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Blogging with B.G. – Are Job Seekers Proficient in Excel?


 “There are two sides to every story” is a very old proverb.  Let me introduce you to a new proverb.” There are three sides to every story in the job seeking and hiring process—the job seeker side, employer side, and the truth”.  The truth in this blog is about the “Mastery of Proficiency”.  How do you measure proficiency?

I often have employers’ looking for administrative assistants who are proficient in Excel with 2-3 years’ experience and some level of analytical thinking and can do the Excel basics like: charting, formula creation, know the language and linking cells.

Job seekers who appear to meet the minimum qualifications based on their resume are invited to our weekly prescreening.  This is where two sides: the job seeker side and the truth meet up!

My purpose during the prescreening process is what I thought was pretty simple.  Find as good a person as possible, one that is skillful, adequate and friendly and can ultimately compliment the company by performing proficiently in Excel.

However more often than not I hear “Yes, I am proficient in Microsoft Excel”.  This term is casually tossed around by job seekers looking to cater to the skill requirements of employers.  When asked, “How proficient are you?”  I typically hear crickets.  However, what does this really mean?  Proficiency is described as a mastery of a skill with a tool.

So here’s a word up on what needs to be mastered in order to claim proficiency status using Excel:

 Know the Language

In order to be proficient in Microsoft Excel, the first core element needed to be proficient in the knowledge of the language.  Every industry or occupation has its own mumbo jumbo, jargon or believe it or not slang.  Many people lose this skill over time due to inactivity and not working consistently.  The old adage holds true “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”

 Sort and Filter

This feature is one of the most basic but powerful features in Excel.  A user of Microsoft Excel cannot be proficient unless mastery of this basic tool is acquired.  It is the ability to filter and sort a table. Regardless of the job function or occupation this tool will be needed at one point or another to organize data.

 Link Cells

Linking is the process of connecting one cell to the display contents of another cell.  The knowledge and execution of that task will lead to increased productivity, accuracy and minimized redundancy.  Linking cells is arguably one of the most commonly used features in Microsoft Excel.


Excel has over 70 chart types, not counting the combinations that can be made.  The ability to craft a simple chart is a skill that must be possessed by all users.  In addition the ability to select the proper chart for the message and data is essential.

Formula Creation

One of the main components of Microsoft Excel is the ability to create formulas and utilize functions.

Distribution Options

Every user of Microsoft Excel should know how to distribute a Microsoft Excel document.


Every user of Excel needs to have some level of analytical skill.  The ability to think critically will allow the users to apply the tools in Excel in new, dynamic and exciting ways to solve pressing business problems.

These basic tools are the building blocks to more advanced tools, techniques and applications.  Without these core elements true mastery in Microsoft Excel cannot be attained.  So the next time I prescreen job seekers with “proficiency” in Excel on their resume, a brief look at the above mentioned items will help determine true mastery, proficiency and will if they are worth of an interview.  The third side, the employer side, is still to come.

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Shawna Asks “Want to Hook Up?”


There is Importance of Recruiters & Hiring Managers “hooking up” with


Partnerships require understanding and here is our common understanding.  The hiring process is one of the most time consuming and energy depleting tasks.  I mean seriously, after a day of work….don’t tell me that your brain doesn’t hurt!

I am connected to you, you and you…. Yes that’s right, I’m talking to you.  I am here to network, recruit, source, interview and bring added value as a Business Engagement Specialist. I value “hook ups” within my position and appreciate messages in my LinkedIn in-box, e-mails in my Outlook (srice@snvwc.org) and I look forward to being partner BFF’s.  What are you on here for- if not to utilize and take advantage of the platform? I don’t just “Link up” on LinkedIn to connect with others to see their profile pic, I am here because there is a genuine interest in mine and your profession. I am the only one who appreciates the fact that I work smarter and not harder?   I assist in filling open positions and maintain a successful strategic relationship with no cost but communication because I like getting a paycheck every two weeks, receiving benefits, driving my car, shopping, having a roof over my head and eating! Who doesn’t like to eat?! And it definitely makes the eight hours that I am on the clock productive.

I am all about “hooking up” to conduct site visits, I mean what’s the point in partnering with someone who knows nothing about your work life, right? The concept is simple I talk with you, you talk with me, I understand the role, familiarize myself with the company and from there we start the process. You have the final say so on the recommendation. This is a mutually beneficial relationship and all that is asked of you is to attend a few dates with me, a business engagement panel meeting or two (which is only 3 times a year and we feed you breakfast) and to write nice things on my behalf when asked lol!

I’m a big fan of e-mail communication it’s like texting! Hooking up with me is completely drama free, I provide you with social links, you have freedom because I am no cost, when your job is no longer open (because hopefully I filled it) it’s a clean and painless break (until you need me again, 702-636-2341) and I am open and honest. You can’t get any better than that! I come with a lot of perks and basically no headaches.

I work with recruiters and hiring managers who provide a living wage because a job isn’t just a job within my department. Although I work with all different job levels, I am most successful in intermediate level placements.  I also assist some of my biggest supporters UPS, Delta and Diamond in mass hiring events as well. It all depends on your needs and what you need but if you don’t let me know I can’t be personable and make this a mutually beneficial relationship.

So hook up with me as I’m only here to make job opportunities, departments and teams look great!

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Blogging with BG: Can your resume get you the interview?


This is the first in a series of posts teaching you exactly how to write a job ready resume.  I am Byron Goynes, Business Engagement Specialist II at Workforce Connections.    On average, I read two hundred or more resumes per week on behalf of the employers I recruit for.  I would estimate that sixty percent of those resumes have issues.   I often ask myself if the job seeker understands the importance of the resume.  Besides a college degree or an internship, building a solid resume is arguably the most important step to landing a job.  My advice is based on real world hiring experience.

First of all, a resume is a brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience. The resume separates a good candidate from a great candidate when job searching.  Having the experience and the skills that match a job is obviously important.  So, when the experience and skills are not listed on the resume that is obviously a huge mistake.

That begs the question . . . What are some of the most common resume mistakes a job seeker makes?

My experience tells me the following six mistakes are all too often made:

Don’t include irrelevant experience

While you may think that a resume full of every notable thing you’ve ever achieved in your life would set you apart from the rest, irrelevant additions actually distract from qualities that would make you viable candidate.

Avoid using fillers and generic phrases

Fluff words like “team player” and “hard-working” do nothing to help build your case.   Instead, provide specific examples of them in action.   For example, instead of listing “team player” talk about a specific project that you successfully led the team on.

Leave off personal information

While this was standard practice back in the day, it’s unnecessary and can date your resume. Things like marital status, religious preference, age, and race. These things have nothing to do with your job skills and although employers aren’t supposed to allow them to be a factor, they can be more of a hindrance than a help.

 Remove unnecessary additions

The objective statement, hobbies, or references on your resume in no longer needed. These additions take up valuable space that can be better used to display your qualifications for the job. If you make it to the point in the interview process where a prospective employer needs to contact your references, they’ll ask for them.

 Use a professional email address

This may seem simple, but you’d be surprised how many people overlook this small detail. While “DropItLikeItsHot ” may have been the perfect email address for your high school days, it’s inappropriate in a professional setting. Set up a free account using a variation of your first and/or last name on a service like gmail or yahoo for use in professional settings.

Proofread, proofread, and proofread!

The simplest mistake to fix is also one of the most common. We all get in a hurry and make typing mistakes, but they reflect poorly on the prospective job seeker applicant. Take the time to read over your resume to not only check for spelling mistakes but also to ensure that everything flows & will clearly convey your experiences to the reader.

Good luck getting the job with a winning resume!



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