November 10, 2014

Drafting Your Resume

Your resume is how you present yourself to businesses and potential employers.  Because it's one of the first things people see and read about you, it's important to format it correctly!

When drafting your resume, it should include your core competencies, accomplishments, and past experiences.  Make sure you core competencies are at the top, along with a professional summary!

What are you core competencies?  They are general and technical skills, things like teamwork, communication skills, analytic thinking, problem solving, interpersonal skills, etc.

What is a professional summary?  It is a short paragraph that let's employers know more about you, what you are interested in, and what your future goals are.  It helps employers know if you would be a good fit into their business.

Pitching Yourself to Businesses

What exactly are businesses looking for in employees?  They are definitely looking for people that have skills related to the position you are applying to, but even more so, they are looking for general skills that will make you integrate easily into the team.

General skills that employers are looking for are:

  1. Interpersonal Skills
  2. The Ability to Problem Solve
  3. Teamwork Skills
  4. Communication Skills
  5. The Ability to Learn
So next time you are in an interview, remember to mention these skills.  Emphasis them more than your technical skills!

October 26, 2014

Pitch Yourself in 30 Seconds: A Career Guide

A 30 second commercial to introduce yourself is a perfect way to practice what to say when people at career fairs, conferences, and meetings ask "Tell me about yourself."  Try following these bullet points, write down your answers, and practice saying them out loud.

Soon you'll be able to sell your skills in a short time and get better at pitching yourself.

  1. Introduce yourself: Hello my name is __________
  2. State what you are interested in: I am interested in __________
  3. Describe your experience or coursework:  I have experience in ___________
  4. State your strongest skills:  My strongest skills are ____________
  5. Say your curiosities: I am looking for more information about opportunities in __________

Hello, my name is Steve and I'm interested in Computer Science.  I have experience as a web application developer and have taken courses at State University where I have developed online applications.  My skills in analytic thinking, teamwork, and problem solving come into play on a daily basis while working.  I'm looking for more information about whether your company is hiring web application developers.

Notice the skills listed are not specific skills in certain technologies, but rather important core skills that employers are always looking for: problem solving, teamwork, communication.

Remember to follow up with your leads, no matter how small. 

May 14, 2014

Some Psychological Lifehacks, thanks to /u/friendly_canadian

/u/alexzz8 on /r/askreddit posted a pretty intriguing question: "What are some pyschological life hacks that you can to give you an advantage in situations?"

And boy did /u/FRIENDLY_CANADIAN respond:

Fake it till you make it; confidence is more important than knowledge.

Act confident at all times.  You may doubt yourself, but so does everyone else.  You just have to remember that even though some people might be experts, everyone is just sort of winging it and hoping everything goes alright.

Don't be intimidated by anyone, everyone is playing a role and wearing a mask.

This sort of goes along with the last point.  Everyone is winging it.  Some are better than others at it.  Some have more experience.  But you just have to remember that everyone is human, and any failure you make will most likely be forgotten very shortly.
Don't be afraid to ask questions; it makes you look interested, and you will learn something. Anything can be learnt if you put the effort in. Everything anyone knows, they learned along the way. Everyone, even the president. Ask open ended questions to move conversations along. Learn the difference between open and closed questions.

This is such an important point.  The only way you can learn is by asking questions.

 Go to your managers with solutions, instead of problems. Make their job easier, learn how they work, and then ride their coattails up the ladder.

This is yet another important point: Manager are busy.  Just because you don't see them doing work doesn't mean they aren't.  They have the expertise to make the business run smoothly behind the scenes.  When you have a problem, determine a few solutions to it, weigh them as if you were in charge, and then approach your manager with a convenient solution to the problem.  You'll likely be thanked and remembered!