Career Tools: Navigating Duke's Job Website

'Your Career At Duke' class offers tips for employees exploring career options at Duke 

Participants in the "Your Career at Duke" class learn how to use keywords to ensure their resumes surface when recruiters search the database of applications for Duke job vacancies.

Lori Houjak was working as a temporary accounting specialist at Duke when her manager invited her to apply for the full-time position. Houjak loaded her resume into Duke's online job website, but it did not get forwarded to the manager.

Houjak did not include keywords like "research administration" in her resume. Without them, the resume failed to surface when Duke recruiters mined the database of resumes for the vacancy.  

"I had the right skills and qualifications, but my resume didn't reflect them well," Houjak said. 

Despite that initial setback, Houjak was hired in December 2010 as an accounting specialist for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) at Duke. The lesson about resume keywords prompted Houjak to enroll in "Your Career at Duke," a free class offered by Duke's Professional Development Institute. Houjak didn't want her resume to slip through the cracks for other job opportunities.

The class, which is offered every two months, assists employees in exploring career options at Duke. It includes instruction on closely reading job descriptions to determine keywords and qualifications important for a position and then using those words in resumes where appropriate. Participants practice searching the Duke Human Resources job website by location, keyword and work type. They also learn how to set up an account and save searches to trigger an automatic email when openings become available. 

The next "Your Career at Duke" class is 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. April 19. Registration is required. 

Sally Allison, assistant director of recruitment and manager of the Professional Development Institute, said the class is a valuable resource for employees at all levels.  

Allison said Duke recruiters search thousands of resumes each month using keywords that reflect skills and experiences needed for a particular vacancy. "Your resume is your calling card, so knowing what the hiring manager is looking for and structuring your resume to reflect those skills is vital," she said. 

Houjak, the accounting specialist, attended "Your Career at Duke" last summer with five NESCent colleagues, all of whom were encouraged to attend by supervisors because federal funding for the center is set to expire in 2014 and other sources of funds are still being investigated. 

Danielle Wilson, a program coordinator at NESCent who brought the class to the attention of the department, said the class taught her how to find job descriptions for all jobs at Duke, even if they are filled, so she can learn about different job requirements.

Wilson also took advantage of an invitation to meet with Allison one-on-one to review her resume and career options at Duke. 

"Sally encouraged me to take additional classes to expand my knowledge base, even if I'm not actively searching for a job," Wilson said. As a result of that consultation, Wilson has taken introductory classes in accounting, SAP and immigration basics. She also enrolled in an upcoming ACCESS database bootcamp.  

"These classes are great because they are Duke specific," Wilson said. "They teach great skills to have in my current job, as well as preparing me well for future jobs at Duke."