Tips and Tricks from Danyelle Simmons

Jacqueline: Hello and Good Afternoon everyone. This is Jacqueline Sanders-Blackman of Technology Expresso radio bringing you a special edition with a special guest. Danyelle is here to talk to us from Professional Diversity Network and we’ve got some great information for those who are currently job seeking, potentially job seeking it is all a cycle it’s cyclical you may not be doing it right now but its always good to know what’s new talk to a professional like Danyelle to give you some tips and tricks because you always want to stand out in the crowd. We want our tech listeners to be on the forefront of these kinds of tips and tricks. So with that said, let me say Hello Danyelle.

Danyelle: Hello. Hello Jacqueline. It’s so good to be here.

Jacqueline: Well, we are happy to have you and your wealth of information so I’m really looking forward to this. Let’s just start out. Why don’t you tell our audience our background?

Danyelle: I’m Danyelle Simmons, as you mentioned. I’m the director of professional diversity network. I’ve been with the company for just about 10 years now we host various events, from career fairs, to power networking events, to summits, to online recruiting events. We have a lot of recruiting and career opportunities and events we host for companies and professionals just like your listeners.

Jacqueline: Awesome! Exciting Professional Diversity Network is full service so we are going to talk about career fairs. People really need to visit the website, pordivnet.com- as we are speaking and I want to invite our listeners if you have questions for us, we are here to answer questions as well. If you are calling in press one and you will be in our calling que and our sound engineer, Javon Grant will get you queued up to speak to us. Secondly, we have the chat room open right here on the blog talk website. Look for the tab that says chat and go in there and again Javon will reach you. Type in your question and we will get you answers. That’s what today is all about. Talk to us about the Professional Diversity Network. Tell us a little about that.

Danyelle: So I like to describe Professional Diversity Network like a bridge on one side you have companies that are looking to build a secure and diverse professional work force and on the other side you have professionals that are diverse in background but they also have the skill set in looking for careers so the Professional Diversity Network is that bridge that connects those two groups and we do that through our online recruiting solutions and well as at our career fairs and events.

Jacqueline: Excellent! For example we said we were going to talk about career fairs in particular. How is the career fair set up and what people can expect when walking into Professional Diversity Network?

Danyelle: Well I actually like that you should career fairs because that is what the Professional Diversity Network is all about, we provide careers not jobs. Job fairs have a negative connotation with them because people are not looking for long-term employment, growing, expanding their network, increasing their background. Professional Diversity Network focuses on the career and the professional advancement of those careers. So at our career fairs we do have companies that are actively seeking employees, so they are not just collecting resumes. They’re not just there to increase their numbers or fill any type of quota. They’re actually looking to hire active job seekers.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. You know something that really resonates with me about the name Professional Diversity Network is the networking part. Going to the job fair is about networking. So back to what you said and talk about and maybe expand upon networking and not just looking to get a job not just looking for work.

Danyelle: correct. Correct. And increasing your professional background as well. In todays society it is all about who you know and that applies in the job work place as well. We have networking opportunities with the different companies. Maybe your coming in and your background is electrical engineer and the company that your speaking with at the career fair, may not have that position available but they know someone who is looking for an electrical engineer. SO you speaking with that company, networking with them sharing your background your skills your interest they’re able to connect you with a company that can hire your or lead you in the right direction that your’re looking for. And in a sense that’s the purpose of networking. You want to make sure that you’re building your networking, expanding and making the right connections.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. A friend of ours he is Atlanta BDPA chapter always says build a network leverage a network. It’s a bout building over time too and that why I think the old job fairs and the negative connotation. And I’ve watch and read some of the blogs and tweets that go on when you go on and search job fairs and one of the thoughts was that it wasn’t a successful experience if you didn’t walk out with a job offer that day. So talk to us about that and that type of attitude and mindset.

Danyelle: So it doesn’t happen necessarily on the spot. That success story always speaks to the preparation that the candidate has when they come to the career fair. The on site hires, the on site interviews, that really speaks to the candidates preparation before they come on site. But if you are not prepared, in the sense that you don’t know exactly what position a company is hiring or that they’re looking for then you’re having general conversation and your using the opportunity to network and get your face out there and your skill set out there. You’re able to get the connection for future touches so when you get home you can say oh yeah I spoke with Jacqueline at Technology Expresso and she mentioned that I should go talk to Danyelle at the Professional Diversity Network. Well then you’re making that connection, you reach out to Danyelle and then I’m able to connect with you and then refer you to who you need to go to. So it’s not an immediate process but it definitely helps and it is another resource for you to use on your professional journey.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. And I think that is an important thing that we tie in because with the organization BDPA we often coach people about networking and it is about like you said building genuine relationships and those take place over time.so that’s why even going to career fairs is not about even waiting until you need a job or it’s your last resort because that’ll come across. What you need to do is your need to be staying connected, you to be staying in touch. One of the tips because we have been tweeting out some tips , if your following, please follow @ because have been tweeting out some tips in preparation for todays show but one of the things is to as your building that network, talk to all the people that are there and talk to other candidates. There are a lot of resources there.

Danyelle: And you never know where that next resource is going to take you to where you’re trying to go. You could be attending a career fair with the idea that you’re going to find career in electrical engineering for example but you’re speaking with a company or even another candidate that’s working at I don’t know maybe target and you would never think that target would need an electrical engineer but just in that conversation you find out that they really do need someone with your skill set and then that’s another door that’s being open. So it is not the traditional sense that we are used to. The recruiting process has changed over the years so we need to be flexible and move along with that and empower like your radio program does and give information to say that the process has changed and this is the new way to get the position that you want to find the position that you’re looking for.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. And you know when you go to these events and like you said the other people that are there, one of the things, to get back to one of the tips that we tweeted out, first you got to size up your competition, but you also get to meet some like minded people and that’s what networking is all about.

Danyelle: It definitely is and that is actually one of our cornerstones with the PDN, we have an affinity group that we work with, it’s a total of 7 of them and we provide professional networking opportunities for them to share in the professional development process. Our communities include the ihispano.com for those Hispanic professionals. We have the Black Career Network for African American professionals. We have the women’s career channel that is for professional women. Military Careers for veterans. Proable.net for our professionals with disabilities or pro ability as I like to say and then we also …net and that’s for our LGBT community as well as the Asian Career Network so we have 7 different affinity groups that we have at the professional diversity network. All of them allow you to network within your own affinity but it also gives you’re the opportunity to network outside of that. So that’s a cornerstone of Professional Diversity Network we provide networking opportunities that enhance your professional development.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. And see audience I told you that this is going to be a different conversation so put it out your head first of all, take it out of your vocabulary this isn’t about a job fair this is about professional development with like-minded people, People who like yourself and the other part talks about diversity. Reaching out to understand that there are unique needs and conversations that are had among these groups that is also important. Because diversity is a very big word in the news right now for a lot of reasons but you all are ahead of the game and already have it embedded right there in the center of your name. I just look at your name Professional in the front end, Network at the back end, and Diversity right there in the center, front and center. And you’re having these affinity groups so that’s just an amazing thing but again so people need to visit the website. It’s prodivnet.com and right off of the main local you will see the drop down for that information. SO tell us why in your opinion right now people are so focused on diversity?

Danyelle: Well they’re over 300 million Americans. Okay, and of that 300 million, over 100 million of them are affiliated with a diverse group and that’s ethnic group, minority group, and so that’s, we have almost nearly 100 million American members in that group so that’s 1/3 of the total US population, right. So in the work place we have the US Bureau Labor and Statistics, these minority groups are expected to make up 54% of the population they will be majority. And like you said diversity is about unique; uniqueness of ideas, personalities. Just the room we are sitting in we have uniqueness and diversity set of equipment that we’re suing to record the radio show. We have cameras, and soundboards and microphones. All of those things work together to make the interview successful. And just like in the work place we need diversity to make things successful, to make the population, to make the United States, to make Americans successful. So diversity is extremely important so embracing that in the work place it really strengthens the foundation of the companies and organizations in the long term growth.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. And you know this is a big conversation especially around STEM with Technology Espresso it’s the cornerstone of Technology Espresso so and a matter of fact a lot of people don’t necessarily know why did we pick the name Espresso because it come in so many different colors and flavors. And that’s one fo the things about, especially in STEM, the Science Technology Engineering and Math, is that the solutions that come out, come out better. Companies are better off when you have people of diversity backgrounds with people of different perspectives. That’s so important in problem solving of today. And you want you company to reflect your consumers and now since we have a global economy, just like back to your example, this radio show is being heard globally. I think the affinity groups that you listed, it’s just another way of just acknowledging these groups we celebrate the differences. We want to bring those out and we want to make sure we kind of cross-pollinate so that we understand each other, appreciate each other. We can have our own unique conversations and also educate each other.

Danyelle: Absolutely and you know when you think about like you said on a consumer level, women have purchasing power at almost 15 trillion dollars annually, Hispanics have purchasing power at almost 1.3 billion dollars annually, African Americans 1.1 trillion dollars, the LGBT segment they have buying power of 830 billion dollars so it’s like these diverse organizations and these diverse groups are definitely contributing to the consumer base which means we are all contributing across all of those not just as consumers in the work place as well as with STEM, we need to represented in all areas because we are all diverse and unique and that plays into professional development in the work force.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. Absolutely. And you know the one thing to also to be very clear about is the professional diversity network is about all Americans getting jobs. We are looking for the best talent and matching with places they can be successful so that it is a win win situation across the board.

Danyelle: Exactly. Not just one group. Not just minorities, not just majority, everyone. Diversity is including everyone.

Jacqueline: I love that about Professional Diversity Network. And I just want to kind of take a moment to talk about, we Technology Expresso and Professional Diversity Network we also have a special relationship as well because we are very excited about what you all are doing, so we are very excited and we are going to be running some program and people stay tune because there is going to be a special announcement, especially for our DC participants.

Danyelle: Yes! We are really excited. We are going to DC!!

Jacqueline: Absolutely. That is coming up on February 23rd so just stay on the line and we are going to give you more details and at the same time you can always go to Eventbrite. It is very important that you pre-register for these events it helps in the whole planning process and there is going to be a special treat for you too when it comes to re-registering. So you can go to Eventbrite and we’re going to talk about a couple of events on their calendar not just Washington dc but that one we do know is coming up on the 23rd so you need to don’t delay. Do that as we speak so I’m going to go ahead and ask you to go head and multitask but stay tune because we’ve got some more that we want to talk about with Danyelle of the PDN. One of the things too that you talked about your affinity groups but you’re also associated with the NAPW. Share with our audience what the NAPW is.

Danyelle: Yes. The National Association of Professional Women that is NAPW it is the largest organization for women in the US. We have over 800 thousand women associated with the organization and it is a powerfully vibrant networking community with women. And as you know women make up the largest minority group and diverse group in the United States. So we are really really excited about NAPW and the things we are doing there. The mission of NAPW is to provide an exclusive highly advance networking forum to successful women, executives, professionals, and entrepreneurs where they can inspire, connect and achieve. We do that through our power networking events. We have career events like the career fair and we also have our national summits. And our president, Star Jones, is very active. She is an awesome advocate for women in the political process, in the work force. So we are just really really excited about NAPW and the things that they are doing.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. And I don’t want to gloss over the fact that yes she did say Star Jones. We are talking about the Star Jones. And that is really awesome. Her support of NAPW   and as well as you all do some events and some separate events. But luckily Washington DC is where they will get two for one.

Danyelle: They will. We will actually be on site hosting a career fair and a power-networking event with Star in attendance, absolutely.

Jacqueline: And so we will tell you about the NAPW registration. That is separate and we’ll talk to you about the cost involved, but again visit as we speak and get signed up. Now let’s go back to as we continue to talk about the career fair and the opportunities there. And one of the things as we were talk about the diversity affinity group, just wanting people to know what that all entails as well. And I talked about the relationship Technology Expresso has and one of these is we specifically reach out to different groups that have been cultivating minorities in the different areas. I mentioned BDPA. Another one is NSBE. I don’t know if you have any others.

Danyelle: Yes we do. And that’s one of the things that I really like about the PDN. We have a really strong commitment to our strategic alliances and partnerships. We work with different organizations and associations to further strengthen our community reach and involvement to reach diverse job seekers and work with these organizations to continually add sponsorships and partnerships. We are currently with the NAACP. We are working with Alpha, The Latino Professionals of America, we work with Ebony, we work with jet, the national consult of versa, NCLR, we work with the National Association of Hispanic Nurses and over 270 other organizations as well. So we are combining the community with our efforts as well.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. I want to kind to put a call to action to other organizations. If there are other organizations out that that want to get affiliated with the Professional Diversity Network, you want to get on their mailing list so you know when events are coming to your area. This is a service you can provide to your members of your organization so they know when they’re coming to town so they can be a part of it. So always looking to grow that and I know there are a lot of great events out there. The other thing and again talking about some of the things that are emphasizes by the PDN. That’s a mouth full. So I am going to start say PDN.

Danyelle: Yeah that’s what we do. PDN. Professional Diversity Network. PDN

Jacqueline: Absolutely. I think I got the name. So one of the thinks with PDN too is the emphasize on technology because there are a lot of jobs, careers in that area. Of course that is near and dear to Technology expresso. So maybe we can talk about you know we want to let the work force know because we are always emphasizing that is a big area job and so I know with your various employers they are looking for employees across the spectrum but there is an emphasize on technology and careers in technology.

Danyelle: Definitely. Our career fairs are actually named the Career and Technology Professional Career Fair because there is a very huge demand with the companies that participate with our fairs looking for candidates with that background. So technology is definitely one of our priorities as far as recruitment solutions that we provide as well as the companies that are looking for candidates to hire. Just as diversity is a key buzz word, technology is as well.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. Absolutely. So the next thing id also like tot alk about the people. Let’s talk about the people and the preparation because there are some success stories and I think a lot of people hang on to that success story. They walk in get an interview on the spot or get registered to do a face to face. Probably like you said with most cases they’re well prepared and given a job offer, but there is a lot of preparation that has to happen.

Danyelle: It is. So of course when you come to a career fair you want to bring your resume. That’s key. A resume is not just something you hand to an employer or when you register with us, you hand to us as part of your registration. You need to look at your resume as a conversation piece. It is really a backup of what you’re saying and a reference tool for the employer, so you definitely want to make sure you bring your resume with you. And then you want to dress appropriately. You want to dress like you already have the job, not like you want the job. You dress as if you are showing up to working because that definitely speaks to your preparation. And then you want to make sure that you prepare your elevator pitch. I know a lot of candidate will walk in on site and walk up to an employer and say you know they’re excited. They say Hi my name is Danyelle what positions do you have available. That is a very huge No No. Do not ask that question. I have talked to several recruiters at several different companies and that is not a question they necessarily like to ask because that means you didn’t do your homework. So before you come to the career fair and this is the most important thing you do, yes prepare your resume, yes make sure you’re wearing he right thing, but you want to make sure you go to the company’s website. If there are 30 different companies represented, you want to go to 30 different company websites. Find out the positions that they are hiring for, that you’re qualified for. You want to go head and apply online for that position and then come to the career fair, having a completely different conversation. Your conversation is not what positions do you have, it then becomes I applied for your electrical engineer positions, I have this many years of experience in the field, does my skill set compliment the position that you’re offering. That’s a completely different conversation and that impresses them. It opens up more conversation with the employer and those type of questions and that type of preparation leads to the on-site interviews, it leads to scheduling future interviews down the road. It leads to having the on-site hire. And I have seen firsthand all that happen. So it is all about the preparation before you come to the career fair and not just showing up.

Jacqueline: Oh great point. Great point. I hope everyone is listening because at the end of the day again like I said, your competition is in the room with you so you want to be the one that stands out. It is worth going above and beyond the usual. I want to dissect some of the things you said, some of the points there. Let’s go back to the resume and really tightening up your resume. Again if you’ve done your homework and you’ve targeted the particular positions that you’re interested in, making sure you fit that. But you all have a tool, it not just your head, you might say I know it looks great to me, but you all have a tool. Talk about that special tool.

Danyelle: Yes. We have as special tool and this is the most excited I am about the researchers at PDN because it really takes out a lot of the guess work for the candidate and the professional. I speak with them when they’re on site at the events. They’re frustrated. You know we are in the technology era. So the process with applying for a position starts with applying online. And you have to do that. That’s not going anywhere. Every company is mandated to, every position they have available, every person has have the opportunity apply for the position the same way. The way they do that is online. So your resume looks good and has all the right information in it, you apply for the job and you don’t hear back from anybody, it means that your resume has scored a low score through that applicant tracking system. SO when you apply online, every company has an applicant tracking software that scores your resume. There lower the score that means you do not get called back. So you become a needle in the haystack almost. So what PDN does, Professional Diversity Network, we provide software called Resumate. And Resumate allows your resume to be critiqued across the job you are applying for so it scores higher on the applicants tracking system and that get you the interview. So if your resume without Resumate is scoring at a 3, you’re not going to get called. With Resumate, your resume with score a 10 and you will get called. So that is a great and exciting resource that we provide through The Professional Diversity Network.

Jacqueline: I think that is incredible because you know in the past you’ve never gotten feedback. You just don’t get the calls and you don’t know. And I’ve had candidates say I don’t know what I could be doing different.

Danyelle: It’s like their resume goes into a black hole and no one ever calls. No one ever sees it. No one ever acknowledges that you even applied for the position. Absolutely. I hear those stories all the time.

Jacqueline: And what it is, and thanks again to technology, so what a lot of people don’t realize they’re running it through a program that is calculating and what is most often looking for is those key words, those terms. It could be certification. I know that in technology we have a lot of buzz words. And we know if you know the buzz words, if you’re using them right. Just like any other language, what terms were in last year aren’t in this year so if you’re not using the right terms, that could be a turn off. So not only does your resume need to be up to date on the key words, your conversation. You talked about when you walk up to them and say I looked online and I saw this position. I am certified, you’ve got to use this in it. So as Resumate is not only going to help you improve your resume, it will also help you improve your pitch too.

Danyelle: absolutely. The great thing about the software is that it gives you real time responses to how your resume is formatted, the words that are missing and it tells you exactly what to put, where, how to put it, so that your resume scores higher and your increasing your visibility with that company at the interview.

Jacqueline: So people thought this was going to be that regular ol show and we were going to talk about the same ol thing.

Danyelle: No! No!

Jacqueline: To those that are listening right now, your competition does not know about Resumate.

Danyelle: We do have a free trial with Resumate. There isn’t a fee associated. I believe you get 3 to 5 changes to use the software to get your resume to where to the appropriate score. I believe it tries to get you to a 7. So go to Resumate.com so that you can start this today and increase your chances for that interview.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. You know even if you aren’t actively looking at this very moment, it is always good to get your resume updated.

Danyelle: Always! That’s another great thing about The Professional Diversity Network because while you are networking, you never know what opportunities are going to produce itself. And Star always likes to say, I may not be looking but I’m open to seeing what’s out there. That’s the power of networking. And you never know whats going to be out there when networking with the affinity groups that we have, in your personal life and your personal circle. So you want to make sure you’re always ready at the right time so make sure you go to Resumate.com to get your resume updated just to keep it up to date you know in real time.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. And we know in the technology field especially we experience a company that’s down sizing, upsizing, merging. So sometimes you’re not looking, but you’re pushed out there. So we have that volatility in the technology arena so I caution everyone and I often say don’t ever get too comfortable. Even here recently we heard about Macy’s. I know a lot of people in the technology area. So maybe they had some layoffs and often times in my experience you may have one round and then before you know you have that next round. So dust off that resume. The longer time you’ve been in one place the more you need something like Resumate because you haven’t been in the mode of looking for a job and it changes.

Danyelle: And like I said the process has changed and it is continuing to evolve all the time. So it’s really good to have your resume up to date with the key words and everything that Resumate will be able to help you with, Do that now, rather than later.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. Absolutely. You know the next key point that you pointed out was dos and don’ts. You talked about dressing for success, dressing for the job you want not like you’re still looking for the job. You probably have some experience in saying that. You’ve been to a lot of job fairs. What made you point that out?

Danyelle: Well, I’ve seen horror stories where I’ve personally, I take what I do very seriously. I laugh but I don’t take what I do very seriously because employment not only affects the individual, it affects families. It affects your self-esteem. It has a lot of domino effects to life in general so I don’t take lightly what I’m saying. I’m laughing but I’m very very serious about what I do. And I had to pull a few people over, over the course of the years in different cities. I’ve seen a lady come to a career fair with a red plastic cap that matched her red suit in her full-length fur coat. It was in Chicago. I’ve seen people come with purple hair like bright purple hair to match their purple suit. I’ve seen people come with their children and go around to talk to different employers. These are types of things you don’t want to communicate as a first impression to an employer, especially the daycare issue thing. You know they’re a little more relaxed because they are dealing with smaller children and things of that nature. But you know, if you have children care issues, I always just say, you know you can leave your child with us or with a friend while you go talk to an employer then come back then let your friend go. If their hygiene isn’t the greatest, I’ll say “ you why don’t you go to the restroom and boost yourself up.” Very tactfully, you know not to degrade or demean anyone. But you have to realize, if you’re prepared and you come to the career fair prepared, this could be your interview. This could be your opportunity where they hire you. This could be the only opportunity you have face to face with this company. And so you want to definitely put your first and best foot forward and project your best self for the company. I mean you can wear you plastic cap after you get hired. Dye your hair purple, after you get hired. But you wan to make sure, you are projecting the image they feel will fit in with their company and culture. It is not just bout your skill set. You need to fit in with the company as a whole. So the dress to impress part is definitely as important as your resume and your elevator pitch.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. And you know, one of the things that, one of the ways, I’ve also heard it, is that you just don’t want to have any distractions. I’m going to go back to this is a competitive market. The type of jobs and this salary, you want the top-notch salary, right. So you’ve got to do the effort, the preparation. One of the things I’ve seen because I will say that one of the values of belonging to great organizations like BDPA, those of you who know, we often talk about the Black Digital Professional Association, and there are so many others, LISA for the Latinos and Information Systems and Technology. These organizations they have programs that help you with grooming and practicing your elevator pitch, help you with your personal branding. They’ll give you the same advice. The fact that you’re hearing it twice , people are telling you from their experience that it can be a distraction and you should never get too casual too comfortable. I will have people say “what you look like shouldn’t matter”, but at the same time, when you go to the grocery store and everything on the shelf was sitting in a brown box, plain wrapper, how appetizing is that.

Danyelle: I have that conversation. “ It shouldn’t matter that I have dreads or not” And some companies, it doesn’t matter. But like you said, it is highly competitive. if you’re applying to a position online and everybody has to have access that, you know back in the day, it use to be 50 applicants. Now it’s 10,000 applicants for one particular job. There is a higher steak of competition. You don’t want there to be any distractions. You want them to focus on you, your professionalism and your skill set. At the end of the day, that is what should be used to hire you. If you’re distracted by hair color, you’re distracted by body odor; you’re distracted by jeans and a t-shirt or a hat, unfortunately that is how it is now. It is going to put you in a different pool of applicants. You don’t want to be in that pool. You want to be in the pool “ Yes they can impress me. I know they’ll do that job”. Then you can go back to that after you get the job, but it’s all about selling yourself and making sure you are putting your best effort forward.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. That’s the key word. Like you said, not even to hone in on a particular hairstyle, there are a lot of beautiful hair, hair textures, hairstyles, natural hair, that the person put the effort into it so it comes across professionally. That’s the most important thing and not distracting from the diversity in anyway, you and I are from a couple of those diverse groups. It about should the effort, showing the forethought and planning for this. That’s why we are giving you advance notice, February 23rd, Washington DC. The event is in the Virginia Arlington area. Come on out. Become a part of it. This is an awesome opportunity. For those who are listening, I am talking with Danyelle Simmons from Professional Diversity Network. We’ve shortened it to PDN. They are having a plethora of events. They have great website with some great tools. Please visit their website prodivnet.com. There is also the resumate.com, which allows you to score your resume. Also, Professional Diversity Network, you can connect with them via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and you can also run out to Periscope and see Danyelle. I tricked her before to do a little intro. She is so willing to work with me and it is all for all these different communities that we are talking about.

Danyelle: We definitely want to bridge that gap with employment opportunities with professional talent. Absolutely.

Jacqueline: At these events, they’ll get to meet you in person.

Danyelle: Absolutely. I travel to every single event. Yes, you can definitely walk up and say hi. Make sure you stop by and say hi and stop by the registration table and make sure you speak to every single employer we have on site. You never know where your opportunity will be.

Jacqueline: And mention to her that you heard her on Technology Expresso. Give us our props. Let her know that you heard us because we want to continue our relationship and look forward to it. Because as a matter of fact, in about a month or so, the Professional Diversity Network Career Fair will be in Atlanta so you will see us together. We will be doing a show during the event so you get to walk right up to the table and talk to us. But you can also talk to us today on the line. If you dial in to 714.888.7506 , you can press 1 and if you just want to say Hi to Danyelle, you can do that. Jovan, our studio engineer will get you queued up and get your mic ready to talk to us or you go to the chat room that is on the blog talk radio website. If you come in via Technologyexpresson.com link or the Everingston Radio link, you can find the chat room for our show and you can leave us a question there as well. If not that way, we’re all across social media, on Twitter. You can leave us a direct message. So there are a lot of ways to get in contact, so no excuses.

Danyelle: No excuses and no simple questions. All questions welcome. All ideas welcomed. We are here to be a resource for you on your professional journey. So please reach out to let us know how you are doing and how we can help further you in that process.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. You brought up another special group that is near and dear to us which is Pro Able. It’s not just an affinity group, again goes to show just how Professional Diversity Network is all about leveling the playing field and you guys have a tool called Audio Eye. Can you talk to our audience about Audio Eye?

Danyelle: Audio Eye is another amazing new resources that the Professional Diversity Network or PDN offers. We offer this to companies so that they are able to reach the 5 to 10% of the population who may have vision, hearing, motor or intellectual disabilities and it allows them to have access to Internet content. With this software, it keeps the company complying with the best practices and standards. So with Audio Eye, like I said, they’re able to reach this segment of the population who are just as skilled, just as diverse, just as qualified for the different positions available and it just provides another resource to reach out to them.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. So again, another reason to visit the website and a differentiator between PDN and other groups out there really looking out for the best interest of everyone. Now let’s talk about, we’ve been talking about the upcoming event in DC and about them going to Event Brite and registering. Why is it important to register?

Danyelle: Well when you register for the DC event or any of our events, you’re putting your name in and hopefully loading your resume so that we are able to contact you for special offers that we are having in your area with special events but it also allows the companies that we work with the recruit from your skill set. Again, PDN is a resource for candidates as well as companies, but our focus is really to help build candidates on their professional development journey. So what we do when you register and upload your resume, your information will go to companies who are specifically looking for candidates with your skill set. So if it’s somebody for example who is looking for an electrical engineer and you register through our site and through our services then they are able to recruit through your skill set and it gives you a lot more exposure than you just applying for a position like I just mentioned Target. If you just apply to Target, then you’re only going to get exposure to Target. Registering online through our services, you’re able to get exposure across the US with many companies we are affiliated with and work with.

Jacqueline: Okay! So you heard it. Go ahead and get registered. It doesn’t cost you anything. You’re on the mailing list and then you’ll be …

Danyelle: We promise we wont inundate your emails with a bunch of junk. We will only contact you if we are in the area and want to invite you to an event. Or to let you know about a special offer or a company will reach out to you and say they found your information through our site and they want you to come in for an interview. No spam! No Spam!

Jacqueline: Excellent! Excellent! So why don’t you then tell us about the upcoming event? We have the upcoming one in February and then we have the one in March.

Danyelle: Sure! So this year we have more than 30 career fairs, power networking events and summits from LA, to Atlanta, to New York. So make sure you go visit us online. You can find a listing of all those events on prodivnet.com/events for more information. As you mentioned, we are going to be in DC on February 23. We are going to be in the Chicago area March 8. We will be in Atlanta March 21. We’re going to visit Pittsburgh on April 5 and Philadelphia on May 3. Those are just a few of the upcoming events that we have, but again visit us online at prodivnet.com/events and you will get a complete listing of all of our events for the year.

Jacqueline: Excellent! Excellent. Very excited about that. Very excited about the Atlanta event. As a matter of fact, I first encountered the Professional Diversity Network at our BDPA National Conference and once again you all will be the career fair. As a lot of people know, the BDPA conference is here in Atlanta in August. You’ll be here in Atlanta in March and here again in August. Great, great opportunities. Now we do have someone in the chat room who sent us a question. They didn’t give their name but they did want to know, they have their resume, can they have someone look at their resume? They’re kind of just kicking the tire. So what are your thoughts on that? The pros and the good and bad on that.

Danyelle: So the good of that is you know it is always good to have somebody kind of review your resume to be someone from the outside looking in you know you want to make syre that your resume doesn’t have any errors on it. You want to make sure that your resume is not too lengthy but it’s not too short as well. Umm, and so in our offices, we don’t necessarily provide a

Individual umm assessment of your resume, but like I mentioned earlier with resonate. That tool is invaluable, umm because it not only, I like to say it’s software speaking to software. So resonate speaks to the software that the companies use to assess your resume. So if I can look at your resume and say “Oh yeah this is great Daniel, you have all of this experience and it’s 2 pages and its nicely formatted and it has nice bullets and everything, and then if you upload that resume in Resonate.

And you’re applying for a position and that position and software that their using for that position doesn’t like bullets. You know I told you put bullets on your resume but the software is saying no we’re going to kick that out, we’re going to give you a low score for bullets; I’ve given you incorrect information. So I would say definitely go to resonate. Upload your resume and it’s definitely user friendly, it doesn’t require a lot, it tells you exactly what to do and how to do it. When to do it all of that, umm and it’ll really allow you to create a resume that ‘s going to work for you in person as well as online and that’s ideally what you want.

Jacqueline: Oh, excellent! Excellent point and again not in the past a lot of people didn’t have that tool.

Danyelle: Right in the past yeah in the past you would bring your resume to some and look at and say oh yeah this is good. Add a bullet point here add 5 bullets point there bold this right here so it stands out. And then you do that and then you go online to apply cause again don’t forget everybody has to go o line to apply for every position online. And that tracking system doesn’t read bold print it doesn’t read bullet points. So it’s not, you can all the right key words and the right language but because you have different grammatical issues on your résumé that the software is not picking up your resume wont even get read. So my suggestion is go to resonate that is the most invaluable tool that you can have for your resume critique.

Jacqueline: Excellent, thank, thank you for that question. We’ve got a couple more questions coming in. Look and you know this because I’ve even had some conversation among other professionals and you know a resume is a person thing and you have a lot of different ways of doing it. Some people I’ve seen have recommend that using different colors on their resume, red letters umm.

Danyelle: Remember the linen paper like make sure you use the linen paper so it sticks out. That doesn’t even matter when you’re applying online!

Jacqueline: Right it doesn’t. And then ok some people say put your picture on it. Don’t put your picture on it. Just recently David, someone came to him this person came to him and asked him to look over his resume and it was 5 pages long and I think the person had only been in the industry for 4 years. So we were a little you know so you know we go back and forth with that. So there are some right and wrongs, do’s and don’t. And that’s some of the questions that are coming in. So first of all Resumate can help you. So I think that’s important. So here’s a question, it says that you know and some of these are college students millennia’s who are out there some of them its there first job. And are there some things out there that you’ve seen some do’s and don’ts of what people should and should not include in their resume?

Danyelle: I’ve seen resumes like you mentioned; I’ve seen resumes that are 5 pages. I’ve seen resume’s that have been half pages. It needs to include your experience. I mentioned earlier that resumes are really a talking point. The resume has two folds. I guess if you’re applying online then it’s communicating something different than if you’re in person with someone and you’re handing them your resume. If you’re a millennial, and you’re just starting out in the job process and you’re looking for internships or employment, you definitely want to make sure you’re including your school and your GPA and that type of information on there. But you definitely want to make sure you are emphasizing your skill set that will complement the company. You want to complement the company. You don’t want to just be a regular employee. You want to make sure you say “ oh yeah! I can do the job you want” to make sure that you are an asset to the company, an asset to the job. So just make sure you really highlight your skills that are going to complement the position that you’re actually going to apply for, not just generally. It needs to be very specific.

Jacqueline: oh yeah that’s interesting. And there was a follow up question. One of the things I want to emphasize too, especially like you said, some people coming out of college and one of the things we always encourage is do a couple of different internships just so you can have something on it. There is nothing wrong with putting in your volunteer work and that’s why it’s important to volunteer. It’s important to become part of these different affiliations, these professional affiliations. We say be a part of a couple of them. You know, I’ve been dropping BDPA but at the same time, my husband is part of the PMI organization for project manager. I am a part of the International Association for Business Analyst and I’m also interested in Six Sigma. I also go in those areas of specialty. All that activity shows that you are invested in yourself and your professional development. That’s important on your resume. You talked about words that complement that organization. You may not know that specific tool or know that specific industry, but if you have things to show that you are reliable, that you’re in leadership, that you have addition to detail. All of those are key things and that can be demonstrated even through the volunteer work that you do and the commitment to those types of things. There are other areas that you can pull from and I think a lot of young people struggle with that and I think it has to be a specific paid work. Volunteer is work.

Danyelle: Volunteer is a lot of work because it shows that you aren’t even doing it for the paycheck. It speaks to your character. I’m actually really glad you brought up the volunteer aspect because it shows; it’s more of a tangible quality to put on their resume because it does show that you care. You have character, you have leadership, you have initiative and you’re not just looking for a paycheck. That speaks volumes.

Jacqueline: One of the things that we encourage too because with these various organizations and non profits, your church or that type of things, especially if it’s in the technology arena, all of these organizations they need websites, they need database, they have to manage members and that type of thing. They need reports and metrics. Be specific as you volunteer. Some of your talents and capabilities and leverage that will speak to and be reflected on your resume and catch employer’s attention.

Danyelle: My very first job, I started working when I was 15 years old. I was very active with my church. I sang in the choir and just the youth programs there and that was the only thing I could put on my “resume” at the time that was my involvement with the church. There are so many things that you might not think matter when you are volunteering that really speak to your skill set so definitely make sure you include that.

Jacqueline: You know another thing that I have seen is and kudos to some of the young people, is with technology there are a lot of young entrepreneurs and it doesn’t mean that they have to make millions of money or that type of thing. If you have built an app, if you have built a website or helped to build, speak to that and share that as well on your resume. That all speaks to your character, your talent, your ability. It shows that you are committed to that particular area and your professional development. Here is another question I want to get in. now first of all, I want to tease Danyelle here. She didn’t think I could get a hour out of her. Oh we are just getting heated up. Let’s see. Let’s answer a couple more of our questions if you don’t mind. This question says, “Should a person focus on their resume on being a generalist or a specialist?” Do you have a feel for what employers say? The pros and cons of either.

Danyelle: That’s actually an amazing question, just so you know. There was a point in time where companies were looking for very specific positions. They were looking for an electrical engineer that had — I’m not in this field, so excuse me — Cisco training but they also knew Six Sigma. They were very targeted in what they were looking for. Recently, they’ve been getting a little bit more general where they’re meeting a programming manager that isn’t necessarily in a specific area, but just one period. My suggestion would be to, as a candidate and as a professional looking for a position, you want to go to the company website. You want to look at what the job description is actually saying, and then you want to customize your resume to fit that. I know that’s a lot of work, because if you find 15 positions that you really want to apply for, that means you potentially have 15 different resumes. I know that’s a lot of work, but it needs to be that way because again, the process is different, now. They’re looking for specific key words, and if you leave one out or you have too much on there, it may communicate positively or negatively. It really depends upon the position that you’re applying for, how specific you get, and how general you are.

Jacqueline: Excellent point. Thank you for that question. Some of these questions are coming from young people, and this is a follow-up to the previous question of what to include on your resume, what to leave out. We talked about including some of your volunteering and that type of thing. I had an actual intern, and it was a little bit tricky, but she wanted to include her church affiliation. I didn’t tell her no because I wanted her to use her own judgment, but it goes back to not wanting anything to distract you. You can describe what you do and that type of thing. I’ve seen people where they just use initials. Again, you don’t want to be distracting. That was one of the things I saw to leave out. When in doubt, you can ask people, and sometimes you need to ask people outside your friends and family. That’s the rule of thumb. You don’t want anything that’s too distracting.

Danyelle: I don’t want people to gather from the distracting words to discriminating, because it’s not. You mean exactly what you say: You don’t want to be a distraction, because in the job application process through this whole career professional development journey, you want to make sure that employers are focusing on your skill sets and your character and that’s it. They shouldn’t focus on the fact of where you worship, on the fact that you like to wear red fingernail polish or that you like to eat pizza on Friday nights. They only need to focus on your professional experience and your skill set. Anything outside of that is a distraction, and it could sway either way. You don’t want that. You just want them to focus on your professional journey. Just include the pertinent information for your skill set and your professionalism and leave the other stuff until later, until after you get the job, so that it doesn’t become a distraction.

Jacqueline: Exactly. It’s being discrete. I love this next question. What’s the worst mistake ever on a resume?

Danyelle: The worst mistake ever on a resume is to spell your name wrong, and yes, I’ve seen that, and not to have contact information. You want them to be able to contact you, so make sure you don’t have any spelling errors, make sure your name and contact information is listed, and make sure that you’re really focusing on your skill set and your professional background.

Jacqueline: Excellent.

Danyelle: I’ve had people come back and say that part of our registration process is you just turn in your resume, and that way you don’t have to stand in line. I’ve had people come back and say, “Can I get my resume back? I noticed I left an e off of my name,” and we’re always like, “Ok, but did you know we have an office area over here? You can make the adjustment so that you don’t take up to the employer.” Make sure there’s no spelling errors.

Jacqueline: I can agree about the spelling errors. I have a real life example where a lady, and I’m talking about a 15-year-old veteran who had very impressive credentials, but she had mixed up one of the key associations for our industry. One of the people in the room said, for example, “I know what IIBA is, but I don’t know what BBIA is.” She said, “Oh, I had someone do my resume for me. They must have just messed that up.”

Danyelle: Yeah, we don’t want to say that.

Jacqueline: That was the end of the interview! I’m like, you have the highest score on this CBAP Certification. The fact that she had it spelled wrong — along those lines, because I’ve interviewed a lot of people. I’ve been a hiring manager for a long time. People have other people that outsource their resume, have immaculate, beautiful resumes, but I ask you a question about something on it and you cannot speak to it. I often say, “You have to be as good as what’s on that paper.”

Danyelle: That’s the challenge that we’re in, in this whole process today. You can have so many people do your resume and add the right keywords so it comes up and score appropriately, but you need to go back and reread what’s on there. You want to make sure that what’s on there is truthful, that you can do what it actually says you can do, and that you have the background that it says you have. Integrity is what’s at stake at that point, so make sure your resume has integrity.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. We’re getting some great questions, so thank you everyone. They’re all good ones. Here’s another one. Someone says that they’ve been told that their resume was too long and wordy. How do they cut it down for efficiency?

Danyelle: In general, you want to make sure that your resume does not exceed 2 pages. You want to make sure that your experience doesn’t exceed 8 years. I’ve been in the event management process for — I don’t even want to say the number! I’m not that old! — awhile. A lot of my skills and my background overlap, so you don’t need to necessarily list every single thing that you’ve ever done in your entire life over the span of your career, but you do want to make sure that you’re pointing out the different achievements and positions that you’ve obtained. Make sure that it’s condensed to two pages, and based on what resunate says, make sure you go to resunate and put that in there. Based on what resunate says, you really want to list out your achievements and focus on verb words like “I.” You cut 30% of the budget by implementing this process. You want to focus on your achievements, and you don’t need to be wordy with that. You don’t have to say, “I’ve been in the business for 20 years…I’ve gone here…I’ve done this…” That’s good. Employers want to see the leadership capabilities that you achieved in different positions, but condense it to no more than 2 pages, and don’t go past 8 years.

Jacqueline: That’s a good point, because you’re really trying to list your achievements. There are talking points there.

Danyelle: It’s a conversation piece. That’s what your resume is.

Jacqueline: That’s an excellent comparison. You want to be able to expand upon it. I’ve had that experience, where everything was written in their resume. I would say, “So, I see that you led a team of 15…can you tell me about that?” All they really repeated was what I just read.

Danyelle: Right, what’s on the resume. That’s not a conversation.

Jacqueline: Exactly. Talking once you get the interview is what they’re looking for. Give me examples; give me a story and expand upon it. Be ready with your stories to report that resume. Sometimes I get the resume, and I look at the person sitting and talking to me like, “You aren’t the same person,” and that queues me into that someone wrote your resume for you.

Danyelle: It’s really good if you have a 5-page resume. That’s good, because you have all of the stories and information you need for your interview. Condense them to 2 pages, and then that way, you can expound upon the story the resume is telling.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. For the young people who might be able to relate to this: make your bullet points like you’re typing a Twitter message.

Danyelle: 140 characters! I love it!

Jacqueline: My life has changed since I’ve had to condense.

Danyelle: That’s a really great point, because like I mentioned earlier, before you could have 10 applicants for one positions. Now you can have 10,000 for one position. The recruiters that are looking at your resume and determining who gets the interview, they really look at the resume for 1-3 seconds. They’re not really reading everything that you include on your resume. They’re spot-checking to make sure that yeah, this person is at least qualified to get in the door for an interview. When you get in the door, you can sell your story. You want to make sure that it’s condensed, short, and to the point, because they’re just briefly looking over it to make sure that it has what it needs. If it’s a long, drawn out resume, they’re not going to read it or look at it.

Jacqueline: Exactly.

Danyelle: But, in the interview, you have a lot to talk about. That means you have everything mapped out for the interview.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. We’re getting some great questions, and these are young people asking. One of them was: Out of high school or college, do you include your high school accomplishments? The second part: If you’ve taken some college courses but it didn’t result in a degree, should you include that?

Danyelle: I’ve seen it both ways, as it relates to the college courses. You can put something like the name of the college then bulleted “some courses taken in this particular area” so they know that you’ve gotten the book training in a particular area. When you’re first starting out in or from high school, then absolutely. You want to put all of your achievements, extracurricular activities, and your GPA. All of that is going to speak to your characterer, and it’s going to speak to your skill set. Employers want to see leadership, initiative, and that you’re taking your education seriously. Your GPA, from a 2.0 to a 3.9, speaks to how seriously you’re taking your studies and how well you’ll be focused. Definitely include that on your resume when you’re first starting out from high school.

Jacqueline: This is one that a lot of people struggle with, when you have a gap in your employment. What do you do as far as your resume? I know there’s a couple different formats they can use besides the chronological. How do employers react to people when they have gaps in their resume?

Danyelle: Well, again, if you’re applying online vs. applying in person: online, you should go through resunate, because resunate is going to give you the wording, and it’s going to tell you how to format it for the position you’re applying for. It’s a free trial. It’s a very invaluable resource, and you’re really having software speak to software. It’s not a human speaking to software. It’s going to tell you how to format your resume the way this position needs you to format it. When you’re in person and there’s a lot of gaps, then you can explain why there’s a gap. They’re not just looking at it on a piece of paper. If you’re online and you’re applying for a position, you can’t explain that gap, so resunate is going to help you format it in a way that that gap doesn’t reflect negatively. If you’re in person, you can definitely arrange your resume as it relates to your skill set and the different areas. Maybe you don’t put the date on there, and then that will be a question. Then, you can further that conversation in person. Really rely on what resunate is telling you for that specific position, because one position will say “add the chronological information; it won’t matter,” or it will say “no, don’t put this on there; just list your qualifications without the date.”

Jacqueline: Exactly. Some people hiring in entry-level positions aren’t expecting a lot of experience, but they’re looking for other keywords, so the chronological would be fine or not. It may be on a case by case basis. Again, resunate can help with it.

Danyelle: Because resunate does a case by case basis.

Jacqueline: Excellent. You’re providing a great resource. As you guys can tell, Danyelle has a lot of knowledge and experience. I think you should just go to the event just to talk to her.

Danyelle: I’m here to help. Professional Diversity Network is here to help.

Jacqueline: She is a great coach, mentor, role model, and it would be great just to meet her in person. I’m going to have her talk about the upcoming events she’ll be at, the employers, and get registered online at eventbrite. Go to the website prodivnet.com, and you can go to its event tab. It will list the whole calendar, so you can find out when it’s coming to you. Impress us. We’re really looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to meeting you in Atlanta in March. I’ll let Danyelle reiterate the events. We haven’t had a chance to break down D.C. Not only do we have the NAPW event, but you have a special offer for the first ten people. I’ll let you break it down.

Danyelle: We’re really excited. I know you guys have a lot of questions, so if you’re in the D.C. area, make sure you come onsite and register. If you give the keyword, this is the keyword: technology expresso, you need to say the keyword in order to get the special. If you come to the registration table and you say “technology expresso,” and you’re one of the first 10 to do that, you will be able to have free access to the power networking event we’re having with Star Jones that day. The career day will take place between 11 and 2pm, and that power networking event takes place between 12 and 2pm. Go and speak with the employers, find out what positions are available, network with them, network with other professionals in the area, and attend the power networking event with Star Jones. You’ll also be able to take pictures with her. We are offering photos for philanthropy. It is a foundation fundraiser we do with the NAPW event. If you are one of the first 10 people to say “technology expresso” at the registration table, you’ll be able to attend that event for free and take a picture with Star. We have free hospitality, we’ll have a power of one panel, and it’s a really great event for the members of NAPW that you’ll be able to attend for free. That’s Tuesday, February 23 at the Embassy Suites Crystal City at 11:00 for the career fair and 12:00 for the power networking event.

Jacqueline: If you plan on being one of the first ten, mention “technology expresso,” and you can attend the NAPW event free. If you think you’re going to be running a little late, then go ahead and register —

Danyelle: And ask for me. I may be able to hook you up.

Jacqueline: Look for Danyelle. It’s been a great show, and we want people to mark their calendars. I hope they’re as excited about Professional Diversity Network as I am. Join those affinity groups. Follow those, and connect with those as well. One thing we didn’t talk about was employers. This is a great way to get all of these people from all of the different groups and professional organizations to talk with all Americans, all inclusive, but to get a great pool of candidates that are well prepared thanks to Danyelle and her sites. Anything you want to add?

Danyelle: Employers are definitely welcome. We like to call ourselves “Diversity Recruitment Specialists.” I always depend on the relationship recruitment, because networking is about relationships, and we definitely want to create and sustain relationships with not just employers but also with the community, which is why we have the strategic alliances with the different organizations locally in the areas that we go in. Employers and professionals are dfetinyl welcome to join us. We love being that bridge that connects both of those groups together for employment opportunities and professional success.

Jacqueline: You guys are doing an awesome job! You gave a wealth of information that people need. They need organizations and opportunities like the Professional Diversity Network, so continue doing what you’re doing. Our listeners appreciate it, and Technology Expresso is excited about our partnership/relationship. I thank our audience for joining us. Thank you Jovan Grant for getting those questions over to us. Special shout out to Anisah Muhammad who also works behind the scenes and helps us with our social media, and a shout out to Dawn Major, known as DMaj. She gives us the news and headlines in STEM. Thank you.

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