Building Employability Skills: 101

Ms. Tayana White, is a Human Resource Specialist who is currently working for Facebook. The experienced and educated specialist who has earned a Masters of Business Administration Degree, shares her wisdom on how to be noticed by a hiring manger and or human resource specialist. Below you will find her advice on marketing and networking as well as building a resume that will impress your future employer.

As a HR specialist, what are the key elements of a good resume?

Most recruiters will scan a resume as they have a limited time to review multiple resumes to fill various roles. Relevant skills, buzz words, an easy read–no more than 5 bullet points and what you actually did in the role.
Depending on the resume template you use, you want your relevant skills to be listed at the top or on the side of your resume. This allows the recruiter to determine if your skills meet the basic qualifications and if you have transferable skills to be successful within the role. Some companies use an applicant tracker system with rules to either accept or reject resumes based on the words listed on a resume. These are often times referred to as ‘buzzwords or ‘keywords’’. Nailing the ‘buzzwords’ or ‘keywords’ within your resume allow for a better chance that your resume will be reviewed.

Rule of thumb–do not copy and paste the job description to your resume! In some roles, you may wear many hats or be responsible for multiple tasks. However, you want to Keep your resume simple and include only the relevant work experience that applies to the job posting. Also, speak to what you actually did in the role and how you reached results. Did you increase revenue or sales within a specific timeframe? Were you able to improve a process to decrease the overall time to complete a task? For example, you may have decreased payroll processing time by four hours by automating a report within the system.

As you are looking over resumes and cover letters, what are keywords and or phrases that you look for?

When reviewing cover letters and resumes I’m assessing if they both include relevant work experience to the job posting and what would set you apart from others applying for the role. If you notice the role fits some of your work experience, but you don’t have all of the skills they are looking for, be sure to leverage your transferable skills and call that out in your cover letter. Within the resume, I’m examining if those key elements are apparent and easy to read.  Make sure your cover letter provides a bit more detail of your work experience relevant to the role you’re applying for. Provide an example of a success at work.

What advice would you share with new graduates and or new professionals as they build their resume?

As a new graduate, companies are aware you may have limited experience and through internships, and this is okay. A few things to increase your skills and experience and free:  online courses through different Universities (Harvard, Stanford, etc.), visit your local Urban League or Workforce Solutions agency. An additional alternative, not free, is to sign up for, an online learning through LinkedIn. As a new  professional, build your resume as you grow within your role. If you’re learning how to use a new system, functionality of a system, joined a professional network, include it on your resume. The key is to determine the best place to position these details on your resume.

What advice would you share with current students?

As a current student, you have access to various resources, use them! Visit your University’s Career Center and speak with the Director about the services and resources available to you. They will want to discuss your career interests, goals and pull relevant resources to guide your next steps. Also, don’t forget your University library– a gem right in front of you with books and online resources at your fingertips!
Connect with your Professor’s or Alumni to provide additional guidance on career options based on your major. The have the experience and knowledge to guide you on things to consider when selecting an internship, job or setting career goals. This is also a good time to shape a relationship with your Professor or Alumni and start building your network.
Internships are important!! Having an internship is a foundation to framing your work experience and building your skills. During your internship, you’re able to experience what that ideal role looks like, entails and it helps determine if you actually want to go into that specific role or industry. And again, you also build your network.

To continue this conversation with Ms. White, MBA and or receive her professional services, please contact:

Provided Services: Career Development and Growth Strategy, Resume and Cover Letter Consultation

Resume – it is important as a professional, you have a resume and a cover letter that demonstrates your knowledge and skills of your career cluster. Your resume should be detailed yet short as it highlights your professional objective, qualifications, skills, education and your professional accomplishments.
The resume and cover letter will be your voice before you able to physically explain why you are the best candidate for the position. As a recent graduate and or young professional, you should focus on a functional resume. The resume will allow you to list: contact information, professional objectives, education, professional capabilities, valid work experience and accomplishments.

Cover Letter-  a well crafted cover letter will go over information on your resume and expand on your qualifications for the position. Many have called a cover letter a “motivation letter” as it will motivate the employer or the HR Specialists to read your resume.

The cover letter should not restate your resume or have a general salutation. It should be directed to someone (Ex. John Smith) as you demonstrate your experience and how it relates to the open position. It should also include accomplishments and knowledge as it pertains to the company and or the company’s industry.

I would suggest using the following format when constructing a cover letter:
First Section: Introduction of self and why you are interested in the open position. Discuss your knowledge about the company and the skills you have that match with the open position in which you are applying for.

Middle Section: Prove why are fit for the job (discuss skills and experience that are directly related to the open position) How do you meet the requirements?

Last Section: Let them know how and when you will follow up (email, telephone etc.)

Before Interview: after your professional resume and captivating cover letter has scored you an interview, you should begin preparing for your interview.  You should make sure that you are familiar with the company’s goals as well as the duties and responsibilities of the position that you are applying for. You should be researching the company as well as practice questions that relate to the position you are being interviewed for. You can find practice questions by googling. For example: practice questions for assistant principal interviews.

Day of the Interview:

1. Stay Calm and Focused

2. Use GNAP with a firm handshake –  (Greeting Name Association Purpose). Make sure you are making eye contact with the person.

3. Dress Professionally  

4. Listen to questions carefully to ensure you understand and answer all parts of the question.