Inayah Baaqee

by Minister of Information JR Valrey, SF Bay View Oakland Bureau

Chrysallis Lab is a Black woman-owned career coaching and resume writing business that is dedicated to serving the Black community, especially young people entering the job world. Following the pandemic, blue collar jobs are in demand after a two-year stint that employers nationally are calling the Great Resignation. 

For people who are searching for jobs, this is a unique virtual resource that can be utilized to maximize the chances of making a good first impression on an employer. With inflation kicking in, gas prices going through the roof, rent being uncontrollably high, housing prices in Oakland hovering around the million dollar mark no matter where the house is located and more, having access to regular income in a depressed economy becomes even more essential, especially for the blue collar Black community, who are the last hired and first fired. 

Inayah Baaqee is the architect and founder of Chrysallis Lab, and I wanted to interview her to offer an employment resource, as well as to give a little knowledge about what employers are generally looking for. Check her out.  

JR Valrey: When did you come up with the concept of Chrysallis Lab? And what are the steps that it took to bring it to fruition?

Inayah Baaqee: I’ve known for a few years that I wanted to bring my passion for resume writing and career/academic counseling and coaching to fruition. At the start of the new year (2022), I began brainstorming a business name that reflected my business goals and values but was also innovative. 

A chrysalis in nature is defined as the middle stage of a butterfly’s metamorphosis, between the larvae (the caterpillar) and the adult stage (the butterfly). Symbolically, a chrysalis symbolizes a transitional state. Using this framework as the basis of my work, the Chrysallis Lab serves as a transformational space for early career professionals. I believe that offering customized resume and cover letter-writing services can essentially transform one’s career, by expanding career prospects and presenting the most polished applicant. 

Once I committed to investing time and money into growing my own business, I began studying other Black women-owned career coaching and resume writing businesses for inspiration and motivation. I discovered that online branding and marketing was essential to the success and growth of any new-age business, with Instagram, Linkedin and Tik Tok being the new business card. 

I contacted a Black women entrepreneur and web designer to build my website and a number of other women entrepreneurs, career coaches and brand experts who provided support and career advice. This gave me more confidence to launch my business. 

JR Valrey: What gave you the passion for starting this kind of business? 

Inayah Baaqee: I’ve always had a passion for mentoring, counseling and teaching, but my desire to offer career support to early career professionals grew when I found myself struggling to form a professional identity and find opportunities after finishing graduate school. My experience was extremely discouraging and at times depressing, but I gained a lot of career development skills throughout the process that I would like to share with other career-oriented young adults entering this job market. 

For many Americans, the pandemic was a reminder of just how essential blue collar work is.

For many qualified applicants, securing well-paying jobs with competitive salaries is nearly impossible in today’s economy and so many Black young adults are ill-equipped to successfully navigate the process. Excluding systemic barriers outside of our control (e.g., implicit bias in hiring and recruiting), there are steps we can take to support young adults during this process. I wanted to make career development support and consulting more accessible to my peers and community. 

JR Valrey: What exactly does Chrysallis Lab offer to clients?

Inayah Baaqee: Chrysallis Lab Career Consulting provides resume writing support to early career professionals seeking to maximize their opportunities for obtaining job interviews in order to manifest their full career potential. 

We design eye-catching resumes tailored to meet industry standards and maximize our clients’ career potential, captivating cover letters that highlight our clients’ unique skills and strengths and market them as the ideal applicant, and easy-to-use customizable job search templates designed to ease our clients’ job search and leave the best impression on hiring professionals.

We also offer a one-hour-long virtual beginner-level interactive workshop teaching the basics of resume writing for groups. 

JR Valrey: Where is your business based? How could people get access to you?

Inayah Baaqee: Fortunately, we are in the age of virtual entrepreneurship, largely as a result of the Covid pandemic, so all of my services are offered virtually. I offer free virtual consultations for prospective clients or anyone else who would like to inquire about my services. I also deliver all services (resume transformation, cover letter transformation and job search templates) via email ([email protected]).

JR Valrey: It seems that during the pandemic people were resigning at record rates. Are blue collar jobs plentiful now that the pandemic is over?

Inayah Baaqee: There is definitely a high demand for blue collar workers following the pandemic where staff shortages in blue collar jobs became commonplace. Research also shows that a significant number of blue collar workers transitioned to white collar jobs (e.g., IT industries, including cyber security and sales) seeking more work flexibility and better benefits. This is in line with other research that by the year 2030, workers will spend 60 percent more hours on jobs that require technology skills than they did in 2016. 

We cannot overlook the significance of a well-formatted resume with no grammatical and spelling errors.

For many Americans, the pandemic was a reminder of just how essential blue collar work is. For the majority of blue collar workers who held down the frontlines as “essential workers” during the pandemic when many office workers were allowed more comfortable and flexible working hours, many report feeling more appreciated following the pandemic. We can only hope to see increased workplace improvements in blue collar work as a result. 

JR Valrey: From your experience, what is an employer looking for most? 

Inayah Baaqee: Organizational research suggests that previous employment is one of the greatest predictors of a successful job search. As a result, it is extremely important for job applicants to not only include a comprehensive employment history on their resumes, but also make sure it aligns with the job description. 

Many employers, especially in tech industries, utilize keyword search when selecting resumes to move forward in the job search process. In other words, employers are specifically looking to see that your skills match the position. Successful resume writers and job applicants incorporate keywords directly from the job description when describing their employment history and outlining their skills. 

All this said, we cannot overlook the significance of a well-formatted resume with no grammatical and spelling errors. The quality of a resume is a reflection of the applicant’s attention to detail and efficacy and the first impression for many hiring professionals. 

JR Valrey: Are there employers that you work with regularly?

Inayah Baaqee: In the past, I’ve offered resume writing and workshop services for Alameda County Social Services Agency, college students and colleagues transitioning careers. I would love to collaborate with Bay Area high schools and colleges, college preparation and career development programs to help better equip young adults to enter the job market. 

JR Valrey: How could people get more information?

Inayah Baaqee:I am accessible on virtually all social media platforms. Prospective clients can email me at [email protected], submit a contact form on my website (https://chrysallislab.com/contact/), or follow/message me directly on Instagram (@chrysallislab). 

JR Valrey, journalist, author, filmmaker and founder of Black New World Media, heads the SF Bay View’s Oakland Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Facebook. Visit www.BlackNewWorldMedia.com to read more.

By AKDSEO