Resume Do’s and Do Not Do’s in Plain English

This advice comes from being the former file clerk for a global consulting firm in their HR department and previously working for an immigration attorney. I have reviewed hundreds of resumes of the people who get hired. No, I won’t share anyone’s specific details. That’s illegal. I also don’t give legal advice, and won’t pretend to do so here. I own my own business, and sorry- no, I’m not hiring currently. I’m not going to stomp on you, however. What owning my own business means is that I don’t have a conflict of interest in sharing some resume tips. I’m doing my thing, and I want people to get hired and to do good work especially if you’re long-term unemployed.

Here are some things to consider when preparing the all-important resume for something (even if it’s just trying to submit a resume to fill the quota in order to get next week’s unemployment check.)

  • Resumes are the College 101 Class in the Human Resource Department:
    • They are meant to weed out people who won’t work before they ever review the people who do qualify. Often, computers do the weeding before a recruiter reviews the ones who pass through.
    • Treat resumes like paper/electronic first dates, without the picture involved, and where all that you can share about yourself is what you have actually or intend to (in some cases and pertaining only to education) accomplish.
  • DO USE the SAME or extremely similar wording (close synonyms allowed) on your resume or cover letter as whatever is in the ad.
    • Companies spend a lot of time and money on making sure that their ads are properly legal. Companies have been sued before over what is in an ad, so they will automatically disregard and dismiss resumes that do not include their ad’s “buzz words.”
    • Some job ads use highly specific wording due to their being part of immigration cases based on specificity of skills, expertise/experience that does not currently exist in the US. The demand requires someone with a certain job skill set. Although there will be ads for the job, and every applicant has to be interviewed, someone already has the job. Don’t despair. This is another reason for being very careful with the ad’s “buzz words” and ALWAYS applying for multiple jobs even while waiting to hear back on anything.
  • DO NOT have any spelling or grammatical errors.
    • Do not assume that Spell Check or that Grammar Check is your friend. Find at least five people who use big words correctly and ask them if they can check your resume for you.
  • DO be honest. Dishonesty is a one-stop ticket to getting fired, especially if you have falsified any credential, accomplishment, etc.
    • You should be willing to have anything and everything on your resume verified via background and social media/Internet search checks.
  • DO NOT EVER share your Social Security Number or Alien Residence Number unless it is required as part of a W-9.
  • DO NOT ever pay to get into a job. A job that solicits your money in advance of hiring you is a scam.
  • Be careful of working in a place where you are paid in cash without a payroll or accountant, and where you are responsible for your own taxes unless you are the owner of the business.
  • DO NOT overshare.
    • Humans are not perfect. That means that you do not need to tell them about your most spiritual experience in your religion or about how your kid scraped his knee in Little League. They need to know whether or not you can get to the job, do the job, and whether or not you will fit in with their existing company members.
    • You can choose whether or not to put on your social media information. Were I to be in the actively-seeking job market, I would not include it on my resume. Know that HR Departments regularly check Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., especially before hiring people.
    • Everything on a resume has to be checked before hiring occurs, including social media. If you give an employer your username, you’re asking for any little thing to be looked up and researched (So, You ate a doughnut Christmas morning 2009. Are you really “friends” with a friend of Stalker 1234?) Social media bleeds information. Even craft stores and Subway shops require background checks.
  • DO NOT include a picture of yourself on your resume. That is what an interview is for unless you are an actor, dancer, etc. Then you need a professional headshot. Otherwise, no. Social media searches will likely take care of giving you a picture to match on interview day. Social media can also be your friend if it is professional and not ludicrous, crass, or incriminating. Weed your feed before you apply, even if your Google search results appear over-whelming.
  • DO NOT automatically include references on your resume unless required. See Tips page for more info.
  • Special Cases: Be willing to do what it takes (and work to do what it takes) to remove (expunge) past penal (court, law) issues. Arrests matter, no matter where or when. Having issues like this does not completely bar a person from employment, but it does put you down the list.

The Things That Matter

I found out today that one of my Mom’s best friends has Stage 4 terminal cancer. It’s not the sort of cancer where she will be dead tomorrow, but now… cause of death is known for when it happens. I wish not to be blase about this, but seeing as this is knowledge in advance of the death versus a sudden death, it’s strangely “easier” to deal with.

No, I’m not glad about it. No, she’s not in extreme pain or such. There are plenty of medications that she is on, and she just had brain surgery to relieve one of the tumors, but she’s still alive. She does have a great attitude about it, all things considering. I don’t think that it is less usual anymore for people to know in advance that they only have so long to live. I’m also a little surprised that I’m dealing with it as well as I am. Over the last seven years, there have been eight deaths. Some sudden, some not-as sudden. Call it preparation for part of what may lay ahead.

I’m also not scared about where she is going. It’s not trust in a dead religion. It’s that I know what needs to happen to “go to heaven.” It’s rather plainly spelled out in the doctrine of my Church and it’s not the effect of a frenzied mind that I believe it. It’s being true and knowing that there is more than life here. Life is more than simply the efforts of the natural creature eking out a living from point A to B. There’s a lot more to it than that. Lifting my head above that mess, there is a light and it is real.

It’s hard to think that there are people who refuse to believe in anything. Not sure whether that is selfishness in that they don’t want to follow anything outside of themselves and basic ethics of the land, or if it is a fear of responsibility once they figure out that there is a God. It’s not just some step in AA. Belief in a higher power is a fundamental principle of society- family is part of it, and without God (whatever religion, so long as it’s not Satanic) I don’t know how people make it from day-to-day.

Better said, denying God, I don’t know people survive. So much of my thinking, so much of my decision-making processes… you come to know who God is, and how He acts over time and experience, and see that He honestly leads you in better paths than you may choose for yourself. Good things or bad things… events change, but God does not.

So back to heaven and hell. Yes, both places exist. The fundamental core doctrines of Christianity agree to that. From there, I have an innate confidence born of testimony from God that there are certain things needed for returning to live with God, and I know that my friend is about as okay as you can get in this regard. There is so much confusion in the world which the gospel makes clear.

The rock solid base is that the truth is what it is, and the gospel is true. My friend and I discussed her death a little, but neither of us freaked out about it. You freak out when you don’t know either a) where people may go after mortality is over, or b) when you really don’t know where you stand before God. Is she Polly Perfect? Nope. Is she working hard, has her heart in the right place, and trying her utmost to be the person that God wants her to be? Yep.

For all of the philosophizing away that many people try to do, God exists. He loves us (His children), and there’s nothing that other people try to say or do that changes that. It doesn’t make His children unaccountable, and it doesn’t eliminate need for grace and for personal righteousness. There are more tools in the bag, and a better chance of having the right tool at the right time. That’s what religion does. Things work better when there is functioning religion centered in Jesus Christ. I like people from all the faiths encountered to this point who wish to be good people, and I treasure truth more than life.

So that’s what matters. Friends who are family, and understanding each of our fundamental roles in the various aspects of life.

Hoping for goodness and blessings,


Cleaning Up

I have to make this post short. That means that it will probably go longer than intended. Suffice it to say, I was rear-ended in a collision on Saturday. I am alive, didn’t need to go to the hospital, and no one else was injured. My car was stopped, but the force of the crash pushed me into the car in front of it, which pushed into the car in front of it. Turns out that the driver was not on the vehicle’s policy and with adjustors going after the rear-ender’s family. I just want my car fixed.

Before any of this happened, the day before I spent reading scriptures, a Church book written by a deceased apostle, and another Church book. I’ve wanted to make sure that my life was cleaned up before, but this pushed me to the “ready to do something about it” stage. Ready to do anything to become clean. My sins are common, not “lighter” or worse than anyone else. In the big picture, they were “such as is common to man” as quoted from the New Testament. However, God does not “look upon sin with the least degree of allowance” and He’s got every right not to do so. Reading these books, I made notes about things that I wanted to change. For the bigger issues, the list was short although the steps on one of the big things will take time to gain back what is missing. It’s more about paperwork and changes that people may only see once they begin. Thinking changes and character shifts. 

The second one is much shorter, and will involve one week away from something pure and sacred, a perspective shift, as the Bishop called it in a gentle manner, and then the victory lap where I can start back up with it the next week. One week away from the reason I go to Church. No one else may notice, but this isn’t about anyone else. It is about being clean before God. I wish never again to be a hypocrite. Being proper on the outside does not mean being serious, down-faced, or self-rejecting. Being pure is about doing your best, and when you are clean, helping anyone else out.

Repentence on the first matter …I never could see a way out, but I admitted what it was to the Bishop. Apparently there was no Bishop-required punishment-thing for it, but to me it was disregarding prophetic counsel and so now is the time to change it.

Following the accident, my car was towed to an auto body repair place. I went there, and they checked it out. The damages to the car are such that I could literally never pay it myself within any time frame suitable. Alone, I do not currently make enough for anything, and that includes with budgeting and living as frugally as is possible. The car is not my fault, and the other party will need to pay for damages. Even if it takes them a while to pay it all, I need transportation and that is just. I do not want to take them to court over any of this. Just want the car back, drive-able and not going to break down on me quickly.

I went to the shop, and the guys there are extremely amicable. I am hoping, hard, that everything proceeds well.

Once I chose to clean up everything in my life, it got better. I can feel that maybe God is giving me another chance. When I spoke with the Bishop, he mentioned that I am important to God. That got to me. I have not felt important to anyone for ages. God usually feels farther away, but when you look at it, I moved away, not Him. And the closer I am trying to get, the more I see how unbelievably weak I am.

My hardest faults are things that I did not know how to do anything about. I knew they were wrong, and I’ve been taught ways of fixing them, but they were not things that I physically COULD do anything about given my circumstances. There was a gap that I have never been able to overcome on my own, no matter how badly I wished it, or wanted it, or put things off thinking that things would get better. It’s as if there is this little thing above my head where if I mess up in one place of my life, it’s going to bite me, and HARD. God keeps me very straitly-coursed.

This is a course in humility. My body is not broken, but the rest of me is learning that my knees are not always physically bent to be kneeling down. I think that the heart can kneel, especially when learning that God wants a people who are dedicated to Him. And in this process, I see that there are blessings that may come from something that otherwise would utterly ruin me if left solely to my own devices. There is none good but God.

Best to everyone,


Fair Treatment of Religion in Media

If you read what I write, then you know that I am religious. It is not a belief in an institution, per se, or a dogmatic exercise in principles that keep me from having any fun. It is not the “effect of a frenzied mind,” nor tradition based upon upbringing. While upbringing helped in a few of my decisions in regards to religion (as in knowing that there was such a thing in the first place) I am a religious person beyond age 25 because I choose it. My religious convictions are pretty open, and I have gained and lost friends over following my faith. Not my decision about whether they were my friend or not in those cases.

Respect, honor, charity, and trying to keep a clear conscience are things that I hope that most people share in common whether or not they hold any religion sacred, or simply try to live a decent life. Over the last few months, I continually notice that Hollywood movies treat religion badly. This is nothing new to most people, but I have interest in ratings systems and who chooses what goes into the media that comes to the fore-front of culture. Video is a huge teaching tool. Its explosion into mainstream creation, akin to MySpace, iTunes, and YouTube reshaping the music sphere within the last decade opens up interpretation and its abilities to teach to a new level.

Highlighting impressions of how others react to religion makes me think of the Gregory Peck movie,

Title Poster of Gentleman's Agreement, 1947 film starring Gregory Peck and Dorothy McGuire

Gentleman's Agreement poster

Gentleman’s Agreement, which is about how there was a certain unspoken rule where treating one group of people badly was “acceptable.” The movie began changes in talking about treatment of various groups and nearly blacklisted everyone involved in its production during the 1950’s.

What people think that they know about a religion versus living it daily are often as separate as possible. In polite conversation, people usually do not talk about it because opinions run deeply and it’s as if no one is right and nothing is wrong. It’s a fast way to make people uncomfortable in a group setting. I like to keep my mind open, but not so open that my brains fall out the other end. I wish that talking about religions without putting them down was more how people spoke about groups in normal parlance versus simply in academic circles. I think of Gandhi’s ways of looking at life. Growing up, there was the idea of being an example of goodness to others around me. Not to look down on anyone, but instead being the best person that I knew how and to treat others well. Seems pretty standard Christian doctrine to me.

An NPR broadcast recently talked about how Americans have lost hope with every institution in society. That includes religious institutions. The analysis that I took away from the broadcast was that while Americans are disparate about their own lives, they would rather hurt others. Helping (creating) takes effort and investment of time (most precious intangible commodity) while destruction (hurting) is easy and the natural manner of the ethos of the world. I know of no one who is looking for something else to insert into their schedule because they have so much extra time that they do not know what to do with it. Everyone that I know is at capacity and usually complain about not enough time for x or y, etc.

The people who are the most confident give less credence to societal pressures and honors and give the most credence to who a human is as a person and where their efforts lie. In “The Last Lecture” the Cornell teacher talks about removing anything that a young man says from the equation and seeing how he acts as his mark of character. My actions aren’t perfect, but there is wisdom in this. I have friends in my different programs and at least a few teachers who are good people and treat others in kind.

What brought my attention to the bashing of religion in media were examples from movies that I otherwise liked for their humor or comedic intent and do not have ratings above PG-13. These are movies that are technically appropriate for most ages and seem pretty harmless from the outset. The phrases or inclinations were small and simple, but when added together in my mind made me pause, concerned over what such videos are actually teaching people. Every video or medium teaches something.

The example from movies here mentioned are parts of pieces that may not find offense normally but when added together make an imprint. In Ella Enchanted, the pivotal phrase, “I will not be obedient,” as taken in the context of the movie expressed finally choosing free will and breaking a spell. I thoroughly agree and believe in people having agency and in exercising it for good purposes.

However, the phrase, “I will not be obedient” also implies that obedience is condescension of sorts. Perhaps it is the absence or removal of free will whereas this author suggests that it is more about exercising free will than any rebellious campaigns or charges. Depends upon who or what one is being obedient to and the motivations and intentions of that entity.

Law-abiding Americans follow paths of responsibility frequently without considering that what they are doing is choosing obedience. Whether or not for religious purposes, the word obedience makes a lot of people uncomfortable. It’s not a case of “doing any thing that you want to do anymore” but thinking about consequences and believing in responsibility and a removal of at least portions of otherwise selfish behavior.

For my life, obedience to God keeps me freer than otherwise. No, I’m not perfect. My ideals are high even if execution of the ideals is not completely consistent. That said, blind obedience is a misnomer. Unless a person has a full understanding of what they are doing or are getting into (availing themselves of the fine print, etc.), then it is not obedience.

I grew up with a healthy ability to ask questions and to look for answers to said questions and not to believe everything that I see and hear. Also not to judge what I see and hear or feel and toss it based upon one sense group alone and act as if there is only one way to understand imperfect or perfect knowledge. Obedience for me is an act of free will and exercising that will in a positive manner with knowledge attached.

From there, in “Easy A” the religious girl had a monotonic personality. She was snobby, selfish, demanding, hypocritical, and a person with whom no good and kind person would want association. Two-faced and otherwise a horrible example of a believer of anything to do with Christianity. Her caricature was quite compelling as the de facto antagonist. The heroine was nice although she continually kept rumors circulating. Her last rebellious act against the gossip and backbiting that occurred from the so-called religious girl, nearly anything would work at that point outside of something pornographic. Religious girl was the antagonist, but good she was not.

Anti-heroes are often the people most rooted for, and I normally prefer them to people who act self-righteous. Being laid back and open-minded are normally good qualities. The film makers assumed correctly that a portrayal of someone religious being horrible to someone who was not was acceptable for the viewing audience. This was a hit comedy. If this view was not something acceptable for parody, it would not have its creation in this genre, but be part of a drama.

There are other forms of media that directly attack religious groups and pass it off for comedy. It is not a case of defense to call this out, but thinly veiled minstrel shows are debasing and incite disrespect. Crass, rude, and nothing to do with how the people of that group see themselves but everything about making a group of people look ridiculous in a climate where being anti-religion is the powerful standard.

It’s not a case of taking something too hard, or of not having a sense of humor. Far from it, having a sense of humor should uplift and there is good sense attached to positive humor, while there is something else that debases. I would give a lot for people to choose positive and uplifting entertainment. Not prudish or self-righteous or always serious, etc. but of good report or praiseworthy and something that increases respect. It is possible. There is other humor out there that helps and inspires goodness but it is up to the public to choose it.

Faith versus Fear in Scholarship

This post is raw material, but it is a blog so I hope that any readers overlook that quality to the post. Recent discussions with a colleague and Church services led me to analysis of my methods of blog writing. I am open, candid, and I write in a style for everyone to read. While I want to improve as a writer, I cannot help but admit my foibles and weaknesses in narrative discourse.

The discussion and talks made me think about the current state of American society. Between economic collapse, subdued and subverted protests, and illusions of enforced safety in order to create a more mistrusting society in the name of potential threats, we live in 1984


1984, 1st edition

meets Ender’s Game.

Ender's Games

Ender's Game, 1st edition

It is a society in which candid communication is left to entertainers in efforts to either soften the criticism or make it of none effect. As much news comes across on political commentary shows and Jay Leno as on nightly broadcasts.

This creates a zone where academic writers diverge into topics so niche and narrow as to have no bearing on the average person. Further, there is an elitism complex that hurts the profession while increasing arrogance among the adherents.

What good is it to someone to know a survey of 18th century religion when they are starving? (metaphoric and physical intentions)

I am heretical to most professions in writing this. The point is not to foster extreme commentary. My ideals are such that I want open and respectful communication in my profession – from everyone to everyone. A person does not make many friends this way. It makes me mad to think that Americans live in a society where we are afraid to express opinions due to job scarcity. I am not sure whether it was any easier for Americans or early colonists of previous generations to publicly express their thoughts: (read: Thomas Paine, and inflammatory remarks of citizens that changed the British colonies into the United States), but I believe that it is necessary.

The present mentality of keeping one’s head down and removing all attention paid in efforts of simple survival feels like preaching absentia of faith. This is not a call to action for religion, but a call to action for ability of expression by those who have standards of any sort. The first amendment is all but exploded in America. Decency is uncommon in favor of artistic licensure for lasciviousness. However, there is plenty of flack for having opinions that settle for even arcane understanding of values that keep people from destroying themselves. These are not passionate value-driven individuals. This is barely basic ethics. Should a person want to express opinions that do not entail complete and open provocativeness, there is immediate backlash.

Having standards is not about persecution of anyone. It is about not being persecuted for believing something where there is not a call for Jihad. Standing for something entails living a life that most people don’t want to touch. It is hard and rough, but it is like eating one’s veggies. In the end, it makes a person feel better where there was initial intake struggle. Doing one’s best is a matter of personal valor and honor. Writing about it publicly and advocating it is a mark of a society needing help. Actively removing fear is a mark of faith and the ability to stand when nothing but Providence keeps one afloat.