a personal skills inventory to find your match. Ex.: In Utah, you can go rafting, backpacking, canyoneering and climbing but most Utah courses include rafting. Thus, if you have never been on a raft, or have only participated on trips run by others—you aren’t getting hired in Utah. Love backpacking and canoeing? Try Maine or Minnesota. Spend all your free time in the mountains with ropes and gear? Look at Colorado or California. You have the best chance of being hired where what you do for “fun” is what we do with students.
• Consider: Why Outward Bound? We are a mission driven organization. Ask yourself if you are passionate about helping others unleash their potential! Ultimately, when your students get on the bus at course end—you hope they learned something about leadership, character development and service. You must care more about this than if they mastered the J-stroke or tied into a rope with a perfect figure 8 follow through. If you primarily want to work for us because you love _______ (fill in the blank with climbing, canoeing, kayaking…) there are more appropriate places to work.
• Spend time with 14 and 15 year olds. Most of our students are between the ages of 14-18. If you have no experience with teens—get out and get some. Volunteer at your local YMCA or anywhere you can get “face time”. Figure out what makes teens tick, what works well and more importantly, what does not.
• Hone your educational skills. If you don’t have a job that puts you in a role where you are responsible for others, then recruit your friends. Teach them how to bake pizza on a camp stove without turning the crust into burnt death. Teach your mom how to belay and then let her belay you! Any chance you get to talk in front of others will be good experience for the “instructing” part of being an OB instructor.
• Apply on-line, click here.
• Use someone who knows you in a professional or work setting as a reference. Don’t use friends or family members—it implies that those are the only people who have good things to say!
• Get psyched to interview! We get 500+ applicants for about 50 spots—bring your personality to the table.
Blog Contributor: Chandra Hardwicke
Chandra has spent 14 years with Outward Bound. She started out working in facilities- getting her hands dirty and filling potholes at the Leadville base in Colorado after graduating from college with a degree in Political Science. She has, since then, moved into fieldwork, program administration and now staff recruiting. She is eager to spend some time with students this summer instructing in the Sierra’s.
Editor’s Note: Have more questions about becoming and Outward Bound instructor? Check out our FAQ by clicking here or leave a question in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you!
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