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The TTC June 2017 Roundtable Re-Cap: Facilitating Mentoring Partnership Engagement

Kathy Wentworth Drahosz launched the June 2017 Program Coordinator Roundtable with a review of the Keys to Mentoring Success, noting how each step contributes to preparing participants for their mentoring journeys.  During each of these steps, mentees and mentors have a significant amount of guidance and support; but once the relationships have officially launched, they tend to be left to their own devices to implement their Mentoring Actin Plans.  Kathy noted that "we recommend providing feedback on the MAPs just to show them that we’re keeping an eye on things and we’re supporting them as they go through the process.”  But to a large extent, Program Coordinators and Managers might not always be sure how things are going during this stage.  That is where structured mentoring forums can play a pivotal role.

"One of the things that a lot of Program Coordinators are doing is some kind of forum or activity to bring the cohort together and give them a chance to talk about a timely topic, share knowledge, information, experience; network and get to know people at different levels,” Kathy said, describing how structured events provide an array of opportunities that can benefit partnerships as they step out on their own.  Kathy noted that structured mentoring forums are best implemented when partnerships have had a little time to get to know each other, and have made some progress on their mentoring agreements and Mentoring Action Plans.  "You want to have an event that brings them together—whether live or virtual—to network and communicate with each other; and some of the partnerships will often show up together to give them a face-to-face connection.”  

Kathy provided examples that included speed mentoring events in which participants have opportunities to meet other mentees and mentors.  Other ideas can include holding senior-level panels or social events that allow participants to network in a fun informal environment.  Mini-workshops can also be offered as 2–4-hour events to address topics such a time, project, or conflict management.  

As an example, the roundtable featured a presentation by Elizabeth Mangini, a consultant to The Training Connection who is a professional certified coach with experience in personal branding, résumé writing, and career search planning.  Elizabeth also served in the State Department before venturing out on her own.

Her presentation—the "Modern Day Career Search”—covered many aspects including the key elements of developing a personal brand: learning how to sell our best selves, and understanding "the whys” of personal branding.  (Why does somebody want to hire us?  Why do we stand out?)  

Elizabeth talked about the career search journey, how it typically takes between six months to a year to complete the process in the current environment, and how job seekers need to be prepared financially and personally.  She also stressed how big a role motivation plays in the process.  

In discussing the types of résumés available to job seekers, Elizabeth specifically focused on vital aspects such as ensuring there are no gaps that might raise flags for potential employers, using keywords that reflect the job description provided, and dedicating the time needed to ensure the wording and presentation of the résumé reflects the best possible professional image.

For the first element, Elizabeth said that there is a "natural tendency for someone to look at a résumé and say, why is there a gap, what happened?”  She stressed the importance of ensuring that the résumé does not include a gap of more than two months of inactivity.  "There has to be movement within that gap,” she said, which can include working part-time, volunteering, studying, being involved in a contract, or even serving as a family caretaker.  Potential employers do not like to see gaps, and ensuring that some type of gap filler is used demonstrates that you have not been idle, and that you have a desire to contribute.  

Using keywords found in a target job description is crucial to creating a résumé.  Keywords provide the means to catch the reviewer’s eye.  They are the bullet points that reviewers look for as they sift through the pile of résumés on their desks.  Oftentimes, organizations use computerized gatekeepers as the first reviewers—especially when larger numbers of applicants are expected.  Including keywords in the résumé improves chances for job seekers to get to the next level.

How long a person’s résumé should be is relative to their time in the working world.  Elizabeth said that she would be less concerned about length as she would about content, and how it is presented.  "For most people, 2–3 pages should be enough, but quality content and readability are keys to creating a good résumé,” she noted.  "You need to be respectful of the person’s time, who is reading the résumé.”  She emphasized that the ultimate goal of the résumé is to get the interview.  "Every sentence on a résumé has to pack a punch,” she said.  She talked about taking the time to use the right nouns, verbs, and phrasing, and understanding the essentials of demonstrating how you added value, and how you can contribute to the new employer’s goals and needs.  She noted that the résumé should demonstrate how you can make a difference.

Elizabeth’s presentation included more information on using contemporary resources such as LinkedIn, ensuring that profiles are complete and reflect the job seeker’s personal brand.  She also talked about how these resources can be used as alternative channels to getting a job interview.  Additionally, she provided a variety of resources to help job seekers learn about opportunities, and gain insight into job descriptions and keywords used.  These resources are provided at the end of the article.

Not only did Elizabeth offer excellent insight into personal branding and resume building, but she provided a fine example of how a common career building topic can be offered in a virtual mini-workshop as the basis of a structured mentoring forum.  Such an event can easily be followed with open Q&A and networking time to allow participants to exchange their own ideas, while providing new opportunities to strengthen partnership bonds and start new relationships.  Fine food for thought indeed!

Resume Writing and Job Seeker Resources

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com

Indeed: http://blog.indeed.com/2015/11/17/optimize-your-indeed-resume

Monster: https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/how-to-write-a-resume

Career Builder: http://www.careerbuilder.com/advice/tips-for-making-your-resume-stand-out

Zip Recruiter: https://www.ziprecruiter.com/blog/how-to-write-the-perfect-resume

O*NET Online: https://www.onetonline.org/

O*NET Code Connector: https://www.onetcodeconnector.org/