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Soft skills emphasized at Bryant & Stratton job event

By Sara DiNatale
News Business Reporter
Heather Huhman, an experienced hiring manager, views employability as a puzzle, and a college degree is only one piece of it.
It didn’t used to be that way.
The days of sending in hardcopy resumes are long gone, but in today’s changing job market, the vast majority of 18- to 34-year-olds think they have the skills, education and experience to make their way into the workforce.
Many employers disagree. About 40 percent of them say positions remain open because entry-level applicants are lacking skills, often the soft skills, needed for employment.
It’s that disconnect Bryant & Stratton College addressed in its “Job Ready or Not” Employability Summit at the college’s Orchard Park location earlier this month. The summit brought together human resource and hiring experts from Microsoft, Marriot International, Enterprise, Career Builder and Humana.
As a live-audience filled the room, people elsewhere logged on the web to watch a live-stream of the discussion, follow live-tweets and submit questions for the panel. It was the first time Bryant & Stratton partnered with its online school for a presentation that included such extensive interaction, both in person and online, said Paul C. Bahr, the college’s Western New York director.
The panel offered straight-from-the-employers insights, recommending that job seekers tailor the language in their resumes to mirror the wording of the job description for the position they’re seeking. That will help that resume stand out as employers sift through the hundreds of resumes they often receive for just a few open positions.
Heather Tinguely, a talent scout for Microsoft, noted how her company uses Twitter to attract potential employees. She said Microsoft set up a system so whenever anyone tweeted they had an interview with a Microsoft competitor, the user would receive a tweeted response offering them a Microsoft interview.
Rosemary Haefner, panel member and vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder, thought the college’s open summit served as a model to other schools and said events similar to it are “few and far between.”
“We’re all in the same game,” said Bahr, in regards to the decision to include the public as well as Bryant & Stratton students in the week’s events, which also included a job fair and employability clinics.
A video of the discussion, which aimed to help attendees and viewers be “job ready,” is available by clicking here.


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