Applying to REACH: A message from the CEO

We typically use our blog to talk about issues related to work and things that we’re either interested in or are learning as a team, but recently we’ve been looking for people to join our team across the country and it occurred to me that we’ve never written about the best way to apply for a job at REACH. I post this here in the hopes that as folks take a look at our site when moving through the interview process, this piece might help them think about how to position their initial approach to us. We love working with strong people and are very interested in adding the right team members – if you are interested in joining REACH, hopefully this post can help you in that process!

Who Is REACH Strategies?

Kirk Brown
Kirk Brown, REACH Strategies CEO

A little orientation to REACH might be in order as we begin. We are communications professionals, storytellers, facilitators, problem solvers, passionate advocates, and people who are first inclined to do the job by ourselves rather than asking someone else to do it. That doesn’t mean that we don’t parse projects into rational parts and distribute them across a team based on the best mix of skills and time available to do the work. But it does mean that we’re a team of doers.

We are dispersed nationally and operate virtually, but we collaborate intensely, and daily. That collaboration includes working closely with each other and the people who we serve – who we refer to as partners, though others might call them clients. We use a variety of internal tools (including Asana, Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox, E-mail, text, phone, and some proprietary cloud-based project management software that we’ve created along the way) to share our thinking and complete projects together. We do calls and Google Hangouts meetings and, when the time is right, get on the road for in person discussion.

What does REACH Do?

Our work runs the gamut from planning to execution. We conduct research, interviews, landscape studies, and apply that learning to help our partners (others call them clients!) think strategically about how to reach their goals (see what we did there?). At REACH, we think of strategy as being the thing that helps us get the most for the least. The greatest impact for the lowest allocation of resources. That’s important because in the domain we serve, resources for conducting sustained communications campaigns are always very limited (something, by the way, that we are trying to help address through our field leading Let’s Hear It podcast).

Lastly, our work is about purpose, purpose, purpose. We are passionate about creating and delivering purpose-driven communications campaigns that can help make the world a better place. We spend an enormous amount of our time thinking about how to improve our environmental prospects, but we’ve leveraged our thinking to help foundations, non-profits, government agencies, and major companies on a host of issues ranging from education to structuring philanthropy at scale. The connective tissue that ties our work together is a desire to leverage one of our most powerful tools – smart, effective communications – to help secure outcomes that make the world healthier, safer, and full of greater opportunity for all of us.

You May Not Know Our Name But…

One of our biggest problems is that we’re a bit shy in talking about our work, so oddly while we are deep in communications work on behalf of our partners, we typically don’t market ourselves. Ours is a word of mouth practice that has grown nationally because people like working with us and we create strong outcomes. 

We are pioneers and field leaders – particularly in capitalizing on the tremendous opportunity afforded to all of us by the growing electrification of key sectors of our economy – but we actually aren’t the best at talking about that about ourselves. Perhaps we’ll find someone who can help unlock that? But it’s a good indicator of a key aspect of our team DNA – deep desire to deliver some of the best work imaginable, but not a huge need to grab the headlines ourselves. Might be a bit of an odd combination, but we like it!

Looking For A Lightbulb Moment

We’ve learned that whether or not someone might like working in our environment is a bit of a yes/no proposition, and potentially might be something that already has to be ingrained in the person who comes to us rather than being something that we can necessarily teach. If you are the kind of person who inherently understands the importance of what we do and sees the value in how we do it, we’ve heard that REACH is about the best place to work possible. But if that fit isn’t there, we find folks typically like to find something else to do. The key, it seems, is whether or not that lightbulb “oh, I get it!” moment happens as people dig into what we do and how we do it. And it is always incredibly exciting to see that lightbulb go off!

When we post a position, we’re essentially trying to start a conversation that can help each of us learn about one another and, as we move through that process, determine to the best of our abilities if we see a mutual fit. By the time you begin your work at REACH, we’ll have had multiple rounds of conversations and you will have:

  • met all of your team members (likely through a virtual venue like a Google Hangouts call);
  • had multiple chances to ask questions as they come up about the work ahead;
  • had an opportunity to explore dimensions of our work and the work related to your specific role with multiple colleagues;
  • had the opportunity to join us in the field, if it presents itself; and
  • whatever other steps that we agree make sense!

We want the process to turn all the lights on about us and what we do and make sure, to the best of our ability, that we understand each other as we get started. Our goal is to fill our positions with the right people for the right work and create a work relationship that will be fulfilling, challenging, and rewarding. We would love to make you part of our team for as long as possible!

Tips For Applying At REACH

The initial application we receive from you is a crucial step in starting that conversation. We’re very cognizant of the time that people spend looking for work and we really appreciate anybody who expresses interest in REACH. Even if your application to us doesn’t work out, we’re rooting for you and hope you find the best possible position soon!

We always ask for a cover letter, references, and salary needs to accompany a first introduction. I can’t stress enough the importance of the cover letter. We receive so many applications that resume-only responses to a job posting virtually never get opened. I can understand the challenge for applicants that are responding to many job opportunities – who has the time to write cover letters for jobs that you may never hear from? It’s a tough one, for certain. Just know that in applying here, we’ll always look to see the cover letter first and will take the time to read it – closely!

I’d add that it’s really helpful if the cover letter mentions the role that we’re advertising or something specific about your understanding of us and our work. That isn’t to say that form cover letters are never effective – again, we understand that people are covering many bases as they apply for these roles – but the most likely way for a cover letter to rise to the top for us is to have it directly respond, at least in some way, to the position we’ve offered.

Since purpose-based communications is so important to us, we are always most interested in seeing cover letters from folks that mention whether or not that work is important to/for them. It’s not mandatory that somebody comes from a purpose field, background, or inclination, per se, but it’s always helpful to know whether or not our approach to work rings any bells for somebody.

Finally, we’re always happy to hear all about you in the cover letter. We are an equal opportunity group that places a high value on diversity in our team. If you are committed to delivering purpose-based communications work at a high level, we want to hear from you!

So if you are reading this thinking about applying to a role at REACH, thank you! We understand and empathize with how stressful it can be to look for a new role in a new organization. Regardless of how things work out for this opportunity, we want the best for you in your work path. Thank you for reading and the best of luck to you as you move forward!