Ten years ago, like so many other first-generation college students, I drafted a one-page resume following the format provided by my career center and began the process of sending my very sparse resume into the deep black holes of the internet. I’m sure some combination of luck and persistence helped me land my first job out of college. It would be years before I realized that nepotism helped many of my Political Science-major peers land coveted internships that later turned into jobs.
Fast forward a few years. I submitted my resume to a temp agency hoping for an opportunity to explore human resources as a career path. I received a call back from an agency recruiter who told me about an HR Assistant position paying $20/hour. After two rounds of interviews, I was offered the position for $12/hour. I accepted on the spot out of pure excitement without negotiating or mentioning the advertised hourly rate— a mistake I’d later come to recognize and regret.
A few years later, finally hitting a groove in my career and excelling by all accounts, I decided to ask for a raise. I’d been working evenings and weekends to accommodate time zones around the world and my clients were more than satisfied. I nervously broached the subject with my manager during my annual performance review. Without much thought or explanation he explained that he’d love to increase my salary, but couldn’t offer more than 1% because my salary could not surpass Joe’s.* I left what should have been a great performance review feeling defeated, unappreciated and constrained.
If we’ve ever worked on a team together, you know that I’m one of the hardest working people on the team. My work ethic has taken me far in life, but in these instances, it was not enough. As the author Peggy McIntosh calls it, my “invisible knapsack” did not contain the tools or knowledge needed to navigate these situations. My parents couldn’t effectively critique my resume or pass it along to friends who might have relevant job openings. I didn’t have any experience with salary negotiation and had no idea that the recruiter was likely under-offering expecting me to counter. And as for the failed salary increase request? I’ll probably never know why I couldn’t make as much as Joe. Was it because I was a woman? Or something else entirely? Regardless, I didn’t have the confidence to ask.
As a recruiter I came to realize I was not alone. I’ve sifted through weak CVs and interviewed people who didn’t know how to answer questions about salary expectations. I’ve witnessed CVs bypassing the company’s applicant tracking systems, landing right in my inbox with instructions to hire. As a Recruiter for ten years I’ve come to realize two things: 1) the corporate interview process was designed for degree-earning, white, cisgender, men; 2) people rarely have a chance to practice resume writing, networking, interviewing and salary negotiating. From these two realizations and a longing to make my mark on the world, AR Consulting was born.
As a Recruiter for over a decade, I’ve interviewed hundreds, possibly thousands of people of different backgrounds, from nearly every country and skill level. I’ve also written CVs for multi-million dollar government proposals, where the requirements are stringent, and the stakes are high. Through it all I’ve become an expert in the hiring and candidate marketing process. I know what resumes catch a recruiter’s interest, what is needed to nail an interview and how to get the most out of a job offer. I’d like to share my knowledge to help you reach your wildest career goals!