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.

Feeling Like Jello

I once ate Jello with chopsticks at the MTC. It’s not the hardest thing to do if you slightly break up the blocks so that there is something there for the chopstick to hold to.

My life feels like Jello. I think that I am falling behind in my classes although they seem to be all that I ever do. And even as I write that, I know that I spent more time watching TV this semester than I ever have before, and also a lot of time looking through job ads. God said that I needed to keep up with school, but He never mentioned how I would get through my  bills and that’s caused me to be a nervous wreck for a few months.

Although actually less stressful somehow, I just moved this weekend to another location in the city, pretty far away from the things that most people act like are important but closer to companies, businesses, and actually closer to one school. The amenities are resoundingly better than my last apartment, and although the commute to one school is much longer than it used to be, I get to deal with that next semester.

Today I am supposed to register for classes at the closer school and I have no idea what to attempt to get into. I want to do markup language coding and learn more languages so that I can mark up the way that I want to mark up and do things that help my projects progress and be happy. Personal happiness is a luxury now, not a right. It’s that elusive thing that living commandments is supposed to get you, and sometimes it just takes an attitude adjustment to get toward.

Nothing in my life is simple. I wish that it was, but instead, I feel like I am walking on Jello. God walked on squishier stuff, but I am starting to wonder if my current state of being is simply an attribute like a mark up language. I have some stability, but at the same time everything else flows around me and ignores me. Goes right past me and maybe that is a good thing.

All that I can see is that I have to hold on and do what God’s already told me to do. To live the commandments, I’ve turned down some really hard temptations, and when others would not listen to Deity, have been pushed aside akin to Miyagi’s wax on-wax off method. Whatever the method or reasons, I’m here now and am trying to figure out what to do with this lifetime.

Afterlife is easy: help with the gospel, do the right thing, keep on going. Done. Just work hard, and do as well as possible. Seems simple enough. All that I see for this life now is finishing school, making family history apps, working on the genealogy business, and otherwise paying bills. I wish that I could have a family, but that is dependent on other’s agency of which I do not have control and would not ask for that control to be had by me. Without someone else’s choices, my progression is limited in this life. It seems harsh, but it isn’t. Not everyone has the chance to marry. I think/thought that I will have that chance, especially as I am still fairly young. I’m young, but I have the weight of kingdoms on my shoulders and they hurt a little. I’d give my life for a good, honest, temple-worthy guy to help share the load and for me to share his load.

No matter what, I must keep going. There is no vice without a price, and in this case, I have avoided much and hope to be able to endure a lot more. God has said often that He expects a lot of me, and I don’t really know exactly what that is or how to get it done. How long did it take the Brother of Jared to figure out that God touching small stones could make light for the barges when crossing oceans? I mean, that’s REALLY creative stuff. I’m not honestly that good. I have an app. One app, and it could easily change the world. I feel like I am behind in everything that I do, but maybe I’m stuck in the DNA-style loop that seems to befit the fullness of times.

I don’t know what God wants me to do now outside of unpacking. Do homework, look for and apply to everything under the sun including scholarships, and become exhausted on a regular basis. Trying  not to drown.

Best from the GenealogyDr

Ask the Missionaries: They Can Help You

During General Conference in October, Elder Nelson mentioned repeatedly in his talk: Ask the missionaries. They can help you. I was watching conference at my Church building and the missionaries for my general area sat a few rows ahead of me. While watching them, they were okay with the things that Elder Nelson was asking them to help with, excepting family history.

Although it is a commandment that people in my Church work on knowing who their ancestors are, the vast majority of Church members that I have come across know almost nothing about the topic. There is not a lot of training  on the topic beyond essentials, at least in the U.S. Outside of the Church, genealogy is a hot topic, and receives much attention. It was not a surprise to watch the sisters look at each other in a mild amount of fear when Elder Nelson asked the missionaries to help with people finding their ancestors. Sister missionaries can range in age but until recently, they were typically in their early twenties. Few people in their twenties are very concerned about their ancestors unless there is a direct need to be so interested such as the death of a loved one.

I became interested in family history (genealogy) when I was a child, and work with the field both inside and outside of the Church with friends and colleagues. It was my Bachelors degree major.

So, I gave the sisters my number to train them in basics. For our first meeting, the computers at the family history center were down. While a little frustrating, that did not stop things very long. We re-scheduled for today, and we ended up meeting at a McDonald’s with wifi near my neighborhood although in their area, and started looking up their family information.

Neither of the sisters knew what to expect. The first sister was pretty shocked when she saw that her ancestors enmeshed with our Church’s historical movements. Some family members were active members, while others went back and forth. However, by the end she knew that the stories she heard were real. She saw what information the Church had on her ancestors in live-time, and saw where the history and her family worked with each other. I gave her explanations as we went to help her see the context of what was happening around the dates in her family’s life.  The dates and places were enough to see that there were multiple stories happening that tied her directly into historical events with which she was familiar but were not real until she saw them on the page.

She took a lot of notes and her eyes bugged out regularly.

For the second sister, she had more questions about modern issues and had other effects where it was unclear what was happening and how things came together but there were still complicated twists and turns in her family’s history. She knew more about her family’s background to start, and in her case it was less of a dramatic unfolding.

Going back to the first sister, I wanted to make sure that she knew that her background was epic. While the first place where we left off was not exactly the happiest, by the end of it she was able to see people who made it through, people who were obviously determined, down to children who made it through when both parents were dead by the age of six. They found their way to being great people. She knew very little about her family’s background coming into our meeting but left with an intense amount of knowledge about herself and her family’s efforts going step by step through Church history starting (in her case) in 1839. Watching the knowledge and paradigms shift was fun.

For me, it was just fun to work with these sisters. I could see that the information whelmed the first sister, but when they were all done, they knew that they could be asked by Church members or others and either help them themselves or knew where the resources were. They also learned that there was a lot more to family history than that they previously understood, including seeing their roles in it. It was a grand afternoon.

I appreciated being able to help, and felt that this was important. One of the sisters will soon be transferred, but they both know more about themselves and their history now. I hope that it made a positive impact and didn’t rock their worldviews out of creation. After a bad week, this was a great thing to be able to help. Now I hope that they can pass it along.

Pressure

Last night, someone asked me if I was happy with what I was up to: two Masters, trying to find a new job, being super-busy with Church stuff, and otherwise under a lot of pressure. My answer didn’t really sound that good. I want to be obedient to God and because of that, I don’t expect immediate happiness. That just sounds bad. It seems like the point of doing all of this stuff is becoming happy, and I don’t remember what it’s like to be happy. I can remember gratitude, but at the same time I’m trying not to panic every second of the day.

Having problems isn’t really going to change. Everyone has issues, whether they’re health-related, whether it’s employment or family or school or relationships or whatnot. Some of the problems get solved, and a lot don’t. At least not in ways that are convenient or otherwise things that are “nice and fluffy.” There’s no puppy or reward for completing some of these issues. New problems come up to replace the old ones. While I like being a problem-solver, the solutions that I see to the problems are things that I can’t do anything about.

Maybe my worldview actually isn’t that bad. I do everything that I know to do, and I have faith in grace. I try to have a lot of patience because my life is non-ending pressure, and there isn’t adequate outlet for it. I don’t know anyone who is happy-go-lucky all the time. Attitude does have a lot to do with it, however.  Everywhere I go, I’m expected to be an example of my belief system. To literally live my religion as well as I can. People have perceptions of those in my religion that could be anything, and a favorable impression is the best thing that we can do.

We don’t persecute others and wish not to be persecuted. I feel sorry for politicians who ascribe to my belief system as politics is non-ending catfights and sorrow. I love peace, quiet when wanted, and a time to dance in positive manners when possible also.

Anything that isn’t perfectly in accordance with my belief system in my life makes me upset. This isn’t necessarily about other’s actions very often, but about my actions. Of late, there are myriad examples of things are not in perfect accord but all of them require things that are not under my control to correct them. I have built my own puddles and walls but I don’t own ladders and don’t have bridges. There is honestly no way that I can save myself (ha. not possible to save yourself, no, but wanting to make up for things- that is where I fall flat on my face and break my nose no matter how much I want to repent.) Saying that you’re sorry often is not enough on these things. It is paying things back bit by bit. I just don’t have the ability to do so now. That is the reason that I want a job besides paying bills.

It feels like the math concept where a line can get so close to zero, but never quite gets there. I feel frustrated that I will never get where I need to should be. Although I am grateful for where I’ve gotten so far, all that I can ever see is where I am insufficient and it compounds when looking at the different aspects of life. I see all of my errors and how I don’t have ways of fixing them. Some of these errors have been around for a while. While none of them bar me from participation in religious activities, I’m sick of having my soul eaten up by acidic pain, remorse, or guilt over things that I would change in an instant had I ability.

It’s like looking at the homeless people when going on or coming off highways or at major intersections and seeing their signs and not being able to do anything about it because of being on low fuel and not having cash or otherwise ability to do anything. I don’t care whether someone did things to get to the point where they’re at. Who hasn’t? God doesn’t look at someone and says, “Oh, you did this to yourself. I’m not helping you.” He looks at them, shows compassion, and helps them get to a better place: training or something else that changes people and helps them toward a better life. I desperately want to be better and to be clear, and it’s not happening. Prison isn’t just for cell inmates. I talk to God a lot, and He doesn’t bug me about the things that I haven’t been able to change. I think that He knows that I know them well and want to fix them and don’t have a clue how to do it currently besides what I’m already trying. I typically come back with more things to do, and my feet feel bashed because I don’t see how I can get them done when I need to get these things done…somehow.

When you’re capable, it seems like you become more alone. People expect more of you, and sometimes you have extremely kind friends who help you get from A to B, but most of the time expectations are that you will figure it out for yourself. That you will do something that will save yourself, or that you won’t mess up or somehow that you will see any or all dangers and not make any mistakes. Nothing will really get to you; somehow you’re superhuman. That is RIDICULOUS thinking. It sets an extremely unfair double standard on people and makes it close to impossible to recover. The world is a very cruel, cold, lonely, bitter place.

So, all of those judgements, whether they come from others (often the case), or come from internal sources (people usually tell me that I’m too hard on myself, but I figure that it’s better me being hard on myself versus someone else being hard on me- beat them to the punchline, as it were), it’s a LOT of pressure. Saturday and yesterday, besides asking whether or not I was happy, I had people who told me that I needed to de-stress. I would if I could, but I can’t, so… I can’t. I am responsible for myself. I have extremely good friends who are kind and thoughtful, but the only person putting me first is me. And that doesn’t work out that well, either. There’s only so much self-talk that a person can do to feel better, work harder, or otherwise keep going. I do believe in infinite capacity and that God can do miracles and all. I just wish that they came before I was literally falling head-first at the ground and I can’t see anything to catch me.

The falling head-first without security is how I have felt starting in 2005, but was more apparent after 2008. But that’s when everyone lost security and safety. 9/11 was the beginning of restrictions in the name of safety, but trying to be a good person, trying to pay bills, and advance in life feels like trudging through the swamp in the Never-Ending Story where it’s just almost too depressing for words. Governments are destroying themselves, laws are passed that give no one any rights and take rights away, and people are dying more often now than before no matter what kinds of medical breakthroughs attempt to extend life longer. My generation is not doing better than my parent’s generation even though their generation expects it and says there is something wrong with us if that isn’t happening immediately.

I miss being part of a family. Miss a support system that kept me safe. I was brought up so well, and I received such an incredible education. My home life was amazing, but there were definitely flaws, most of which I didn’t know until I was out of the house. Now, my generation feels lost. We want to hold to something. Anything with a feeling of permanence to it. I’m a little surprised that anyone gets married anymore, even though I definitely believe in marriage and people having families.

I see other people who can figure it out (jobs, families, progression in life), and on one side wonder either what’s wrong with me, or else what can I do to change things? (meaning changing myself, not wanting to change them.) That’s about the time when I put my faith back in the tool belt and keep on walking because I can still walk and I don’t know what else to do. If I was sick in addition to my current maladies, I think I’d break. I may be sick, but I haven’t been able to get to a doctor for a long time and I do my utmost to try to stay at least symptomatically-healthy. There may be worse things going on, but I literally can’t afford to find out right now.

Guess there’s one thing left to do at that point. When at the end of the rope, make a knot, and hold on tight. I have nothing left but faith, and maybe an Internet connection if I can pay the bill.

Best to all,

GenealogyDr

Observations on Faith

I am definitely Christian, and I go to two Catholic schools. I like studying in a very quiet and picturesque reading room that was the old library at one of my schools. The reading room adjoins a chapel.

Considering my undergrad institution: while it may look more utilitarian in the rooms, all of them are used as chapels and Sunday School rooms and similar on Sundays and for other Church activities and meetings during the week in addition to regular classes during the week, without regular classes held on Sundays. Growing up, I was used to my religion and I learned history enough to see divisions and splits in other religions and just to watch what happened in the developments of other churches over time. Call it the “change over time” principle espoused by traditional historians.

I know that there are some people who are active in their beliefs, and others who don’t care at all. Since I am open to hearing anyone’s beliefs, I seem to know a lot of people who are atheists talking to me on a regular basis. I am respectful, but it is wearing as they try to convert me to their viewpoint without exception. My generation is not known for their religious conviction, but for turning away from religion in many cases. Sitting in my study room, there is an open mass happening nearby. The inter-faith room is also close by, inhabited regularly by students of Muslim background. My guess is that some of the other people studying in my reading room have that background, from looking around.

I was caught off-guard yet pleased when I found out last week that a friend was not attending class due to a Jewish high holy day. Honestly, that’s cool. My current colleagues in my department at my other school are also really open when it comes to being cool with religion, and although no one else has said anything, my religion became known and they’re nice and accommodating.

Today, I wonder about Catholicism. Doesn’t hurt that an attractive male walked into the mass. Although dressed in normal campus clothes, he tapped into the basin of holy water and knelt down to cross himself before entering the chapel. He’s the youngest person I saw walk in there and he seems to know all of the outward actions of the mass. Appears to be a “good Catholic” which is what I’m guessing they call people who are orthodox. I’m not sure, though.

People being orthodox in their religious faiths is something that I admire. Usually, they’re nicer and more open than people who are trying to get me to think otherwise, despite mass media interpretations of everyone of faith being dogmatic disciplinarians without senses of humor who are more likely to kill you than consider you as a person.

It’s not cool to be religious, but I find it useful and helpful for my life. Not as a crutch, ever, but as something that helps me be myself. I do believe in God. I believe in Jesus Christ, Heavenly Father, and the Holy Ghost. My beliefs are not the same as the kid sitting in that chapel on some of the finer points of practice, but I admire and respect a kid who at least attempts showing up to church. Few people do so. It’s not entertainment, but it is cause for celebration. I may never know his name or anything about him other than that he exists and that he went to mass on a Wednesday, but I am glad that he showed up today.

Best to all from

GenealogyDr

Loyalty

I write this post with a little of a heavy heart. Recounting what happened this summer to a former friend, I realized that this summer there has been my car accident, two friend’s parents died, two friends went through surgery (one brain surgery), I found out that my Mom’s best friend is dying, and that my family has bigger issues than I realized.

Last year, both schools acted like I was a traitor for not being “only at one school” when THEY were the ones that set up the joint program in the first place. It was like siblings fighting over toys. Now, I am no longer part of a joint program, but still doing two Master’s degrees at the same time. My present degrees dovetail better than my previous degrees did, and where scheduling may not fit with one, I then get material in the other. I feel like I am pulling up a zipper and whatever this clothing item is fits nicely.

I am no longer being split apart. It is harder in some aspects because neither school naturally communicates with the other, but I finally got over that at the end of last year and decided that if I was going to do this, I had to keep up and do it on my own. I work as hard as I can with my advisors, but in the end these degrees depend upon my coursework and not on anyone else’s work, ambition, or similar things.

Along with this is the need for a job. I had one job, and then another opportunity presented itself. That opportunity evaporated, and although I may be able to get the old job back, the commuting costs versus the pay and hours did not come together well. I need something else.

School feels steady. I am only starting the semester, but along with that I feel like there is a genuinely secure feel even though nothing is truly set up. Why am I so calm? Why have I been pretty calm through all of the employment shifts and changes? The only thing that really shook me up was the family trouble, and somehow that has to work out. I think that I am extremely lucky that it is the beginning of the semester, and I need and am able to get something together instead of feeling like I am only ending up somewhere.

Despite or because of all of the insanity of the summertime, I feel surprisingly calm. Not exactly happy, but somehow dealing. Not neutral, exactly, just… to quote from the Bible, “I know in whom I have trusted.” (gentle paraphrasing), so I’m not freaking out quite so badly as is customary in a dead economy when nothing really makes that much sense. Pressing forward even when there isn’t time to process life. I guess it’s called growing up.

Best to all,

GenealogyDr

Gratitude Journal:Death and Dying

The happiest person I know is dying. The friend mentioned in the previous post: she was one of my mother’s three best friends, and she has stage 4 breast cancer.  I learned what that meant earlier in the week. Stage 4 means that you know your death cause, but I didn’t know how long she’d known. Three years. During this time, she had a roommate who did not respect others enough to let them into her life more. But had I realized this earlier, I’m not sure what I would or could do.

When I read how long she had over email today (she could die any day, and there’s no telling how long it will be; sicknesses will get to her, but she will die from organ failure as the cancer runs its course and terminates things.) it took me so much aback that I did not know how to reply. I marked it as “Mark as Unread” and walked back to the El station to take the trip to the bus to get me to dinner and then home. Normally, Friday nights I volunteer at my temple. Without a car for the past while due to an accident, I haven’t been there as much lately. Should have the car back tomorrow.

Rode the escalator to the El platform after a stressful day of editing a movie to finish a class from Spring semester, then read the email enough to absorb what it meant and I started to cry. I put my phone away and kept crying as the El showed up and took me to the bus that was a half hour late, or more so. Pigeons overhead in the rafters, I felt annoyed that they were there, despite the efforts of the city to stick miniature steel spikes in the most likely places. Many people gave up and started walking of their own accord. I finally rode the bus.

This lady is talented, has three kids, one married, one barely graduated from college, and one who is the son of a second marriage and not yet in middle school. Her husband died shortly after the child was born, and she never re-married. She is lucky that she has family, that there is a pretty supportive Church network (ward), and that she has close friends. I’m lucky that I know her at all. She moved to my Church network when I was maybe 12? She saw my family through a heap of life, and she has been essentially surrogate Mom as there are no older women in the family who are like my Mom left. All of the direct-line ancestral biological female relatives are dead. The ones who are alive do not see me as Mom did, save her, and this friend is only related to me back in the 1600’s from a different marriage of some old guy that was either Dutch or in New England. For that ancestor, one wife died and then he married another and their relatives went every which way. I have other female biological or marriage-related relatives, but only see them rarely and then I am in guest roles.

Mom’s friend rarely complains, and she gives me reality checks when everyone around me either acts like I’m great or awful, or can’t give me solid advice to save their lives. My friends are extremely good people, but she never tells me anything for her gain or with personal bias involved. I’m not that good all the time and want to be. She also inspires me to do better. She knows at least six languages, and is always learning. I love that about her.

My birthday is soon, and in my selfish self-pity I thought about the timing. I found out that an extremely good friend was dying after a very long day and then I looked back across the bus stop filled with birds and their droppings and feathers to where people came off the El. Thought about how each of them had their own story, and how God is their Father, too, and wondering how in the world He kept track of us all. I couldn’t do what He does, that’s for sure. (Not without serious, massive help at the minimum.)

Anyway, I am tired, have much on my plate, but despite things beyond my control, I made it through the day and I should make it through tomorrow. Just have to finish these last items, and then school starts immediately thereafter. A little scared, and if there is a sudden death, then I’ll need an airplane flight. Otherwise, must keep going. Living at this point in time means that there isn’t that much time to process. Have to keep going no matter how dreadful or how joyous life gets. I wish that there was more joyous. All that I can do is to try to be good to people, comfort, and be kind.