Résumé Tips Every Millennial Should Know

Spring into your job hunt with these résumé and cover letter tips

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Spring is officially on its way in and for many of you job hunters out there, your résumés are almost on their way out. Before you really shift into full gear for your spring career hunting, perhaps you should take the time to revamp your résumé and cover letter? Metro spoke with Suzana Simic the director of career development at the Computer Systems Institute to get some tips and ideas for how to revamp and polish your spring job hunt!

What are your top tips for revamping your résumé?

I would research some in-demand jobs right now, and then go ahead and utilize the job descriptions to tailor your résumé to those jobs. For instance, if a job description is asking for someone who is detail oriented and knows how to use Word and Excel, those keywords should definitely be in your résumé. That way when employers are looking through [résumés] those words stand out to them.

For people going into technology based positions I would [suggest] you create a video résumé. You can easily upload it to YouTube, and add the link to your résumé or your cover letter. It’s a great way to get your face out to an employer before they even meet you. A lot of employers are doing phone interviews now, it’s an easy eliminating factor for the employer, and this way you’re standing out to them and showing them that you know how to use technology. A video résumé is a great thing to have.

Can you provide any guidelines for these video résumés?

It should be short and to the point. No employer is going to spend 20 minutes looking at your video résumé. It should mimic an elevator pitch. It should talk about who you are, what your background in regards to work and things that are applicable to the job that you’re applying to. Mostly you should address the things that you have that the employer would be looking for. Previous work experience, what software you’re familiar with, what you would bring to the table. Dress professionally as if you were going into an interview. It’s a great way to get yourself out there and be presentable before an employer before they even see you.

Optimal time for these videos?

No more than two minutes.

Any design tips for résumés?

The classic rules hold true: Résumé should be no more than one page (unless you have an extensive work background). I would stick to one page, and I would shy away from any color. It’s actually a deterrent and not an eye catcher.

Number one way to make your profile stand out?

I would have a skill section right at the very top. I would highlight all of the key features that make you different and make you stand out from other people. Chances are your employment background and history mimics what a lot of other people have done. [Avoid] vague job titles like receptionist or even IT When an employer sees that they tend to already have in their mind what that position entails what they do. You may do some things that a typical admin or IT person doesn’t do. Those should stand out in your skills section and that should be at the very top of your résumé.

Any tips regarding cover letters?

A rule of thumb is if it is not required don’t send it. Not every employer will look at it. If it is a requirement make sure you are utilizing what that employer is looking for in your cover letter and make sure any employment gaps are explained there. If you were out for an illness and didn’t work for two years that should be incorporated into your cover letter. If you have some employment gaps, and they are for legitimate reasons, you should attach a cover letter.

Is writing “to whom it may concern” that bad?

I think it’s great to write to whom it may concern. You could also write hiring manager, HR representative, you could write any number of things.

 

Thai student seizes opportunities

By Brian Lee TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF

Posted Apr. 27, 2015 at 6:00 AMthai carpe diem

STURBRIDGE — A 31-year-old native of Thailand is making the most of her opportunities here.

Rosarin Mafoo of Chaing Rai is a student in an adult international studies program, and through it, was able to become part owner of a Thai restaurant in Attleboro.

Ms. Mafoo has been living in Sturbridge since April 2008, when she became an au pair nanny for a local family. That opportunity ended in 2010, but her host allowed her to remain in the home so that she could pursue her studies. After that, Ms. Mafoo said, she decided to change her visa status to an international student and started to study English full time.

Ms. Mafoo went to a couple of schools before she enrolled at the Computer Systems Institute on Mechanic Street in Worcester in early 2013. She joined more than 150 students from 90 countries at the institute, an English-as-a-Second-Language and skill-building program that also offers customer service and hospitality industry programs. It opened in the city in 2012 and also has a site in Charlestown and five in Illinois. According to Kenneth Jobity, campus president of the Worcester and Charlestown campuses, the students are a driven group who have amassed a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 on a 4-point scale during the past two quarters.

Mr. Jobity said Ms. Mafoo is “one of the best students you can have in the classroom. Academically she’s been successful. For the most part, her overall attitude and persona is just great.”

After completing the yearlong ESL program, Ms. Mafoo enrolled in hospitality industry, requiring her to be in class 10 hours a week until September and to hold a job.

Through the program, Ms. Mafoo said, she learned what she needed to open Sala Café in Attleboro in September. She is one of three partners who took over the business after the previous owner retired. They picked the location, she said, because it’s across the street from a hospital and is in a neighborhood of factories and office buildings. Attleboro has no other Thai restaurant, she said.

Mr. Jobity said Ms. Mafoo “took exactly what we taught in the classroom and applied it to her professional life.” Ms. Mafoo said the harsh winter made for a difficult first several months, but business began to increase in March. To cut down on all the driving, Ms. Mafoo, who previously worked at a Thai restaurant in Putnam, Connecticut, said she is sharing an apartment in Attleboro with one of her business partners. Lack of familiarity with local regulations and not having much money to invest were the trio’s biggest obstacles in the beginning, she said.

Prior to opening, Ms. Mafoo said, she used to sell some of her belongings — mostly women’s clothing bags and shoes — online as a means of becoming more business-minded. It helped her communicate with customers in the United States “to see how they talk about business” and “to see how doing business in the U.S. was, as a hobby.”

Ms. Mafoo said she came to America because she viewed it as a land of opportunity and wanted to improve her English. In today’s world, she said, English is used everywhere, including her home country. But in Thailand, she didn’t have the chance to speak English daily. She said she told her parents and sister, who’s three years older, “I’ll go there and try, and if I can’t, I’ll just come back.”

Asked if she’s here to stay, after opening the restaurant, she said, “I’m not sure about that yet. As long as there’s still something for me to learn, and an opportunity for me to start to do things here, I’ll try to do it as much as I can.” She said she has a secondary interest of hotel management and eventually would like to pursue that field as well. Ms. Mafoo said she also has a fulfilling social life here in the States. “Especially the first two years, when I was an au pair,” and studied just part time.

“I did a lot of hanging out, traveling, site-seeing,” she said. “I love road trip. I’d call up many friends to get together and rent car or cars to go to Washington, D.C., Niagara Falls, or fly over and rent a car.”

Her Sturbridge host, John Howland Jr., was also complimentary, noting that, besides checking the oil in Ms. Mafoo’s car, she’s taken care of most things on her own. “She’s somewhat quiet, but very hard-working,” he said. “It’s not like I show her how to do stuff. She figures it out through the Internet and just her gumption to get it done.” He added, “She can stay here forever.”

14 Bad Habits That Could Cost You Your Job

Chicago Tribune – Business

By Jacquelyn SmithForbes
October 15, 2013

Bad Habits That Can Cost You Your Job

We all have bad habits. Perhaps you procrastinate, gossip or lack punctuality. These negative behaviors don’t necessarily make you a terrible person-but as an employee they can reflect poorly upon you, and even cost you your job. “A single bad habit is not likely to get you fired immediately, but the cumulative effect of the bad habit over time can,” saysDr. Katharine Brooks, executive director of the office of personal and career development at Wake Forest University and author of You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career. “People might notice one bad habit, and it preps them to notice other faults or problems.”A bad habit can also lead to isolation or shunning in the office, which can affect everything from your performance evaluation to your ability to do your job, she says.

In Pictures: Bad Habits That Can Cost You Your Job

Rick Myers, the founder and chief executive of Talent Zoo,a site for marketing, advertising and digital professionals,agrees that bad habits can destroy one’s career. But, he says, the most unfortunate part is that “people rarely realize they have these habits.”

“One of the best pieces of advice to give to someone who wants to advance in their company is to become more self-aware and be sure they are practicing habits that will be of value to the company,” Myers says. Here are 14 bad habits that can cost you your job:

Lying

Misrepresenting your credentials or intentionally plagiarizing, lying on time sheets or billable hours, misusing expense accounts or abusing company credit cards,stealing the kudos for a co-workers’ accomplishments, or otherwise robbing your employers blind can all cost you your job. “The surest way for any of us to bring our career to a sudden and miserable end is to have the habit of hedging the truth and lying in ways small and large,” says Ann Kaiser Stearns, Ph.D., psychologist and best-selling author of Living Through Personal Crisis (Idyll Arbor Press, 2010). “Dishonesty is a slippery slope with a devastating crash waiting at the end,” she adds. “Whether we work in business or banking, academia or the army, publishing or philanthropy, housing or health care, the marketplace or the ministry, if we lack integrity and betray our employer, we don’t deserve to keep our jobs.”

Procrastination

“This habit can seriously hurt you in a work setting,” Brooks says. “If you’re one of those folks who believes that you do your best work at the last minute and put off projects or assignments until the day (or hour) before they’re due, you may not be aware of the impact your habit is having on your co-workers.” If your last-minute rush requires others to work quickly, you will likely anger them, and you’ll be the first one blamed when a project fails or isn’t completed on time.

Negativity

So many of us habitually gossip, whine or complain. But do any of these too often and your job could be on the line. “These all lead to the same end result: you become a headache for your manager,” says Amy Hoover, president of Talent Zoo. “Your boss is likely responsible for ensuring her teams are contributing to positive morale and anyone on the team who is counterproductive to that reflects poorly on her,” she adds. “Negative employees are often referred to as ‘cancer’ by upper management for good reason: they will eventually be cut out.” A good approach if you have a complaint is to speak with your manager directly, in private. Never drum up your co-workers for support first.

Tardiness

If you constantly arrive late to work, or return late from breaks, it displays an attitude of complacency and carelessness, says Roxanne Peplow, director of student services at Computer Systems Institute. “So be prompt or even a bit early to show that you are time conscious and that you do care about your job and other people’s time, as well.” Hoover agrees. “Whether you intend to or not, arriving late shows disrespect to the social contract of the office place, as well as your co-workers who do make an effort to arrive one time.” In Pictures: Bad Habits That Can Cost You Your Job

Poor e-mail communication

This can involve everything from not responding to e-mails to not being aware of how you come across in an e-mail. “You might be perceived as abrupt or rude, or too long-winded or wordy,” Brooks says. If you have a bad habit of taking too long to check or respond to e-mails, you could miss important meetings or deadlines, cause delays or confusion, or come off as unprofessional.

Social media addiction

Another common path to job loss is the habitual obsession that many employees have with social media, Stearns says. “If you said going onFacebook twenty times a day doesn’t interfere with your work, you’d be lying.” Some companies have taken measures to monitor or limit their employees’ social media use, while others have blocked these sites completely. So beware: spending too much time on social media or other websites not related to your work can cost you your job.

Bad body language habits

Do you routinely roll your eyes? Do you have a weak handshake? Do you avoid making eye contact? These could all be career killers. “People must understand that actions speak louder than words,” Peplow says. “And the majority of our communication is done through non-verbal cues.” Co-workers, managers or clients may perceive some of your non-verbal communication habits as rude or unprofessional-and these things could eventually have a significant impact on the advancement of your career.

Inattentiveness

If you’re always distracted-a bad habit that plenty of employees possess-you might fail to properly assess the culture of the workplace, which can be damaging to your career. “Each workplace has its own culture and style, whether it’s the official or unofficial dress code, the social atmosphere, or the official and unofficial hierarchy,” Brooks says. “Failure to observe the culture and fit in can create tension or mark you as different, and potentially less desirable.” You’ll also want to be aware of personal habits that might be offensive or distracting to co-workers. “Working in an office setting demands that you be sensitive to coworkers and not behave in a manner which distracts them from their work or makes their work setting uncomfortable,” she adds. “This can run the range from body odor, bringing strong-smelling food to your cubicle, playing music too loudly, telling inappropriate jokes, or using your speaker-phone to make calls.”

Poor grammar

“When you hear someone using poor grammar, slang or profanity, it translates into believing that person to be uneducated,” says Peplow. Remind yourself that you’re not at home or speaking with friends at a social gathering. Be on point by always assuming your boss is in earshot.

Lone wolf syndrome

Have a habit of always wanting to do things on your own? That won’t work in the office. “While independence is good in some situations or when concentration is needed to get a project done, generally people who are team players experience more success at work,” Brooks says. “Team-playing involves a lot of positive behaviors including giving credit where it is due (that is, not taking credit for work which a colleague did), helping others when possible, doing tasks that aren’t necessarily in your job description, et cetera.” If you’re not seen as a team player, you won’t have the support of your colleagues when problems arise.

Temper tantrums

If you lose your temper, it is assumed that you cannot work well under pressure or handle responsibilities well, Peplow says. “Practice stress reduction techniques like mediation or deep breathing exercises, and never bring personal problems to work.”

Inefficiency

Bad habits like disorganization, wasting time, and being too talkative can make you an extremely inefficient worker. “You may not realize it, but many of your co-workers are there to work, not socialize, and they may not want to be rude to you by breaking off from personal conversations,” Hoover says. You don’t want to become the person your colleagues avoid working with-so, keep the water cooler talk to a minimum, keep your desk organized and don’t spend too much time on nonwork- related tasks.

Speaking without thinking

If you’ve got ‘foot-in-mouth’ syndrome, you must control it in the workplace. Saying something inappropriate in a meeting or an e-mail can be detrimental to your career.

Lack of manners

“The most important things are what we learned when we were little,” Peplow says. When you ask for something, say ‘please.’ When someone gives you something, say ‘thank you.’ If you don’t know someone, introduce yourself. If you need to interrupt someone, say ‘excuse me.’ “Manners are important, so don’t be rude. And above all, if you don’t have something nice to say…don’t say anything at all,” she says.

These are just a few bad habits that can cause you to be fired, turned down for a job offer, or looked over for that promotion, Peplow says. “Take a look at yourself and ask others about your habits.” And if you do receive any feedback, take it seriously, Brooks adds. “Try to listen to the concern, and take some time to own it without defensively dismissing it.” “Much of this comes down to communication,” Hoover concludes. “We all have little annoying habits, and top-down communication is really key [in making employees aware of their bad habits]. From there, it’s up to the individual to correct them.”

5 Ways to Keep Employees Motivated

Inc.

LAUNCHED | Christina DesMarais

Jun 11, 2013

5 Ways to Keep Employees Motivated

Step one – Be a good boss. Here are five things to start doing now.

Getty A moti vated employee is a valuable employee–and also among the toughest to find. According to a study conducted by Dale Carnegie Training, disengaged workers outnumber engaged workers by a pretty significant margin. Only 45 percent of managers and supervisors and 23 percent of people at other levels qualify as “engaged,” meaning they feel enthusiastic, empowered, inspired, and confident in their jobs.

The biggest influence on employee engagement is dissatisfaction with an immediate supervisor. People who have gripes with their bosses have an So percent chance of not being engaged at work, the study found.

Roxanne Peplow, a business owner and professional development instructor at Computer Systems Institute, a technical school with campuses in and around Chicago, says there are five key things you can do to be a great boss and hence, foster happy and productive employees.

1. Use your manners.

When people feel appreciated, they are happier, more productive workers. Saying “hello” to employees when you get to work as well as saying “please” and “thank you” are easy things to do but carry a lot of weight when it comes to making people feel valued. “When people of upper management or owners come in, employees can feel anxious

or slighted if not greeted properly or even at all. Approachability of management is a huge must for employees. It humanizes and endears them,” Peplow says. And in today’s digital and distracted world the most polite people know how to shut off their devices and pay attention to whomever they’re with, as Eliza Browning points out in her immensely popular story Business Etiquette: 5 Rules That Matter Now. Or read how the CEO of one of the hottest recruiting companies in the gaming industry only hires folks who are humble, polite, respectful, magnetic, and coachable.

2. Give credit when it’s due.

Considering the hours your employees spend at work–often more than what they get with family–it’s essential to tell them when they’ve excelled on a project or gone above and beyond the call of duty. I can pull a perfect example of this from my own career history. Remember Y2K? I was on a small communications team that spent New Year’s Eve 1999 in a lockeddown IT department with a satellite phone at the ready. The CEO of the big company I worked for later sought me out in person to thank me and give me a letter of commendation as well as a check for $2,000–all of which made me feel appreciated, thankful for my job and motivated to continue doing good work. “It’s like catching people doing something good instead oflooking for the things to complain about,” Peplow says.

3. Encourage having fun on the job.

Work doesn’t have to be a four-letter word, Peplow says. She advises holding employee events that have nothing to do with work, but rather are geared solely on letting off steam, having fun and building team camaraderie. “It shows that you care about them and their well-being. It shows you appreciate the work that they do and not because you’re trying to do some company-focused event,”she says.

4. Communicate clearly , consistently , and often.

Communication is integral to any relationship, including those at work. Ideally, your employees will be crystal clear about what you expect from them and receive frequent feedback regarding how they’re doing in meeting goals, not to mention understand and buy into the company’s vision. “If an employee seems lost then you should ask them if they need help. A well-timed pep talk is also very well received, and often induces more open communication,”Peplow says. For more on this topic, read the Inc. guide How to Communicate With Employees, which suggests that while there are lots of ways to facilitate employee communication, it’s important that you are intentional about initiating conversations that are both informal and have a specific purpose as well as both oneon-one and held in a group. What helps is putting communication on the calendar, such as a stand-up meeting at the same time every day or an hour-long Q&A session held every quarter. You might also check out the San Francisco start-up 15Five. Its software acts as a communications backbone for companies by giving employees the opportunity to spend 15 minutes a week writing about their successes, challenges, ideas, and morale in a report that only takes a manager five minutes to read. ” If an employee writes something to a manager, and that gets passed on to an executive, and that gets passed to the CEO, and the CEO responds, then all four people are involved in that conversation,” 15Five CEO David Hassel recently explained in How Patagonia’s Roving CEO Stays in the Loop.

5. Offer fantastic benefits.

You can’t underestimate how important benefits are to employee contentment and retention, whether it’s health insurance, paid parking, free lunches, generous vacation policies, or a great 401(k) plan. That’s why companies in Silicon Valley-where finding and retaining genius talent is a big deal–go overboard giving employees all those things and much more. Companies like Google, Facebook, Evernote, Airbnb, and Zynga offer perks such as subsidized housekeeping, free haircuts, legal advice, travel assistance, and dry cleaning not to mention the option to bring your dog to work and even, in Google’s case, an employee death benefit through which a spouse or partner receives half the employee’s salary for 10 years after his or her death. The thing to remember is that generosity begets loyalty, which gets people wanting to earn their keep. And don’t forget about ongoing training; Peplow says it’s huge with workers.

“You want your staff to be on top of their games and if you invest in them then they’re going to keep their investment with you. If you keep providing them with training or certifications, something to keep them educated in their fields, then they know you care about their well-being. They’ll feel valued as a person and then they’ll be less likely to go someplace else,” she says.

Do You Need a College Degree?

Diversity Journal

May 31, 2013

By Christopher Bennett, Instructor, Computer Systems Institute

According to an October 2012 article in Money Magazine, the average class of 2011 college graduate owes $26,600 in student loan debt. This fact could lead some young, entrepreneurial minded individuals to question whether or not they could do better by investing $27,000 into a small business of their own. While many entrepreneurs, admittedly, could earn as much or more than they do working for themselves if they worked for someone else, the freedom and potential for personal success far outweighs the risks for some.

Even today, only about 40 percent of all American adults have earned a four-year degree. Since several of America’s most notable corporations are either headed or founded by high-school or college dropouts (Bill Gates, Harlan Sanders, David Green, David Oreck, Dustin Moskovitz, and George Eastman, to name a few), it has been proven that one need not have a degree in order to succeed in business. I thought I would share my shortlist of modern businesses young entrepreneurs might consider.

Three Businesses for the Entrepreneur without a Degree

Automotive Repair Shop

In order to start or open a car repair shop, one need not have a college degree. With automotive service rates varying from $60 to $90 per hour in some communities, along with a modest markup on parts installed, an auto repair business can generate enough cash flow to provide a lucrative paycheck and profits for the owners. The owner of the shop should have good knowledge of mechanics and perhaps have earned an ASE certification in at least one automotive mechanics discipline. Additionally, to run a service business well, good people skills are required too.

Computer Repair and Managed Services Company

Although computers have become rather disposable over the past few years, so have the staff IT personnel many businesses today. Often, organizations scrap their staff IT roles and outsource them to companies like HP. In a local community, there is often a market for contracted network and PC maintenance companies to support smaller businesses within the community. To start a managed services company, one might consider passing a vendor-neutral certification like CompTIA A+, Network+, or PDI+. Additionally, sales skills are important to building the relationships that will lead to winning contracts.

 

Easy Tips to Prevent Hacking & Identity Theft

Parenthood.com

Foolproof Your Password: Easy Tips to Prevent Hacking & Identity Theft

May 29, 2013

by Robert Howden Campus Manager Computer Systems Institute

Data security is something everyone deals with nearly every day at work and at home. With the amount of cyber-crime on the rise too many people are putting too little emphasis on their own security and the most basic way to ensure your personal information is secure is to use strong passwords. The trick is that an impossible to guess password is like a door to a home with 8 deadbolts on it, sure its a secure home, but it also takes keeping track of all those keys and opening each bolt one at a time. More security means less convenience. Follow these tips to help secure your online accounts, bank accounts, and email services without losing your head trying to remember a million passwords.

A different, strong password for each account you have is strongly recommended for maximum security. Use a free password database like Keepass ( http://keepass.info/) to generate random high security passwords and store them for you. Keepass stores your passwords in an encrypted file that can be accesses by one master key. Just be sure to never lose your master key and keep a backup of that file on a DVD or thumb drive locked away!

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