Hiring Spotlight – John Stafford

November 23, 2020

Photo of John Stafford

John Stafford joined Yale University in October 2019 as a Security Officer. He recently celebrated his first anniversary at the University.

It’s been a year since you joined the Yale Security team. How do you like it so far?

It’s a rewarding job, and I am very grateful for this opportunity as it allows me to serve as an ambassador for Yale University. In my role, I interact with students, faculty, staff, and visitors, and since I am a people person, I truly enjoy every single day at work.

J. Stafford TrainingJohn Stafford (second from the left) with new colleagues

Before joining Yale, I worked for the State of Connecticut as a Youth Service Officer for twenty-three years. Transitioning from a different organization and system was challenging at first, but I quickly acclimated to Yale’s culture. I credit my smooth transition and success to my supervisor Gary Mayes, who is very forthcoming and helpful. He believes in an open-door policy, and I am thankful for his guidance and support.

Whoever lives in New Haven or visits our city has a chance to see Yale Security officers across campus. Can you tell us what a typical day at work looks like?

Our ultimate goal is to make Yale University as safe as possible. On a day-to-day basis, we do a lot of patrolling, building checks, and act as an overall visual deterrence. We are called upon to escort people who feel uncomfortable walking the vast university grounds at night or even during the day. Additionally, we assist people if they get lost or help them retrieve their lost items. We are ambassadors for the diverse population at the University and provide exceptional customer service to the Yale community and tourists’ diverse culture. Through our daily duties, we strive to ensure that Yale University is a safe and welcoming place for everyone on campus.

Can you tell us about your job search?

I was fortunate to be a part of the New Haven Hiring Initiative’s pipeline. It started with a family member recommending me to join New Haven Works to get support with my job search. It was really helpful having someone working on my behalf. The whole process reassured me that if you persevere, you will succeed. My job coach helped me tailor my resume and cover letter to match the requirements for security jobs at Yale. Shortly after that, I had an opportunity to meet recruiters from Yale University through a meet & greet event, which was a crucial moment. It was a chance to network and talk about my experience and career aspirations with the people directly involved with the hiring process.

Given that I spent twenty-three years in my previous role, I didn’t have any current interviewing experiences or the resources to begin the job search process. Through mock interview sessions, I was given tips and tricks that allowed me to walk through the whole process with confidence, not fear.

What is your message for other job seekers?

You have to be humble and always stay positive. Everything will not always go your way, so take one step at a time and continue to work hard toward your goals. I would also tell job seekers to consider temporary or part-time positions. These opportunities can often lead to much more. Due to my education and prior work experience, I was advised to consider supervisor roles as well. I was grateful for the advice, but I knew that was not the direction I wanted to go. I wanted to start as a security officer to learn the system and Yale’s culture. Who knows, I might apply for supervisor roles in the future. There is a lot of room for growth at Yale, but I firmly believe that only with hard work success is guaranteed.

I would also advise anyone who reads this story to consider joining the New Haven Hiring Initiative and take the first step of registering with New Haven Works. Our New Haven community has these great programs that provide direct access to job opportunities. While it might sound like a challenging and lengthy process, it will definitely bring you closer to achieving your goal.