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NYC Resume & Job Hunting Workshop

On April 7, 2005, the New York City Chapter of the UESA held a "Resume and Job Hunting" workshop. The workshop was targeted to those that are entering the workforce in the United States for the first time or are looking to switch careers.

The workshop consisted of four short presentations by speakers with a range of experience, followed by a group question and answer session.

The first presentation was prepared by Ms. Maya Lew. Ms. Lew's professional experience includes being a Senior Staffing Coordinator for a downtown Manhattan staffing firm which specializes in sourcing candidates for the financial and medical sectors. Ms. Lew's lecture highlighted items which potential job candidates should consider both when preparing to conduct an interview with a prospective and when preparing a resume.

With respect to the basic "do's" which a job candidate should follow, Ms. Lew stressed the importance of being prompt and portraying a confident and interested image. The candidate should be well dressed and groomed as it is a reflection of their personal habits and life. Additionally, a candidate should be prepared with a researched understanding of the company which is offering the job and they should be prepared to answers the questions about themselves and their experience. These questions include "what are your strengths" and "tell me about yourself." Ms. Lew also noted that it is important to be able to account for gaps in your resume.

Ms. Lew also discussed items which a job candidate should consider when writing a resume. Among her observations was that a resume should be kept compact since employers tend to read resumes for an average of about 5 to 10 seconds. If they see something that grabs their attention in that span of time, then they will read on. Candidates should also show consistency in their work experience and/or a progression of experience and skills. Finally, candidates should try to use similar language, when applicable, to the advertisement for an open position. Sometimes a job can have several descriptions, but an employer will focus on resumes that mirror the language of the advertisement.

The next speaker was Mr. Wasyl Kinach, PE. Mr. Kinach is the Director of Classifications at the New York City Comptrollers Office. Mr. Kinach also spoke on the topics of writing a resume and conducting an interview.

One item Mr. Kinach mentioned with respect to resumes was that it is important to understand that the purpose of a resume is to create interest and to whet the reader's appetite for more information. The resume itself will not secure a potential position. Rather, it serves to create interest, generate questions which will allow the job seeker to elaborate on their strengths, and to serve as a "reminder" about the job seeker's qualifications.

On the topic of interviews, Mr. Kinach reaffirmed the central themes which were often repeated throughout the night. He noted that one's appearance, punctuality, and communication skills have a significant impact on the first impression the prospective employer will develop. You have one chance at a first impression, and you want to make the best effort to make this a positive one. Mr. Kinach continued to discuss how interviewers watch for possible disqualifications which include contradictions, grandiose claims, anger, and evidence of indecisions on inflexibility. He also noted that it is not advisable to criticize previous employers or bosses.

Mr. Kinach concluded by reviewing a number of "core" interview questions to which a person should have thoughtful and relevant answers. These core questions include "Tell us about yourself," "what is your biggest strength," "what is your biggest weakness," "what kind of decisions are most difficult for you," and "how could you make a contribution to this company."

The next speaker was Mr. Roman Kostiuk who is an associate at Societe Generale, a corporate investment banking firm. Mr. Kostiuk shared observations on the current recruiting market.

Mr. Kostiuk began by noting that a job seeker needs to have a clear idea of what they want to do and what a prospective position entails. A person should understand whether the two aspects coincide. He also noted a person should not be discouraged if your skills do not match the advertised position exactly. Often, similar skills can be applied to new tasks.

This concept extends to the philosophy that it's advisable for an person to be an innovator and one to take action. One should be eager to learn. Learning translates to the experience which is needed in various complex environments is for most advanced and senior positions. An employee is there to add value to a company, and one's experience and skills provide that value.

Finally, Mr. Kostiuk touched on how different professions can take advantage of modern tools. For example, various internet job search tools, such as Dice.com, Career builder, and Monster.com, allow a job seeker to obtain a great deal of exposure quickly. Such tools can also help a job seeker develop an extensive network of contacts in their field and to find a mentor.

The next speaker was Mr. Adrian Berezowsky. Mr. Berezowsky is currently completing his studies in the field of construction law. Mr. Berezowsky shared observations from the perspective of a recent entrant into the job market.

Among the items Mr. Berezowsky mentioned was that it is important to account for gaps in your resume's timelines in an honest fashion. He reiterated the fact that it is important the job seeker be completely honest with respect to their employment history and other items listed on their resume. The job seeker should assume that the information can and will be verified by the prospective employer. If the reality conflicts with what is presented as the "truth" the it will impact very negatively on the job seeker.

Mr. Berezowsky also noted that as a student just entering the job market, it is important to call attention to extracurricular activities. These activities reflect on the job seeker's abilities, responsibilities and dedication. It is also important for the job seeker to be properly prepared for an interview. Enough research should be done so that the job seeker can speak knowledgeably about what the prospective company does and what it has to offer. Furthermore, the research should allow the job seeker to ask intelligent questions. Mr. Berezowsky noted that often the toughest question which will be posted to a job seeker is "do you have any questions." Those seeking employment should be prepared with intelligent and relevant questions.

Mr. Berezowsky noted that it is valuable to be observant with respect to the surroundings at an interview location and the interviewer's reactions to various items. Often, an item of common interest, such as a favorite baseball team, can be the key to establishing a unique connection which other job seekers may not obtain. Finally, Mr. Berezowsky noted that is often a good idea to send a thank you note to the person who conducted the interview. Not only is it a professional courtesy but it also provides an additional opportunity for the job seeker to remind the prospective employer about them.

The evening concluded as it began with informal chats among the workshop's attendees.

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