Chuck Castagnolo. Founder and Executive Director of Bridges to Jobs.
Bridges to Jobs is a State of California adult education program.
It offers a proprietary curriculum that covers multiple aspects of job acquisition skills, of which helping people with their resumes, and teaching them interviewing skills, is just a small part of how they help many of their members increase their chances of going on to new jobs.
1. What led you to write resumes?
Chuck: I lost my mortgage banking financial services daytime career back in November 2007 when the economy crashed and all those types of jobs vanished.
It was then that I started attending local area job clubs to network and get help with my resume and interviewing, and quickly realized the advice I was getting was just not working for me.
With that, I started doing research on how to write my own resume and how to interview, and soon found myself helping others write their resumes and practice interviewing.
Those two activities led to my founding Bridges to Jobs that is now marking 10 years’ service to our community, and which has since grown into a highly regarded job acquisition skills training organization.
2. Do you have a background that made you an ideal fit for the industry?
Chuck: I wouldn’t say my background was an ideal fit, but I was in sales and management in the banking industry and did have a history of recruiting, interviewing and hiring in those positions.
One thing that I am especially proud of during that time was that I always put myself in the shoes of the job applicant, and tried to make their interview as comfortable as possible.
Coming from personal experience, I have had a number of interviewers who came off as pious, superior and pompous in their interview approach which turned me off to wanting to work for their organizations, and I didn’t want the people who I was interviewing to walk away feeling that way.
3. How long have you been in the industry? Would you recommend it to others?
Chuck: Like I mentioned above, Bridges to Jobs has been active for ten years now and has acquired a very positive reputation for the quality of our program.
Working with people who are out of work can be very stressful, especially when you meet someone who just recently lost their job.
We have had so many people come to our group in tears wondering “What is wrong with me?”
You need to be emotionally strong for them and it’s heartbreaking to see this, especially when they come back and share their spouse is divorcing them because they can’t get a new job!
We do our best to give assurance it is not them. It’s just the job search environment we are in which has had a paradigm shift in the last six or seven years in how we look for work and how employers hire.
But it can also be very rewarding when you are working with someone who you can see has turned the corner on their job loss grief, and comes back to you and says “I got a job!” because of your help.
4. What is the single best tool you recommend for building client relations?
Chuck: The single best tool I utilize, in a nice way, of course, is being honest with those who ask for my help.
I’ve found that telling someone the truth up front in this employment environment is much better than leading them down a primrose path looking for a job like they used to have, only to find what they used to do may no longer be in demand.
5. If you could share one learning experience/great lesson, what would it be?
Chuck: In today’s employment environment, your resumes must be Applicant Tracking System (ATS) friendly.
The fact is that today, ATS has taken over a large part of resume screening.
6. Looking back, what would you have done differently? Done the same?
Chuck: I don’t think I would change anything.
I didn’t know it at the time, but if I hadn’t had a change in employment in 2007, the door never would have opened that gave me the opportunity to start and grow Bridges to Jobs.
Since that time, we’ve become a State of California approved career preparation program.
I’ve created Twenty-eight workshops that cover multiple aspects of job acquisition skills, written an eBook on interviewing, and published over 100 articles on subjects related to job search that supports our helping people with their resumes and teaching them interviewing skills.
7. What advice would you give someone just entering the resume-writing industry?
Chuck: Become an expert in what you do.
- Read and research everything you can on this topic
- Network with HR professionals and recruiters
- Join professional resume writing organization
- Scour the ‘net to learn how to read a job posting and what employers are looking for when they put up a job; too many times the ‘perfect’ job posting is already filled with an inside employee, is just posted for regulatory purposes and is a waste of time sending a resume.
- In addition, learn all you can about the workings of ATS so you can craft a resume for your client that will be successful for them in that automated environment.
Keep in mind, that although a resume must be pleasing to look at, it is really a data entry sheet for the ATS.
8. How do you see our industry transforming over the next 12 months? 5 years?
Chuck: Chronological resumes, as in the past, will still be the main choice of employers.
But as presented in my most recent workshop, Big Brother is Hiring, more and more of recruitment and employee selection is moving into what is referred to as Big Data.
This is where employers and recruiters will have access to an applicant’s Digital Profile that can be integrated into mathematical models called Talent or Predictive Analytics.
These are much like the credit scoring models used today to predict a person’s future financial paying habits.
These Big Data models will be used to assign a ranking score to a person that, theoretically, will be used to predict a person’s future success within an organization.
It’s here now on a very small scale, but with the ever-increasing digital landscape we live in, this will certainly mushroom over the next few years.
9. What do think resume writers need to know in order to survive?
Chuck: A strong background in the psychology of human resources management, sales, advertising, and marketing.
In other words, learn how people in these fields think and use their subconscious instincts and intuition to make their decisions.
And most importantly, learn all you can to gain a strong understanding of the workings of Applicant Tracking Systems and the future application of Big Data in the employment field.
And work on developing an ability to pull from clients their intangible skills.
Learn how to read between the lines of job descriptions to ferret out what an employer is really looking for in terms of cultural fit, and then to write resumes to those benchmarks that will make it through the employer’s applicant tracking system.