Resume Tips

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So many organizations, websites, and books tend to all say very similar things about resume writing, almost to the point of being a cliché. But they are so true, and many job seekers do not seem to heed them. Do you want to have a leg up from the very beginning? Here are some common recommendations from my own experiences as a hiring manager.

  1. Tailor the Resume to the Specific Job

Some people seem to think that the best job search method is saturation. Multiple job board sites have been around for years now, and offer many features for mass applying for open jobs. Several companies specialize in taking a resume and broadcasting it out to a mass audience. I understand the logic of having one resume that gets sent out to hundreds of companies and job postings. This is not a good method to implement. Believe me, I’ve tried it. Hiring managers can see a standard one size fits all resume and generally do not give them much consideration.

Take your time, and carefully read the job descriptions and reflect on them. Do you have the necessary skills required? Do you have the experience if mandated? Decide if the job is something you are qualified for and can reasonably expect to perform it if hired. Tailor the resume and application to reflect the required skills and experience. You may be a great computer programmer, but if this is not a programming job, do not lead with that particular skill. Lead with the experience that is pertinent to the job posting first, before other skills. The hiring manager sifting through many applications that contain irrelevant experience and skills will notice yours as a good fit for the available job, and probably give it further consideration.

  1. Make the Resume or Application User Friendly

Long paragraphs are better left to essays and research papers. Bullet points are your friend. A long paragraph will make the hiring manager work harder to read your resume. Make it as easy as possible for the hiring manager to see your skills and experience related to the job posting. I take great pride in giving each an equal evaluation, and if one resume is harder to read than others, I still take my time to evaluate it equally. Not all hiring managers will do this.

Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. You have work to do as part of your regular duties, but still have to take the time to go through the pool of applicants. They may have to evaluate many in a short amount of time. Sometimes it may be over one hundred, perhaps more. After reading through fifty or sixty, do you think they want to see long paragraphs of text with your skills and experience buried within? Think of who will be evaluating as you write and format your resume. Break down the necessary skills in bullet point format. Always make it easy to read and concise.

Avoid industry jargon. Assume that the hiring manger may not be fully up to speed on many of these concepts and spell it out. Some jargon can be expected, but always make things clear and readable. Assume that people not familiar to the jargon and acronyms will be reading the resume and application.

  1. Proof!

When I see someone who effectively proof reads something, I see someone who takes the time to pay attention to details and they show a tendency to see things through. Many resumes and applications I receive have grammar mistakes and misspellings. Do you want a hiring manager to notice your flaws in this critical moment, or do you want them to see your skills and experience?

Mistakes will happen, and I have made my share of them. However, with as much on the line as a new job, and possible start to a career, this is not the time or place to make preventable mistakes. Do not gloss over the resume and application.

You may have spent hours perfecting it, and tailoring it to various postings, and not yield results. For young and inexperienced candidates, a perfect resume may not be enough. Be persistent and be thorough in your efforts. These, too, are life skills worth perfecting. Every little thing you can do to make your resume better, to be more visible and outstanding compared to the others will increase your odds for an interview. Keep pressing, there’s a career within your grasp.

Profiles in Teamwork: Lou Gehrig

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Team dynamics are critical for any organization. The tired clichés and adages pertaining to teamwork stick around because they are so true. Successful organizations and departments always have people working together for the common mission, and a well working team can achieve much success. Sure, there are outliers and in some cases, a collective working as separate entities can still achieve success, but odds are not in their favor.

I love looking at leading industry figures and historical examples of good leaders and teamwork. Learn what made a particular team or organization successful, and if applicable, emulate the ideas and practices when able. Learning from history can be immensely valuable, as many of these lessons are timeless. A great leader at the turn of the 20th century would be a great leader at that start of the 21st century. Technology is radically different, but the concepts of teamwork and leadership are always relevant, regardless of the era or time.

One of my favorite historical figures is Lou Gehrig. Gehrig played first base for the New York Yankees during the 1920s through the 1930s, and was a key figure on the famous 1927 “Murderers Row” Yankees, still regarded as one of the best teams in baseball history. Gehrig was quiet and measured, and always the consummate professional. Playing behind the boisterous and larger-than-life Babe Ruth, Gehrig always was relegated to the background. Ruth made the headlines with his antics on and off the field, while Gehrig quietly worked to make the team better.

Gehrig played key parts of the seven World Series championships he won as a member of the Yankees. Without his constant and consistent presence in the lineup, I would argue they would have won much less. Known for his continuous games played record of 2,130 games played, which stood for 56 years, Gehrig was the essence of the team. His stats, even when compared to more offensive eras of baseball, are impressive these many years later. His stats have been eclipsed, and others came afterward to hit for a better batting average, more home runs, or more runs batted in, but his legacy has endured more than a century after his birth.

For those who want to be part of a team, or to be part of something bigger, look no further than Lou Gehrig. His enduring legacy shines to this day. For those who think than being part of the team may hold you back, or to see your efforts glossed over, fear not. As a hiring manager, a critical trait is to fit in well with the team. If you work hard, and put the team first, your efforts will be recognized. You can still shine as a valued employee, yet still be a team player. Those who think they need to be better than everyone else, or work to elevate their stature at the expense of others will only hurt their own career and reputation. Lou Gehrig was voted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1939, and was voted onto the “All Century” team in 1999. Not bad for a man who was all about putting the team first.

Records (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou_Gehrig)

MLB Records
Accomplishment Record
Most consecutive seasons with 120+ RBIs 8 (1927–1934)
Most runs batted in (RBI) by a first baseman 1,995
Most runs scored by a first baseman 1,888
Highest on-base percentage by a first baseman .447
Most walks by a first baseman 1,508
Highest slugging percentage by a first baseman .632
Most extra base hits by a first baseman 1,190
Single–season
Most runs batted-in by a first baseman 184 (1931)
Most runs scored by a first baseman 167 (1936)
Highest slugging percentage by a first baseman .765 (1927)
Extra-base hits by a first baseman 117 (1927)
Most total bases by a first baseman 447 (1927)
 
Most home runs[a] 4
  1. The record is held with 15 other players

Awards and honors

Award/Honor # of Times Dates
American League All-Star 7 1933–1939
American League MVP 2 1927, 1936
The Lou Gehrig Memorial Award[80] 1955–present
Named starting first baseman on the Major League Baseball All-Century Team 1999
Inducted into National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum 1939
World Series champion 6 1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938

Teamwork: An Essential Skill

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Books and movies seem to glamorize the lone hero. As a society, we tend to celebrate the accomplishments of a solitary figure. Will LeBron James win for the city of Cleveland, which last saw a championship with the 1964 Cleveland Browns football team? The mindset seems to be not the team winning, but the individual winning it for the team. So much focus of the last Super Bowl match-up was Cam Newton going against Peyton Manning. The young, brash quarterback versus the rapidly declining elder statesman of the league.

In sports, as in life, so much focus seems to be on the accomplishments of the individual. In business, much can be made of the accomplishments of the CEO at a given company. Bill Gates was Microsoft. Steve Jobs was Apple. Currently, Jeff Bezos is Amazon, or Elon Musk is Tesla. Articles in many technology or business magazines tend to gloss over the teams that prop these people up. Would any of these CEOs have succeeded to heights of business without a great team to fulfill their vision?

Before anyone can climb the ladder of any company or organization, they need to build up a foundation in teamwork. To be part of the team is crucial and essential. Anyone who comes in fresh out of college, training school, or armed with certifications, and tries to be the star will be frustrated. I’ve seen young workers come in and work hard and do a decent job, but they were not working for the benefit of the team. They tended to pull more work than others in order to skew the work order stats, and at times they neglected to share information that was helpful for others. The actions did not reflect well, and possible avenues for advancement were not realized by these individuals.

Any team, whether it’s in an IT sector like me, or something on a manufacturing line, will know when people are working for their own interests. Managers who are paying attention will see information hoarding and selfishness. The more you prop yourself up at the expense of others, the weaker your foundation will be. Few managers will tolerate disruptive and selfish individuals who undermine the team dynamic. Most managers, me included, would rather have someone on staff that is average in skills, but top rated in teamwork, before a star worker, who disrupts the team.

As you start out in your career, or seek to land that first great job, work as part of the team. Do your part and let your actions speak, not your voice. Don’t talk about whether you did this or did that, but show what you have done. Demonstrate it through your work ethic. Be the one that others grow to depend and rely on. Be on time and attend consistently. Be the one to take on the hard and unwanted duties without question or complaint. When things are critical, step up and keep the engines going. It may seem that others may have better visibility or opportunities, but this is not the case. You are building and reinforcing your foundation and putting the team first. There may be times you will be overlooked, as some managers can and will play favorites, but keep the team in mind for your actions. In the end, you will reap the benefits.

The coworkers that may admire and respect you now, may be the ones you are in charge of down the road. This is the team that will work extra hard not just for the organization, but they will put forth the extra bit of effort for someone they admire and respect. Someone may use the team to vault into a higher position, but I’ve seen so many times where the team does not fully respect them, and the effort and determination reflects that.

Team first will set you up for all your successes. When you get your foot in the door, start working as part of the team, and build your foundation for the future.