Interview with Leyla on YouTube

Last month I had the opportunity to virtually join Leyla Khanahmad, a wonderful business owner and entrepreneur based in Chicago, to discuss questions asked by her viewers.



Thank you to Leyla Khanahmad for having me on her YouTube channel last month! To follow along with Leyla subscribe to her channel and follower her on Instagram @leylakhanahmad Here are some key questions and takeaways from the interview:

What are the top 3 principles for a good resume?

  1. Accomplishment-focused bullet points – focus less on the job tasks and more so on what you've been able to accomplish and add value. You should concisely convey how you are the best fit within a 1-2 page resume.

  2. Tailor the resume to the reader - your resume is directly responding to a job description. You will most likely end up with multiple variations of your resume, depending on the type of job.

  3. Clean formatting that is ATS friendly


What is ATS?

Read our full blog here.

How relevant is LinkedIn in terms of job search?

· LinkedIn is very relevant in terms of your job search, especially in our world today, where most of our social and professional interaction is virtual

· There are over 760 million people on LinkedIn. 87% of recruiters access LinkedIn daily.

· Most users access LinkedIn sparingly, so you only have a few minutes to make an impact.


We provide a template to use when reaching out to professionals on LinkedIn or email.


What are your tips for applying for a job in the US?

Modify your CV to be re-written in the US resume standards, including your name, phone number, email, work experience in reverse chronological order, bullet points focusing on your achievements, and your education. Do not include a photo, your complete address, or write in column format.


My second tip would be to include a cover letter (if possible). A cover letter allows you the opportunity to have a one-sided professional dialogue with the hiring managers. A cover letter will allow you to address your desire to obtain work in the US, highlight your professional skills, and outline how you will contribute to the organization's success.


My third tip is to focus on your accomplishments. The organizational culture within American companies is strongly result orientated. Focus on the results of your tasks


What are the highest paying jobs?

From 2019, the highest paying jobs were in the following categories

· Medicine (psychiatrist, OBGYN, surgeons, orthodontist, anesthesiologist, and physicians)

· Business Executives

· Pilots

· Computer and information systems

· Engineering (architectural, petroleum)

· Judges


What's the best way networking, besides LinkedIn and Alumni networks?

Besides LinkedIn and Alumni networks, the best way to build your network is - word of mouth. Share your career story widely, don't be shy in asking for help in our goals, and seek mentors. An essential part of networking is to be consistent. Most people only actively network when they need something and have an ask. Build a solid network, help others, and don't only connect when you need something.



Can I get a job with a diploma from another country?

Yes, there are jobs available both locally and internationally. The most important aspect is to spend time reflecting and researching to understand both your goals and the employer's requirements.

If you need a work visa, identify and target companies that sponsor the kind of visa you are qualified for. Next, have a strong resume, cover letter, and professional online presence.



Harvard, Oxford, or LLM?

If you are debating programs or schooling, look at jobs you want to have once you've completed your coursework. Look at the job descriptions online and see what the requirement are – do you need an LLM? Compare a wide range from small companies to large and identify the industry standard.


Secondly, contact each school and ask for a report of where their students obtain work graduation. Both of these suggestions will help you better understand the relationship between academics and the job market.


I am almost 19, but I don't know exactly what I want to be. Is it normal?

Yes, it is normal to no know exactly what you want to be at age 19. It is also normal that you will most likely change or adapt to what you want to be along the way. My suggestion is to spend time self-reflecting on what makes you happy, what are your strengths? After some self-exploration, try and find opportunities to test our different careers – internships, volunteers, part-time jobs, etc. If you cannot find hands-on experience yourself, ask a professional in the field for a few moments of their time. Ask questions such as

· what they like and dislike about what they do

· what is a typical day like

· what was their career path

· what is their advice for someone looking to enter the industry.


What's the first step for a computer graduate to land a job?

The first step to increase your chances of landing a job as a computer science graduate is to gain experience. The course work is important, but the employer will want to see your ability to apply the real-world setting concepts. As mentioned before, your experience can come from a class project, volunteering, helping with a project for a friend/family member's company, etc.


Are basic English & computer skills enough for a job in international relations?

The best advice I can give you is to cross-reference job descriptions that match what you are looking for in international relations. What are the commonalities?


Does a US degree have more advantages over an international degree?

For US employers, there will be a recognition factor. However, the course work and what is included in the syllabus of your courses is more important. My suggestion is to gain experience to apply your knowledge – this could be an internship or volunteering or a start-up or non-profit.

Are you more likely to get a job as a business admin or computer science grad?

The likelihood of obtaining the job has more to do with your resume and interview than it does your degree. A key factor is the number of entry-level jobs available in the industry of those occupations – for example, entry-level computer science jobs are currently more prevent and have a higher starting salary than business administration.

Another factor is how business administration can be applied to different roles across industries, such as a project manager in construction. Most employers are hiring for specific skill sets to identify your niche in business that you'd like to focus on at the start of your career.

I am doing my master's, and I am not sure what to do. Recommendations?

Like before, the best way to identify what you want to do is by immersing yourself in different aspects of the field. Gaining experience will not only allow you more clarity but diversify your resume. Also, utilize the resources provided to you as a student – career services office, faculty, graduate coordinators, etc. If you cannot find hands-on experience yourself, ask a professional in the field for a few moments of their time.


I am currently studying Accounting, and I plan on getting a master's degree. Am I going back and forth between pursuing an ACCA or switching to data analytics?

What type of role do you see yourself in? Search job postings online that you would be interested in doing once you have completed your master's course work. Scroll to the bottom of the job descriptions and take note of the requirements. Look at a wide range from small companies to large and see what the industry standard is.


What do you recommend a high school grad that plans on going to college?

Be open to opportunities and learning in college. It is a particular time where you have a chance to explore the world and how you want to connect to it. I highly recommend getting involved in clubs, organizations, part-time jobs, research, and other opportunities presented to you. Gain experience in the areas that matter to you, and don't underestimate how those experiences can impact your future career.



Other Questions Not in the Video:


What are the highest paying majors?

From 2019, the highest paying majors directly out of college in the US range from $62K to $69K in the following majors

1. Computer engineering

2. Petroleum engineering

3. Electrical, electronics, and communications engineering

4. Industrial engineering

5. Chemical engineering

6. Computer science

7. Materials engineering

8. Nuclear engineering

9. Mechanical engineering

10. Aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical engineering


What is the best strategy in terms of networking in the US?

The best strategy to network in the US is to connect with others in advance of your job search. Connect with industry experts in the field you are interested in and let them know you saw an article they wrote or would love to hear more about their careers. Then check-in with these connections quarterly, about four times a year. Once you have established that relationship, even if it's only on LinkedIn, you'll have a higher chance of receiving a referral in the future. Referrals are the best way to network with a specific company. Another option is to inquire about programs directly with company HR and attend free or open career events.

Can a language barrier prevent you from landing your dream job?

Ideally, no, a language barrier wouldn't prevent you from landing your dream job. However, if there are language requirements in the job description, this will be a barrier. When I am working with clients seeking opportunities outside of their native language, I often ask them how confident they are using the language in an interview? If the language barrier is more difficult in an interview due to being nervous, address it at the beginning of the interview.


An example could be “English is not my first language, so when I am interview, like in an interview, I may pause from time to time when recalling a specific term from Spanish to English." Another example could be "English is not my first language, so I may pause during the interview when recalling a specific term."



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