September 21, 2006

What to put for College Education if you never graduated

One interesting consideration for your resume is what to put under education if you have only a partial completion at the university level. The most important thing is not to lie or imply. Don't make the interviewer think you earned a degree but did not, because if they follow up on that point and believe you were lying, there goes the job. This thread a Ask Metafilter explores the issue.

My inclination would be to put something like this


Whoville High School 1990-1994
University Nevada 1994-1997 (course of study: business admininstration)

Always include your most recent complete degree. If you don't have a AA then that would be high school. If you have additional studies after that, such as computer classes, etc. You could list them as well. The goal is to show that while college may not have been for you, you are still very interested in learning new things. Which is exactly what I'd emphasize in the interview as well.

September 04, 2006

Dissecting the Job Interview

Seth Godin, marketing guru and purple cow author, dissects the Job Interview Process. His point of view is from the companies, but as a candidate you might pick up a few pointers if you're astute. For instance, Godin notes:
At least half the interview finds the interviewer giving an unplanned and not very good overview of what the applicant should expect from this job. Unlike most of the marketing communications the organization does, this spiel is unvetted, unnatural and unmeasured.
Well, what if you as a candidate were prepared with research on the company and was ready to give this speil yourself. Explain the history of the company as you see it and how you fit in. Then to top it off you ask to see some current projects you would be working on so you can talk about them with your future team.

Find some way to add value even in the applicant process and that's a foot and a half in the door.

September 01, 2006

27 money saving tips for college students

Wish I had read these when I was an incoming freshman. I might actually have a few more dollars saved away toward retirement than I do now. Funny thing is, many of these pointers apply now some *cough* 15 years after my graduation.

August 28, 2006

Bad news for America's workers, but we already knew it

Bad news for America's workers:
The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation. The drop has been especially notable, economists say, because productivity — the amount that an average worker produces in an hour and the basic wellspring of a nation's living standards — has risen steadily over the same period.
Lest you think this is just a blip to be ignored:
Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, did not specifically discuss wages, but he warned that the unequal distribution of the economy's spoils could derail the trade liberalization of recent decades. Because recent economic changes "threaten the livelihoods of some workers and the profits of some firms," Mr. Bernanke said, policy makers must try "to ensure that the benefits of global economic integration are sufficiently widely shared."
It's important that "unequal distribution" get turned around soon. Unless your congress critter has a clear plan for doing so, it's probably a good idea to vote them out this election. This article in the New York Times seems to think Republicans will take the hardest hit.

What do you think? Has your earning power actually declined when you consider inflation (gas prices anyone?) or are you better off today than you were three years ago? (Link)

August 23, 2006

50 common job interview questions and how to answer them.

50 common job interview questions and how to answer them. It's not a comprehensive list, but it's pretty good. Most answers can be summed up with: stay positive, always talk about your strengths (even if it's turning a weakness into a strength), and be prepared - do your research on the company before the interview. (Via)

August 01, 2006

Middle Aged Men Dropping Out Of The Workforce

The New York Times has a long article that looks at the growing mass of middle aged men (30-55) who once had successful careers and now find themselves on the outside of America's economy.
About 13 percent of American men in this age group are not working, up from 5 percent in the late 1960’s. The difference represents 4 million men who would be working today if the employment rate had remained where it was in the 1950’s and 60’s.
Many are unwilling to take low paying jobs even if that's all there is. 13% of Men who should be driving America's economy are staying at home instead of participating in the new economy of lower paying jobs, fewer benefits, and longer commutes. How did things go so wrong?

June 21, 2006

Steps into the nonprofit workplace

Looking for work in the nonprofit field, but want to try out the organization first, then volunteer. Volunteering gives you a chance to see if the organization is really doing good, and it gives the organization a chance to see if you'll be a good fit in its family.

Volunteering is also a good way to show your strong work habits when inbetween jobs.

There are a number of websites that collect Volunteer listings. Here are a few of the biggies:, Volunteer Match, Network for Good, and Points of Light.

Of course, you don't need to be looking for a job to volunteer.

June 11, 2006

ID Theft and your resume

It's a sad fact of living in the world today that one must be constantly on the guard for ID Theft. But if you're doing a job search you're constantly sending out your personal information potentially into the hands of those who would use it to do you harm.

So how can you mitigate the chances of ID theft happening to you. The most important is probably to never give out your social security number on anything but an official application you fill out in the HR office. Mail can be intercepted. Online applications may not be sent securely over the net.

More controversial is to not put your street address on your resume. Instead do something like

Joe Strong
(street address withheld for privacy)
City, State

This would prevent anyone who intercepts your resume from associating details of your background (such as current employer) with your current address. I'm not sure how I feel about this. If I were reviewing resumes would I doc that person for points, or reward them for being cautious with their personal information and hoping they would do the same with the companies info.

A quandary for sure.

June 01, 2006

Fired! Laugh along with these famous firings.

Before you get hired in a new job you've either quit or been fired from your old job. If it's the latter then you'll probably want to get this book to comfort yourself in what could be a depressing period in your life. Fired! : Tales of the Canned, Canceled, Downsized, and Dismissed, by Annabelle Gurwitch, is a hilarious look at the firings of some famous people who've been fired at one time or another.

Some of the celebrities interviewed include: Felicity Huffman, David Cross, Bill Maher, Brian Unger, Anne Meara, Tate Donovan, Judd Apatow, Jeff Garlin, Tim Allen, D.L. Hughley, Robert Reich, and Andy Dick.

You may also want to visit Gurwitch's web site which encourages people to turn in tales of their own firings.

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March 04, 2006

Resumes from Hell, how to avoid them

Over at CNN they've got some good advice on how to avoid a resume that goes direct to the circular file.
Lesson 1

Keep all of the information on your resume relevant.

What not to do:

"When I'm not programming, I perform magic. I like solar applications, optical stuff, cool technology and anything to do with radio waves. I juggle and twist balloon animals. I bungee jump on occasion, and I would like to experience skydiving soon."

"I am attending college to obtain two degrees and three certificates in the field of Computer Science. In my spare time I like to work on my computer and do various activities with my girlfriend."

February 23, 2006

8 things to craft your career

Gautam Ghosh keeps an eye on career prospects in India, but his advice on how to build a good career applies to everyone:
1. Develop an area of deep expertise
2. Get to know a lot of other areas related to yours better, while not developing major expertise for them.
3. Become the "go-to" person for your expertise. That means making sure organizational and industry leaders know your expertise and you build credibility for that expertise.
There's more....

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February 13, 2006

Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

I can't stress enough how important it is to proofread your resume. Have a couple friends proofread it too. Just spellchecking isn't enough. And don't forget to check for semantic errors.
"I am able to wok well with computers." - Do you bring your own soy sauce?
"My father is a computer programmer, so I have 15 years of computer experience." - Is your dad available for an interview?
"I'm attacking my resume for you to review." - Don't be so hard on yourself.
"Planned and held up numerous meetings." - Take the minutes, stick to the agenda and no one gets hurt.
Find more mistakes like these at Resumania, a website that collects humorous examples Resume Gaffs. Don't let this happen to you.

February 07, 2006

New Federal Rules for Resumes?

I'm not sure what to make of these new rules for resume processing by employers. But it definitely looks like federal regulation gone crazy. If these rules are enforced it will mean big changes for that way you search for a job.

January 25, 2006

How to Do What You Love - Paul Graham

Looking for a new perspective on your search for a rewarding career? Then read Paul Graham's excellent essay: How to Do What You Love.
To do something well you have to like it. That idea is not exactly novel. We've got it down to four words: "Do what you love." But it's not enough just to tell people that. Doing what you love is complicated.

January 10, 2006

Alternate Job Experience Entry

Instead of just writing your job experience in paragraph or bulleted style, mix it up a little bit. Use a combination of the two that spells out your responsibilities in a paragraph and highlights your achievements in a bullet list. This will allow the reader to quickly scan your resume and identify the salient information quickly. Here is an example:

Communications Director at Health International, a multi-state regional hospital and medical facility. Developed marketing plans and maintained good community relations. Previously managed staff of 12 sales representatives in insurance sales, health products and services. As Director of Sales, monitored 10 sites and supervised team of 45.
  • Strategic Communication – Created Direct Mail Campaign to continuously attract new accounts. Directed content upgrade for Website.
  • Business Development – Grew subscription revenue from $1 million to $1.8 million and spearheaded development of Insurance Program Sales to direct focus toward expansion and customer retention.
  • Event Planning – Served on community relations team. Represented company at health fairs and other regional events.

January 04, 2006

CollegeBoard's Four Must-Haves

The College Board recommends Four Key Elements that belong in the resume of every strong, but young, candidate. It's possible to get a good job just on the virtue of these items alone. That, while true, will get you a cup of coffee if you also have $2.90 already in your pocket. So don't forget the networking and relevant experience parts.
Four main themes you should always include in your resume, no matter where you're applying, are volunteerism, association memberships, computer proficiency, and knowledge of other languages.

1. Volunteerism

No matter where you're applying or what you plan to study in college, potential employers want to know you're a well-rounded member of society. Listing your participation in a program such as Habitat for Humanity or your weekly work at a local soup kitchen can definitely add some pizzazz to a resume short of work experience.

2. Association Memberships

It's also an added bonus for younger high school students to list any associations they've belonged to, such as:

* National Honor Society (NHS)
* National Art Honor Society (NAHS)
* DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America; association of marketing students)

Juniors and seniors probably have more experience in this area, but never underestimate participation in group roles. This includes any other club participation at school or in your community.

3. Computer Proficiency

Let's face it, technology is everywhere. Knowledge of computers will most likely be a requirement for just about any job. List any and all experience you have with computers, naming the actual program names you're familiar with (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Photoshop, etc.)

4. Other Languages

The world is getting smaller and smaller, especially in the job market. Knowing a second or third language can put you at an advantage in qualifying for a job and will certainly separate you from other candidates

Of course, number 2 is important if you want to rely on networking for finding your next job.