Latesha Byrd Says You Can Have A Career You Love, Even If You Have No Idea Where To Start
Latesha Byrd is what many may call an “accidental entrepreneur.” Latesha graduated from UNC and received a degree in Accounting. Immediately after graduating she went to North Carolina State University to receive her Masters in Accounting.
“I thought I was going to be a CFO one day,” she recalled.
We talked about her early childhood. How she grew up in a single parent hope and experienced economic hardship which resulted in over a dozen moves as a child.
The North Carolina-based career consultant shared that her mother bought her first home when she was just 16 years old.
“We ended up getting evicted from the home. And that’s when I decided…I didn’t want to go through this. I definitely wanted to change the trajectory of my family history.”
Latesha has done just that with the creation of Byrd Career Consulting in 2015. By 2018, she quit her job to be a full-time business owner.
“I was not planning on having a business doing this at all. But I love it.”
We also talked about the effects of groupthink during the hiring process, the number one mistake candidates make during the interview, and why the traditional ways of job hunting are over. Here’s our conversation, edited and condensed for length.
Name: Latesha Byrd
Title and Company: CEO & Founder, Byrd Career Consulting
Location: North Carolina
LinkedIn: Byrd Consults
Tell me more about your backstory and how your path led you to career consulting?
I always knew I wanted to go to college. I was super ambitious and driven. I had about five internships while I was there. I was involved in multiple organizations and I went straight into Grad school right after Undergrad. And so for me, doing all of these things [eventually] my friends kind of see me as maybe…a role model in this area.
They started coming to me for career advice to help them get into Grad school – or getting a job and an internship. So I just started helping people with their resumes and their interview.
As I started to see results from that, and more and more people started to come to me — I was like, “Hey, you know what? I think I’m just going to start charging people for it.” (laughs)
So that’s kind of how I started it.
And tell me a bit more about Byrd Career Consulting.
Of course, it’s branched out now. We’ve served over 700 professionals and just about any industry that you can think of.
We offer five services: Resume Makeover, Cover Letter writing, Interview Coaching, Linkedin Makeover and 1-on-1 personalized Career Coaching.
What frustrates you the most about companies’ hiring processes?
I would say the most frustrating thing for me is that, if you don’t have diversity in the people that are in charge of bringing in talent – it’s hard to change that process.
I think that people get very comfortable with hiring others that look like them, or go to the same school as them, or has similar experiences. Just because it’s much easier to build a relationship.
Right. And it feels like more of a sure thing.
Yes. You can relate…or the comfortability factor. That’s not healthy, because what tends to happen is you get a lot of the same type of people.
Other things that frustrate me…when there’s no commitment to diversity. There’s not an understanding of why it’s important. Not even, maybe why, but the, how. ‘How do you find diverse talent?’ Then ‘How do you get them in the door?’
And, you know, a lot of people will say “There’s no diverse talent. I can’t find minorities or people of color for these jobs.” But then you have to ask the question “Well, where are you looking?”@latesha_byrd: Alot of people will say 'There's no diverse talent. I can't find minorities or people of color for these jobs.' But then you have to ask the question 'Well, where are you looking?' Click To Tweet
That’s super dead on. Which is why Noirefy exists. Cause that’s exactly what we’re trying to do. Connect those companies to diverse talent and be like, “Look guys, we have them here. We’ll do the heavy work of scouting and give you a talent pool you need.
Okay, now let’s get into some resume talk. What’s a question that a candidate could ask themselves that would help them determine: ‘This is ready for viewing.’ or ‘Is this going to get me in the door?’
The most important question candidates or job seekers should ask themselves while they are working on their resume is, “Have I actually studied what employers are looking for in this industry, or for this job?”
Looking for a job is very similar to marketing your company.
I know it takes a lot of work to tailor your resume to each job description of the jobs you’re interested in. But at this point it’s necessary.
The average job posting gets over 250 applications or resumes. So you have to really think about, “What’s going to make my resume stand out?” Generic resume don’t work anymore. ‘One size fits all’ for resumes just doesn’t work anymore.
What would you say is the top mistake that people make during interviews?
Not preparing for the interview.
What’s a resource that you could share with our community help them in their job search?
CareerContessa, that’s a good website.
And just another thing, be prepared to answer the salary question.
Recruiters will really ask you at any moment what you want your salary to be, even if it’s on the first call. So you need to do some research on desired salaries before you even have your first interview.
I love Glassdoor. And there’s Salary.com and Payscale.com.
What’s one of your greatest accomplishments so far with Byrd Career Consulting?
I’d have to say it’s one the most rewarding parts of what I do is the 1-on-1 coaching.
I’ve seen my clients go from a look of confusion to a state of clarity, and then once they get that clarity they move into a state of confidence.@latesha_byrd: I've seen my clients go from a look of confusion to a state of clarity, and then once they get that clarity they move into a state of confidence. Click To Tweet
Just seeing how their whole life changes when they are able to work in a career that they truly, truly enjoy and where they can add value.
Absolutely. That really actually really spoke to me because last year I was unemployed for six months. And y’know, I didn’t realize how not getting hired could just rub away at your confidence.
And you’re wondering what am I doing? What am I doing? Am I not even in the right industry? Am I applying to the wrong things? Am I not even supposed to want this?
You really just start to question ev-ery-thing. It’s so important to really know ‘here’s what my value is.’ You have to know, ‘I don’t have to take any old job or any old salaries.’
We spend one third of our lives at work. So it’s very important to like what you do and be passionate about it. And I will argue with anyone who says, “Oh, you don’t need to be passionate about the work that you do.” I would argue anyone down. (laughs)
Is there anything else you want to share with any of our job seekers that are having a really hard time landing a role that they want?
You have to be strategic. Think about who’s in your current network. I don’t care if it’s your parents, old professors, advisors, people you’ve volunteered with. Think about your current network. People hire people.
A majority of roles are filled either internal or through employee referrals. And so applying to as many jobs as possible is not the way. You really have to think about your network and reach out to people.@latesha_byrd: A majority of roles are filled either internal or through employee referrals. And so applying to as many jobs as possible is not the way. You really have to think about your network and reach out to people. Click To Tweet
The second thing I would say is: Get your resume professionally.
If you have applied and applied and nothing is working out – most of the time it’s your resume.
Find out more about Latesha’s company at Byrd Career Consulting.