Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Cube Decorations

So you graduated, got a job, and now you have  your very own hand me down cube. Some may say that the stains in the filing cabinet from your previous owner are "character", but you're finding it to be to much like a crime scene to call this place "work home". Or maybe you have one of those cubes that just feels too sterile. Either way- here are some rules and ideas for cube decorations.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. Find out what your office policy is on what you can have in your cube and where you can have it. Some places have policies on how cubes are to appear to give a professional look to the office overall. 
  2. If you have stuff hanging on your cube walls, some of it should be work related. This isn't your college dorm room, and you want people who walk into your cube when you aren't there to know you actually work. I like to keep this behind my computer, because it also happens to be super helpful to have posted quick reference guides for basic work things. Hanging calendars can also be helpful for managing long term projects (even in the digital age).
  3. Only display comics and photos which represent your professional persona. AKA stay away from photos of you and your besties drunk at a bar, or some raunchy comic strip or something. This should really go without saying. 
  4. Generally- your cube is a reflection of you. That said, mine is a total disaster most of the time. BUT that's also sometimes an accurate reflection of me. At every step, be conscious to decorate your cube so that you are comfortable while still considering how this will impact how your bosses and coworkers will perceive you.
With that said, here are some ideas of ways to add a little life to your dreary cube:

  • To literally add life to you cube, try getting a low maintenance plant to bring a little life to your cube. Beware of ants and other gross bugs that this may attract...  

Check these out here!
  • Having a hook for your jacket/purse is a must, if you don't already have one. It's practical and it makes your cube feel a little more homey You can find them all sorts of places, but here's an example from staples
dps by Staples® Verti-Go™ Cubicle Accessories Double Coat Hook, 1
  • Fun hanging files and folders are a nice way of adding a bit of life to your cube, that you can "hide away" in your filing cabinet.  
Capri Designs File Folders - Aztec Ikat CPDFFL4567
Check out more patterned folders here
  • DRY ERASE BOARDS! I'm so addicted to these, and I find they are a really great way of talking through complex problems. If you have problems with your coworkers writing random stuff on it, just hide the markers.
  • Positive affirmations, or funny sings are also a good way to spice up a cube. I put these here to help calm me down on days where I feel like everything is spinning out of control. So I'd recommend avoiding Dilbert cartoons- only because I feel like they only reinforce my negativity.
Somebody here intended this for yogis, but it turns out to be a great Electrical Engineering pun
What better inspiration to have at work than this? I don't know about you but sometimes in the heat of the moment I get really not-nice. And while I don't think women have to be sweet pushovers, I also think that everyone should be kind to each other. 
  • Funny/cute magnets for filing cabinets or magnetic cube walls
Available here

Cute magnets here!
  • And last of all sometimes you need something a little funny. Like sometimes it feels like this is my actual business title:
Get personalized business car holders here
Do you have any other tips about how to make a cube feel a little less stuffy?


Vanessa Pocket

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Engineering Resume Tips and Tricks!

So it's that time of year again and students everywhere are trying to get their resumes up to snuff so they can grab a sweet first job. And as your designated woman on the other side of the table, I've decided to give you some tips. If you haven't checked them out yet I have some older posts about questions to ask before accepting a jobquestions to ask during an interview, and how to apply to jobs without getting fired.

Step 1: Write a list of your previous jobs, awards, accomplishments, publications, professional organizations, certifications, etc.

Step 2: Find a resume format you like. There are plenty of examples online, and some built into word. Pick something that is a single page- you are writing a resume, not a CV, and recruiters don't have the time or patience to hear your whole life story.

Step 3: Populate the resume with your information! Start with the easy stuff- like your name and contact info. I'd recommend not using a college email, because sometimes recruiters find your resume years later (when your college email is long gone) with new opportunities. Then, start populating with the information you've collected in Step 1. At this stage don't be afraid to go over the one page limit, you'll pare it down later.
Should I put my citizenship status on my resume?
In the US, you should include this if jobs you are interested in require US citizenship and either you are not born in the US, or your name sounds foreign. And yes, I realize there is so much wrong with the last part of that instruction... but I've been told that by lots of advisers, so I'm just passing it along. 
Should I put my GPA on my resume?
Only if you are proud of it. Otherwise leave it off and let your accomplishments speak for you. They can always ask for your GPA later.
Should I put this random stuff from high school on my resume?
This one is the most frequent offender I see in resumes. Unless you were doing "real" engineering work in high school (which can count towards relevant work experience), or are a college freshman or younger - you should drop anything from when you were not legally an adult. Recruiters don't actually care that you won the school spelling bee in 9th grade, or that you were on Varsity cheer leading.  Picture the recruiter asking you, "Why should I hire you?" Your resume should only have things that you'd feel comfortable using in your response. Things like "well, I won this band competition in 10th grade" are unlikely responses. 
Remember to use active voice and a variety of action verbs in your job descriptions. Use a consistent tense, and be consistent with the grammatical structure you use. For example - decide ahead of time if you want to use complete sentences or if your bullets will be fragments (which don't have periods at the end). The consistent voice will help a reader easily pull information from your resume while skimming through a huge pile.

Step 4: Find an actual job that you want to apply to and compare your resume to it. To be clear, I'm not saying that you should mimic the job description if you do not have the skills or experience to back it up. I'm saying that you should be aware of what the recruiters are actually looking for in an employee. For example
Do you know how to use their required programs? Specifically list the ones you are fluent in on your resume. 
Do they ask for a certain number of years of experience in a certain field? Make sure your resume highlights what experience you have, and has the dates of employment listed.
Step 5: Pare it down, or beef it up. Okay, now that you have all of the information that you want - it's time to take a look at the volume of information.
Is your resume looking a little thin? Consider adding some of the following, but make sure that whatever you add is relevant and not just filler. You are constructing a one page thesis on why you should be hired - and random information will take away from the good stuff. 

Is your resume too long?  If you are in your teens or twenties and are over a page, it's time to cut some stuff out. This is your chance to pick your BEST selling points to keep on your resume to help you shine. Here are some ideas of things that I cut from long resumes: 

Yes, I realize that these two lists have a lot of the same stuff on them. But the idea is to prioritize what will make you look the best. 
Step 6: Get somebody super honest to review your resume. Or better yet, get more than one somebody to review your resume. They should check for relevance, spelling, syntax, etc. It's preferable that you choose somebody who also knows you fairly well, because they can sometimes remember gems that you've forgotten to include. Take their feedback as a gift; if they are tough than they probably want to help you succeed. So, don't forget to say thank you!

Step 7: Save it as a PDF, print it out, and apply to jobs! Make sure to read each job description carefully. You may want more than one resume on file if you are applying to more than one type of a job. If you are going to a job fair, learn to use your resume as an interactive tool to tell your story.

Good luck in your job hunt! Don't forget to like, share and follow if you like what we write!



PS. What do you think is the most common resume mistake?