Skills for the 21st Century

Job Seekers Prepare for 21st Century Jobs With HEART Empowers

A crowd of hands raised when Dan Morrissey, Senior Director of Human Resources Consulting at Capital One, asked, “How many of you feel more confident and supported than before you came?” Above all else, this was Morrissey’s goal for participants at this year’s HEART Empowers event.

Launched in 2017, HEART Empowers is a pro bono event where Capital One human resources associates and leadership provide professional development training to ensure that job seekers are ready for the 21st Century workplace and have the skills to earn a living wage to sustain themselves and their families. About 300 participants spent nearly a full day learning interview tips, undergoing mock interviews with Capital One associates and getting feedback on their résumés. Along with professional development, participants received free headshots to enhance their social media presence on platforms such as LinkedIn.

In its second year and with more than 300 Capital One volunteers, the event took place across five Capital One sites in Richmond, Va., McLean, Va., New York, Plano, Texas and Wilmington, Del.

Finding the right people through the right partnerships

One of the reasons HEART Empowers is successful is because of Capital One’s community partnerships.

Virginia Employment Commission (VEC), newcomer to HEART Empowers, brought more than 20 people to the event – and it all began with a single act of kindness.

Over the summer, Morrissey and his son volunteered to perform light home repairs for seniors. While volunteering, he met Zanthia Mathis while working on her mother’s home. Morrissey and Mathis exchanged pleasantries and eventually ventured into what Mathis did for a living. She casually shared that she worked for VEC and gave Morrissey her business card. After the repairs were done, Mathis didn’t expect to hear from him again – until she received a call from Elena Angell, Community Relations Project Manager at Capital One, on his behalf.

“I googled this Dan person and instantly remembered him. He didn’t tell me he was with Capital One; I looked a mess that day,” said Zanthia. “The email from Elena asked VEC to partner, and I thought it was a great opportunity. Job seekers would be able to connect with human resources professionals and get tips they would not normally be able to get.”

She quickly jumped into action and told as many people as the room would allow.

Jarvin Jones, who was recently laid off after a lengthy career in account management, learned about the event through VEC. “I’ve been working on my résumé for a while, but I wanted a second set of eyes to review it,” said Jones. He received feedback on how to make his résumé work for various roles. “I plan to fix my summary and make it more specific to the job at hand.”

While Jones had years of experience, young professionals, like Hassan Imtiaz from Year Up, took advantage of an opportunity to jumpstart their budding careers.

Year Up is a one-year, intensive training program that provides low-income young adults, ages 18-24, with a combination of hands-on skills development, coursework eligible for college credit, corporate internships, and wraparound support. Capital One has hosts Year Up interns annually.

Imtiaz, dressed for success, came ready to make connections. He has his eyes set on landing a job in Information Technology after he completes his degree.

“HEART Empowers is really good,” said Imtiaz. “This type of event rarely happens where you can sit with professionals to learn what they are looking for and what should go on a résumé.”

Imtiaz’s sentiments were the common thread among most HEART Empowers participants. When asked why they attended the event, it was for networking, learning interview tips and to share with others what they had learned back in their communities.

Learning from each other

The day ended with a panel discussion where participants could hear from Capital One recruiters and associates. They each shared a bit about their respective career journeys, how to stand out from other applicants through referrals and using LinkedIn to learn about a company’s culture.

The panel, designed for Capital One employees to share their knowledge with participants, took a delightful turn.

Yash Dalal, a job seeker, actively contributed to the panel from the audience by sharing tools that have helped him in his job search. Many of the Capital One panelists made a note of his tools and appreciated how determined he was to find employment using technology. Dalal shared how he has been able to use technology to check his résumé against job descriptions to determine a fit and the right amount of keyword usage.

“There’s always a better way to do something and new. Ideas are inspiring and we should share them with each other,” said Dalal.

Without a doubt, Capital One associates came ready to share tips with job seekers, but a shared learning took place this year – a lesson in listening and supporting one another to build a more inclusive, skilled and innovative workplace for the future.