Millennial Minds with Brittany Applegate
…because millennial black women who balance the personal and the professional also need a spotlight.
In life, our main task should be to use our influence to have an impact. Today’s millennial woman is multidimensional and chooses to define herself through her acts of community service, success driven by her innate tenacity to become, and her ability to be non-negotiable. It’s a woman, it’s Brittany Applegate. Simply put, Brittany is a creative entrepreneur. As CEO of CV agencyBrittany Applegate is a brand builder who continues to create access and equity for people of color.
Brittany, how does your influence impact the world?
My influence is a direct result of my purpose, which I define as helping people (especially black and brown people) actualize their greatness. It comes to life in the way I help professionals in career transition through my resume writing business, The Resume Agency; in how I help businesses grow through my branding consultancy; and throughout my professional career as director of cultural strategy at a Chicago-based advertising agency.
As an advertising professional and strategist, what gap have you seen that led you to create CV agency?
Many people don’t know that my first job out of college was as a professional services recruiter at a staffing agency. While awaiting confirmation of my selection into a competitive advertising internship program, I spent my first five months after graduation as a recruiter. In this role, I was responsible for identifying and recruiting qualified candidates for available jobs in all sectors. There were so many talented candidates who were more than qualified for the available opportunities, but most of the time their resumes weren’t going to make it to the hiring manager’s desk. They were poorly written, disappointingly designed, and often failed to communicate the value of candidates in an appealing way. Knowing what was needed to get to an interview, I would personally edit their resumes, send them back and say “send this one instead!” After so many candidates got jobs through my resume writing help, word quickly spread on the streets and I became the go-to person for resume writing and editing. Here we are, almost ten years later and we have “The Resume Agency”. Although I have continued to pursue a successful career in advertising, resume writing allows me to amplify incredible professionals who may not be recognized for the roles they desire without a well-written resume.
What has been the biggest challenge or misconception about the services you offer?
I think everyone knows that writing a resume can be tedious, even for us writers. But one of the biggest challenges for years has been my ability to work full time, run the business, and run all the services on my own. There was a time when I almost quit the business because the demand exceeded my capacity. The a-ha moment came after meeting my friend and business strategist, Alyssa Humbles, who encouraged me to train and hire other writers to lighten my load. Within a month our team grew from me to a team of four and the business grew rapidly from there. I didn’t have to be the only person who knew how to write resumes; I needed to expand my team to support my business and have a bigger impact.
Brittany, can you share three great tips for an outstanding resume?
First, have tunnel vision when writing your resume. It is not necessary to include everything you have done in your career; however, it should contain the most relevant information that positions you as the best candidate for the position you are applying for.
Second, the length of the monitor. Recruiters will only spend six seconds perusing your resume before deciding if they see enough to continue their review. Knowing this, you need to grab their attention quickly, and a multi-page resume won’t be effective. If you have less than ten years of experience, your CV should not exceed one page. More than ten years of experience? Try to keep it under two.
Third, use a modern resume template to keep your content visually balanced. We offer templates on our website for those who choose to write their own CV.
As a millennial entrepreneur, partnership and strategy are the keys to success. What additional strategies can you share with budding entrepreneurs looking to create growth in their business?
If you’re a salaried entrepreneur like me, create automated systems so your business can run on its own. While I go about my full-time job during working hours, my business doesn’t suffer because I’ve created workflows that book services and communicate seamlessly without me lifting my little finger. My favorite system to use is Dubsado. It allows me to create and design templates, contracts, invoices, pre-made emails, calendars and more without all the manual work. I highly recommend it. It will save your life and your business.
On a personal note, self-care is a conversation starter that this column lives for. How does Brittany make well-being a priority?
I favor balance and rest in my life. I say “no” to people and most things I just don’t want to do. I sleep about seven hours a night. I work hard during the week, but I set aside time to intentionally spend time doing nothing or with friends and loved ones. More importantly, self-care is proactive for me. Therapy is already on the schedule and I don’t make appointments after something has already happened. Dinner dates are already on my calendar. The flights are already booked. The bed is made for me to jump in! I’m in the gym to prioritize my health and fitness goals and avoid the habit of skipping because of “work”.
I proactively prioritize balance and rest in my life to avoid burnout. And that’s not to say there aren’t seasons where the perfect balance isn’t achieved, but those seasons don’t last very long anymore.
Finally, finish this sentence. As a millennial mind, it’s important for readers to know…
setting the right boundaries in all areas of your life will help you prioritize your needs and happiness so you can better serve others without compromise or guilt.
To connect with Brittany: