I had the pleasure of connecting with Aisha at the New York Urban League’s Young Professionals 1st Annual Women’s Business Expo in August of this year. Her confidence and expertise in the areas of interviewing, career transitions, and self-employment were impressive. As such, I wanted to introduce you to her.
TAYLORmade Consulting is the quintessential example of a “family owned business” and of how a side-hustle grew into a full-fledged business. Please share how you and your sister decided to take TAYLORmade Consulting to the next level?
TAYLORmade started as hobby. My sister and I have always been blessed with the ability to write well. Early in our careers we wrote our own resumes. When friends and family saw the results we were getting, they asked us to help them with theirs. It seemed like more and more people were coming to us, not just to write their resumes but to help guide them in achieving their career goals. The TAYLORmade side hustle morphed into a full-fledged business when the demand grew beyond what we were initially able to manage. God really made the decision for us. He began to open doors for national exposure and increased our clientele more than we could have ever imagined. Once we accepted the fact that what we were doing was longer just a side hustle, we moved ahead in establishing and growing our brand.
Why are you passionate about resumes, interviewing skills, and career coaching? Why are these things important?
I was created to empower people. I do this as an ordained minister, as a college professor, and as Chief Consultant of TAYLORmade. I think I became passionate about careers as a kid. I was raised in a family where everyone worked hard and took pride in being able to provide for their children. My parents, my aunts, and my uncles didn’t have college degrees. But they were blessed with careers that gave them a sense of pride. Careers, for many, are not just the source of their livelihood but also of their self worth. I am committed to ensuring that everyone who wants to has the opportunity to pursue and reach their career goals.
Resumes, interviewing skills, and career coaching are just the tools that one needs to live out their dreams. Unfortunately this knowledge has been taken out of most school curricula. As a result, many people are left to navigate the workforce with no clue of how to succeed. TAYLORmade’s mission is to equip professionals with these tools and we take pride in doing it well.
What do you offer your clients during a career coaching session?
Career Coaching sessions are key in identifying one’s career goals and strategizing the best ways to accomplish them. During the coaching session, we tackle any challenges that may stand in the client’s way and work with them in establishing a plan to eliminate those barriers. Career Coaching is really about helping professionals to see their worth and challenging them to never settle. So many of our clients never realize the potential that lies in their careers until they’ve experienced TAYLORmade’s coaching.
How important are cover letters to landing a job?
Cover letters provide a unique opportunity for job seekers to really sell themselves. The resume is a snapshot of one’s experience, skills, accomplishments, and education. However, the cover letter allows the individual to use personable language and to speak directly to the desired position. Cover letters are also an important tool for professionals seeking a career change, returning to work, or wanting to relocate. It’s in the cover letter where you can address these unique circumstances and convince the employer that you really are the best candidate to consider.
There is this idea that women tend to downplay their strengths in most things and when it comes to writing resumes that allow them to shine, they don’t. In your experience as a resume and career expert, is any of that true? Have you seen a big difference between how men and women approach resume writing and word choice?
I must say that in our experience, this is a mistake made by both men and women equally. Over 90% percent of our clients sell themselves short when writing their own resumes. They focus more on tasks and less on skills. They forget to include accomplishments and miss out on opportunities to demonstrate just how valuable they are. This is what is most unique about the TAYLORmade approach. We work diligently to get both men and women to understand and recognize that they are an asset to any organization and should approach their professional pursuits with that mentality. While there are gender disparities in the workplace, i.e. salaries and promotions, we find the playing field to be pretty level when it comes to job search. Men and women across the board could do a better job in confidently pursuing their career goals.
As a writer for BlackEnterprise.com, you offer insights on job-seeking and interviewing success. How did you start writing for Black Enterprise?
My relationship with BlackEnterprise.com began a couple of years ago when they were looking to host a resume makeover contest for their readers and needed a professional résumé writer. My client at the time was a manager with the brand and recommended that they secure TAYLORmade for the resume makeover contest. As they say, the rest is history. We’ve always worked well together because Black Enterprise shares our same mission of equipping and empowering individuals to excel economically and professionally.
Which of your articles has been most well received? why do you think so?
The most popular piece that I’ve ever done with BlackEnterprise.com was a series entitled Careers in Ministry. It was my desire to shed light on a profession that is often overlooked and downgraded to “just a calling.” We featured young professionals with varied careers in ministry from several religions. The series and subsequent live twitter chat was the highest rated in BlackEnterprise.com history. I’m confident that the series did so well because faith is an integral component in the lives of people of color. Like me, readers were excited to finally read about a profession that usually gets no time in the limelight. Additionally, there are so many who are called into ministry but feel like they can’t pursue it as a real profession. This series dispelled that myth and provided hope for many.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
I’ve been fortunate to have received a great deal of coaching and encouragement throughout my career. So, it’s hard to pick just one. However, the advice that stands out the most is that “dreams come true when you wake up.” TAYLORmade has been blessed to work with a lot of dreamers. Our goal is to get them to wake up. I’ve learned that when we wake up, things begin to happen.
My resume has opened so many doors for me. Every job that I’ve ever gotten is because I’ve submitted my TAYLORmade resume. While networking is important, it still does not replace the need for a well-written résumé. In this digital age, the written résumé remains the prominent tool in applying for opportunities. The résumé is a timeless treasure that continues to open doors for job seekers. TAYLORmade is just grateful to offer a much needed service during ever changing times.
Aisha M. Taylor is the Co-Owner & Chief Consultant of TAYLORmade ~ Professional Career Consulting. Stay connected:www.careertaylormade.com or Twitter: @realTAYLORmade