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4 Ways to Make Yourself Job Ready – Takeaways from the Employability Summit

On July 19 Bryant & Stratton College Online hosted the “Job Ready or Not?” Employability Summit. The event featured tips and advice on improving employability skills from leading HR and hiring experts from CareerBuilder, Come Recommended, Enterprise, Humana, Marriott International, and Microsoft. The experts highlighted a variety of traits employers value as well as tactics for the job search, gaining experience before you’re hired and using social media to build a personal brand. Below are a few of the key takeaways from the Summit.

Be Employer-Centric

Too many job hunters get stuck in a “what’s in it for me” attitude said the speakers. Steve Talbott, Talent Acquisition Manager at Enterprise Holdings Inc. said just by thinking like an employer, instead of a job hunter, you will stand out among the other applicants. Jessica Lee, Director of Digital Talent Strategy at Marriott International suggested making sure you’re resume, cover letter and application match the type of language an employer is using in a job description. As an applicant you should do everything you can to make it easy for an employer to recognize why you would be a good fit for their team.

Be in Control of Your Personal Brand

Rosemary Haefner, Global Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder, shared a quote she heard from Amazon’s CEO about brands. The quote was “your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.” Ms. Haefner encouraged job seekers to think about what prospective employers would say about them when they left an interview and how they could control that impression. Ms. Lee and Heather Tinguely, Program Manager of Global Talent at Microsoft, encouraged attendees to use social media and other digital platforms, like blogs, to proactively create a personal brand because employers are using social media for outbound recruiting efforts.

Don’t Underestimate Soft Skills

All of the speakers agreed that employers value soft skills. Carleen Haas, Vice President of Talent Strategies at Humana, encouraged job seekers to think of their last dining or travel experience. She pointed out that memorable interactions with people often are a result of their soft skills (i.e. customer service, critical thinking, working within a team, etc.) rather than technical skills. Ms. Tinguely encouraged job seekers to weave soft skills into answers to behavioral interview questions. By talking about how you worked within a team or creatively solved a problem while you’re answering questions about past experiences you’ll be able to highlight the type of soft skills that give you an edge. All the speakers agreed that one of the most important soft skills is the drive to be a life long learner – don’t forget that when you land a job you’re training is just beginning; look for opportunities to continue to evolve and grow your skills.

The Experience Hustle

Speaking of continuing to learn, Ms. Lee talked about how to break the experience catch-22 of needing experience to get a job but needing a job to have experience. She explained it as a “hustle” or a really strong drive and desire to do things on personal time and in off hours. Ms. Lee suggested taking on extra projects by volunteering, asking friends or other contacts if they need help in order to acquire new skills. Ms. Tinguely suggested volunteering at places where you have a passion about the mission because it’s a way to give back but also to build experience and contacts that could help down the road.

To view the full recording of the event click here.

Bryant & Stratton College Online aims to help students maximize their employability for career success through its Employability Series. This set of core competencies is integrated in to the College’s online degree programs, to complement occupation-specific training and help graduates get hired. We’ll be sharing more takeaways from the Employability Summit on this blog soon so check back for more ideas on how to improve your employability skills. In the meantime, if you’re interested in learning more about the online degree programs offered by Bryant & Stratton College Online, call 1.888.453.0087 to speak with an admissions representative.

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