a Zoom conversation between Child Welfare Professional Inc. & Heather McBride, SHRM-SCP

Val [00:00:12] So we have a special guest with us today. We have someone with InClarity360. Miss Heather, how are you doing today?

Heather [00:00:21] Hello, I’m doing great, Val, how are you?

Val [00:00:25] I’m doing good. I’m doing good. Well, you know, the next month, September, is a very special month for child welfare. It’s about child welfare workforce appreciation month and I think this would be appropriate to have this conversation relating to resume building.

Right. So we’ll just get right into it. If you could just tell us a little bit about InClarity360, the services you provide, and how you could help us child of professionals.

Heather [00:00:51] Okay. I’m Heather McBride and I am an HR and recruiting professional. I’ve been doing this for about 25 to 30 years, but about seven years ago I started really focusing on resume writing and cover letter support for professionals all over the United States and, actually, the globe.

Val [00:01:08] The first question I want to start with is, okay, I’ve been in child welfare for 20 years and I’m applying for a leadership position or a different position within child welfare. How important is my resume. How important is it… should I shrink it? How should I move forward with that? If you think about all the experience.

Heather [00:01:31] You know, it really depends. Like, a 20 year professional may have a two page resume, and that’s perfectly acceptable. You don’t want to go longer than two pages, though, and you want to make sure that it’s very accomplishment based. If you’ve got 20 years under your belt, you have a lot of experience and you can focus on the things that you’ve done for the agency. So two pages is fine if you’re an entry level or someone that’s just been in the field for about one to five years,  you want to stick to one page and you can make it as dense as possible with smaller font. That’s what my suggestion is.

Val [00:02:07] So what are your thoughts, Harmony? I think me and you were speaking a little bit earlier and you were asking about cover pages. What questions do you have her? Because she was asking me the questions. I was like, I don’t know, let’s ask a professional.

Harmony [00:02:20] Or how can say an entry level person or maybe even a more experienced person make their resume more robust.

Heather [00:02:28] Well, there are two different ways. A more entry level person will want to talk about their education, their certification/licensure, the skill sets that they have, like, with areas of expertise. Use key words. They’ll want to talk about specific courses that they took and and really highlight their current job description with a couple of bullet points of the things that they’ve done inside of the agency. Like, if they’re like a subject matter expert, maybe they helped with, you know, platform integration, cross-functional agency work, those kind of things.

But someone that’s got 20 years is going to really be able to be more accomplishment-based and flesh out what they’ve done, who they’ve worked with, and the things that they’ve done to help with agency improvement. Any presentations that they’ve done such as educational seminars; that’s what they would do to focus on applying for those next step roles.

Val [00:03:45] Yeah. Okay, I’m sorry, I just wanted to ask, with an entry level person, it would be okay to list, like, their volunteer experience or organizations that focus on advocacy or, I guess, however they impacted their community.

Heather [00:04:01] Yes. In fact, a lot of people think that type of volunteer or community service should be in its own section, that it’s not actually part of professional experience. But I say when you’re in an entry level role, that you can intertwine your professional work and your community service work in the same chronological order because it doesn’t matter if you’re paid or unpaid, it matters that you’re working for the community.

 Now, I wouldn’t do that. If you’ve been you’ve got several years under your belt, but you have to get creative when you’re entry level. And I say, if you have if you have a member role or a leadership role in a community service or advocacy organization, do highlight it and feel free to include it in your professional experience.

Val [00:04:51] Okay. Writing a resume is one thing, but the hardest piece for me is the cover letter. Right. How important is that? When it comes a cover letter, what should go in there?

Heather [00:05:03] You know, okay, here’s the here’s the secret. 50% of the time…

Val [00:05:08] We’re getting the secret, huh?

Heather [00:05:09] Yeah, you’re getting the secret.

Val [00:05:10] All right.

Heather [00:05:12] 50% of the time, it’s true, they don’t read the cover letter. I get it. You know, I was an HR person, and I had, like, 50 applications. I’d be like, okay, resume, resume, cover letter later. But I’ll tell you, a cover letter can take care of a couple of things.

 First of all, it can show your communication skills, and if you’re one of the top candidates, they will go back to that cover letter and they will read it. A cover letter can also explain why you want the role, why you’re leaving. where you’re coming from, and take care of some of those red flags so that the interview conversation is different from the start. Instead of you having to explain yourself, you’ve already talked about relocating or wanting this next step for this or this reason, ex. I want to change my focus from this agency to this agency. You see, when you’re in the interview, you’ve already explained it, right?

Val [00:06:10] Because, you know, you’ve got folks that are in child welfare. You know, there are different roles, right? Some folks are doing front line investigation that are initially working with the family, but then they want to transition to something more manageable. For example, the permanency side, you know, case management. So I think that would be a good place to articulate. Okay, here’s why I’m looking to make that transition in child welfare.

Heather [00:06:36] Well, one of the things that I’ve done is help people that are simply in an intake role moving into that field work and so you can talk about that, you know, some of the cases or the things that you’ve done within intake to build that persona, like “oh, yes, this person will be good in the field, too”. You know, like diversity, inclusion, cultural interactions, that type of thing. There are ways that you can focus in the cover letter about how you’ve been in intake for two years and that you want to get in the field and this is why.

Val [00:07:12] Right, right, right, right.

Heather [00:07:13] A lot of people, especially the younger people, aren’t doing cover letters. So if you are one of those top two or three candidates and you’ve done the cover letter, you’re going to be more at the top of the pile because you took that extra effort. Even if they don’t read it.

Val [00:07:27] Right. Right, right. Right.

Harmony [00:07:29] When you are including information in the cover letter, do you feel as though that’s your way of saying why I’m the best candidate? Or is it a quick snippet on selling yourself in it?

Heather [00:07:42] Well, it’s different things. It depends on what your what agency you’re going for, but here’s the formula for cover letter. I identify the needs of the agency, how my experience and my skill sets meet those needs, and then the wrap up can be why I want to work with this agency. I tend to veer away from why I’m the best candidate. I say things like, based on all of the above and within my resume, I submit myself as a qualified candidate.

Harmony [00:08:16] Okay. Well, I guess moving on from that, with social media being as prevalent as it is now, how important is a LinkedIn profile for child welfare professionals? We see it a lot with corporate America, but what about child welfare?

Heather [00:08:37] That is tricky. Yeah. You know, government agency people tend not to really go on to LinkedIn profiles because, you know, time; you guys are overloaded. That’s the same for the recruiters and HR people. No one is going on their to connect unless they want to reach out for educational opportunities. And that’s a key. What is your goal?

 But I say this, have a LinkedIn profile. I don’t care what profession you’re in, have a LinkedIn profile because you never know who you’re going to want to connect with and you can build that network. Also what I’m seeing is there are a lack of professionals, just in general in the world. HR and recruiters and, I know because I did this for several years, are doing passive sourcing through LinkedIn. So you want a robust LinkedIn profile, you want a summary about yourself, not an objective. You want what kind of a professional you are. You want to have as many skills as you can in the skills and endorsements area. You want to have that software technology and show that you’re technologically savvy. You want a robust description. And I understand confidentiality is important with case management so you’re not going to have cases and things like, right? You’re going to show like, you know, state agencies are really great for job description. So hijack the language from that job. Yeah.

If you have gaps in your employment, don’t use the months, just use years because it masks any gaps. You know, it’s a little different. It’s not like people are running to try and get into case management and child welfare jobs right now so they’re going after you. So have that robust LinkedIn profile and check your messages all the time because you never know when a head hunter or a recruiter is going to reach out to you.

Val [00:10:42] Right, with HR folks, tell me about keywords tracking system, like, how does that work and how can we benefit ourselves with that?

Heather [00:10:54] Okay. So applicant tracking system is that automatic robot that especially state agencies are using where the robot or the the A.I., artificial intelligence, will take the job posting and either, manually, the person can identify the skill words that the recruiter thinks is important versus and the A.I. comparing it against your resumé where there has to be a percentage match.

So, for instance, if a job posting says certain technology is needed or certain skill sets like, for example, three years case management or more or field work or intake, that type of thing. Investigations, fraud, that type of stuff. It’ll look for those words and it’ll compare it against your resume, and then it’ll say no or yes, and you’ll get this automatic decline or it’ll go to the human.

As far as those keywords on your resume and on your LinkedIn, they are very, very important. What I want you to do after this call is go find a job on LinkedIn through the jobs tab, type case manager or child welfare case management and when you bring up that job, it will look at your LinkedIn profile and it’ll say, “out of these ten keywords, you have seven of them”, based on that job that’s in your LinkedIn profile.

Val [00:12:23] So if you can just walk me through your intake process. So what is your website? First, let’s start with that.

Heather [00:12:29] It’s InClarity360 and my process is listed there, too, but what I do is people call me for whatever and I’ll say, “Look, I want to see your old resume if you have one. I want your URL LinkedIn profile, I want to see what that looks like, and send me any documentation that you want to send me before the call”. Then, we have a call. We find out if we’re actually a good match. I like to make sure that we work well together and then I will basically interrogate you for all of your data. I will want you to send me a couple of job links that you want to apply for so that I can target it properly. Then, I write the resume or edit the resume, send it to you. Then, we have an edit call and after the documents are finalized, I will do some consultation around your LinkedIn profile. What I like people to do is try and write their cover letter themselves and let me edit it because I want your voice to be in there, right? The whole time we’re working together, I’m looking for opportunities to enhance your ability to interview properly. Sometimes people will say, “Hey, can I book an hour with you? I’ve got an interview tomorrow”. I’ll ask them to send me the link and I’ll coach them. On behavioral interviewing for that role. I like to do it right before the interview. So it’s imprinted in your brain.

Val [00:13:55] Right, right, right. Well, okay. Well, do you have any last words you want to share with us, Miss Heather?

Heather [00:14:02] No, I just want to thank all of you for the work that you’re doing out there. It’s really important work and, you know, oh, this is something I’ve noticed about people in child welfare. It’s okay to take credit on your resume. I understand that it’s real team-oriented and all of that, but it’s about you and it’s okay to take credit and push that envelope with that because what you do is important. It’s not always about the team, especially when you’re looking for a job.

Val [00:14:33] You know, we got some good information today, right.

Harmony [00:14:35] And I’ve learned so much, I’ve learned a lot and thank you for your time.

Heather [00:14:42] You’re welcome. Thank you for letting me talk with you.

Val [00:14:45] Okay wonderful. Well, all right, guys, I’m Val with Harmony, your fellow child care professional, and let’s stay connected!


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