October 23, 2009
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I currently have three close friends that are all looking for jobs (thanks economy!), and are seeking my help with their resumes. Since I’ve been in the hiring position a lot in the past few years (both at small businesses and MSU, an enterprise), I’d like to share some of the tips that I’ve been sharing with my friends. I encourage you to fill the comments with more suggestions and your experiences to share
- The cover letter is your chance to show your future employer your communication skills. This usually trumps the checkbox you had on the job application of “Has good written or verbal skills.” Make sure it is spit-shined! Spell-checks, grammar checks and punctuation checks are all MUSTs before you print the letter.
- Did you follow proper business etiquette in the formatting of the letter? Do you even know what that is? I am not a dear friend, but a future boss — your letter should act that way. (Pay attention to the opening).
- Your cover letter should NEVER be generic. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER open the letter “Dear Potential Employer”. If you are applying for a job and have direct communications with somebody at the company, put their name on it. Your cover letter should always have information you know about the company you are applying for — and this means do some research. If you are applying at MSU, I want to see something about working at the largest single-campus university in America, or working for a Big Ten University.
- The cover letter should always include your full contact information, including name, email address, phone number and mailing address. If you have a blog, twitter account or linked-in profile, it would be bonus points to include them too (especially for tech jobs).
- You should never mention pay in your cover letter. This is a huge turn-off for the people reading it, and it makes you feel like your only doing it for the money.
- Your cover letter SHOULD highlight your objectives at working at the job (remember, getting paid, and simply holding a job are objectives, but those should be understood — don’t highlight them).
- When I am am first looking at potential candidates, I always start with the resume. Your have 30 seconds to wow me. Your better make those 30 seconds pleasing to the eye. Have you thought about using color?
- Make the size of the resume fit your content, not some golden rule. If you can say everything in one page, use one page. If you need three, than use three. Don’t ever make the size of the font too small to squeeze in that extra bit of info, or have lots of empty white space.
- Your resume, like your cover-letter should have ALL of your contact information on it. Again, postal address, email address, phone number (landline and cell), blog, twitter, etc.
- If your objectives section is one sentence, and very generic, don’t include it. That is what the cover-letter is for. Make it specific to the job you are applying for, and very descriptive of your goals in the job — but don’t include the “to make money,” “to have a job at…”, or simply “to learn and grow.”
- You should not list more than 3 years, or your last three jobs (whichever has more), unless older jobs are relevant to the job you are applying for. Having pages and pages of past jobs doesn’t add much to the mix.
- Past jobs should always have : Company name, location, your position, your responsibilities, and the time you worked there. Make sure to put your real job title on there, and not something like “Maintenance Engineer” (instead of janitor). We know not every job is glamorous, and sometimes we look for those types of positions to show a well-rounded individual.
- You should always list any accreditations, certifications, or major honors you may have on your resume. They don’t have to be relevant to the job, but they show you as an individual.
- Put your educational references on your resume. Make sure to include the name of your high school, location, and graduation date. If your high-school changed names or no longer exists, find out where your records are. The same goes for college / universities. If you are older, only show the college (but only do this if you completed school). Many larger organizations use this information to verify you graduated, and in all honesty, use this space to catch liars. Use this space to show involvement in relevant clubs, projects, or activities. If I’m hiring you as a webmaster, I don’t care that you were homecoming king, but I do care that you were in the Communications Club, and an NHS scholar. You don’t have to include your GPA if you don’t want to.
- ALWAYS include references, unless you are in a position where you don’t want them to be contacted. For example, if you currently are at a job and don’t want people to know you are applying for others, then it is permissible to have a “Ask for References.” Otherwise, put them in — it makes my job easier, and your chances better.
October 12, 2009
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So, I’m back from LA, and the Adobe MAX 2009 conference. Just like the MAX tagline of “Connect, Discover, Inspire,” I truly able to accomplish all of those. This year’s conference packed in a lot of announcements, and gave everybody a good idea of where Adobe is heading in the marketplace. All of the keynotes and sessions were recorded, so make sure to check them out on Adobe TV!
So, lets first talk about some of the major announcements:
- ColdFusion 9 was released. This has been in the works for about a year and a half, and offers a bunch of new features. Some of the new things that are most compelling include the ability to work directly with Microsoft Office documents, ORM, integration with Sharepoint, and certain features pre-packaged as a service.
- LiveCycle ES2 was released. I’m sure this effects all of 20 people on earth, but this product is just plain awesome. LiveCycle ES is a workflow management applications (for those of you who only deal with consumer applications, think of the process that your paperwork has to go through when you hire somebody new. You have multiple interviews, background checks, etc. that all belong in a workflow. This allows you to manage that process, and make sure nothing is missed). With it, a bunch of new Flex components have been released that allow you to integrate your applications with these workflows. Yet another important part of this suite is the “LiveCycle Collaboration Suite,” formerly known as Cocomo. This suite allows you to make your own interactive / collaboration services.
- Mobile Devices. So, there was lots of fanfare about Adobe’s push to make mobile devices 1st class citizens in the computing landscape. 21 of the top 22 device manufactures have signed on with Adobe including RIM, Symbian, Google, Microsoft, etc. The only one that is missing is Apple, of course, but Adobe didn’t waste time shooting a warning shot over their bow. Adobe announced that in CS5, they expect to be able to publish full-fledged iPhone/iPod Touch applications that can be published on the iTunes store. This does not mean that the Flash Player will be available for the iPhone, but simply that you can publish applications that were created in Flash/Flex/Catalyst.
A few things that were not released, but were talked about:
- Flash Builder 4 - This looks like it was delayed until Q1 of next year. It’s a shame, because a lot of the Adobe tooling is based on it now (interesting thought), so many of those applications have to wait too. This included some ES2 apps, etc. Adobe did release Beta 2 to allow people to refresh their builds, and play with things a bit more.
- ColdFusion Builder – This also looks like it was delayed until Q1 of next year. It is a LOT closer than people have been anticipating, and, personally I really like it. They have really done a lot of research on the workflow model, and I think they will win over a lot of developers who have been using Allaire ColdFusion Builder, Dreamweaver and all the other products.
- Codename Stratus – This project allows users to build truly P2P applications with the Flash Player or AIR. It allows IP Multicast or some sort of “home” server to point copies of FP together an allow them to communicate without the use of a server. This saves bandwidth for the server, and makes the experience better if the users are geographically near by. The shear thought of being able to use IP Multicast in FP is a huge win for me. This will require FP 10.1.
- LiveCycle Data Services 3 – It is coming, and very soon. This brings a whole slew of new features to the LCDS package that will make huge data applications faster and will allow data to flow better. One of the coolest things about LCDS3 is the data modeler. It brings the features of a UML designer, and allows you to both deploy databases via your model, or to build the skels of your applications via the model! This, to me, is one of the coolest things I saw at the show. How much was an LCDS server again?
- Adobe Connect for Mobile – So, this one blew me away, but only a peep was said at the conference. During the Day 1 keynote, they showed the iPhone, among other devices using a mobile version of Adobe connect to join meetings! This, to me, is one of the features that has the potential to keep Adobe Connect ahead of all the other web conferencing suites out there. They said that we can expect the iPhone, RIM, Android and Microsoft connect clients to come out “soon”.
- Flash Player 10.1 – Lots of neat stuff coming in this one. FP 10.1 will be smaller, meaner, and mobile ready. It will feature lots of stuff like the Stratus support, and hopefully will make my bed and pour me a beer. Make sure to check out the online sessions on this one
I also had the chance to catch up with a lot of the evangelists, and talk shop with a lot of the people I usually only communicate with online. It was great to see everybody, oh, and yeah, I went to a lot of sessions and labs too. I’m hoping to go through all my notes from the action-packed week from my labs and get cracking on some new apps I have floating in my head (yes, I was inspired).