Monthly Archives: October 2013

Résumé Tips to Get You Noticed

When a hiring manager is looking through résumés, what is going to make yours stand out?  The average amount of time a hiring manager looks at a résumé before putting it in the either the must call pile or the never call pile is literally seconds.  You need to make the most out of your résumé to make the most out of that time!  Here are some tricks to having a polished résumé.

  1. Use a consistent look throughout the document; including font style and sizes, indentation, text color, and paragraph or bullet format.
  2. Keep your most relevant education or experience at the top.  If you are applying for a job that is applicable to your education, but not as much to your work history, list your education first.
  3. Make sure you have all of your contact information listed.  If your email address is more for fun than business, create a new account with a professional sound to it.
  4. Have someone proofread your résumé.  You should have zero mistakes, misspellings, typos, and punctuation errors on your résumé.
  5. Keep your résumé clean and simple.  Take out information that will not benefit you for the position you are applying for.  Keep your résumé free of graphics and keep the document to as near one page as possible.

One strategic method to use to keep your résumé sharp is to update it regularly so that when you are ready to use it, it will be ready for you!

Secrets of Productivity from Some of the Greats

Want to get stuff done? Try these productivity tips from some of the most influential minds in history, as compiled by Mason Curry in Daily Rituals: How Artists Work.

1. Like many of us, Beethoven started his day by making coffee. He insisted on using 60 beans per cup.

2. Benjamin Franklin was “early to bed, early to rise,” and in his later years, early to take it all off. Franklin’s morning “air baths” consisted of reading and writing completely nude for about an hour. Then he put his clothes on and got back to work.

3. Many famous writers and artists made sure to eat breakfast. Victor Hugo preferred his eggs raw.

4. Before Freud went into the office, he got a daily house call/beard trimming from his barber.

5. Agatha Christie never owned a desk. She wrote her 80 novels, 19 plays, and numerous other works wherever she could sit down.

6. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up.

7. Thomas Wolfe also wrote standing up, using the top of a refrigerator as his desktop. (He was 6’6″.)

8. Some people actually get work done at Starbucks. Rainbow Rowell, author of the critically acclaimed YA novel Eleanor and Park, has written all of her books at the coffee chain.

9. Richard Wright did all of his writing, rain or shine, on a bench in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park.

10. Maya Angelou is incapable of writing in pretty surroundings. She prefers working in nondescript hotel and motel rooms.

11. It wasn’t that Frank Lloyd Wright necessarily worked well under pressure. He just wouldn’t sketch anything until he’d worked out an entire design in his head.

12. Truman Capote told The Paris Review, “I can’t think unless I’m lying down.” Neither could Proust.

13. When composer Igor Stravinsky felt blocked, he’d stand on his head to clear his mind.

14. Woody Allen gets in the shower — sometimes multiple times per day — when he needs a mental boost.

15. Classical pianist Glenn Gould fasted on days he recorded music. He thought it made his mind sharper.

16. German poet Friedrich Schiller insisted that the smell of apples rotting in his desk drawer stimulated his creativity.

17. Sometimes focusing is the issue. While writing The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen worked at his computer wearing earplugs, earmuffs and a blindfold.

18. Stephen King writes every day of the year and aims for a goal of 2,000 words each day. (It usually takes about five hours.)

19. Starting in 1950, Vladimir Nabokov wrote first drafts on index cards. This way, he could rearrange paragraphs and chapters with a quick shuffle. Once the author knew what order he wanted, his wife, Vera, typed them into one manuscript.

20. When Anthony Trollope finished writing one book, he immediately started another. Henry James did the same thing.

21. Theologian Jonathan Edwards, most famous for the sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” didn’t have the luxury of Post-it notes or a portable pen. When he had ideas while horseback riding, he’d associate a single thought with a section of his clothing and then pin a piece of paper to that area. When Edwards returned to his desk, he’d unpin the papers and write down the thoughts.

22. After dinner, Mark Twain read the day’s writing aloud to his family to get their feedback.

23. While writing Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice appropriately slept all day and worked all night. She likes to follow this schedule to avoid distractions.

24. Writer Jerzy Kosinski got eight hours of sleep each day, but he didn’t get it all at once. He woke at 8 a.m. and then slept four hours in the afternoon. Then he woke again, continued working until the wee hours, and slept four more hours before starting the next day.

25. Night owl Willem de Kooning often wore a hat and coat while he painted — his studio turned off the building’s heat after 5 p.m.

Have you found your method, area, time of day for ultimate productivity?

Source:  Mental Floss

Are you Ready for Change?

You are ready to make a change in your career, but you are currently at a fork in the road.  Do you stay within the same role in a new company, or are you ready for substantial change?  Depending on the answer, you may have to go back to school to learn a new skill set.  However, before taking on the financial burden, do research.

Call a hiring manager who has experience hiring for positions like the one you are interested in, ask what qualifications they are looking for and what would set someone apart from the pack in their pile of applications.  Call someone who is in the current position you are seeking, ask what credentials they had at the time of hire.  How they landed their job? What organizations they are involved in?  What is their education level?

From these conversations decide if going back to school is for you and necessary to land your dream job, or if you could perhaps pick up these skills by volunteering or by taking a similar position that you are more qualified for.  Write your plan on paper, develop a timeline, develop a budget and then go for it!

How do I answer that?

You have worked so hard on your education, you perfected your resume and you finally get the call.  You have an interview.  This is the time to start REALLY preparing!

Ask who is going to be conducting the interview.  Research the interviewer.  Research the company.  Gain an understanding of the culture at the company by asking current employees.  Understand fully the position you are applying for and last but not least prepare for unpredictable interview questions.

Most interviewers ask about your education, your work history, accolades that you hold, and your community involvement.  But, what if they ask who your favorite superhero is?  Or how many ping pong balls will fill up a 10’ x 20’ pool?  You may even be asked to demonstrate a sales pitch.  What do you do?

When throwing these questions at you, interviewers are not seeking a correct answer; they are simply trying to understand how you work under pressure, your thought processes, or what makes you tick.  Remain cool, ask questions if it will help, and do the best you can.  More than likely all interviewees will be asked the same questions, so use this opportunity to show who you are and how well you can handle a curve ball!