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This past Wednesday, Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL) Scholars and Interns attended Werq Your Network, and event put on by The White House Asian American Pacific Islander Program (WHIAAPI), Asian Pacific American Islander Congressional Studies (APAICS), and Asian Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote). The workshop focused on teaching professionals how to network, from proper handshaking technique to tips on conversation topics. To an outsider, the networking practice session that followed may have seemed like a chaos of chatter and flying business cards. But if one were to listen in on each paired interaction, it was obvious there was a rhythm of a newfound (or practiced) ability to communicate through a different language: the language of networking.

At CAPAL’s first annual Resume Writing Workshop the next day, Tom Formby (U.S. Office of Personnel Management – Sr. Human Resources Specialist) emphasized the importance of language in crafting a strong resume as well, with a presentation on how to write resumes specifically geared towards applying for federal jobs. Ryan Namata (HR People + Strategy – Senior Specialist for Chief HR Executive Engagement) countered that presentation with his own oriented towards writing a resume for jobs in the private sector or for nonprofits. Their presentations were followed by a Q&A panel that included the aforementioned presenters and Bryant Brown (After-School All-Stars DC – Program Manager), where they offered advice about formatting and gave insight about the hiring process. Following this, attendees got one-on-one time with nine resume reviewers who looked over and critiqued attendees’ resumes. Edits as little as changing a phrase form “financial statement” to “budget” were told to make all the difference. Wordage, phrasing, language could make or break the chance to get an interview.

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“If you want to transition career fields, the best thing you can do for yourself and your resume is learning how to speak their language.”

It became quickly evident during the week that possessing a skillset is not enough when entering the professional world, but it is being able to communicate that skillset which determines whether one can better meet their career goals. And as with learning any new language, this is a skill that must be continually practiced and taught, and when fluency is achieved it becomes easy to apply across fields.

tropicalia stage 300x225 Weekly Wrap UpOn Friday night, a few scholars and interns attended Dream Jungle With Bambu & Low Leaf, a music even hosted by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival “Sounds of California” program. There, Low Leaf fused traditional Filipino music with percussive harp and keyboard accompaniments, and Bambu with DJ Phatrick integrated Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines, into raps concerning varied issues including immigration reform and the Black Lives Matter Movement. They sang about heritage and change, and made music their medium to speak the language of activism.

Success, however one defines it, is easier to achieve when one knows how to navigate through desired fields, whether they are in the music industry or working for the government. And an integral part of that navigation is knowing the vocabulary. It is knowing how to communicate to be recognized, to be heard.

If you enjoyed reading about events this week, join us next week to experience them yourself this week at our Washington Leadership Program Session IV: Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Reform and the 2016 AAPI Career Fair.


CAPAL’s Misison: Promote AAPI interests and success in public service careers, to provide information and education on policy issues affecting the AAPI community, and to serve the AAPI community at large.

Posted by Felicia Wong

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Felicia Wong is currently a senior at the College of William and Mary, double majoring in Neuroscience and Asian American Studies, and minoring in Biochemistry. She is president of the Filipino American Student Association, and current non-academic projects include creating films calling for greater diversity curriculums/requirements and establishing an official APIA Studies program on campus. Felicia was also elected president of Global Medical Brigades her junior year to lead a sustainable healthcare program in Nicaragua. She hopes to connect her interests in healthcare with the community she has found in her cultural background and teachings. Having lived in Germany for most of her childhood, Felicia makes yearly trips back to visit her family, providing opportunities for her to indulge in her greatest joys: touring castles, eating at cafés, taking fashion cues from strangers, cooking with her family. Non-country specific pleasures include: biking, watching live music performances, screaming because Game of Thrones.