Tag Archives: advice

A Humbling 31

A lot can change in a calendar year.

Last year I was brimming with excitement for my birthday. I was already thinking about birthday plans for months, figuring out what to do, who to invite, where to go. It was a fun time, getting a lot of people together to celebrate.

This year I never gave it any thought.

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Resume and Joblessness Giving You Malaise? Here’s How to Help Yourself

After my experience of trying to get back to work, I thought I should pass this advice on to someone else who may be in the situation I was in or is thinking about changing careers. I hope you can find this helpful.

Have a good resume

This is pretty important so it should go without saying. But it still must be said. A bad resume is pretty much like having no resume at all, no life raft in a sea of tumult that is the job search, you get the idea. Make sure your resume markets yourself as best as possible at the beginning so that the hiring manager can actually be interested and not print out your resume just to throw it in the trash. Include a short summary describing who you are and what you’re looking for. (“Highly motivated project manager seeking to utilize my skills in a challenging environment” for example.) Then include your “Areas of Expertise.”

Fill your “Areas of Expertise” section with buzzwords that make YOU better than the rest

List everything you’re good at doing, and other skills you have from your working or every day experience. Hiring managers deal with over 9000 resumes at a time and have no time to read through a body of text that looks like War and Peace. Hiring managers are looking for candidates who possess specific traits and the more you list up top, the more likely they’ll reach out.

Don’t sell yourself short

Every bit of experience you have is worthy experience, even if your first job was stocking shelves and getting yelled at. Every job you had gave you new skills and you accumulated experience in every one. Don’t ignore them! A labor professional suggested that other job experience I’ve accumulated in the past be put in a section of the resume titled “Relevant Related Experience.” You might not think it’s relevant or related but you can’t let the hiring manager think that. Put it all down. At the very least it shows that you’ve been on an upward trend in your career, taking what you learned and applying it to the next job.

Half-inch margins

One question I asked when I met with a labor professional during my unemployment was how could I fit everything onto one page of a resume? Her advice was to use half inch margins. You’ll be surprised how much you can fit, and how much more you can fit on one page, too. You can now squeeze more of your working experience, or even make your experience look more robust as you can now add a few more bullet points.

Keep it simple, keep it black and white

This bit of advice given to me was a bit surprising, as I didn’t give ink color any thought. The labor person told me that using color made me come across as someone slightly inconsiderate, that hiring managers will think of me as wasteful (!) because the resume would require them to print in color. Take this advice however you want, but I was willing to listen to her advice and got rid of all use of color. Think of this as more of a subliminal thing for the hiring manager; if you can give them one fewer thing to worry about when printing your resume, do it. Also, the content of your resume should hold more weight than the ink color but again, don’t force the manager to have to select color if they don’t have to—what if he or she works in an office that can’t afford color ink???


I took this advice and improved my resume. Within a week or two I was getting a lot more emails and cold calls from hiring managers and headhunters. I was desperately trying to get anyone to even look at my old resume but with this new one it sometimes felt like I had too many people interested in my services! (Not that that’s a bad thing.) But after what I endured from the many months of desperately trying to get hired again, the least I can do is share this advice given to me hoping it can help someone else.

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The Past Is Permanent ~ One Month’s Reflection

It’s January 24 and I find myself sitting while pondering, wondering, and hypothesizing life and its mysteries.  Some people do this when they’re drunk or high but I tend to think about a lot of things most of the time.  What’s on my mind?  I guess a list of things is apropos.

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A Belated “Happy Canada Day!” to You All

I thought I should get that out of the way as Canada Day was yesterday.  That being said, I need to kick off July by getting some things off my chest, as I always have things to get off my chest.

Monday wasn’t a good day, but those tend to happen when seven hours of sleep turn into a three-hour nap and a two-hour nap interspersed by an hour-long period of despair and restlessness.  This is just a first-world problem of trying to sleep on a warm, muggy night.

The day felt marred by disconnects, misunderstandings, and mishaps.  It’s never an official day without awkward moments or moments where asking a legitimate question makes me feel like a bumbling, stupid fool who never should’ve been dumb enough to ask about something so minute in overall importance.

I want to resign myself into thinking this day was a complete loss—just a bad day piled on to an already towering peak of bad days.  It’s one of those days that makes me want to lash out, and perhaps kick something.

But you wouldn’t care.  And I know that no one will ever feel sorry about my day.  Hardly anyone has.  That’s fine.

This is what happens when I care too much.  This is what happens when I always demand some sort of structure to a day, where a varying number of arcane conditions must be met.  But what’s the use?  A day should be judged based on a list of items?  No.

For far too long, I have placed ambiguously high demands and standards on myself.  If I do something right, I always tell myself it could have been better.  If I do something wrong, I always tell myself that that was bound to happen, and that I have no use in trying to improve myself to prevent the bad thing from happening because it will happen again anyway.

I need to stop this.  I feel like I always have chips on my shoulder (not the ones you eat nor the ones you use when playing Poker) and there is a pervasive aura of agita that has enveloped me and shrouded me.  I can’t keep overlooking the positive events in life, especially when they outnumber the negatives in certain situations!

I think some life hacks are needed.  Nothing drastic like shock therapy but just some things I need to do differently one at a time.

I learned today that it is easier to change oneself incrementally rather than to do a complete 180.  So a first step in this life hack will be to forget.  Rather than think incessantly about a particular person or thing bothering me, I will instead not even think about it—probably for 12, 18, or even 24 hours.  Thinking about something upsetting will only make you…more upset (WOW!).  At the minimum, it will make you more upset and it may spark a conflagration of damaging negativity inside you that could affect others within your social and/or familial circle.

Sometimes in life we need to stop, forget, and let go of things.  Life is no easy picnic and people will not always help you up and help you out.  Think of yourself walking around with a massive slippery glass bowl that you later drop onto the floor, causing it to shatter.  You also lose your footing and you fall face first into the shards of broken glass.  Your face is covered with the sharp debris and you have cuts everywhere oozing out blood (not to mention the physical pain).  As painful as this must feel like in your imagination (and I hope this hasn’t happened to anyone in real life), you have to be able to get up and persevere.  You can’t worry about what had happened and you have to trudge forward.

No one ever finishes life unscathed.  Everyone has a scar, everyone has damage, everyone has pain that they either conceal or reveal.  But everyone has the same mission: living through it.

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You May Make the Decisions But They Are Never Always the Right Ones

This is an internal conflict that everyone has.  I may not have the actual numbers but I can say confidently everyone has had a tough choice to make in life.

The tough decisions never happen just once.

We may all make a tough choice but how the decision affects us is different.  Ideally we are supposed to learn from our mistakes when we make the wrong choice but a lot of us (myself included) make the same mistakes again and again.

At what point do we finally realize that we’re doing it wrong and finally make a change?  It’s hard to say because I have yet to devise a saBROmetric stat that can calculate the exact point we have that epiphany (it would likely use the concept of limits for those familiar with calculus).

But if you ask me why people make the same mistakes again and again, it’s because we’re gamblers.

When a person has a goal set out for himself (or herself), the mission is to accomplish that goal (obviously).  We try to accomplish this mission in a variety of ways that all include ignoring the advice of friends.  When we have a goal in mind, we all act more irrationally and do things we otherwise would not do.

And why?  Because we really hope and pray it will all work out.  With reward comes risk—sometimes a significant amount of it—and we cannot hope to win without at least trying first.  Isn’t it amazing?

This also explains why we make the same mistakes and why we lose out.  Because it is exactly like gambling.  A person will always bet on the same horse to win or play the same lottery numbers, or keep playing the penny slots even if he has already lost $456.  We put ourselves through a period of torture in the hopes it will be “worth it” when we achieve victory and experience all the ecstasy that comes with it.

I’m going through this now, as are a lot of people.  I’ve always had moments where I had to make choices and have usually made the wrong ones consistently.  I might as well bet on hoping I make the right choice and some good fortune comes my way.

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