10 Reasons why you should hire a Residential Adviser right now...
Written by Lee Rawlinson, Director of Innovation at Kinetic
Before joining Kinetic in 2019, Lee has worked as Head of Accommodation at University of Liverpool, making positive changes to Liverpool's residential estate. With a great knowledge of the higher education sector, Lee is now leading on innovation and ideas for Kinetic to bring the education arena to the next level.
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When recruiting new team members, many employers often find it difficult to see a balanced set of rounded skills from their prospective candidates. At universities and colleges across the world, there are a team of dedicated professionals who are the unicorns you've been looking for - here's why.
1. They have no fear
If you thought that most high-pressure situations in business can be scary, now think about thousands of social-media fuelled young students, first time away from home, first time they are in charge of their lives, first time they want to party like it's erm, 1999?
In order to calm the crowds, you need a special set of skills; a loud voice and a thick skin.
2. They have superhuman sales & negotiation skills
Have you ever drawn the short straw and been asked to organise a company-wide event? The weeks and meetings that go into planning, like the venue, RSVP's, dietary requirements, politically-sensitive seating plans, promotion and all that for 30 colleagues to show up.
Residential teams do this every week and often with limited (non-existent) budgets and nothing more than a poster or social media post to get hundreds of students at their events.
Also nowadays, competing for student's attention is really, really hard. Most might rather binge on Netflix in their room than attend another "ice-breaker BBQ" event.
3. They have community spirit in spades
If your business values diversity, inclusivity, positive culture and empowerment then look no further.
As the quality of new residential buildings has improved, it's now harder to engage students and tempt them out of their shiny-new ensuite rooms. Residential Advisers are the glue that bonds the community together and encourage students to be an active part of university life.
4. They keep calm in any crisis
Trying to evacuate thousands of students from a burning building at 3am requires nerves of steel and a calm and organised attitude.
Trying to break up a fight between flatmates over who stole who's milk from the fridge requires skill to mediate and diffuse.
Trying to offer positive words of encouragement to a student who's at their lowest ebb requires emotional intelligence and an empathetic ear.
Trying to support a young person through one of the most challenging transitional periods in their life requires someone who has walked in their shoes.
5. They have endless energy
It can be tough to be upbeat and positive if you've organised the big student event, been awake most of the night dealing with incidents and you've got a full day of lectures ahead of you. Residential teams can juggle a busy workload and still keep smiling. I salute you!
6. They are fast learners
The role of a Residential Adviser is a highly-varied one and it would be impossible to train for all of the things you are likely to encounter on the job. Genuinely, there are no two days the same and they often need to react, adapt and use their judgement to be successful.
7. They are natural problem solvers
So much of what happens at universities requires an element of "detective work" to find the answers. I've often been told that this is the 2nd most appealing part of the job.
8. They have a heart of gold
If you ask any Residential Adviser what they most like about the role, nearly all of them will answer with "I love helping students". The fact that they are literally saving lives and making a real difference to others is a powerful one and helps them to bounce back from some really tough situations.
9. They never give up
Some of the proudest moments I've witnessed over the years are when examples of being persistent finally do pay off. It's not an easy job and it's not for everyone, but Residential Advisers soldier on relentlessly to support students and help them to get the most from their time at University.
10. They are resilient
It is often an overlooked skill but in the modern world, resilience is fast becoming an attractive currency. Residential Advisers support students at their "highest-high" and often at their "lowest-ebb" and these range of interactions all build an emotionally intelligent and resilient character that complements learned behaviours and skills in their chosen field of expertise. Strong, dependable, positive, genuine and kind - all great qualities to aspire to.
Employers - If you are an employer looking to recruit candidates with superhuman skills, search Residential Adviser / ResLife / Resident Adviser on LinkedIn and filter on people to see rising stars of the future.
Residential Advisers - Shout more about your skills and experience!
I've seen so many job applications that have no mention of the transferable skills like the ones above that so many RA's have. You need to spell it out for employers.
Students - Residential Advisers are awesome, be one.