Comments: 567 • Responses: 64 • Date: 2016-03-14 16:10:08 UTCsource
EthanRuby123 karma2016-03-14 17:08:46 UTC
What advice can you give to job seekers with depression or other mental illnesses?
For instance, I realize that job postings often say things like "5 years experience needed" but you're supposed to ignore that and apply anyway. To someone with anxiety, low self-esteem, etc - they may not be able to ignore it.
Or someone may not be able to imagine themselves fitting into any role, thus have trouble figuring out what jobs they really could do/would actually enjoy.
Or perhaps a severe phobia gets in the way and would need to be worked around.
That sort of thing. There's got to be tons of situations people have that are big roadblocks to getting a job, but employers don't seem to really care about people and won't give anyone a chance if they don't immediately look good on paper - and that's if the person was even able to get past the roadblocks involved in turning in the application!
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mentatcareers57 karma2016-03-14 19:35:00 UTC
Yes, job search is a game of numbers and it can't hurt to apply to listings where you may be unqualified, but generally in our service we make it a rule to only suggest listings the user is qualified for (5 years experience vs entry level, etc) to maximize their chances (since interviews are the source of happiness).
Everyone experiences career ennui, or the feeling that there should be something more to their working lives. Today, people are switching careers more often as technology continues to rapidly evolve. Relationships more than anything determine career happiness, just as it does outside of work.
Honestly, resume reviewers can't tell if you have anxiety, low self-esteem, or phobias on paper. Don't be discouraged! You can always emphasize your strengths instead of dwelling on your weaknesses on paper. Most hiring managers (the ones at places you'll want to work, anyways) will save slots for out-of-the-box candidates. Visualize success and the interviews will go much better. Best of luck, friend.
SomewhatInnocuous73 karma2016-03-14 18:07:17 UTC
Hi - I've got a strong resume, 20 years of solid work experience in tech (programming data management and mathematical modeling) and advanced degrees (MBA, Ph.D.) but can't seem to even get interviews. I got three interviews last year from around 175+- laboriously filled out applications. Honestly, I was much more qualified and capable than many of the people on the interviewing committees. I've not got much experience in trying to find a job because I've always been recruited before.
My personal assessment is I'm viewed as overqualified and / or "too old". Mid-50's, no background problems, no drug problems or any other strangeness.
What does it take to get interviewed? Any suggestions on how to deal with age related issues?
mentatcareers124 karma2016-03-14 19:55:59 UTC
Overqualification is a real issue and often ignored in our industry. We understand and treat it very seriously.
Usually for people with a lot of experience, the applications are hard to digest. Folks with longer careers tend to undervalue formatting and overestimate how much time reviewers spend on skimming. What we advise is to start by ranking your most impressive accomplishments from 1-5, and then redesign your application so ONLY those 5 things pop out in your resume. People will not remember more than 5 items, and you are hoping they can easily grasp who you are (within 15 seconds) and recall 2-3 items so you can pass the first-round scan.
kaysea11242 karma2016-03-14 16:44:17 UTC
Haven't worked for years in a proper job that I'd care to list on my resume.
How would I account for the gap in years? should I just lie or tell half truths?
mentatcareers54 karma2016-03-14 17:08:41 UTC
Hard to tell without the specifics of where you've been working, but one important point: Never lie on your resume - it's increasingly easy for potential employers to do background checks, reach out to previous employers to confirm what you did, etc. Even if you get a job and start working, and are later exposed, it might lead to termination of employment.
We've found that employers are increasingly tolerant of gap years, especially if you have a credible story to back it up (e.g., we've worked with many mothers who are returning to the workforce after taking an extended break).
See if you can take out pieces from your employment history that will demonstrate elements that might be useful to a prospective employer, this might mean your experience interacting with customers, working in a team, communicating etc.
plusfive20 karma2016-03-14 17:32:08 UTC
We've found that employers are increasingly tolerant of gap years ... we've worked with many mothers who are returning to the workforce
We've found that employers are increasingly tolerant of gap years ... we've worked with many mothers who are returning to the workforce
How does this play out for stay at home dads in your opinion? I left my job in acedemia in 2009 when all the departments across the country closed their hiring positions, and I chose instead to became a stay at home dad.
I don't need to work, but I really want to. How do I account for those lost years on a CV or resume - especially if I want to change careers?
mentatcareers27 karma2016-03-14 18:36:20 UTC
Thankfully we see the market trending in a positive direction with respects to that. More men are actively making the choice you did and naturally employers are becoming more used to that case. If you're looking for full time employment, you can definitely make the case that your situation allows you to re-enter the workforce.
We also see people who dip their toes in the water by initially taking on part time / contract based work. That also helps build a track record of recent work experience on the resume that makes the leap more manageable from both sides
Thementalrapist2 karma2016-03-14 21:01:42 UTC
Here's a question, I've been in my current work for ten years, I'm an operations manager with a wide variety of experience, if my resume does happen to make it through to somebody I never get a call back, here's the thing that bothers me, I can't get call backs for jobs that guys out of high school are getting interviews for. Am I doing something wrong, I'm applying for jobs that seem to be entry level and only require high school educations and can't even get a sniff.
mentatcareers6 karma2016-03-14 21:09:26 UTC
Aggravating, for sure. There could be one of two things happening (or both).
1) It sounds like you're applying for jobs you're not a good fit (overqualified?) for. If you're a manager, reviewers may be worried you won't stick around for an entry level gig.
2) Something about the impression your resume is giving is turning reviewers off. We'd be happy to quickly scan it for free if you send it in to us (copy this question) and see if there's a red flag. Also, we've dealt with a number of users who do not attach cover letters at all to applications, even though their industry requires it. We'll have to know more about what you're doing to help.
almosthere032738 karma2016-03-14 16:58:45 UTC
How reliable would you say the salary data from job hunting sites is? I've had a couple applications where the interviewer was surprised at my asking salary. I based the numbers on local comps from those sites. On a related note, what percent pay increase do you see people ask for and receive most often?
mentatcareers38 karma2016-03-14 19:08:44 UTC
The data is fairly reliable. We often have our customers do some background research on glassdoor.com or salary.com to understand the scope of opportunities that are available to them.
The red flags which might indicate lack of reliability (like any other crowd-sourced information) are:
The second answer - there's huge variability depending on the situation, industry, type of company, years of experience, etc. People asking for raises within the same company often have to take into account company wide caps (e.g., some companies put a blanket moratorium on raises in difficult years) and try to negotiate hitting the top of that cap (e.g., 3% for some companies).
When it comes to switching jobs, we've seen people get a 100% raise and other people choose to take a pay-cut as they want to work in a industry that they personally care about more. Sometimes people move with the same pay to another place where the chances of a successful long term career are higher. The rule of thumb here is to keep assessing opportunities on a regular basis to make sure you're not being paid significantly below market wage for the role/responsibility you have!
If you'd like to follow up / get specific salary information feel free to e-mail us at [email protected]
8enso836 karma2016-03-14 17:40:49 UTC
What is the likelihood of switching careers from a work history of non-profit (social work, to be exact) to for-profit or private companies?
mentatcareers20 karma2016-03-14 19:50:42 UTC
Happens all the time! Similar transition from academic to private, can occur at any point in your career.
zkathnel217 karma2016-03-14 21:45:04 UTC
Follow up: how do you convince a potential employer that you're serious about a career transition?
mentatcareers2 karma2016-03-15 00:17:19 UTC
You've tailored your application for the new industry, done your homework with research and readings, and come off as well informed in person.
alittlerhyme7 karma2016-03-14 19:55:22 UTC
Follow up question: how likely is this as a recent college graduate? I interned with non-profit and government-funded client service agencies during college and have had a very difficult time finding full-time work as a new graduate.
mentatcareers11 karma2016-03-14 20:24:51 UTC
Probably better early rather than late. Emphasize in your applications:
1. You are really intelligent.
2. You got sht done at your nonprofit and govvie roles.
XGN_Snip3out28 karma2016-03-14 16:23:54 UTC
What is the absolute dumbest/stupidest thing you've noticed in someone's resume?
do you ever get people that hand you resumes that are grossly, almost hilariously, overqualified for the job. (Server at my old Waffle House had a masters in engineering from Georgia Tech)
mentatcareers35 karma2016-03-14 16:58:57 UTC
There are some silly mistakes that could be corrected very quickly. These include having a very unprofessional e-mail address (something like [email protected]). It's the first thing that people will see on your resume and having an address like that sends across a bad signal. The other common mistake is leaving placeholder text in the summary section (e.g., loren ipsum).
We get that sometimes - under-employment is a significant issue in America. Our goal is to help people who are in that situation find the best position for them that they would also be personally excited about.
unidangit25 karma2016-03-14 17:07:38 UTC
Hi. What are some good, universal questions to ask when the interviewer asks if i have any questions?
mentatcareers44 karma2016-03-14 20:14:54 UTC
Asking the interviewer what their day to day is like actually is not bad. It allows them to compare their job to others at the company.
Questions around culture are also important for you. Many companies in the same industry sound the same based on their website/materials, but are enormously different in practice. Try and gain some insight there.
Try very hard to be well researched in the specific job they do. That way, you can ask appropriate questions that show you are up to speed on current events. For example, if you're looking for a job at a bank, ask how the Fed's latest decision on interest rates has affected their job. If you're looking for a job at a startup, how has the latest iOS version affected their product?
Never ask for next steps or have no questions.
arktor31415 karma2016-03-14 20:58:51 UTC
Why "never ask for next steps?" I've heard otherwise, so I'd like to hear your take on it.
mentatcareers7 karma2016-03-15 00:23:58 UTC
It depends on industry, but it can reek of overconfidence. Many times we interviewed candidates who bombed, but thought they were going on to the second round...asking for next steps put the nail in the coffin. The interviewer should bring up the process and next steps, or it should be formalized in the channel.
Joshmdrn947 karma2016-03-14 20:38:00 UTC
What do you recommend if you focus heavily on culture in the interview process and 5-6 months in realize they have no cultural substance, how long should I stay so that it doesn't look bad to have a short employment stay.
mentatcareers14 karma2016-03-14 20:44:14 UTC
Try and tough it out for 12 months so your resume can read something like 2015-2016. The job process can easily take 4+ months, so if you've made it to 6 months you can probably stick it out for a few more as you get your ducks in a row.
cleantoe24 karma2016-03-14 18:11:17 UTC
The outplacement consultants at Lee Hecht Harrison seem to think that two pages on a resume is ideal and a one page resume is generally too short. What do you think is the ideal resume length?
Also, do you agree that nowadays it's best to open your resume with a summary, or are there professions where it's not a good idea?
mentatcareers35 karma2016-03-14 19:57:16 UTC
Depends on experience.
We loosely follow 1-12 years = 1 page, 12 years + = 2 page, but obviously exceptions exist. When appropriate, executive summaries are great. Not a fan of 3+ page resumes.
yhons22 karma2016-03-14 16:20:50 UTC
What do you look for most in a candidate when considering them for a job? Specifically, what are some universal tips on how to improve my resume or interview skills?
mentatcareers39 karma2016-03-14 18:50:02 UTC
We could write an entire book about that (maybe we should :) )! Here's some general tips:
Chuffnell11 karma2016-03-14 19:50:09 UTC
My resume is currently just over one page, because I was pretty generous with the spacing to make it easier to read. Should I make it a little more compact to keep it to just one page?
mentatcareers17 karma2016-03-14 20:27:48 UTC
Yes - reduce the spacing and fit it to one page
FifthAndForbes22 karma2016-03-14 19:01:44 UTC
I feel like academically (JD from top school), I'm overqualified for a lot of jobs, but in terms of experience, I have little to offer (mainly several years of admin/exec asst work). I don't want to work in law, but find it hard to segue into anything else. For what it's worth, I HIGHLY disagree when people say "you can do anything with a law degree" because that has NOT been the case for me.
Do you find the discrepancy between academic and professional experience often? How do people overcome it?
How to best segue out of a field you have the most academic experience in? Some have suggested I omit my time at law school, but that creates a 5 year gap on my resume.
mentatcareers6 karma2016-03-14 23:25:48 UTC
We would not suggest omitting your time at the law school. Any educational or academic accomplishment (even a certification) helps you stand out in your application, especially to meet the minimum "qualification" threshold. Even though it really depends on what kind of career you are planning to move into, a good start on bridging the gap begins with gaining some experience in the field that you want to move to. This can involve something as simple as joining a community/meetup group that hosts events/talks related to what you want to do, and it can be as extensive as finding contacts in the field and asking them for potential part-time opportunities (this can be harder and require some extra commitment outside of your regular job). We have also guided our clients into finding opportunities/positions at their current jobs that can help them gain the experience that they really need to build up their resume for a future opportunity.
Ur_X16 karma2016-03-14 17:37:23 UTC
Out of college and very interested in expanding my network.
Any recommendations as to how get as many informational interviews as possible? Or how do you go about expanding you network.
mentatcareers13 karma2016-03-14 19:41:29 UTC
Hi -- making sure we understand -- the informational interview you mean are phone calls to learn more about a specific job function?
Just like in business, warm leads are best. Acquaintances of friends and family are usually more than happy to spend 15 minutes on the phone with a recent college grad, especially since mentorship usually feels worthwhile for experienced professionals. Make sure you are professionally searchable, ie a LinkedIn profile, academic CV, or personal website that someone can learn about you before agreeing to speak with you.
One key -- make sure you research the role in depth before hopping on the phone. For example, if you're interested in being a stockbroker, understand the person's day to day business, the role as it fits within the organization, as well as topical events occurring in the news.
Palavras10 karma2016-03-14 22:14:01 UTC
This might be a stupid question, but what are you supposed to talk about? If you've already done your research than you know what the job is like, and you know what steps you need to take to get there.
I honestly don't know what to ask in some of these informational interviews because while I'd love to make a new connection, it sounds so fake to ask about things I already know.
(Sorry if this sounds conceited, it's a genuine question)
mentatcareers10 karma2016-03-14 22:48:32 UTC
Doesn't sound conceited at all! If you start those interviews with a good grasp of the job/company you can have a deeper conversation about the company/industry and it will be more interesting from the interviewer's point of view as well. As you do your research I'm sure certain things came up which you'd like to learn more about.
If you feel like you know the industry/company well, we suggest you highlight that at the start of the interview, then you can use the time to talk about:
These interviews are often useful beyond the specific company. For example, next time they hear about an opportunity from their network, it'll be good for them to know about your aspirations in case you'd be a good fit!
NeoShweaty5 karma2016-03-14 19:54:00 UTC
Have you tried working with your college's career development center and/or reached out to the LinkedIn group for your school? I am terrible at networking and have still managed to get some jobs out of both of those efforts.
mentatcareers3 karma2016-03-14 20:18:46 UTC
That's a good point NeoShweaty.
If you reach out to the alumni of your school, particularly as a recent graduate, it often gets a surprisingly good response. Suggest making it clear you've researched on the role, and want a limited amount of time initially.
We've worked with some career services departments too - and some of them do a great job continuing to help alumni.
fuck-dat-shit-up14 karma2016-03-14 17:37:39 UTC
What's your best advice for transferring into careers that doesnt require going back to school? Like if someone wanted to get in Marketing for a company or institution.
How much does the applicants address matter? I live in the middle of nowhere. When applying for a job (in or out of state), how much would that affect me as a candidate? I know this may sound stupid, but if I am applying for a job in California, would putting my brother's NYC address as a contact be more beneficial than my nowheresville address?
mentatcareers24 karma2016-03-14 19:45:55 UTC
To transfer into a new field, make sure your interest in the field is readily apparent in your resume, and talk it up in your cover letters (fingers crossed the reviewer reads your cover letter...we sympathize there). So if you wanted to do marketing at facebook for example, make sure you understand how marketing in tech works and you've shown some initiative (ie understanding salesforce) and have interests related to marketing.
For addresses, we actually strip them out of most resumes (who uses snailmail nowadays!?). We prefer to list the city/town in the contact info ie
Frank Dat Shz Up
555-555-5555 | [email protected] | Chicago, IL
socalsubie14 karma2016-03-14 19:58:42 UTC
Just checked out your website:
What does your service cost for an individual job seeker?
I see that you guarantee your services, but does that also mean guarantee getting someone a job? Or at least an interview?
Does Mentat actually make money from hiring organizations as well (i.e. headhunter)?
mentatcareers17 karma2016-03-14 20:41:48 UTC
Hi -- our services vary depending on the industry, years of experience, advisor you are paired up with, and what the starting point looks like. Feel free to shoot over your resume to [email protected] for quotes // there's a reddit discount!
We help with four services: resume rewriting, cover letter writing, LinkedIn rewriting, and finding jobs for you to review with the option of applying on your behalf. We do not do headhunting or follow the interviewing process, which I personally believe aligns our interests much better with our users (ie headhunters just want you to sign the first job you can get so they can get their fee, much like a real estate broker. We help make the process less stressful at the start and let you make your own decisions)
IWorkedForThatPlace13 karma2016-03-14 17:48:49 UTC
I work as an IT Systems Administrator, and I hate it, I want out.
What have you seen or helped people in my position switch to without taking a huge cut in pay?
chainmailtank6 karma2016-03-14 18:59:14 UTC
I'd like to hear this as well.
mentatcareers14 karma2016-03-14 19:27:25 UTC
hi IWorkedForThatPlace, clever name!
There are two answers for this, depending on the root of your unhappiness.
1. If you are unhappy with the role function (what you do day to day), we would recommend finding opportunities where your expertise can be used to open new markets and challenging growth opportunities. For example, we recently saw an IT industry professional who managed to break out by becoming an expert onboarding new clients across multiple international cities -- this revitalized his career and he is now at a corporate strategy level at his company.
2. The #1 source of unhappiness is usually due to a flaw in your boss, whether its style, empathy, reasonableness, etc. Often we tell jobseekers looking for a happy switch it is less important the type of department you are in, but more how you mesh with the team and how human your manager is.
Best of luck!
IWorkedForThatPlace5 karma2016-03-14 20:08:47 UTC
We must combine our strength.... What's left of it, anyway.
mentatcareers4 karma2016-03-14 20:53:20 UTC
-Tukani-12 karma2016-03-14 19:12:38 UTC
What are tips for trying to work in an entire new field you don't have any experience in?
mentatcareers12 karma2016-03-14 21:03:18 UTC
We often help people going through that transition. Some tips:
Treat the process like a marathon, not a sprint. You have to cast a wide net in the field you're transitioning to, learn about the different opportunities, network with people inside the industry, etc. The process might take longer than expected, but keep your eye on the prize and you'll get there
See if there are any certifications that can help you get an edge (e.g., many of our clients have transitioned to web-development after learning how to code)
Try to build a track record of experience in the new field, this could include volunteer work, taking a MOOC, helping out a smaller company, or taking on smaller contract based work that shows you can do the job
Start setting up informational interviews with people who are in the field. This means 20 minute conversations / coffee chats that can let you understand the industry better and put you on their radar next time they see an opportunity
Draft your resume/cover letter/linkedin to position your self for success in that new industry. Start with a narrow focus (e.g., a couple of opportunities) and then build up from there.
Kroucher9 karma2016-03-14 16:26:43 UTC
Hi there, thanks for the AMA!
Honestly speaking, how much does (successful) overseas work help a resume? In my case, as an Australian working in IT in London on a 2 year visa and are doing quite well, I'd like to make that a standout point when I do return back home. Is there a 'best' way of doing this?
mentatcareers10 karma2016-03-14 17:03:42 UTC
It really depends on the company you're applying for. Certain employers (e.g., P&G and Unilever) value overseas experience really significantly, and often make it a factor for senior management positions. Other employers (especially smaller ones) care less. If you want to take advantage of it:
-Research potential employers to find those that will reward you for overseas experience (we've given examples of a couple above)
-Make sure you indicate the location of your employment on the resume prominently. It'll be self explanatory that you were in London
Kroucher5 karma2016-03-14 17:08:01 UTC
Thanks for the reply! So for it to actually make a difference, I should make sure the future employers values overseas work, how would one go about finding that out? Just the simple question? Or just hope that it's something that stands out and I get asked about it.
I know Unilever is a big one for it, my SO works for a subsidiary company of Unilever and it's taken her a long way in her career.
mentatcareers3 karma2016-03-14 18:25:27 UTC
Sure - whenever you're on your next job search, you should be able to research that point.
Generally speaking, multinationals that have offices in 10+ countries value international experience and mobility as they often have to incentivize staff to move abroad or manage people with a variety of backgrounds. Regardless, it should be prominently positioned in your resume!
RancorHi59 karma2016-03-14 18:18:59 UTC
I'm a pretty good bartender, with a specialization in craft beer, I have 4 years of college but never graduated. How the hell do I get out of the service industry?
omnomtequila8 karma2016-03-14 20:08:12 UTC
Yes please OP, tell us how to get out of the service industry!
mentatcareers14 karma2016-03-14 20:35:56 UTC
Going to tackle this q personally -- I'm Frank, one of the various mentat advisors. Early in my career, amongst other things before joining Wall Street, I worked retail at Best Buy and sold gift samples sourced from my parents' store at the local flea market. I know how hard service jobs are. Unfortunately, getting out isn't as simple as making a fancy resume and cover letter. There are two pathways I can see:
2) Identify someone older you know (family friend?) with a career you wouldn't mind having. Talk to that person and follow their advice to a T until you can break through.
Honestly, a career making craft beer is pretty amazing. For example, if you were in NYC, I'd say ditch the bartending one week and stalk Garrett Oliver at Brooklyn Brewery until you can tell him how much you know about hops and how you want to make good beer.
Dr_Jerkface8 karma2016-03-14 17:22:19 UTC
For the past few years, I have been underemployed. I took the job to make ends meet. How do I make up for that when I write a resume?
mentatcareers6 karma2016-03-14 20:22:56 UTC
Can you make the position sound impressive? Often part time roles / consulting projects can be rephrased in a positive light ("Head of Marketing" for nonprofit volunteer work, "IT Director" for a catering company without IT before you got there, etc)
chtucker187 karma2016-03-14 18:06:38 UTC
Can I send you my resume?
mentatcareers6 karma2016-03-14 19:50:55 UTC
Sure of course, our email is [email protected]
p00rlax7 karma2016-03-14 16:22:15 UTC
Thanks for doing this AMA.
Background: I've been trying to get a steady, paying job in the entertainment field for about 3 years. I have a degree in Cinema from a well known University. I've acquired a decent amount of experience (worked in tv, film, radio, and music) and about 2 years of video experience doing video with a highly regarded music company (but unfortunately this company is little known outside of the music/journalism world).
Question: I'm working on a portfolio. How would be the best way to showcase my photography (few hundred photos), my related video content (I have quite a bit of notable content), and my outside related content (filming weddings and other celebrations, etc) in a way that would be most attractive to an employer?
mentatcareers8 karma2016-03-14 19:22:10 UTC
Hi, some general portfolio advice from our designers:
p00rlax3 karma2016-03-14 20:06:33 UTC
Thank you for the advice!
On top of the PDF portfolio, what are your thoughts on putting up a video portfolio and/or a sizzle reel online? Is there a preferred/more professional video hosting site (YouTube, Vimeo, Vevo, etc) that you would recommend using?
I've also been seriously considering making my own website to display all of this information.
mentatcareers3 karma2016-03-14 20:30:40 UTC
Having a personal website to display all this information is a great idea. You should be able to do that very quickly using a plug and play service such as Wordpress.
If you can put together a very professional looking sizzle reel, and keep it short and impactful, that'll be helpful too (and can be displayed prominently on your site). We'd love to see it when its ready!
mentatcareers2 karma2016-03-14 20:38:20 UTC
Regarding hosting: To be honest, we haven't heard from any employers if they have a preference on the hosting site.
TheMUGrad6 karma2016-03-14 19:46:32 UTC
How fitting to come across this thread while in my other tab I'm browsing job openings and submitting applications!
Background: I've got 14 years in IT, mostly Systems Administration and Infrastructure Support. Recently, I was 'transitioned' to a team doing totally non-technical work that I've come to hate enough to send me looking at the job market again.
The problem: I'm a Remote employee. I live in a location where there is very little in the way of business or corporation locally. I've been lucky with this current job to be able to work remotely from home, and honestly that perk is the only reason I've stayed as long as I have. But this is making my prospective job opportunities pretty slim unless I move.
I have managed to find several openings that advertise as being open to "Remote Employees" but it's somewhat slim pickings. Is there any way to make myself stand out in this field, looking for Remote IT Administration work? Would it be worth applying to positions that don't necessarily advertise the position as Remote (but do have other jobs listed for remote work) and asking at the interview?
mentatcareers2 karma2016-03-14 22:36:33 UTC
Certainly challenging, we would note that the current trend (as you may be quite familiar with!) in IT is to move away from remote work, led by Marissa Mayer. I think your latter approach is very logical -- after all, remote work is usually a function after the employee has proven their capabilities onsite (just make sure you know for a fact the company does have remote workers). Best of luck.
jmckay235 karma2016-03-14 18:31:24 UTC
What is the best advice you give to final year students who have no interviews or anything lined up for the approaching summer months?
Accounts student if that helps.
mentatcareers3 karma2016-03-14 21:00:07 UTC
At a certain point in your education, the reality is that the post-graduation plans matter far more than your academics. We'd recommend scheduling as many conversations with people in the workforce as you can manage so you get a good understanding of what jobs you'd like to do (or can exclude) and are well-equipped to hit the ground running. Companies are hiring continuously so it is not too early or late for you to start applying!
lyrics275 karma2016-03-14 17:28:07 UTC
Currently I want to get into a new job that its main focus is technology. I have ten years sales experiencr, 1 yr management experience and a 1.5 yrs in banking. Three questions:
1. How do i find a new job without having to sacrifice little to no pay?
2. How do i move into a job that is based on technology comming from a sales background?
3.How much are your services?
mentatcareers2 karma2016-03-14 20:49:14 UTC
1 &2. Going to just be upfront here, if you want to work on the technical side of a tech company, a pay cut is likely. You'll likely be pinning your hopes on equity and stock options which you can't value yet. However, you have a chance of keeping your pay level if you are willing to be a sales manager at an older company like a Microsoft or Oracle.
3. Depends on industry, the advisor rewriting your materials, years of experience, and a few other factors. Feel free to lob a resume to [email protected] for a quote!
Geminii274 karma2016-03-14 18:23:01 UTC
What processes do you use in finding people a job that might not be available to them by themselves? Do you have extensive networks? Relationships with lot of employers? Do you have staff specifically attempting to place job-seekers with particular employers in certain areas?
Do you run an employee-supply service for employers, and if so, what do you do when a seeker isn't particularly suited for anything on the books (but would probably do well at something which isn't currently listed)?
mentatcareers3 karma2016-03-14 20:57:42 UTC
Hi Geminii27, we help people save time and energy during their challenging and exhausting job search. What you are describing is more in line with the headhunting business. Our job search process analyzes a user's background & experiences and finds 10 public openings we anticipate he/she is qualified for and would enjoy doing. Then we offer the option to apply on his/her behalf. It's a headache saving service!
We're a user-aligned business that does not partner with companies we suggest.
We also offer 3 other services, detailed here: (https://thementat.com/services/)
fung_dark3 karma2016-03-14 19:32:18 UTC
Do you have any advice for Ph.D.s (so, humanities academic types) who want to transition into non-academic careers?
mentatcareers3 karma2016-03-14 22:26:31 UTC
Yes, absolutely, we get many of these. Usually the bits of experience can be a bit scattered, so you'll want to tell an-easy-to-understand story about yourself. Keep it chronological, play up your strengths (passionate, deep expertise in one aspect of human knowledge), and try to target more senior hiring managers. Good interviewers want to see candidates go deep in a topic (hopefully related to the company you're applying for, but not necessarily), so play off the enthusiasm you have which led you to choose a PhD in the first place.
gill_outean3 karma2016-03-14 17:38:37 UTC
I recently landed a part time job as a resume writer. I've always been the go-to guy from friends and family who need an updated or new resume but I've never done it professionally. I'll be working for an employment services company. Do you have any advice or suggestions on how to be a strong resume writer?
Also, I'm a trained writer (journalism school degree + advertising writing diploma) and I'm looking to get a full time writing job. For the last five years, however, I have worked exclusively in education, overseas and at home in Canada. I have leveraged this experience before, primarily for content and curriculum creation positions at education-focused organizations, but I wonder if you have any tips on how to reposition myself as a writer and not a teacher.
Thanks in advance and thanks for doing this!
mentatcareers7 karma2016-03-14 19:49:54 UTC
Congrats and welcome to the resume-loving club! It's a small group...
As you see more and more resumes, you'll get a feel for how the language differs across industry. Your job is to make your customer feel good, and therefore look good, on paper. Emphasize "managing/directing/coordinating" verbs as opposed to "participation/helped/worked with" passivity. Similar to an essay, reviewers are looking for the thesis in a resume. Make sure the first bullet point for each position can stand on its own -- that is, if everything else was deleted, could the reader understand what he/she did in that job?
marie_cat3 karma2016-03-14 18:18:14 UTC
Should I go with a skill based resume or a timeline resume, or does it depend on the job? I've been told that skills based resumes are the way to go, but I'm out of the loop. I don't want to turn a potential employer off with something that they might interpret as fancy and hard to extract the information they want to extract.
mentatcareers5 karma2016-03-14 20:00:16 UTC
Both. Your #1 concern is confusing the reviewer. Jumbled dates confuse reviewers and they stop reading. Reviewers who have stopped reading = your resume is rejected.
Your resume must highlight your abilities, and also make sense chronologically. If it is easy to scan, it doesn't matter if your career is 5 years of programming, then 5 years of herding sheep, then 5 years back in programming. Tell a linear story.
jadartse3 karma2016-03-14 19:17:56 UTC
Hi thanks for doign this.
I have a question off the top of my head.
If i am going in for an interview at a really really relaxed and layed back startup, should I still be dressing up in a suit and tie?
mentatcareers5 karma2016-03-14 19:23:26 UTC
No. Do some research on the company, and if it seems like everyone including the senior management are very casually dressed, you wearing a suit might signal the lack of a fit with the company culture (even though it could be really far from the truth!).
If you're not 100% sure, it's always better to err on the side of being slightly over-dressed. For start-up roles, for example, we often see people coming into the interviews wearing plain jeans or khakis, with a tucked-in, button down shirt (for guys).
In any case, you should still be smartly dressed, with simple, clean/crisp clothes.
Xenofrog3 karma2016-03-14 19:07:18 UTC
What would you recommend to someone who doesn't have any idea what they want to do?
I'm just finishing a bachelor's in Computer Info. Systems, but I don't know if I'm interested in pursuing IT/computers as a career. I can't make money from any of my hobbies, and I don't feel passionate or even interested about anything that I could really make a career out of.
mentatcareers6 karma2016-03-14 21:27:27 UTC
Don't worry, you're not alone. Everyone feels lost and dispassionate at times.
What helps, in our opinion, is realizing that work will be work regardless of how much initial passion you have for the field going in. People who love cooking get tired making their 5000th risotto. Everyone experiences the feeling that the grass is greener elsewhere.
Instead, what drives career happiness is a combination of factors all related to our needs as social human beings. Find a place where you can check off as many of these as possible, and the rest will work itself out:
1. A boss who is reasonable and understanding
2. Smart coworkers you enjoy talking to
3. Recognition when you perform above expectations
4. A sense of progression amongst people who have been there
Industry and duties are less important than fit.
take_it_out_of_there2 karma2016-03-14 19:00:12 UTC
Thank you so much for doing an AMA like this, I'm really enjoying reading your responses so far.
I'm looking into relocating to a new state with absolutely zero professional connections in the area. I am trying to stay in an administrative role - which is consistent with my experience, but I would really like to request a salary higher than anything I've ever received before.
I have a decent amount of experience behind me and, in my opinion, definitely have suitable skills to be asking for the range that I am (40k -45k). I presently make 32k, and I feel that I have just been too sheepish to ever request what I feel I'm worth (this may stem from previous interviewers reactions to my initial salary request).
My question to you then is: how do you suggest I get over this particular hang up and what points should I focus on when the negotiations begin?
If it helps, I can send you a copy of my resume in order to see what we're working with here...
mentatcareers2 karma2016-03-14 21:03:51 UTC
Hi, sure! Feel free to send us your resume so we can get a better understanding and copy over your question!
Are the costs of living higher, lower, or similar where you are moving? You should just ask for the number you want to make, to save you from wasting time and energy applying to roles that you wouldn't accept anyways. For some reviewers, the salary requested is simply another box in a form -- it should not deter them if you qualify, and if it is prohibitive, then we're applying to the wrong place. Best of luck!
WantedANewAccount2 karma2016-03-14 19:36:42 UTC
Hi there, thanks for the AMA!
I'm a lawyer, and my background is primarily in American criminal law. I'd love to make a switch to something else that would allow me to work for start-ups in Europe, probably something tech related. Is that an unrealistic goal? If it's not, how would you advise that I go about getting some qualifications to do something like that (preferably without getting a new degree!)?
mentatcareers2 karma2016-03-14 22:42:18 UTC
Quite realistic, we'd recommend applying to companies that already highly value legal teams, though you may have to switch specializations.
A few ideas: Startups similar to AirBNB and Uber face many freelance vs employee issues (1099 in the USA) and employ many lawyers
Fintech companies have high regulatory hurdles
If you want to find a technical role and you have not programmed professionally before, we'd say that's a bit unrealistic. But adding value in other ways at a startup is just as important!
drasco2742 karma2016-03-14 18:22:37 UTC
what is the most common mistake you frequently have to address?
mentatcareers7 karma2016-03-14 20:53:18 UTC
The resume should tell your story in 15 seconds. If you cannot show your resume to a stranger on the street and they get a good feel for who you are / what you did after skimming the most prominent words, you need to redo it.
niCid2 karma2016-03-14 19:21:22 UTC
How important is the length if CV/resume? Long or short? Being student and soon in job markets (IT/ICT)
mentatcareers3 karma2016-03-14 19:29:43 UTC
If you're a student, absolutely keep it to one page. If you have a portfolio/github profile, you can put a link to your projects as well.
360walkaway1 karma2016-03-14 19:29:21 UTC
How is the job market in the Pacific region (primarily Silicon Valley)? I always hear hiring is up nationally, but pretty much everyone I know is either getting laid off or in real danger of being laid off.
mentatcareers4 karma2016-03-14 22:19:34 UTC
Unemployment is down nationally, but the fear of recession is back so companies are wary.
Silicon Valley hiring is strong, though businesses have been marked down valuation wise and many companies are worried about monetization.
If you're an econ geek, we'd characterize it as: cyclical unemployment is low, frictional and voluntary unemployment are high, and structural unemployment is going to play a major generational issue as boomers retire and job roles evolve significantly in the next 10 years.
Maybeyesmaybeno1 karma2016-03-14 19:32:43 UTC
What really is the best way to look for a job these days (other than personal contacts)? Any websites or particular methods you recommend?
mentatcareers2 karma2016-03-14 22:30:42 UTC
We find the websites of the specific companies you want to work for to be best.
Aggregator site alerts are helpful too, and there are industry-specific services. If you're looking for a list of the major job board sites, they are
And many others. But the search works better if you find the company you want to work for first.
MacacaDesi1 karma2016-03-14 17:12:39 UTC
Hi I am 52 yrs old male who has been home maker for last 14 yrs. I do have Business and Fine Arts degrees from twenty plus yrs ago and did a jobs of management and sales job 14 yrs ago. I am on the verge of divorce and trying to get back in a job market. What should be my approach and what kind of jobs should I apply for? Do have any suggestion of which way I should approach and start my career after 14 yrs of being out of job market world?
mentatcareers1 karma2016-03-14 20:19:34 UTC
We would suggest an executive summary that starts something like "Sales and management executive returning to the workforce with deep expertise in x y z..."
Paint your search as a return to the workforce by choice, not by necessity.
In terms of search, you are in an interesting position where you can add value to a sales team by providing different perspectives. I would start with young companies where older voices are lacking. There will always be clients who are more willing to put their trust in you over a 27 year old.
SensoryImages1 karma2016-03-14 17:00:01 UTC
I am a recent high school graduate who was looking into getting a Major in Communcation, with the hope of getting into Public Relations position at a mid to large sized company. Is that career field doing well or should I switch my career goals?
mentatcareers6 karma2016-03-14 20:08:46 UTC
PR will always survive the robots
differencemachine1 karma2016-03-14 16:59:42 UTC
When people want to switch professions, are they typically finance or passion driven?
I often dream of financial independence. What careers or educations are best suited towards this pursuit?
mentatcareers3 karma2016-03-14 20:08:14 UTC
To be honest, most switches are financial in nature. They share your view of being financially independent, and they are passionate about making that happen (more so than passionate about their new role).
If we were to rank the potential for financial independence.
1. Entrepreneurship. This is the hardest path.
2. Becoming a deep expert in a specific niche. The actual industries range immensely (random e.g. natural gas exploration, investing in biotech stocks, rhinoplasty, etc) but essentially doing well financially is the result of better at a specific thing than everyone else in your field.
3. Work in the industries with high professional ceilings. These are the cliched law, tech, finance, medicine, etc
TheBourbonLied1 karma2016-03-14 19:10:45 UTC
I've been working at my current job for about 5 years. I've gotten a raise every year and my role has constantly been expanding. Will it look bad that I've been at the same place for so long?
mentatcareers3 karma2016-03-14 21:56:53 UTC
No, progression is a good sign.
dese441 karma2016-03-14 19:11:30 UTC
Hello- I finished undergrad last may and was not sure what field I wanted to go into. I applied for a few jobs at legal offices, had a bunch of interviews, but didnt get anything. I just finished a paralegal certificate program and am starting to hear back from places and actually already have a couple of interviews lined up. I have not had an interview in about 6 months so I am afraid that I will be a little rusty? Do you have any advice for my situation? Specifically for interviewing at a law firm or for any type of law job? Thank you!
mentatcareers2 karma2016-03-14 22:01:24 UTC
Everyone approaches this advice differently, but here's my take.
samuraimaximo1 karma2016-03-14 16:52:55 UTC
I'm in high school right now and have vague ideas of what I want to do, sciencey spacey stuff, but I also want to do other things. My question, is how important, if I do switch careers eventually, is it to start studying and working early in a field to actually thrive in it? How easy is it to make up for education and experience gaps in these highly technical careers if you have experience in another?
mentatcareers2 karma2016-03-14 18:31:30 UTC
First of all, its great to hear about your interest in sciencey spacey stuff. Kudos to you for trying to get a head start on the process!
It's totally fine to have a diversity of interests. You should use your time over the next few years to experiment/learn about these both through academics and practical application (e.g., internships). That will help you narrow down your options once you have to make a formal commitment.
Generally speaking, it's possible to switch careers and we've helped many people make the transition. The time and effort required obviously depends on the starting and finishing points. Here are a few pointers:
-If you're not sure about what to do - think about going to a college that has some level of flexibility with choosing your major (e.g., a liberal arts university)
-Many highly technical careers explicitly ask for undergraduate (and often graduate) degrees in the sciences. It's very difficult to transition into them unless you have that experience. Research some jobs you might want to do in the long term and look at the requirements so that you're not caught off guard. It's generally easier switching careers from a technical track to a non-techinical one
-It's often possible to switch careers laterally from one technical position to another. Besides that, other things you pick up and demonstrate (e.g., team-work, communication skills) are also highly transferrable
pm_me_racecars1 karma2016-03-14 19:09:34 UTC
What is the best way to translate technical skills that make me overqualified for posted positions relevant to tech skills that are marketable/desired in the region I am now living in and seeking employment?
(e.g. I spent 15 years in unix related tech in Northern California to move to a region that has very few unix related positions available.)
mentatcareers3 karma2016-03-14 21:56:22 UTC
It boils down to telling the story that your technical skills have evolved over time (and that you have the capacity to be extremely proficient in a given area), from UNIX/C systems to whatever the role is asking for today. Even if you just started evolving yesterday ;)
isjustaboy1 karma2016-03-14 18:35:45 UTC
I am a soon to be graduating computer science and engineering student in the silicon valley. I have no work or research experience. What should I put on my resume?
As it is currently, I only have projects that I've done for school on my resume - and it feels like my resume is grossly lacking content
mentatcareers3 karma2016-03-14 22:46:02 UTC
Start listing the projects/apps you have built in your degree as a separate section
_flameprincess_1 karma2016-03-14 19:14:30 UTC
mentatcareers2 karma2016-03-14 22:04:12 UTC
Hopefully your strong desire to change it up has led you to read books & articles about the space. From there you can identify the major recruiting companies in your area and cater your letters/applications to reflect your interest in the space. Aside from being extremely proficient with correspondence, the space does not discriminate for prior experience.
fuego8901 karma2016-03-14 19:22:45 UTC
How long after college do I move work experience above education on my resume?
mentatcareers4 karma2016-03-14 22:06:22 UTC
Ideally as soon as your experience section is longer than your education section -- 12 months is not too early.
vivianthecat1 karma2016-03-14 19:21:23 UTC
Any advice on a grad school student (I/O Psychology) - with no relevant HR experience? Even internships have been difficult to get interviews to. Considering going through a staffing agency now, since I feel like I have no other options.
mentatcareers2 karma2016-03-14 22:05:30 UTC
Be promiscuous....there is an HR department in every large company, and your psychology degree is an asset. Have a friend (or us) offer a second opinion on why your applications are falling short.
garrett531 karma2016-03-14 19:23:22 UTC
Lets say that someone lacks experience in the branch he is appying, or he is fresh out of school (different branch than requred for the job) how to make ur resume underexpose that?
mentatcareers2 karma2016-03-14 22:07:24 UTC
Always talk up strengths in resumes, and if you feel underqualified but want a specific role, play up affiliations/interests/tangential proof that you want to do that industry badly.
whirl_without_motion1 karma2016-03-14 19:26:45 UTC
How far back in time should you go on a resume or CV? At what point does the (career-related) experience in college not matter anymore?
mentatcareers2 karma2016-03-14 22:09:43 UTC
The specifics of college achievements can usually be discarded (clubs, awards, etc) later in your career. But you shouldn't have a problem fitting decades of experience onto 2 pages. Leaving out professional roles should be conscious decisions (not fitting within the narrative), not due to age of experience.
NotBrettFavre0 karma2016-03-14 17:27:32 UTC
Any chance I could send you my resume and have you make it look worthwhile?
mentatcareers1 karma2016-03-14 20:23:08 UTC
Sure our email address is [email protected]
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