My short bio: At our last AMA 4 months ago we helped hundreds of people answer important career questions and are back by popular demand! We're a group of experienced advisors who have screened, interviewed and hired thousands of people over our careers. We're now building Mentat (www.thementat.com) which is using technology to scale what we've experienced and provide professional career help to everyone My Proof: AMA announcement from company's official Twitter account: https://twitter.com/mentatapp/status/752511854786678784 Bios of our advisors and their LinkedIn profiles: https://thementat.com/about-us/ Materials we've developed over the years in the resources section: https://thementat.com/

EDIT We'll continue to answer your questions and will try to get to as many of you as possible. Thanks!

Comments: 662 • Responses: 67  • Date: 

kaysea112117 karma

How would you account for a large gap of years of unemployment (wasn't going to school either) in a resume? and interview?

mentatcareers73 karma

You'll want to be able to explain the gap confidently and reasonably. We commonly see medical absences or family-related choices -- it's good to be upfront about these reasons.

Every case is different -- sometimes mentioning temporary freelance or consulting work can help support your resume. In most cases, we recommend including a placeholder for substantial gaps, especially if it's for caretaking. However, if what you were doing during the gap does not fit into your overall career story, then we omit it from the resume. Cover letters are designed to help explain extenuating circumstances.

Shibouya36 karma

What about if I just had the money to be able to spend a year or so not working, just relaxing and doing what I wanted?

howzlife14 karma

Tell them that. Be upfront, and tell them now you're serious about getting serious

mentatcareers12 karma

You can position your gap year as a time you took to explore your interests, travel, etc.

joshyboyXD77 karma

What is the best way to get experience when a job requires you to have had experience in the first place?

mentatcareers95 karma

Ah, the classic catch-22. Some hiring managers will follow prerequisites strictly, but many times we encourage our users (with success) to apply to roles even if they do not meet 100% of the experience requirements.

Freelance consulting or interning in a certain sector is a common way of adding experience -- if that is not feasible, we would suggest highlighting your leadership abilities in your current role and making sure your interest in the new job field is readily apparent on the resume (make it very obvious).

savelivesforlove12 karma

Also something that one of my professors pointed out is that college IS experience. If I have a 4 year degree, I can put down the time I spent in related classes and projects as experience. Using this method I was able to land a successful interview with a company, confidently claiming 5 years of experience at age 21

The career services at my grad school is telling us the exact opposite! At the age of 28 with 3.0 FTE years of supervision experience and another .75 FTE years with internships and Graduate Assistant positions, an AS (never really mention that one though), BS, and MPH I was informed to say I have "minimal" experience.

How would you recommend I go about this?

mentatcareers25 karma

Education is a type of experience. As an academic, you have probably already worked as an author, analyst, teacher, researcher, consultant, adviser, project manager, trainer and/or designer: all roles that are in high demand in many industries. You have extremely valuable skills, they just need to be re-framed in the language of your target industry! Make prospective employers understand concretely how your skills serve as experience using proof from your time in these roles. Sell yourself as a fellow professional, not as an academic.

suaveitguy57 karma

Any red flags disguised in a job ad that should make people think twice about applying? Is there any deceptive wording or something along those lines that stick out at you to say the job isn't what it might seem?

mentatcareers66 karma

Yes -- ultimately you'll want to vet the organization and culture first. Online tools like Glassdoor and LinkedIn can be very helpful for painting a picture of the company.

As a specific example, we often help customers interested in marketing, focusing on digital media campaigns and strategy -- they'll end up encountering openings that appear to fit that description, but in reality are pure phone sales. Ask yourself before applying, what is the business model and how does the company operate from a high level? Imagine explaining the company to a friend, it will help you determine if you truly find it interesting!

suaveitguy27 karma

Any conventional wisdom that is detrimental to follow? e.g. making you resume standout with funky colored paper?

mentatcareers54 karma

Great question. You actually mentioned one of the most common mistake mistake people here. Often resumes are screened in the first round using automated systems, a flashy resume with lots of graphics results in key information not getting picked up and might have you passed over. Use a clean, simple format that highlights your strengths in a compelling way. Here are a few more from an article we published: http://www.cheatsheet.com/money-career/worst-career-advice-avoid.html/?a=viewall

mentatcareers27 karma

Every HR professional and hiring manager we've interviewed has emphasized how important legibility is for resumes -- we strongly discourage colors or non-traditional formats unless the roles you're applying to also ask for a portfolio (ie design or photo).

Keeping resumes one-page if you're a young professional (under 30) and at most two-pages (even for C-level) is highly recommended.

beerandpancakes8 karma

What about a CV for PhD level scientists? Many times they extend beyond those page limits. Is that acceptable? What would you recommend?

mentatcareers15 karma

It's more about the company/role you're targeting. For certain roles, you'll need to list the publications/presentations on your resume and it might extend beyond the limits. We've also worked with PHDs transitioning into business/consulting roles where the resume has to be compressed into a relevant 1 or 2 pages (e.g., only listing select publications).

suaveitguy26 karma

What subject is the most broadly applicable undergrad degree?

mentatcareers58 karma

We've seen broad multi-industry success from Economics, Physics, and Biology majors. Surprisingly, History majors are also prevalent across many different sectors.

suaveitguy50 karma

History majors

High research and evidence standards, good writing ability, great research ability, good big-picture knowledge and/or specific knowledge about a field- depending on what was studied. Any other benefits of a History degree?

mentatcareers53 karma

Definitely -- understanding cause and effect from a historical perspective is great for business insights. Also, history is an underrated conversation topic at the workplace.

suaveitguy26 karma

What was one slam dunk new field ten years ago that was supposed to be a field you would always find work in that never materialized or fizzled out? What lessons can be learned from that?

mentatcareers31 karma

Ten years ago working as a stockbroker or real estate agent seemed to be a no-brainer...markets were at an all-time high, having recovered from the dot-com bust, and credit flowed easily. Two years later the recession hit and people lost their shirts. The shift away from answering landline phones hit salespeople hard. However, 10 years later, both industries are fine -- morale is not as high as it was, but the business models evolved. The biggest takeaway is that economies are cyclical and you may have to evolve in your field, but you'll make it work in the long run.

Many in the energy sector today fear their livelihoods are threatened with the oversupply of oil and low prices. Energy is always going to be in demand -- the type of skills needed for the industry will change, but we are wary about recommending a total industry shift due to a slowdown and not some intrinsic reason.

I_am_again24 karma

What is your advice on discovering what talents & strengths one may possess and should use when deciding or switching (or trying to discover) a new career?

mentatcareers34 karma

There are a number of things we'd suggest:

First, the standard answer is to take a personality test like the Myers-Briggs type indicator. You'll be able to find many resources on how that can affect the types of roles you'd be good at.

Second, think back to your education -- did you prefer taking tests or writing papers? Your preference can indicate the type of pressure you'd be more comfortable with professionally. Test-takers like to have day-to-day material impact on P&L, while paper-writers would prefer long-term projects to sink their teeth into.

Lastly, note that chasing your hobbies and passions as a career is not always as fun as people imagine. Burnout is real in all industries, so we've always found the type of people you work with and corporate fit to be a better indicator of career satisfaction than industry.

thekiv11 karma

How come you recommend Myers-Briggs even though it has little-to-no scientific value?

mentatcareers7 karma

There are several different career/personality tests out there. The Myers-Briggs is one of the most used for Career Centers and Mangers, but here are some other great ones (like the MAPP Career Assessment which has also been scientifically validated and found to be reliable over time).

RandomePerson9 karma

What do you suggest if you hate the industry you're in, but your Myers-Briggs ranks that as your number 1 match? A broader question: what do you recommend for people who find that all the careers suggested by the Myers-Briggs are simply not to their personal liking?

mentatcareers4 karma

I wouldn't be worried. Think of these tests as tools to provide additional data points and help guide your thinking. There's all types of personalities who are successful across industries. You should find roles/industries that personally excite you and be open to learning and you'll be successful. For example, I worked for many years in an industry which requires a high degree of personal organization - something that didn't come to me naturally so I had to learn to be better at.

roseyrosey20 karma

Any advice on looking for jobs internationally? Or even domestically but in a different region? Seems many employers are uninterested in hiring someone who would need to move for the job, but if you have an interest in moving, how do you communicate that?

mentatcareers22 karma

It is important to let your potential employer know your dedication to relocating from the start. A great place to do this is in your cover letter. In one or two concise and clear statements, make it apparent that you are interested in both the position and in the location and that this transition would fit your needs personally and professionally.

suaveitguy18 karma

Any tips for negotiating higher pay? When do you know it is not an option? Is it ever bad to ask?

mentatcareers18 karma

It's always a function of manager dynamics, tenure, and industry best practices. Each position is different, so we're hesitant to set any rules here, but researching market values is critical before walking into the meeting.

amanuense16 karma

In your experience. what is the most important thing to do when applying for a new job?

mentatcareers27 karma

When applying for a new job, you want to keep in mind reviewers spend less than 3 minutes reading your resume and less than 1 minute reading your cover letter on the first pass. Therefore, you want to highlight and emphasize the 4-5 key takeaways about yourself that you'd like every hiring manager to be able to remember easily.

nomad8013 karma

I'm facing a major uphill battle with a career switch. I have related, non-primary role experience in the new field, but i'm getting stonewalled into moving in the new industry - any tips / best practices i should keep in mind?

mentatcareers17 karma

You'll want to craft your resume as a 1-2 combination. First, you'll want to highlight work experience that created tangible impact at your workplace. Second, you'll have to demonstrate a burning passion for the new industry you're looking to break into (at least on paper). What industry are you looking to join?

As an example, if you were breaking into financial services, you can demonstrate interest by listing various finance publications you read, indicating you are studying for certifications, and highlighting any side experience you have valuating companies.

suaveitguy13 karma

Would you suggest cold-contacting the hiring manager or another person in the organization you are applying to to ask questions before applying?

mentatcareers23 karma

Speaking to someone in the organization you are applying to (and in general researching the company and position) can help you understand the culture of the company and the context its operating in. This information can be really valuable in the interview as well as your application/cover letter. Try to find someone in your extended network (e.g., via LinkedIn) in the organization to talk to you for 15 minutes about the company and their perspective on the position. Would not advise cold-contacting the hiring manager in most cases, though we have seen it to work in smaller companies if you can make a compelling case about how you would add value to her/her company in the immediate term if they hired you.

mentatcareers13 karma

Yes, we categorize this as networking -- personal outreach must be much more customized and focused than job applications. Make sure you are open and clear about what you're requesting and how you found them when you contact folks. Generally people are friendly and want to help, but they need extremely concrete asks (otherwise they will ignore the message).

suaveitguy5 karma

networking

Speaking of networking, can you speak to its value? It barely makes sense to me, personally. You meet someone at an event for three minutes, and then you are going to call on them a year and a half later when you see a job opening at their company? I could see if they happened to have an opening at that time or soon after or you were a salesperson/consultant drumming up clients, but is 'networking' as an active past time worthwhile for job seekers?

mentatcareers10 karma

Networking can be really valuable if it's focused towards a concrete objective. If you pick a company (or industry) that you're interested in pursuing and talk to people currently working in it it can really help you understand the dynamics and be more informed next time you have an interview. Often the people you talk to might know of an opening in another company in the space that they can refer you to. Going to events and meeting people superficially can sometimes produce results serendipitously - but might not be a good use of time in the short term. In short - try to network with people who can help you get a job in a targeted, focused way

guitarhamster10 karma

If I had a job I left from on a bad term (resign not fired), how do I leave stuff out? And what do I say to interviewer if they ask about employment gap?

mentatcareers10 karma

This is a great question as it is important to strategize how you want to handle this situation before you design your application materials and get an interview. Would it be possible to leave the job experience listed on your resume but address your resignation in your cover letter? Depending on your comfort level, you can still utilize the experience but express in your cover letter that you left that position. When explaining why you left, be careful not to speak badly of your past employer and to keep your language positive and forward-thinking. There is no need to go into details as it is fairly common to resign in the search for better opportunities. As you write the explanation, it will help you brainstorm how to address it in an interview.

We wish you the best in this process!

lusciouslou9 karma

I have been to many different career advisors at college, and they all pretty much find the same results. I have no interests. I don't feel compassionate about anything. I've taken personality tests, aptitude tests, a and a few other informal tests. The same results apear again and again. I don't enjoy anything.

Do you run into people like myself often? What can be done?

mentatcareers4 karma

We don't try to pretend a certain job or title will solve all your problems. We've found that two things have a much bigger influence on your career happiness than the industry, compensation, titles, etc. Relative perception and social interaction. Translation -- find a workplace where you like the people (fitting in is important) and where you don't ever feel screwed over relative to everyone else.

TheCuriousAquarist8 karma

I've had a lot of trouble with mental health (social anxiety and depression) since the age of 17, I'm now 22 and finally half way through my Uni degree. I was wondering if you had any advice for how I can explain how long it took me to get a degree to a future employer without them dismissing me as a risky hire? I'm genuinely afraid they'll say 'you should've had a degree by 22, how can we trust your mental health problems won't return and affect your work?'

violetladyjane5 karma

I'm not OP but you don't need to worry about this. I work as a hiring manager and I have never once thought that a 22 yo should have graduated already. I'm also not sure how people would even know your age? You shouldn't be putting your high school information, so with just your college grad year on your resume there isn't anything to indicate your age.

mentatcareers5 karma

Agree with the advice above. Firstly - congratulations on feeling better and making it back to complete your degree - we're rooting for you! Secondly, it's totally fine to graduate at a later age - a lot of people take time off (e.g., for military service or other reasons). As Violetladyjane mentioned, you don't need to put in your highschool graduation date anymore either.

NoButMaybe7 karma

I am looking to switch careers, but I am pregnant. I can hide the bump during an interview of needed. When should I disclose my pregnancy to a potential employer?

mentatcareers12 karma

By law, you are not required to mention your pregnancy, so feel comfortable knowing that you have the power to choose if and when you disclose the fact to a potential employer. Generally we would recommend avoiding the topic early on and disclosing when finalizing or negotiating the offer. I wouldn't go out of the way hiding your bump during an interview -- you'll want to join a company that has experience with hiring women who have kids, after all!

suaveitguy7 karma

What degrees and careers would you not advise your own family/children to pursue?

mentatcareers14 karma

I wouldn't say we'd actively discourage anyone, but let's just say it's much harder to secure traditional interviews for artists and philosophers. Also any choose-your-own-specialty majors are challenging. One of the worst things you can do is confuse reviewers -- once that happens, they move on.

PacketFiend6 karma

How important is it to have a social media profile? I don't have a Facebook account and I've always wondered if this is a red flag for potential employers.

I do have an up to date and well curated LinkedIn profile, but that's it. Obviously I have a Reddit account, but it's not linked to my real name.

How often do employers actively search out someone's social media presence as a screening method?

edit: typo

mentatcareers14 karma

Your LinkedIn account is the most important social media profile to have while job searching. If your LinkedIn account is up-to-date and synced with your other application materials, you are in a great position. Not having a Facebook or other social media presence will not be a red flag unless you are applying to work in communications/social media management.

If you are worried about your web presence, google yourself and make sure what comes up is appropriate!

Sleeper2567 karma

Adding on to this, I don't have a facebook, but someone with my exact name does, and he's also a video editor which is my field. He sometimes acts like an asshole druggy punk on his wall. Does this hurt me? I have a linked-in though.

Also, you said in communications it's more important to have the social media bases covered. Is film/video considered communications? That's what my degree is listed under.

Thanks

mentatcareers7 karma

Keep your LinkedIn up-to-date with a professional profile picture and your location so that if a potential professional connection does a google search can discern that you are different people.

To clarify the communications comment: if you are applying for a communications position in which you would be managing social media, the hiring committee may be more interested in scoping out your ability to navigate social media successfully and thus may look at your profiles. Although your field is considered communications, you are not specifically working in social media, so you should be fine!

wanawaner6 karma

Has a degree and few years work experience. Went back to school but failed/didn't complete & has been unable to find work for 3 years & counting.

Q: how do I display this on paper without much negativity?

mentatcareers4 karma

Focus on the positive! Before you get started on your resume, make an exhaustive list of your skills, accomplishments, results and applicable experiences (classes, volunteer, projects etc). As you craft your resume, incorporate these instead of trying to explain why you did not finish school or have been unemployed.

In your cover letter, you can address your employment gap in a forward-thinking and positive manner saying that you are ready to enter the workforce, take on a new challenge and offer your skills to their [insert phrasing from the company's specific mission statement].

In the meantime, brainstorm how you can build your resume. Try volunteering in positions related to your field of interest (eg data entry or social media work for a non-profit) or taking free, online courses through top Universities using Coursera or Edex. Focus on what you can do, not what hasn't worked in the past. We wish you the best!

mentatcareers1 karma

What did you study / what industry are you looking to break in to? You can list personal projects or a personal small business as a way to show you have been active.

triagonometry5 karma

Because of all the traffic you're getting through reddit, is there any chance you'll offer a reddit discount? It's hard to afford the $249 if I don't have a job... Haha.

mentatcareers2 karma

Sure, let us know you found us on reddit when you sign up for free -- we love supporting the reddit community and have actually met one of the founders, Alexis.

suaveitguy4 karma

What does the future hold for social media experts? Will that have a future outside of traditional marketing skills as it has had, or will it be like someone in 2000 promoting their proficiency in word processing?

mentatcareers3 karma

Being popular on social media and being good at social media marketing for a business can be very, very different. The industry is still relatively new -- after all, Facebook did not start accelerating public ads until 2012. There are dozens of software tools companies use to maximize their social media efficacy, so the potential to specialize and become an expert is still limitless.

thegracefuldork4 karma

I work in the architecture/engineering industry and got a job at a large firm right out of school, and I've been there almost 3 years now. However, I'm considering switching firms due to long work hours and commute. How should a resume meant for someone out of college differ from someone who's been in the working world? Since my role in projects is fairly small (teams of 8-20 per project, usually) and a lot of the projects are confidential, how do I represent them on a resume? How about a portfolio? I'd like to ask others at my company (especially about how to document my role in confidential projects) but obviously asking for advice on how to interview from people you work with currently isn't a great idea. Any advice appreciated!

mentatcareers4 karma

The longer you have been working, the more you should emphasize your professional experience versus education and extracurriculars.

For confidential projects, we suggest quantifiable business impact numbers and a general description of the business model (ie. designed New York office for 80+ employees at asset management firm, or grew outbound marketing campaign impact by 124% at ecommerce apparel company). Definitely highlight the technical skills required for the project as well as how it materially affects the client.

For architecture, I imagine a portfolio is very important! You'll have more leeway on the design of your resume in creative spaces.

suaveitguy4 karma

Advice I give to young people about to leave school, based on my own experience, is that you only have that many options open to you once and to make the most of it (specifically by having a bit of a nest egg.) If you are interested in graphic design, but take a sales job, after a year or so you are going to be seen as a professional sales person - at least on paper. Is that good advice? Anything you would add to it?

mentatcareers4 karma

That's good advice, and having a nest egg does make it easier to play around with different options further down the line. The one additional trend we're seeing is that it's increasingly easy to reinvent yourself today. Younger people are now changing jobs once every 2-3 year and often kick-starting new types of roles (e.g., jumping from sales to customer success to account management to product management).

runinthewind4 karma

Any other career ideas for an elementary school teacher?

mentatcareers11 karma

Education technology is an exciting and growing field that's always looking for teachers to bring some classroom experience into the product development process. EdSurge is a good source to look for relevant roles in that space.

DisabledIraqVeteran3 karma

Why do you think Finding Nemo was such a hit success?

mentatcareers3 karma

We haven't worked with clown-fishes before so unfortunately can't give you a perspective on that one :)

BobRogersTheGreat3 karma

When trying to switch roles (from sales to marketing/finance/operations), do you feel it is a red flag to embellish your responsibilities to closely match up with the desired job? Everyone knows what sales does, so would putting something like "analyzed metrics performance in order to better serve customers". I'm afraid a hiring manager will look at that as straight BS, and disregard everything else. Which approach would you recommend?

mentatcareers3 karma

The best resume writers think of their prospective audience, which is what you are already doing! We recommend that our clients research the desired job thoroughly before crafting their application materials so that they can match their experiences to it. However, you are right in your intuition to be truthful. If you really do have experiences that closely match, highlight them. Try sprinkling in some numbers and specific accomplishments to show proof of your applicable experiences and lower the risk of being written off for BS.

In short, if you did do some form of metric analysis, that is a huge plus and could catch a hiring manger's eye!

BobRogersTheGreat1 karma

Well, my question was more, Im in sales, I need to decide aka analyze which metrics are most effective. So ... not lying, but embellishing a little bit perhaps?

mentatcareers5 karma

If you believe that the base of your comment is truthful, use the most attractive verbage to sell yourself as a fellow professional to your potential employers.

a_v93 karma

In a high-tech world, does it really make sense to add an "objective" section in the resume? Like say I apply for a specific tech job, isnt it obvious that my objective is to get a similar type of job? My peers/superiors argue that every resume still needs to start off with a "seeking a so-n-so type of position in a so-n-so type of company". Please comment.

mentatcareers9 karma

As you say, your objective when applying for a job is clear: to secure an interview, and ultimately, the job! Cutting the objective section can help with resume space optimization and creates room for content sections that add greater value.

In place of an objective, incorporating a qualifications summary can give a more meaningful description of your experience. Write it as a big-picture summary of your experience with points about major skill sets relevant to your next career move.

sum8fever3 karma

How should I handle using my current boss as a reference? I'm still fairly entry level (2.5 years of professional experience) and I am looking to change jobs. My only job after college is where I work now.

mentatcareers3 karma

Talk to your boss about your long term career aspirations and how she/he can help you achieve them. Often they will be supportive and open to being your reference, and sometimes even helping you find some great opportunities (to evolve within the current company or somewhere outside). It's important to establish your boss as a mentor who will help you be successful in your current role as as well as in the future.

dremasterfanto3 karma

On the resume, relevant work first or chronological order?

mentatcareers9 karma

Chronological. You run a bigger risk of confusing the reader if it's out of order. If you're targeting many different industries, I'd suggest making two different resumes, omitting unrelated experiences as you see fit to maintain one cohesive story.

RedditingatSkool3 karma

[deleted]

mentatcareers6 karma

No -- your time and energy is better spent finding more opportunities to consider.

Absolutely follow up for every interview you get (same day thank you emails or handwritten snail-mail notes), and follow up on applications where you have had human contact or a warm introduction. Many online job postings are not actually hiring, have filled the position already, are only hiring internally, or simply aren't monitored. Keep plugging away!

suaveitguy3 karma

How often do you see 'non-academic experience only' on job ads? I don't see it much, but found it interesting that people discount experience working at colleges or universities altogether. Are the work culture and expectations that different in academia vs government or the private sector?

mentatcareers2 karma

We don't see it often. The experience is not discounted, it just depends on how relevant it is for the role you're applying for. As an example, if you've worked in university administration, that could be very relevant for an education technology company serving universities!

JagerForBreakfast3 karma

What are some 'conventional wisdom' resume concepts that are now out of date?

For example, I've read that having "references available upon request" is obsolete and should be removed from the resume (if the company wants references they'll ask).

Also, I've heard the same of the Objective (e.g. To obtain full-time employment where I can utilize my skills to blah blah blah) - the idea being that most of the time resumes are fed into tracking systems anyway, and the fact that you're applying already conveys that you're looking for employment.

Do you concur with these, and are there others you'd point out?

mentatcareers2 karma

Good question: we recently wrote a blog post on exactly this topic.

https://thementat.com/resources/resume/is-your-resume-stuck-in-the-dark-ages-five-outdated-resume-writing-trends-and-modern-replacements/

In short, you've hit on 2 out of the 5 we picked out. Others include a list of soft skills, unnecessary personal information and a long work history for more experienced candidates.

Ipreferorganic2 karma

What the best way to deal with hobbies/interests on your resume when you aren't active in any official society/club.

Keep it short? Flesh it out to the max or just leave it off completely

mentatcareers2 karma

Are these hobbies/interests relevant to the roles you're applying for? Even if there's a tangential link they could demonstrate leadership, teamwork or communication skills. So put them on, and expand on them if you think they're relevant to the role.

NeedAGoodUsername2 karma

What has been the worst CV/resume you've ever seen?

mentatcareers5 karma

There are two extremes on the bad resume spectrum. There are those resumes in which the candidate depreciates their professional experiences by describing their job history with a simple list of work requirements without action verbs, accomplishments or using numbers to show their quality of work. On the other end are the resumes that go into too much detail losing their readers in long paragraphs, repetitive information and buzzwords.

To help guide you away from either extreme, think of your resume as a professional snapshot of your career and your opportunity to show potential employers your unique value as a candidate.

willdill2 karma

Im in my 30's just got laid off from the bank where i worked as an F.A.

I absolutely hated this job, any ideas of what i could do?

mentatcareers2 karma

Sorry to hear about that, hopefully you can turn this into an opportunity to find more meaningful work. You should start by trying to understand a type of role and company which you would actually enjoy working at. You can do that by both researching industries and talking to as many people as you can about their work and what they like/dislike about it. Use that to identify a type of role you want to target and find a couple of opportunities that fit the bill - being structured and organized in your search process is a big part of the battle. Once you have the basics done, adapt your documents (e.g., LinkedIn, Resume) to fit the requirements of the types of roles you're applying for. Then start applying on a regular basis (e.g., a few jobs every day) to keep on top of new opportunities that come up.

hazelbuttnutt2 karma

I have years of no job experience (great resume though), due to medical issues. I have been licensed to sell a few type of insurance in my state for a little over a year now, and although the company with which I work is excellent, I am not getting the (financial) results I need to get. Now ready to rejoin the hourly wage group (part-time), but with medical restrictions (including no driving) and the gap on my resume (01/2007-04/2015), I fear I won't find anything worthwhile. What would you suggest I say - in a cover letter or interview? - when a potential employer asks me about this gap? Do you have any tips for formatting the resume that would be helpful, like emphasizing skills versus a chronological list?

mentatcareers2 karma

When you explain your employment gap, keep your language honest, positive and forward-thinking. You can use a few phrases in your cover letter to say that you were out of the workforce for an extended time due to medical struggles but that you have recovered physically as well as regained your dedication to [insert goal here with the goals of your target company in mind!] Mention what you look forward to and what unique value you will bring to their team. As you write this, it will help you conceptualize how you will present the gap during an interview. Practicing the phrasing out loud before the interview will help with the nerves!

As for formatting your resume, you can consider one of three orders: chronological, functional or a combination. As the most common format, chronological resumes highlight work history and begin by listing your previous positions in reverse chronological order. Functional resumes focus on directly showcasing skills and experience relevant to the positions to which you’re applying. Combination formatting is, as you might have guessed, a blend of the two format types that starts by drawing attention to experience that shows skills and abilities relevant to the role at the top and moving into chronological experience. For your situation, you may consider a functional or combination format to place your relevant information at the top and help an HR manager quickly connect your experience to the position’s responsibilities.

We wish you all the best in your search!

john012391 karma

My friend is in a fast-track leadership development program, having moved over the course of two years from entering the field to anticipating a promotion to senior management in January. However, things have gotten unpleasant at work, and he's thinking about leaving.

Have you seen people leave midway through LDPs with success? How can he help companies without LDPs recognize that his current employer is fast tracking him to senior management and so he's looking for jobs that offer similarly fast routes to senior positions? Or, is there too much value in sticking it out until his promotion?

mentatcareers1 karma

I'd recommend he leave only if he can land the senior title at a competitor, otherwise sticking it out for 6 months.

kuroninjaofshadows1 karma

I have worked in hospitality and retail most my life. I was recently told by one of the financial advisors (branch managers) at my credit union to apply and have a shot at making almost 20$ an hour (almost double my pay rate for most my life). I was suggested to wear a suit, get some sort of a resume folder holder... Thing from office Depot or whatnot. I can talk to people well, I learn quick, and have excelled at every job I've been at, always reaching the highest non management position available.

Is it a stretch to imagine I have a shot? I can't tell if the branch manager was just being nice.

What can I do to give myself a real chance at landing the job? (I'd basically be a teller, and eventually trained to be a financial advisor that deals with loans, credit, etc)

mentatcareers2 karma

Never hurts to apply. Don't go crazy on the attire -- you probably have something in your closet that is professional. Being eager and well-prepared is most important for roles in finance.

SwedishMilkHotel1 karma

I work at a company that has changed names, ownership and leadership a few times in past 6 years. For example, I was hired by Company A, 6 years ago. Two years later we were bought by a large International Conglomerate and merged with a other company within our parent umbrella. I now work for Company AB. Company AB, struggles a little and parent company decides to invest in a company with a similar model, only much larger. Parents buy Company C , Company C absorbs Company AB and I now work Company C. Company C is a recognized national brand with some industry clout. How would I express these 6 years on my resume under all the different names (It's the same job more or less - entry level to senior level)? Would it be best to only mention Company C and list 6 yrs experience here?

mentatcareers2 karma

Mention Company C with 6 years of experience broadly, but differentiate the companies and roles in your titles / first bullet points. Cheers.

junuz191 karma

Hi As a foreigner applying for a job in a different country, what are the different things that employers look into compared to their citizens?

mentatcareers3 karma

Depending on the country - the first hurdle you have to get over is whether or not there are stringent work visa requirements that employers have to get through before they can hire you. In the U.S. for example, getting a work visa (H1B) is becoming harder every year and is easier to get for Science/Tech roles. Sometimes employers have to demonstrate that they looked for a person locally first before hiring you from abroad.

KidLucci1 karma

Say uhh can you write me a resume?

mentatcareers2 karma

It's kind of what we do =)

PacerLee1 karma

I am a Senior Sales Executive for a Sales Outsourcing Company. I handle the acquisition of new clients, proposals, act as a stand in when inside sales staff are out etc. Is $17 an hour plus 5% commission enough or should I be looking for a new job/ask for a raise, and if so what should I be earning?

mentatcareers1 karma

Unable to say definitively without knowing more details (e.g., location). Have you looked at salary benchmarking sites (e.g., glassdoor or salary.com) to see how you compare?

As a general principle, we encourage people to be passively looking all the time - this helps you stay on top of the latest opportunities as they come up and also benchmark their salary on a regular basis.

proteinase1 karma

What kind of job do you see rising in the future and what traditional job may see a decline in demand? More specifically, will careers such as journalism and other fields requiring human-to-human contact decrease?

mentatcareers2 karma

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in the healthcare sector, veterinary services, biomedical research and hands-on trades such as carpentry and masonry are expected to be the fastest growing in 2020. We have also seen a rise in computer software, accounting and engineering. As some of these careers still require human-to-human contact and are traditional fields, we would not say that those areas are in decline. However, journalism specifically has seen a sharp hit with the demand for short news stories on the web and the decline of in-depth/truth-seeking journalism. As journalism evolves to fit the new technological and cultural demands, we will likely see other, similar fields evolving as well.

suaveitguy1 karma

Are professional associations valuable in your opinion, or just a bit of a money grab?

mentatcareers3 karma

It depends: the easiest way to check is to see if people you admire in the industry have them. Some certifications, like Six Sigma, CFA, CPA, and programming bootcamps are quite valuable and may be part of an employers' mandatory career progression; other are definitely a money grab.

Countthebucket1 karma

How can one break into a field in which they don't have an undergraduate degree?

For example, I've been a math teacher for the past several years but have thought about looking into the engineering field. Would an engineering company hire someone who doesn't have an engineering degree but seems to be teachable, good problem solver, have good people skills, etc?

mentatcareers2 karma

People switch industries all the time - and often end up in roles that are very different from what they started out in. You can definitely apply to engineering companies in a variety of non-engineering roles (e.g., we've helped many teachers transition to roles in instructional design, corporate education, training etc. at large companies) as the soft skills you gain in teaching are very transferrable. If you'd like to get an engineering job, you'll have to acquire the skill-set and be able to demonstrate its application during the interview. We've seen people do that as well either by teaching themselves or going to a coding boot-camp - but that transition process often takes up to 6 months

PM_ME_UR_BIG_ASS_1 karma

So what is your opinion on people who apply for jobs with visible tattoos and piercings?

mentatcareers3 karma

It really depends on the place you're applying to - people bring their prejudices (consciously or subconsciously) to the interview process. If your individual interviewer has tattoos and piercings too it could be a great conversation topic and work in your favor. On the other hand, certain places (e.g., some financial institutions) might hold it against you.

RipsbrotherRandy1 karma

In a few days I will be taking an aptitude test for a job that I really want. If I score well, I will be chosen for an interview with the board of directors. I'm confident I'll do well in the testing. This is for a construction based job. I have two questions. How can I sugar coat a spotty employment history( I had a lot of crappy backbreaking jobs) during the interview? Also, what can I do during the interview to set myself apart? Maybe to help them overlook my past. Because I myself am convinced my past set me up for this to happen now.

mentatcareers2 karma

Your confidence is a wonderful first step! Just from this comment I can tell that you are excited and prepared for this position. During your interview, make sure not to talk badly about your past positions or employers. Focus on the skills you gained, the determination that it built in you and the work ethic that you still carry with you.

To set yourself apart, do your research. Make sure that you know the company well: read up on current events, projects, their reviews, publications and company goals. List questions that you have for them keeping in mind that genuine questions based on your research will especially show your informed interest. During the interview, mention specifics about the company and make it a memorable exchange with your questions.

Best of luck!

Villeneuve_1 karma

I have recently graduated with a degree in English literature and have my eyes set on the publishing industry. Which would be a more viable step to take next— pursuing a master's degree in the same field in which I have majored (English literature) to further expand and strengthen my knowledge base and skill-set and then setting foot into the publishing industry, OR skipping graduate school altogether and directly setting foot into the professional realm of publishing?

mentatcareers3 karma

There are several paths to this. I would advise getting a couple of years of work experience in before going to graduate school. It'll help you take advantage of the opportunities available to you more pro-actively and get more out of the time and financial investment you'll make to go back to school.

pedrothegator1 karma

I've been in Food and Bev. for the past 15 years and am ready to move onto an actual sales job. What is the best way for me to approach this writting a resume? I have always highlighted my knowledge of food and spirits and sold myself as experienced. I've looked into real estate or insurance neither of which has me sold but my body will wear before my heart with the work I do. How do you transition into a new work force after 30?

mentatcareers2 karma

The good news is that there is an uptrend of professionals transitioning into new careers after 30, and after 45, and being successful in their transitions. We wrote a blog post on career transition that could help you get the process rolling! https://thementat.com/resources/career-change/4-steps-to-switch-your-career/

We wish you the best!

notafrakkintoaster1 karma

I'm about to apply for an internally-posted-only position for the lead of my department, and I'm reworking my resume for that. I've never applied for such a thing before, and I'm working off of my previous resume which got me my current job. However, they've already seen that one, they know my previous work experience.

What sorts of things do I put on this internal job resume? Should I just put things from my current job, responsibilities I've taken on and ways I've grown? Or should I still include previous jobs? I'm sort of at a complete loss here, and I really want to do the best I can.

mentatcareers2 karma

Yes - the resume should be the same as one you'd normally use, highlighting your current job and responsibilities first. Make no assumptions about how well the reviewer(s) know you. Previous experience, education, skills etc. are all still expected. Best of luck!