Career Calling

October 17, 2011

Where to Place Education on Your Resume

Filed under: Resume Writing — claycerny @ 11:27 pm
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Some people say education should be put on a resume before experience.  Some say it should always be placed after work history.  My philosophy is that education should be placed according to what the employer would want to see.  Play your best card first.  For some people that means work first.  For some, school gets the first place. 

I’m currently working with a client who wants to transition from a position in print production to something related to marketing.  Since graduating from college, he has worked in production capacities that have some link to marketing.  His strongest credential in this area is probably his undergraduate degree and internship.  In this case, I put education first even though the client has some work experience.

Think about potential employers.  What do they want to see?  The answer to that question will help you know where to put education on your resume.

Sabbath, October 16, 2011

Filed under: Sabbath,Uncategorized — claycerny @ 2:06 am
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[Sabbath is a Sunday feature that examines intersections of life and work.]

13 Ways of Looking at Occupation

On Thom Hartmann’s Big Picture, the author Naomi Klein talked about the power she felt being among the protesters camped near Wall Street.  She described one man who was carrying a sign with these words:  “I lost my job and found an occupation.”  The play on words is significant in more ways than one.  Pundits, including former President Clinton, keep asking what this group wants, what it stands for.  What the wise ones can’t understand is that some actions speak a language that belies simplicity.

The word occupy is not easily defined.  In one sense, it holds the definition of taking something, best seen in a military occupation.  In another, the occupant lives in a place – to occupy is to be at home.  The definition I find most interesting, however, is occupation as engagement:  What occupies you thoughts?  The protesters in New York, and their supporters across the U.S. and several other countries, are engaging a culture that is stuck in a rut.  Rather than try to provide a simple answer (think 9-9-9 or “Drill, baby, drill” or “Change”), they are opening a space where questions are possible.  What’s next?  Who knows?

Writing in the October 17 edition of the New Yorker, Hendrik Hertzberg captures this movement of open questions:  “Occupy Wall Street is a political project, but it is equally a cri de couer, an exercise in constructive group dynamics, a release from isolation, resignation, and futility.  The process, not the platform, is the point.”

Yesterday, the process spread to cities in other countries.  There was a riot in Rome, which the corporate-owned media took great pleasure in reporting.  But, as this post in the Daily Kos indicates, the crowds that marched in Time Square, America’s blaring shrine to the media, indicate that this movement – whatever it is – is growing.  People want to engage in the process.  They want to occupy the space our leaders have abandoned in their weakness, greed, and small-mindedness.

My lens for understanding this phenomenon is Wallace Stevens’ poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.  When I first read this poem as an undergraduate, it struck me as nonsense.  But, as I wrestled with it – and with Stevens – it became clear that sometimes it’s about not being clear.  We constantly experience complex, beautiful phenomena.  But our practical world, our Ben Franklin common sense, makes us segregate and simplify. 

Stevens ponders:

“A man and a woman

Are one.

A man and a woman and a blackbird

Are one.”

Reality is all about how we look at something.  The media wants a simple story that can be told in a few seconds (leaving more time for commercials).  Occupy Wall Street hasn’t given in to such simplicity.  Neither did the people who occupied Tahrir Square in Egypt and those who camped in the streets of  Tel Aviv, the protestors who have marched in Greece, Britain, and the brave souls in Syria who remain strong in the face of bullets. 

What do we see?  How do we see?

“When the blackbird flew out of sight,

It marked the edge

Of one of many circles.”

We don’t see the full of reality, just the “edge of one of many circles.”  We try to make sense of a reality that is moving around us like a black bird flying in the snow.  The protest movements crisscrossing the world are about a different way of seeing.  Will they change the way we live? 

We’ll see.

Sunday Extras:

Naomi Klein and John Nichols speculate on the meaning of Occupy Wall Street.

October 16, 2011

Follow Those Who Have Had Success

Filed under: Job Search Strategies — claycerny @ 12:20 am
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What’s the best way to find a job?  It’s still networking.  After that, responding to jobs posting is where most job seekers go.  What if you could make your search more targeted?  You can by thinking strategically and doing a little research.  Use LinkedIn to find people who have similar professional and educational backgrounds.  Where do they work?  Where did they work at their previous jobs?  What titles have they held?  You can then look at those companies to see if they have open positions.  You can also use the titles you found to perform more focused online searches.  Your job search will be more focused, the more you research and analyze people who have a similar background.  This method is more work than simply responding to posts, but it gives you more control over your job search. Give yourself a better chance.  Take control of your job search.

October 15, 2011

Don’t Close the Door on Your Career Options

Filed under: Job Search Strategies — claycerny @ 2:49 am
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I was working with two different clients today.  Both were young women in their thirties who were seeking to change careers.  When they described what they had done so far, both expressed a paralyzed feeling.  They couldn’t pursue new career options because they had no experience in those fields.  They were making one of the biggest mistakes in a job search: Closing the door.  Potential employers close the door all the time.  That’s their job.  Don’t close the door on yourself.

I pointed out to both clients that they had worked in areas where they did not have experience.  Employers will favor experience, but they need someone to do the job.  If a career changer can show that he or she has the relevant skills or training, many employers will open the door.  It is important to frame your skills so the employer can see how they are transferable. Look at the language of job positing and find parallels between your old career and where you want to work next.

It is very easy to find fault, and that skill is deadly in the job game.  If you are changing careers, take the time to analyze what the employer needs and why you are qualified to do that job.  Then you must demonstrate those qualifications in your resume and during interviews. Don’t fall for the trap of “experience.”  Find a way to keep the door open.

October 10, 2011

It’s All in the Name

Filed under: Economics — claycerny @ 11:23 pm
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For weeks, we’ve been hearing about “job creators.”  Sarah Anderson and Chuck Collins have taken a look at this definition and turned it on its head.  They note that left and right wing think tanks have debunked the myth that tax cuts lead to job creation.  Moreover, they expose a lobbying group called “Working to Invest Now in America” (WIN) that is trying to get tax breaks on any corporate profits that are repatriated to America.  Anderson and Collins understand the game corporations are playing, and they call those greedy organizations by their proper name:  Job Destroyers.

October 7, 2011

Abraham Lincoln – Being Happy at Work

The 16th President of the U.S. spoke these words:

“Every man is proud of what he does well; and no man is proud of what he does not do well.  With the former, his heart is in his work; and he will do twice as much of it with less fatigue.  The latter performs a little imperfectly, looks at it in disgust, turns from it, and imagines himself exceedingly tired.  The little he has done, comes to nothing, for want of finishing.”

Lincoln speaks the truth.  Do what you love, and it won’t be work.  You will be proud of what you produce.  That’s a great job.

The New Resume

In The Job-Hunter’s Survival Guide, Richard Nelson Bolles talks about everyone having a “New Resume,” which is the record we leave online.  A person’s online reputation can make or break a job search as Andrew Sullivan demonstrates in the Daily Beast. I don’t believe that 50% of employers check all applicants, but I would put serious money on their checking people before scheduling interviews.  It’s important to keep your “New Resume” clean. 

How can you protect your reputation?  Keep personal social media private.  Ask friends to take down any information or photos that an employer might find objectionable.  Whenever you post something online, think about how a stranger might look at it and judge you.  Think twice about that person if he or she is a potential employer.

October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs

Filed under: Commentary — claycerny @ 2:02 am
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Steve Jobs is dead at age 56.  While I’ve used a Mac at work, I’ve never been an Apple user.  At the same time, it’s impossible to deny this great man’s impact on America and the world.  The Apple computer led the way to personal computing.  The iPhone blazed the trail for smart phones.  And the iPad did the same for tablets. 

Even during his illness, Jobs kept his innovative spirit.  He embodied the world where people can communicate and create anywhere.  Jobs evangelized technology, and the world followed (often with cheaper, knock off brands).  It was interesting to learn that,  like his rival Bill Gates, Jobs quit school, a college drop out who had thousands of MBAs answering to him. 

The Apple legacy isn’t pure.  I’ve written about labor abuses at production units in China.  What role did Jobs have in that part of the company?  History will work that out.  Today is  time to mourn the loss of a great innovator and cheer his life.

October 4, 2011

Facts about Income Disparity in the U.S.

Filed under: Economics — claycerny @ 3:42 am
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Think Progress lays out 5 facts about income disparity that are driving the “Occupy” protest movement.  Whatever your political beliefs, all working people need to think about these facts and what they mean for our society.

October 2, 2011

Sabbath, October 2, 2011

Filed under: Sabbath — claycerny @ 11:37 pm
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[“Sabbath is this blog’s Sunday feature that looks at intersections of work and life.]

More than Sports

I sometimes tell myself that I’m done with newspapers.  They deal in stale news, often slanted in a way that goes against my values.  I tell myself to stop wasting money, and then it happens:  An investigation of a corrupt politician or members of his family.  A profile of someone doing good in the community.  An editorial that makes me think about things a different way.  The Chicago Sun-Times still offers information and opinion that is relevant, often vital.  Roger Ebert consistently delivers such writing in his movie reviews, editorials, and blog posts.  So does Rick Telander.

Telander is more than a sports columnist.  He thinks about issues and challenges his readers to engage hard subjects.  Last year he wrote a series on football and brain injuries that was fascinating and painful at the same.  Now he is back with a new series, a study of Murray Park in Chicago’s Englewood community, the part of the city where basketball star Derrick Rose grew up.  Telander visited the area frequently last summer.  He found the land that Michael Harrington called the “Other America,” a real place most of us choose not to see. 

Reading about gang shootings, it’s often easy to forget that people live in areas like Englewood.  Telander introduces us to those people: teachers, park superintendents, police officers, and postal workers.  In today’s installment, he confesses that he quickly adapted to a community where people were shot and killed.  Only the most unusual murders get noticed.  Shooting is part of everyday life. 

Kids escape through basketball, dreaming of being the next Derrick Rose, the kid who was able to leave the neighborhood.  Telander profiles some of Rose’s friends who have chosen not to leave the community because they want to make it better.  At the end of today’s installment, one of Rose’s childhood friends is trying to calm a group of young people.  A car rides by and shot are fired.  The peace maker was shot seven times (His story will be continued in tomorrow’s paper). 

To his credit, Telander reports without judgment.  Often, he lets people in the community tell the story in their own words.  In the 1970s Telander wrote a great book called Heaven Is a PlaygroundHis profile of Murray Park describes young people on playgrounds, but no one would call it heaven.  At the same time, it’s too simple to call it hell.  Some, like Derrick Rose, have left the neighborhood and live better, safer lives.  Others choose to stay and fight to change it.  Telander introduces us to the range of humanity in Murray Park, and we are richer for the experience.  Without newspapers, we wouldn’t have such stories.  Our lives would be simpler – in the worst sense of that word.

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