Nine Questions

Kicking off The Field Guide's new interview series with HR thought leaders, dubbed Nine Questions (super original, I know) is Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, the President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast. Below, Jessica gives us her thoughts on everything from why she works in her chosen field, to challenges facing newcomers, to what it means to be a leader and more...

Tell me why what you do is rewarding, challenging, and I suspect in your opinion (and mine) quite awesome?
I love what I do so much that I can honestly say it doesn’t feel like work at all. I think the most rewarding part is helping people find careers they need and love. I also love educating people about how to job search and write resumes. The most challenging part is probably trying to help those people who don’t understand what we do to see the value in it. 
Do you believe in the notion of professional regret? Why or why not? If so, what's been your biggest professional regret?
I don’t believe in regret. I think everything works out for good. People should never live life in regret. Sometimes we don’t make the best choices and that’s OK. It’s OK to fail, to make mistakes and to not always get things 100% right. What’s important is to learn from it and move on to bigger and better things.  
What do you think has been the most significant game changer in your specialty area of human resources over the last 5 years? Over the course of your career?
The economy. So many more people are unemployed now than were unemployed five years ago. It’s sad to see but also has upped the ante when it comes to job search. Now, there’s much more competition out there. 
Where do you see your area of specialty heading in the next 5 years? Do you think that’s a good or bad thing?
I see the resume writing industry growing and adapting to technology. It seems like every day there is a new tool, app, Web site or service that is changing the face of job searching. I see the industry growing and changing with the introduction of these new technologies and I think it’s a great thing!  
In your opinion what’s the most important part of the talent management puzzle: attracting talent, acquiring talent, developing talent, or retaining talent – or something else entirely? Why?
Choosing the right talent! Interviews can be rigorous but as an employer you never really know how someone is going to work out until they are on your team and you see them day in and day out. To me, you try to choose the best person possible and you do your due diligence to ensure you choose the right person but there’s always an element of it that seems a little bit like a gamble.  
What do you think is the biggest failure of most organizations when it comes to their talent management strategy? Is there an easy fix, a difficult one, or can it be fixed?
Developing talent for forward progression. Most organizations don’t start grooming people to move up to the next level. They just choose people and promote them and don’t always provide them with the right tools or training to be successful.  
In your own words, define what it means to be a leader? Do you think anyone can become a leader? Why or why not?
A leader is someone who serves others and sets a great example. A leader isn’t someone who sits at a desk and barks orders. A true leader shows others what to do, how to do it, the way to act, motivate, work, etc. They also serve the needs of those under them and around them. I think anyone can be a leader but I think there are those who are born to lead and who have an innate talent to be successful as a leader. 
In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge facing human resources related professions and professionals today?
All the legalities! Nowadays you have to be so careful giving references, verifying employment, checking backgrounds and conducting completely impartial searches for talent. HR has to be politically correct, completely confidential and frankly always on their toes!  
What words of advice would you give to a college student considering a career in your field? To someone looking to transition careers? To someone in your field that is feeling burned out or turned off? 
(a) It’s a great industry if you love helping people find employment! I would recommend getting certified and starting out by helping those around you. Family, friends, and colleagues are great individuals to work with to gain the necessary experience.

(b) As a resume writer you don’t need a degree or a certification to be successful but it’s helpful if you don’t have any experience interviewing clients, reviewing resumes or writing them. I was blessed enough to have worked in HR as a hiring manager for ten years before I made the transition into starting my own resume writing company. So I knew exactly what a resume needed to be to get the employer’s attention.

(c) Take a deep breath and a few days off. I think it’s possible to get burned out in any industry no matter what you do. It usually means you’re spending too much time doing it and stressing yourself out. I’ve always found that getting away for a few days or a week has refreshed my purpose, excitement and renewed my motivation to dive back in. Maybe all you need to do is give yourself permission to take some time off.  

A nationally recognized resume expert, Jessica Holbrook Hernandez is President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast and a former human resources manager and recruiter. Leveraging more than ten years’ experience directing hiring practices for Fortune 500 companies, Jessica has developed proprietary, innovative, and success-proven resume development and personal branding strategies that generate powerful results for the clients of Great Resumes Fast. As a global resume authority and trusted media source, Jessica has been featured and quoted numerous times on,, Job Talk America radio, SmartBrief, International Business Times, and more. Jessica also has her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications/Public Relations from the University of North Florida.

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