Working at the front desk is the perfect career launchpad to many departments within HomeAway. Why? As a front desk assistant, you’re “in the know” with office happenings, open roles, and it’s a chance to connect with everyone from the president to the security guards. Kylie Saurage, Emily Swansey, and Tiffany Lee share how their careers have changed since working at the front desk and how you can take the next step too!
Q: What originally interested you in working at HomeAway?
Kylie: The first time I heard of HomeAway was when we had a stage at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2015. I started as a contractor picking up shifts for the front desk here and there. I thought the atmosphere, company culture, and the people were super rad.
Emily: I also started working at HomeAway as a contractor covering the front desk back in 2012. That eventually led to an opportunity to work for the HomeAway Software team. When my contract with HomeAway Software ended in late 2012, I was crushed because I genuinely loved working for HomeAway. I worked for another company for nine months, applying to various roles at HomeAway, before finally finding my way back as a full-time front desk coordinator.
Q: How did working at the front desk prepare you for your current role?
Kylie: It allowed me to interact with many different people at HomeAway so when I became a recruiting coordinator, I already had great relationships established with many of the hiring managers. There were also a lot of ad-hoc projects I worked on at the front desk that prepared me for all of the coordination I do now.
Tiffany: When I was a front desk coordinator, we were still a small startup. We had 65 employees in Austin and had just acquired a company with 60 employees in another city. I was responsible for many things outside the regular duties of answering the phone, office upkeep, and greeting visitors. For example, I organized our first food drive by pitting different departments against each other. The result was almost four tons of food! We had to rent U-Haul trucks to get it to the food bank. Also, when there was an executive fire, I got to help put it out. The best though? Knowing everyone in the company. That visibility is how I transitioned into a marketing role in just one year without any formal marketing experience. Now I’m the Employer Brand Manager. The rest is history.
Emily: It paved the way for me to transition to the social media team at HomeAway. We have several offices in Austin and I think it’s easy for people to feel trapped and unfamiliar with other departments. Being at the front desk allowed me to network with employees and learn where my interests were, but the work didn’t stop there. I reached out to employees to get additional insight on their roles and departments. I also offered to work on side projects in my free time. In the process, I learned a lot more about the company and how genuinely nice and caring #TeamHomeAway is.
What are your tips for someone who wants to get a job at HomeAway?
Kylie: General tips for job hunting would be to make sure your resume is in tip-top shape. Bad grammar and spelling are red flags. Also, be courteous to everyone you interact with at HomeAway from your coordinator to the front desk person. Everyone will let the recruiter know if someone is acting up!
Tiffany: Be diligent. Understand your skill set and how it might provide value to HomeAway. Be able to articulate that. Be yourself. If it’s not a fit right now, it could be later. Listen to the feedback and apply it to your next career move so you can come back with those skills and try again. Persist. Believe in yourself and the value you bring.
Emily: If you’re already working at HomeAway and you’re interested in another team, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Reach out and ask an employee to meet you for coffee or maybe chat over a bowl of snacks in the bistro. There is also an amazing mentor program available now that makes it easier to connect with other teams.
How does the position you’re currently in resonate with your skills?
Tiffany: I love connecting with employees and potential employees to share the mission, goals and values of HomeAway and Expedia Group. Talent Brand offers many channels for me to help employees tell their HomeAway stories and to make those connections with people considering HomeAway for their next career move.
Emily: As a millennial, I’ve always had the internet at my fingertips. I grew up in a small town where there was very little going on and the internet, specifically social media (hello MySpace and Friendster), was an awesome way for me to connect with people in other states or countries. When the opportunity opened up on the social media team, I knew I had to jump on it. I handle all of our-day to-day conversations with travelers and partners on Twitter and Facebook. It’s so interesting to see how people interact with us as a brand.
Want to join Team HomeAway or learn more about our benefits and perks? Visit our careers page!
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