Warren Ellis, from a discussion on his life and career as a futurist (is “applied futurist” a thing?):
The best bit of my life is that I get to talk to everybody, about everything, and put people from a bunch of different disciplines in the same room, and I get to listen and learn and apply that to whatever I do next.
Reminds me of one of the wonderful side effects of my craft: people from all walks of life, experts in several hundred fields, explain what they do and how they make a difference. I can’t imagine a more concentrated education.
Over at Lifehacker, there’s a discussion of inappropriate-yet-common interview questions compiled from readers’ experiences. They’re grouped into several types:
- Brain teasers (possibly to see how you think);
- Personal questions (often approaching or crossing the line of what’s legal);
- Seemingly unrelated (testing something other than a job skill).
The useful takeaways: tactics for responding to these questions and steering the interview back to your qualifications for the job.
My contributions to a Reddit discussion on how a student can build a resume without work experience:
I’ll second what others have said about volunteer/intern/pro bono/community work. “Experience” isn’t just what you’re paid for.
The bachelor’s degree is probably your most valuable asset right now. Some things to consider to get the greatest ROI for your resume:
1) Relevant specialization or minor?
2) Honors or awards, either showing general excellence or, even better, something relating to your target job? Cum laude, academic honors, merit scholarships?
3) Relevant course titles. Your transcript can be a rich source of keywords.
4) Project work. Did you produce an undergraduate thesis/capstone project/senior project? If a team project, what role did you play on the team? Did you have a specialty others relied on? Did you lead or assist others in their roles?
5) Original research/publications. Did you author or curate resources relating to your field?
6) Student leadership. Did you belong to any relevant clubs/organizations? Within those, any committees? Were you elected or appointed to any leadership positions?
7) Teaching others. Were you a TA or peer mentor? With what program or subject? Can you show you made a difference (metrics in student performance or a testimonial quote from those you worked with)?
8) Study abroad experience? Immersion experience in other languages/cultures/subjects?
9) Did you work while a student? Can you show that you maintained strong academic performance while working XX hours/week to finance education? This can prove your work ethic and organization–never bad qualities.
10) Professional associations and activities. Were you a student member of a national or regional association?
I’m convinced that most of the people calling for infographic resumes are the people selling infographic resumes. Not employers.
Here’s an article describing several cases against littering your resume with charts and graphs–and if you’re going to anyway, how to do it right. Protip: don’t eat the crayons.
Lots of resume advice focuses on avoiding mistakes, but that’s only part of the equation–not even the most important part.
You don’t stand out merely by avoiding mistakes. You must also make the most of your accomplishments. This is a lot more complex than running spellcheck, and it’s absolutely crucial to demonstrating why someone should hire you.
Today I found one of the rare articles that shows ways to present often-overlooked accomplishments: 10 Things That Aren’t On Your Resume (But Should Be) by Mark S. Babbitt (@MarkSBabbitt).
Mark suggests nine categories to consider other than professional experience:
- Social Media Savvy
- Freelance Projects
- Theses, Studies, and White Papers
- Content Creation
- Relevant Industry Competitions
- Relevant Industry Conferences
- Anything Leadership
- Reverse Mentorship
There’s a lot of potential in these categories, especially for people lacking traditional experience (students, recent graduates, career changers, returning to work).
One key with all of these: don’t just list that you know something, or that you showed up at a conference. That’s the bare minimum. Go beyond that by showing what you did with the knowledge or experience. Show how you improved something. Show your math–meaning the relevant metrics.
Also, I disagree with the author’s recommendation to omit relevant coursework from degrees. Especially if a candidate accomplished something meaningful to employers as part of a class. That’s squarely in the wheelhouse of demonstrating accomplishment, and has the side effect of raising the return on investment for a degree that cost years, effort, and tens of thousands of dollars. Relevant experience + relevant keywords + burnishing an existing asset = an easy win. Not something to be discarded.