My short bio: At our last AMA earlier this year 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 which is using technology to scale what we've experienced and provide a way for people to get new jobs 10x faster than the traditional method - by going straight to the hiring managers.

My Proof: AMA announcement from company's official Twitter account:

Press page where career advice from us has been featured in Time, Inc, Forbes, FastCompany, LifeHacker and others:

Materials we've developed over the years in the resources section:

Edit: Our team will continue trying to answer all your questions over the course of the day today and tomorrow. Thanks for the questions and also to the Reddit community that stepped in to help answer some of the trickier ones!

Comments: 1287 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

ThugNuggington366 karma

Not sure if this is a good place to ask this, but worth a shot I guess. I had something of a mental breakdown while working full-time to get through chemical engineering school. I failed some classes at the end that I ended up retaking and graduated with a 3.4 gpa, but my transcript looks rough from that. Had no research or internships, and have been delivering pizzas for the last 2.5 years since then. I've recently started hitting the books again to refresh myself on what I've forgotten. My question is this.. what can I do to get myself on track to land my first real job? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Edit: can't believe all the good advice and encouragement, thank you all so much. I think at this point I'm going to hit the books HARD to see how much I remember. If it looks manageable I think I'll take the FE before I start the job hunt, and if not it's something I'll work towards while finding that first real job. To the people who say they are in the same boat as me, good luck and don't give up.

mentatcareers462 karma

I'd start by looking into paid internships or some other entry-level work that utilizes your degree to get your foot in the door. The pay may not be great right away, you may need to keep your delivery job part-time, but this will help you to build up your resume and make connections to get your foot in the door of future opportunities. If they ask about your transcript and the failed classes, emphasize how you retook them and still made out with a strong GPA. This will be impressive to employers who will see that you were determined despite life throwing you some curve balls.

ThugNuggington126 karma

That's a pretty fair answer, and I thank you for taking the time to respond. If I could ask a follow-up question, do I need to worry about setting the bar too low by working as a lab tec for example, or is any job in a STEM field a good start?

mentatcareers164 karma

A lab tech position can be a great place to get started, as it will help you establish yourself and it's relatively easy to land a position. It probably won't be your dream job, but use it as a stepping stone, make as many connections as you can while there and develop a lot of skills to add to your resume to take the place of research or internships that you could've had from undergrad had things been different. After a year or so, you'll feel more caught up and established in your field, and many more doors will open to you.

Pigeon_Poop306 karma

What do you recommend for people who have landed a job they are UNDER-qualified for? Go in first day like “yeah I don’t really know what I’m doing” or fake it till you make it?

mentatcareers516 karma

This is a situation to approach with caution. It's good to be confident and "fake it til you make it" but without exuding any arrogance and being open to learning as much as possible. Ask detailed questions and listen to the answers. Take notes. Watch your superiors and see how they work. Do your own research at home. If this is a job you really want to keep and grow into, you'll need to invest time in catching up your qualifications. If you show that you'd work well with the team and fit in with the culture, it's likely that they will teach you everything you need to know on the job so that you do it their way. If it's a job that you landed by explicitly lying about your experience, it may be a good idea to look into other options.

thurn_und_taxis296 karma

I'm fairly early in my career (about 3 years out of undergrad). I'm currently working on updating my resume and have shown it to my parents and friends for feedback. My parents say that it's fine if I go over 1 side of 1 page. My friend (who is in a similar place in her career as me) says I absolutely shouldn't, and that her company has thrown out resumes just because they go over 1 page.

What are your thoughts on this? I know people much later in their careers tend to have longer resumes, but should I still be trying to keep things to a single page?

mentatcareers657 karma

While it varies, typically a good rule to follow is stick to one page for less than 10 years of experience. 10+ years of experience can justify two page resumes. If you only have 3 years, keep it to one page.

captain_fuck_you228 karma

Would you have any advice on someone who's looking into working internationally? I'd like to work abroad for a couple of years, how would I approach that with employers?

mentatcareers149 karma

It certainly depends on what you want to do! Are you looking to develop professionally during this time or just land some sort of job that allows you to live internationally for a few years?

captain_fuck_you87 karma

A bit of both? I wouldn't waste years of my career just to land a job internationally. So I'm looking to work in my field (engineering) in another country of my choice basically.

mentatcareers230 karma

I'd start by researching companies who need engineers with international offices and pick the ones that have locations in cities that you'd actually be interested in living in. Many multinational companies like the idea of workers who are interested in a stint abroad. Add that you're interested in working overseas to your cover letter, and discuss it in the interview. Before the interview, make sure you've done your research on the city so that if they are seriously interested in sending you there, they know you're aware of what you're getting into. Things like cost of living, local culture etc. are super important to know before asking to be sent abroad. Showing this genuine interest will also make hiring managers far more confident that you'd be a good candidate to work in an international office.

Enzeru134 karma

What resume mistakes are common that also prevent people from landing a job?

mentatcareers276 karma

Misspellings, not using enough keywords, putting irrelevant experience on the resume and not formatting it so that it reads "cleanly" with good spacing. Make sure your first bullet point is your strongest "punchline" of experience for each job you've held!

GingerBeerFizzies120 karma

I was not mentally prepared for college and dropped out several times. I also have an alarming amount of withdrawn and dropped classes on my record. I'm almost 30 and still haven't graduated, and every time someone asks me about my education I feel like a failure. What might be the best way for me to "spin" this in an interview if it's brought up?

mentatcareers72 karma

Do you have a lot of work experience despite your educational setbacks?

GingerBeerFizzies42 karma

No, only a year in retail, a few months doing the Census, and half a year with a small local business that's since closed. Not even two full years altogether.

mentatcareers41 karma

What sort of jobs are you interested in? What would be your ideal position at this point?

aarontbarratt113 karma

How should I negotiate a pay rise? I just passed my 6 months probation with flying colours. My managers said I am always on time, regularly do the most work and have progressed well.

I work for a software company in a technical role. This is my first job post graduating from University.

mentatcareers153 karma

Ask if you can have a meeting with your manager to discuss the potential of a raise based on your performance review. If there's no reason to not give you a raise - you'll most likely get it! If there's a certain reason why they haven't such as budget or policy (maybe they need people to be there a year before raises) they can at least tell you that so you're aware and prepared for when the next opportunity for a raise rolls around.

kaitlynmaryy77 karma

Hi! What advice would you give for new graduates seeking jobs (I have a double major in anthropology and sociology)? It seems like most positions I feel like I am qualified for require previous years of experience to be even considered for the position. Do I go below (in pay and duties) what I think fits for me or can I somehow translate my academic experience into relatable experience for a job?

Also, online seems to be the go to avenue for submitting resumes but I have read articles stating that this does not give you the best chance for that job. What should you do? Some articles suggest that you send a personal email to an HR person of the company, give a mini cover letter in the email, and attach your resume. Is this an appropriate approach? And would you apply both on the online job posting and through a person email or just do one?

One more questionnn then I'll shush:

I've also read articles discussing the "cold email" approach. You email a member of a company and show your interest in their operations and introduce yourself despite them not having posted about a job. You either try and reach out for career advice for a position or suggest they think of you if they have any upcoming vacancies.

Sorry if I rambled too much but any advice you have would be much appreciated.

mentatcareers78 karma

You can definitely translate some of your academic experience into professional experience. Most companies and positions are looking for certain skills - e.g. analytical skills, research skills, ability to work in a team. Unless the position requires hard skills such as knowledge of a language, you can qualify based on academic experience. Think of all the research projects you have done, any volunteer/extracurricular activities you’ve been involved with and how the skills and experiences from those translate to the jobs you are targeting. You want to prove that you can do the work, if they hire you!

One thing to note is that for some positions/companies, you have to have some previous work experience, so for those you should look for something more “entry-level” and then grow into the role that you want. The only way to better understand that is to ’network,’ which feeds into your next question.

Applications are good, but have a pretty low response rate (unless you are still in school and going through your school’s job board/companies that are hiring on campus). Regardless, you have to network to stand out. Cold outreach is completely acceptable. The worst case scenario is that the person won’t respond or will say is “No - we don’t have anything,” but the upside of finding a job that you love is absolutely worth some of the rejection you might get.

buyan66 karma

What advice do you have for someone looking to make a major career change? I'm currently a teacher but plan to leave education after this year and have no idea where to start.

mentatcareers45 karma

Do you know what career you want to change into?

piddy56547 karma

At what point along the career pipeline should past elements of experience be dropped off the CV, and relegated to details on LinkedIn? For example, I'm in my first job out of undergrad and am getting my Masters. CV, which I won't need for a while again yet, has information on college part time jobs, internships, academic projects, etc. When do these elements expire their usefulness?

mentatcareers68 karma

If you have enough experience to fill one page of a resume that is relevant to the positions you're applying to, start cutting out the irrelevant experience or jobs that have less relevance to the positions that you're applying to. If you have less than 10 years of experience in your field, try to keep it all to 1 page, and pick the jobs that show your stronger skills that you'll need for the job you're applying to.

KaKemamas41 karma

For a professional job, how long on average is the hiring process? Like from the time I send my resume in to an interview to a job offer to a start date? Im applying for things right now and its taking awhile, Im wondering if I am just being impatient.

mentatcareers45 karma

It really depends, some employers are good about keeping you updated and scheduling interviews quickly, while you may not hear back from some positions for months. It can be incredibly draining and frustrating, but be patient and do your best to check-in with hiring managers or follow up after interviews without being too pushy. Some jobs will take months to complete the transition, while other employers may need you to get started right away! You can always ask about the timeline in the interview too, this shows your interest in getting started ASAP!

Bravely_Default41 karma

Not really a resume question more of a salary negotiation question.

I guess my question can be boiled down generally to, is it always advisable to counter on a job offer? If they offer 50k and I want 50k should I counter and ask for 55k anyway? It just seems like generally employers always want to pay you as little as possible and their first offer is never the max that they can offer for a position, it's usually toward the middle of the budget; so for this example the budget would be for 45-55k. Which brings me back to my original question, should I always counter a job offer to try and get more with the notion that employers will never offer max and I could likely get closer to the max by countering?

mentatcareers74 karma

It is always a good idea to counter offer in your negotiation meeting! One tip to getting more money is to ask for a specific number - if they want to offer 50K and want to make sure you stay below 55K for example, ask for 53,500. This is only a discrepancy of 1,500 which is minimal over the course of a year, and it gets you closer to your target while throwing them off a bit due to the specific amount. If they aren't willing to budge on salary, see if you can negotiate more benefits like extra days of PTO or the opportunity to occasionally work from home.

aBernsteinBear41 karma

I work for a small family business and whenever this comes up in an interview (how did you find this company/get your current job) for another job it seems to turn the interview off to me as a candidate.

How would you recommend presenting this to better my chances?

mentatcareers71 karma

You could always say you found the job through personal networking! While this may feel like "lying" it's not an untrue statement. Many people use family and friends connections to find jobs. It's unlikely that they will do a deep investigation to uncover that it's your family business, and even if they do, you're wise to use your connections!

Slam_Dunkz31 karma

As someone who really hates LinkedIn, what's the best way to find tech job sector jobs these days without succumbing to the creepy-crawly machine of social media?

mentatcareers29 karma

Apply to lots of positions, reach out to your network with warm emails and go to networking events to meet people and learn about new opportunities. You can get a job without an online presence, it just may take longer or you'll need to meet more people in person.

waldosan_of_the_deep28 karma

Here's a question, college never worked out for me, and I'm finding myself increasingly burnt out on lower wage jobs. I have a lot of skills both blue collar and white collar that have no real certificate backing either degree or otherwise. What would be the smart thing to do at this point?

mentatcareers34 karma

We recommend trying to get some relevant experience in whatever kind of field you're interested in. This could be doing some minor volunteer work for a relevant organization or taking some free courses online. Then, we recommend branding your resume targeted specifically to the kinds of jobs you're interested in by including only content relevant to the position.

dutchformycourage26 karma

Any suggestions on how to improve chances of finding work after years of not working due to illness?

I have had severe mental health issues over the last few years which resulted in multiple hospital admissions and I wasn’t able to work. I’m doing fairly well right now but I’m struggling to find a job.

I previously studied a bachelor of law with honours but due to my illness I am looking for a simple job that can help me financially while not overwhelming me as I still have to work hard on staying well. My previous experience was working as a legal assistant but about a decade ago I had a few years working in hospitality whilst in high school.

Is there any way I should address the huge gap in my employment history? I’m not looking for a high wage and I want something stable and long term but the feedback I have got (which has been few and far between) is that I’m overqualified or it seems like I’d get bored and quit.

Any suggestions would be great! I just want to get back out there and start earning some money for myself.

mentatcareers13 karma

Oftentimes a skills-based or functional resume works well to show experience despite a gap in employment. A functional resume for example will highlight all of your relevant skills in a particular area targeted toward the job. In the meantime while applying, we recommend looking into any relevant volunteer, unpaid work or online courses (even through free websites) that can give you a bit of experience to rebuild your resume.

wickedbiskit25 karma

How do you earn a paycheck? Do I pay for your services if you help me land a job?

mentatcareers53 karma

Hi there! We have two primary services we offer to job seekers. Our Concierge service includes document rewriting (resume rewrite, cover letter write-up, and LinkedIn profile rebranding) and a job application service where a member of our jobs team will apply for a minimum of 10 jobs per week on your behalf. The other option we have is our networking platform, which uses artificial intelligence technology to connect job seekers directly to hiring managers!

monsto21 karma

How do you help clients deal with imposter syndrome? What kind of psychological things do you have them do for themselves?

mentatcareers21 karma

There is a great article on Lifehacker on how to deal with imposter syndrome -

If you can find a balance between being confident in your skills, abilities, and accomplishments, without becoming arrogant, always being open to learn new things and listen to the opinion of others, you shouldn't worry about being accused of being a fraud.

Slug_DC21 karma

I'm in a senior engineering position at a major tech company. And I've been here for over a decade. The problem is that I'm in a very niche field. I feel that if push comes to shove and I have to seek a new job in the future I'm screwed because while I'm very good at what I do, what I do isn't common and openings in this field just don't occur very often. I'd have to start all over again as a junior level employee somewhere because while I'm a smart guy I'm not an expert in much of anything outside of my very specific field. I'm closing in on 40 and while I have no problems taking risks on myself, I am loathe to put the wife and kids on the edge of a financial cliff because I have to take a huge pay cut to "start over". I've considered going to school for something new, but I've got one kid entering college this year and a second just a couple years behind him; money to pay for all that becomes a concern. I've also considered leaving the technical side of things and going management, but the same problem enters my mind; how can I manage a team when I'm not an expert in what they do? So what advice would you give to someone in my position?

TL;DR Long time technical specialist in a very niche field worried that if anything ever happens to current job, he'll have to start completely over from scratch and impoverish the family in the process because he wouldn't be able to land a senior level job doing anything else.

mentatcareers20 karma

That is a very genuine problem that most of us face as we grow in our careers. In your case it is a niche skill set, in other cases, it can be skill sets that have a declining demand. Most companies do have personal growth programs in place, where you can learn "add-on" skills to your field that can help you grow your career options. If your company doesn't offer that then you should look into self-learning or free online resources. There is just so much information out there! It requires a lot of self-discipline to motivate yourself but set aside an hour every morning or sometime on the weekends to work on it. If you can't practice these skills at work then you can take on personal projects to demonstrate your knowledge and build your experience. Lastly, if you do want to go into a management role, don't hold yourself back. You might not have the technical knowledge, but if you are a fast learner and have the soft skills to manage a team then you will be okay - maybe start by managing a smaller team or taking on more managerial responsibilities in your existing role and see where it takes you.

IWillSayCrassStuff18 karma

What advice would you give to someone that goes on lots of interviews but never gets the job? I've been looking for months now and I get through the initial phone call, the phone interview and the in-person interview. I've been to an interview coach and I think all the interviews go well. But, they always go with another candidate and I don't get any relevant feedback.

mentatcareers17 karma

Have you asked for feedback? Oftentimes asking employers directly why your application may have been passed over can yield good feedback. If this happens in the future, we recommend reaching out and asking for feedback on your application/interview and what the reasons may have been. Also, following up after the interview with thank-yous can help as well.

r_elwood16 karma

now that i am 35, do employers really care about high school results and should i just dump them in favour of a single page CV (or a cleaner looking Linked IN)?

mentatcareers43 karma

Do not worry about your high school test results at this point in your career. Your experience is far more important and it's unlikely that your scores from high school will play any role in determining whether or not you land a job. Unless an employer specifically asks for them, leave them off.

crowkiller914 karma

I am currently at a job I really need a change from. I have been working here for over 4 years but have no idea how to even start looking for new opportunities in my career. What's the best way to and tools available to me to job hunt whilst already employed?

mentatcareers17 karma

Start by researching new companies that you'd be interested in working for. Use Glassdoor to read reviews from employees to give insights into the company culture. Start saving jobs you're interested in from job boards and put some "feelers" out into your network. Get your documents in order - update your resume, portfolio (if applicable) write up a cover letter template and boost your LinkedIn profile. From there, allocate a certain amount of time each day or week to spend solely on applying for jobs. A key is to keep everything VERY ORGANIZED - if you're currently employed and busy, it can be easy to lose passwords, forget to respond to hiring managers, and skip steps in an application process if you don't have everything organized. Use a spreadsheet or other sort of document to keep details for each job you applied to separate so there's no confusion.

crowkiller93 karma

Thank you for your detailed reply, it is appreciated. Would you recommend a recruitment agency to assist in a situation where once is presently employed but looking to further his career at an employer who would offer more career growth, or is it more advantageous to quietly look for something yourself?

mentatcareers6 karma

It can be "safer" to look on your own, as it lessens the risk of being found out by your current employer that you're searching for new opportunities. Recruitment agencies can definitely help you out though, as they will present you with jobs that come their way (eliminating some of the research you need to do) just make sure that they are discreet and don't call you excessively while at work, and never give them your work email!

Nelizea13 karma

Do you also cover europe? If not, any plans on that?

mentatcareers12 karma

Hello! We currently focus primarily on the US and Canada, although we've had success in helping international candidates in the past! If you'd like to schedule a call for more information and so that we can get more information about your situation/determine if our services would be a good fit, please schedule at

Daisyducks13 karma

I'm a doctor in the uk (2nd year), becoming burnt out by the job. What are my career prospects like outside of being a doctor?

I've had part time jobs prior to medical school but have no particular alternative skill set.

Looking for a less stressful job with a reasonable wage £30,000 ish, in a medium sized English city but have no idea where to start.

mentatcareers12 karma

Prospects are pretty good! We've seen many doctors over the years utilize their skill-set in the corporate sector. Some of the common transitions we see are to pharmaceutical or healthcare technology companies. Management consulting firms serving healthcare clients are also always looking to add doctors to their ranks.

In terms of where to start, looking at the alumni of your medical school a few years ahead of you who have transitioned out might give you some ideas. Best of luck!

Gerbille12 karma

I'm a lawyer and drafting a personalized cover letter for each application is a given. However, my understanding is that in the tech world it's much less common. Is that true for other industries, or is it generally good practice to include one?

mentatcareers14 karma

If most of the applications you've seen require a cover letter, then it's a good idea to go that "extra mile" and include it, rather than risk your application being thrown out because you didn't have one. There are certainly industries and jobs that do not require cover letters, but it can never hurt your chances by including one. If writing out completely separate ones is too time consuming, make a general "template" and then copy & paste it into new documents and tweak it for each job you apply to to save some time and give you a good starting point.

Skiwithcami12 karma

Hello there. This has been hunting me forever in my professional life: How can i write a good cover letter? Any tips pr advice? Thanks!

mentatcareers18 karma

Try to include specific details that are relevant to the position you're applying to, create a general template to use that you can tweak for different positions (saves time) and don't be afraid to talk yourself up and brag a little, but don't be arrogant. Keep the tone professional but warm.

KU7CAD10 karma

How do resume parsers work? Mine never parses correctly and I have to enter manually every time.

mentatcareers4 karma

Resume parsers essentially try to pull data from your resume and put it into a structured format, for other tools to analyze it for keywords relevant to job postings. If you're running into this problem your resume might get rejected from some Applicant Tracking Systems as well. We recommend a simple, clean format, without fancy formatting for job applications. If you are sending your resume via e-mail then you can get fancier. Here's some more advice on the topic:

RatoBastardo6 karma

Sorry if this has been asked, but me and my friend were debating if an Objective should be on a resume? Also, in today’s workforce does experience trump education? For example, is it a bad idea to leave off Bachelors in Business?

mentatcareers8 karma

Objective statements are no longer common and shouldn’t go on a modern a resume - a summary is the new objective. We typically recommend 3-4 sentences which highlight your experience and qualifications directly relevant to the type of job you’re applying to.

Experience after a certain point is usually more important with education being more of a formality. Except for recent grads, we recommend keeping on your education but putting it at the bottom of the resume after your work experience.

monkify5 karma

I'm a college grad who's really struggling to break into the workforce. I'm interested in hospitality administration and management, but often it's said you need to work up the ladder in those industries especially. I've tried, but when I have, it's led me to depression and suicidal thoughts. (Yes, I am in therapy.) Is it possible to break into managerial positions without "working your way up"? I always see a lack of managers everywhere and I want to help, but I'm at a loss on how to move forward unless it's by managing my own business.

mentatcareers6 karma

If you see a lack of managers at a company you're interested in, go ahead and apply! There are lots of managers of restaurants and hotels who didn't start out as waiters/waitresses and jumped right in at the higher level. Go to the places that need the most help and apply. It's going to be more challenging and you may lose out to another candidate with more experience in a lower hospitality position, but it can't hurt to try to break right into being a manager.

mentatcareers3 karma

In college, I worked for a restaurant and my manager had ZERO restaurant experience before she had been a bus driver. It is possible! It can just be a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

Pldgmygrievance5 karma

I’ve applied to a job that I am overqualified for, but it’s at a company really want to be a part of. It’s fairly entry level and their budget for the role is 45k. I want to negotiate to get as close to my current salary as possible, but I’m nervous to price myself out of the job.

Any advice?

mentatcareers14 karma

If their budget is 45K, it's unlikely that you'll be able to negotiate a much higher salary, as they may have this limit already in place. If they recognize that you are overqualified and seem willing to "bend" a little, see if you can negotiate extra benefits, like more PTO or the ability to occasionally work from home. If they see you're willing to negotiate a lower rate in order to work for their company, it may help you advance quickly and secure a promotion in no time anyway.

Pldgmygrievance6 karma

Would you strongly recommend NOT countering with 50k? That is a negligible difference between my current salary and would allow me to retain my apartment.

One more question if you don’t mind. What are your thoughts on excepting the 45k but asking for a review of my performance and salary in 6 months?

mentatcareers4 karma

Accepting and asking for a performance review is a good idea if the salary cut won't hit you too hard financially. The thought behind asking for a specific number that is just under your target is that it throws people off, just like how pricing of a product at $49.99 somehow sounds way better than $50. If you are a really strong candidate and are willing to put in 6 months at a lower rate, they could bump you up in 6 months to your desired rate! This could be a great way to negotiate too.

mentatcareers7 karma

If you're applying for a job you're overqualified for, we recommend emphasizing in the cover letter or follow-up email your willingness and interest in performing the work required of the role (since your experience may be above that). Ultimately employers want staff who are going to put in the effort and take initiative, so conveying your willingness to do the work can help you in the application process as an overqualified candidate.

To prevent the risk of pricing yourself out, we recommend holding off on salary negotiations/discussion until the final stages, at which point you can try to negotiate as close as possible - in the final stages they're unlikely to totally cut you from consideration without allowing you to accept or suggest a lower salary. We would recommend being prepared to accept a lower salary however if you're overqualified but passionate about the company/job/etc.

harimad-sol5 karma

I am thinking of leaving my current job for various reasons, including them making promises about the work I would be doing but lacking the infrastructure to support it, and a dearth of job fulfillment. I have a niche expertise that I feel would be valuable to other companies.

However, I've only been here for seven months. I was at my prior job for six and a half years. What's the best way to position myself in my resume and interviews so I don't look like I'm unreliable?

mentatcareers6 karma

Listing the year instead of the month and year on your resume can help reduce the attention to the fact you've only been in that job for seven months. However, you'll still want to be honest and prepared to answer questions about it. An answer that usually works for us when asked in an interview is to express that you're looking for more opportunities for professional growth or more challenging work.

Happy_Feces4 karma

Hey I'm an architect. Should I put pictures in my resume?

mentatcareers6 karma

We generally don't recommend any photos in resumes because it can mess with applicant tracking systems and how your resume is read. If you want to include photos, we recommend linking a portfolio. Under your name with your phone number and email address, you can also include a portfolio link.

goatonastik4 karma

What do you recommend for someone who has no idea how to find the kind of work that they would like?

mentatcareers5 karma

Start with volunteering and adopting new projects or hobbies to learn more about yourself first. Do you like being around people, do you prefer building things, do you want to own something end to end? Also, what type of industry do you like and what are you more naturally inclined to read about or take an interest in. Talk to friends and get their perspective. Once you have a better understanding of your likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses, then you can focus on what types of jobs would interest you.

Another idea is "job shadowing." If there is a field you think you might be interested in, you can network and try to find a person to "shadow" in that role for a week (unpaid) to better understand their day-to-day.

lurking_digger4 karma


Regarding references, which jobs have you seen that don't ask for them? What can be placed on resume as an alternative? I look forward to your following answer.

Thank you,


mentatcareers6 karma

Many retail, hospitality and some entry-level jobs don't ask for references, but it's good to have a few professional or other sorts of contacts who can vouch for you when applying for a job. Even if you did a one-time project for a friend or other sort of work, you can use that person as reference for a future application. It's in your best interest to obtain some sort of reference, even if it's not from a former boss/supervisor. You could also have a former professor or teacher give you a reference as well.

NanoPhD3 karma

Is my grad school and post doc work considered "experience"? My resume looks like I've only been "working" for 4 years when the previous 6 have been dedicated to getting a PhD and a post doc. I'd like to claim that I have 10 years experience, but don't want to look like I'm just padding my resume.

mentatcareers6 karma

Grad school and post doc work definitely count as experience, especially if the skills you used while doing that work are relevant to the positions you are applying to!

naw8112 karma

In my law school they want us all to follow the exact same format for our resumes. Including font, size, margins, everything. Is this in any way beneficial?

mentatcareers5 karma

What they may be trying to emphasize is having a conservative format for your applications, and they may be recommending one specific template that they've found works when applying to positions. For positions in your field, we do recommend having your resume be more conservative (no graphics, no color, traditional format and font) to appeal to the majority of hiring managers and decision-makers in your field, but it doesn't need to be a carbon copy of your colleagues' resumes.

triplec12122 karma

I currently thinking about going back and getting a masters in biostatistics, would this be a wise career to get into? I'm currently a biology teacher and am getting rather discouraged by public education.

mentatcareers3 karma

If biostatistics is a field you could see yourself working in and enjoying, then definitely look into getting your masters and making a career change! There are a lot of job opportunities for people interested in the field, but I'd be sure that there is a demand for biostatisticians in the cities that you want to live and work in first. Also, investigate if you can work in the field a bit with just your undergraduate degree before committing to a masters program. This can give you more insight if a masters would be worth it. While having a masters or doctorate opens way more doors and opportunities in biostatistics, it's not always necessary and you could get a job for a short time to gain more insight about the field and your personal interest in working in it.

j0llyllama2 karma

If during the interview, they ask what salary point you are looking for and you give a vague answer (i.e., about 60k), would it be okay to request more (like 65k) during hiring offer if they meet the initial request?

mentatcareers3 karma

It depends on the nature of the interview. If they are seemingly very interested in hiring you and your vague ballpark is going to be taken as a serious offer, it would not look good to increase from this amount significantly. In the interview, it's better to say a specific number that you'd be happy with to avoid confusion and any awkward misunderstandings in the negotiation meeting. For example, if they'd take you for 60K and you want 65K but that would be a reach, ask for a more specific middle ground like 63,500.

Clichedghost2 karma

I'm in college for engineering and I am looking for some sort of entry level position like an internship or research. My grades are not the best (GPA of about 3.4 after this semester), I've never held a job and I find it hard to get involved in clubs that seem relevant to what jobs may want. Do you have any advice for getting some sort of entry level position? I'm not really sure about my resume and how I am supposed to make it look like I have experience.

mentatcareers5 karma

For current students looking for internships or research or new graduates looking for work, you can include things like coursework/course projects and any work or research experience that you've gained in college. If you're still in college, work with faculty to volunteer or check out an undergraduate research office on campus. Then, crafting your resume to focus on all of the engineering-related experience you have can help emphasize your experience in this area. You can also include a skills section with relevant skills that you've gained applicable to the research/internship you're looking for.

jgh3282 karma

I am going to be graduating next May. I have 6 month long internship experience. I have just received an offer. Am I able to counter it, or is it safer to just accept?

mentatcareers6 karma

It's never a bad idea to try to negotiate your first salary, but if you are lacking in experience and the offer seems to be reasonable, I wouldn't push too hard to get extra money right away. Ask if you could have a performance review after 6 months or some sort of time, and THEN ask for the bump in pay. It gives you the opportunity to prove yourself, which they will appreciate, and 6 months at a lower pay grade will go by fast when you first start out at a company.

THEchubbypancakes1 karma

I'm a 17-year-old High school student, with no prior work experience. What steps can I take to make my resume impress employers for me to land an entry-level job?

mentatcareers3 karma

Do some volunteer work to build up your resume (also looks excellent for college applications if you decide to take that route) Apply for entry-level positions in person if you can, so that you can meet the manager and they can see that you're serious about building some experience and developing yourself professionally even though you're young. If you've ever done some work like babysitting or yard work for family friends/neighbors, have them be your references. We all need to start somewhere! Don't be discouraged.

Udso1 karma

Hi! I'm really trying to break into a career working with China. I've lived over there, speak an elementary level of Chinese and know a decent amount about their culture/customs. I worked for a educational business based in the US that worked with Chinese schools for a year in 2015-16 and haven't done much since (bartend/serve). I have a bachelors in Transnational Studies. What career paths can/should I be exploring? I really don't want to teach English, but love the international component. I'd love something with sales, negotiation or the other, but I cannot find a job either in the US that deals with China or a job based out of China that my qualifications would land me. I've been searching many job boards for months now, and feel lost. Any insight would be appreciated!

mentatcareers2 karma

It would be hard to find a job similar to what you are looking for on a job board. You are looking for a niche position and that would require a lot of networking on your part to break into it. Look at reaching out to companies in China that also have operations in the US and vice versa to find account management or sales type positions. There are also localization type jobs in technology that could be interesting for you, in addition to International Development roles (although if you don't have a background in International Development, you may have to start in an entry level role).