Monday, February 1, 2016

Save me from resume advice

pic from
 Most of us do seek advice from others at some point in out lives, particularly when looking for new job and preparing a resume. Once in a while I read such articles which never fail to disappoint. Anything of any value I already know, and anything else brought up is usually ridiculous.Here's one example, and I admit I am at fault here for having any expectations whatsovever.

 The listicle format should have tipped me off to the fact that this is a superficial piece like  most listicles I've read before. It appears in Inc., though the writer,  is identified as being associated with Monster. The title is 7 ASSUMPTIONS RECRUITERS MAKE ABOUT YOU BASED ON YOUR RESUME

I'm going to jump to my personal favorite on the list and work from there:

School Stereotype

Yes, this is horrible, but I’ve seen certain hiring managers express biases based on the school someone attended.
Solution: There’s not much you can do on this one, except to be aware of the biases that might exist regarding your school.
Did you notice the same thing I did here? Where the solution is supposed to appear, you get what amounts to: there's no solution to this problem, but at least you can be aware of it. Fantastic!

As the writer didn't offer you any solutions, allow me to offer some possibilities. You can highlight what you did that counters those stereotypes. Say your school is considered a place for parties, you can stress that you held down a job or did volunteer work on your time off from classes to make it clear that you were not just there for a good time. Obviously, though, you should only do this if you really did. If you really went to that type of school because you wanted that kind of experience, then the picture the recruiters will form of you would be quite accurate, and misrepresenting yourself can only backfire in the long run.

Where you live

Speaking of not misrepresenting yourself, there's a bit of problem with the first piece of advice. It tells you to leave off where you're living so as not to be eliminated from jobs that are out of your state because most companies don't wants to pay for relocation.  The thing is this: if you truly do want to relocate, and some people really do, particularly if they have just completed their degree, then that's fine. But if you are somewhat rooted to where you live because, say, you have kids happy in their schools and the like, then you have to be honest with yourself and others in considering how willing you are to move. Also many places have their own forms for job applicants that require full addresses, so you aren't fooling anyone by leaving it off of the resume.

Email makover
Not only do you have to be concerned with what your physical address says about you but with what your email address says about you. If you have an AOL or hotmail address, according to our writer,  "you’re sending the message that your understanding of technology is stuck in 1999." Here's my take on this: I have to admit that I am surprised at times to see people are still using such addresses. But that doesn't mean that they are stuck on old technology. They could very well have the very latest iPhone in their pockets and a whole wardrobe of wearables to boot. It's just that it shows they likely have stuck with the same email they set up about 20 years ago, which is more an indicator of age that some people may wish to avoid.

 Her advice is to set up a domain email or a Gmail account. The latter really is virtually effortless and free. I'd say it can't hurt unless you are setting up the email solely for the job search. If so, you may forget to check that email, and that can hurt. So if you do adopt a Gmail account, be sure you check on it and be sure you check the settings you want for its syncing with all related Google services. Now if you go the more expensive domain route, be aware that you have to continue paying for the services if you want the email to remain accessible to you. That can be a drawback if you decided to drop the domain, and recruiters still have only that email as your primary contact.

One other point: if you really want to appear technologically with it, it's not enough to have an email account. At the very least you should have a LinkedIn profile. Depending on the type of work your are pursuing, you may also be expected to have a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and or your own website or portfolio.

Choppy job history
This is an old truism about experience. It used to be considered a good sign to stay with a place for years and not to jump around. That's where the warning about many short stints in this article comes from. Today more jumping around is the norm, and I'm told that people who have stayed at one place for 5 years or more may actually be considered less employable elsewhere because they don't show the initiative of looking around for more opportunities. Nevertheless, staying at a job that is not defined as a freelance or contract position for just a few months is a sign of someone who either doesn't get along with anyone, get bored too easily, or just doesn't know what s/he is signing up for each time.

 I don't agree that explaining it away as being too difficult a commute would work for you -- unless the job you seek is really just a short walk from your home. You're supposed to be grownup who can project what it would be like to have to get to a job that requires two subways and a bus and not a kid who just finds it too much trouble once you start. If this has been your work history, I'd suggest ta different solution. Offer the employer to come on temp to perm or delay benefits for 90 days (many workplaces already have such a setup) so that they won't fear investing too much in you just to have you hop away.

Drop a few years, degrees, jobs

This is a dangerous course of action offered in the third piece that the writer puts under the heading "You're going to be expensive." That's the conclusion, some will draw, she argues from a PhD or a certain number of years of experience. The simple solution is cut (no paste). She further justifies this by saying, after all a resume should not exceed two pages. As in the address, the problem of trying that approach is that companies have their own forms that ask for a complete work history and education history. They then ask you to affirm that it is true. Obviously, you can drop some work history that is ancient like the summer jobs you held in school or some part time jobs you picked up alongside your main job. But I wouldn't try to cut out several solid years of work history. Even if you attempt to disguise your age on your resume, it will likely come across in an interview, and you would have to account for that time.

Wrong assumption on degree 
What about dropping the  PhD degree from your resume.  I'm  someone who  has been there, done that as a job applicant. I have been advised to leave it off when applying for regular jobs in corporate settings not because the people assume the PhD is expensive but because they assume they are too intellectual to be practical. They have a stereotype in mind of an academic type who is out of touch with the real world. I happen to be an extremely practical person, and what my degree does show is being able to pursue a project until the end even when it involves a lot of work and a number of years. As one of my undergraduate professors said, it's not so much a mark of intelligence as persistence.

 Persistence is a huge asset to just about any job. If the recruiter can't recognize that, then the recruiter is too much of an idiot to be of much use to a person like you. I mean that seriously. You wouldn't want to have to pass as white to get a recruiter biased against blacks to work with you or pass yourself off as a nonJew to get to work with anti-Semite. Don't work for or with someone who looks down on you for what you are and what you've accomplished.

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