(4) Four steps to write a curriculum vitae or résumé

May 2, 2015

By Eddy Montilla.

CURRICULUM

Those times when people were working all or almost all their life for the same company are today a thing of the past. Even in countries like Japan where workers where clung to the same company until they retire, you can see people these days looking for new jobs. And you are right there… in the middle of a world economic order cruelly designed to destroy or create jobs in the direction that best serves particular individual or group interests. Since you are not the son of a very rich man, owner of a company that you will run sooner or later, since your father does not have very influential friends in high circles, you have to apply for a job like any other person, either because you are unemployed or because you are looking for a better future. Because your search for a job starts from your curriculum vitae (CV) or resumé, let’s see some steps that will help you to do this better and… Good luck!

Step 1: Make a good impression with a clear, easy to read and well laid out CV

     Remember that before meeting you, an employer will meet your CV or résumé first. A bad impression created by the appearance of your CV may be enough to decide to scan through it quickly or … skip it because we are talking about a person who has more than 100 CVs on his or her desk and the unpleasant task to deal with them. So, your CV should be carefully designed to have a good aesthetic appearance. You can find several templates on the Internet that will help you to make your CV look great, but if you cannot do it yourself, get some help or pay some money to get something good (it is something that you will only pay once, but can keep forever, so it is a good deal, isn’t it?). If your CV looks horrible, it will probably end up inside a waste-paper basket. I recommend you to pay attention to the following points:

  • Font size: Avoid too big font sizes (you only have one or two pages) and very small font sizes too (they cause fatigue). Personally, I prefer between a 10 and 12 point size.
  • Extension of your document: The main difference between a resume and curriculum vitae is what is included. A resume is usually shorter and it contains your level of education, experience, skills, etc. while a CV includes other aspects like publications, research experience, affiliations, etc. If you apply for a position as a teacher at a university, for example, you should send a CV. It also depends on where you are. It seems that in Europe, employers expect to receive CVs in situations where their American counterparts would accept a resume. However, no matter what you write, a CV or resume, keep it between one and two pages.
  • Format: There is no a “best and specific way” to structure a CV or résumé, but to be concise is absolutely necessary (the employer will thank you. Do not forget the 100 CVs on the desk!). In order to be concise, you will have to reduce the number of words and show relevant and specific ideas instead. And how do you do that? With the use of short paragraphs, bullets and boxes. It is advisable to highlight headings and relevant information like job titles and other things related to work experience and education in bold type too.

Step 2: Write all your information in a proper and logical order

     For an employer, your skills, references, etc. are irrelevant if he does not even know who you are or what you can do. So, the golden rule here is first things first.

  • Personal details: Your name, address, telephone number and e-mail. In USA and UK, for example, curricula vitae do not usually include a photograph since it could lead to rejection on grounds of ethnicity, sex or age (in plain English, it could lead to discrimination). If you are applying for a position in other countries, please get information about it because in Latin America, Japan and countries in Europe it is a common practice to include it. As for your e-mail, it is preferable to use your own name (Johnsmith@xxxx.com) to a hidden one (keeprolling@xxxx.com) because it shows that you are a person who has a lot of personality and strength of character.
  • Education, professional training, certification: Write here all information on Bachelor, Master, Ph.D., postdoctoral or other relevant studies, in reverse chronological order, i.e., most recent first. It also includes degree awarded or anticipated, name of institution, location, date, etc. Skills (languages, computing, etc.) can be part of this section.
  • Work experience: Describe your professional and work experience connected with the job that you are seeking. With the use of tables or bullets, you can create different sections to highlight details. Organize the jobs you have had in reverse chronological order within each section, i.e., most recent first. Do not forget to include beginning and terminating dates, job title, name of company and location. Use action verbs (supervised, promoted, etc.) to describe your skills, jobs, and accomplishments in your CV since they express achievements or something a person does in a concise and persuasive manner.
  • Publication (usually for CVs): You should include the title, publisher, place of publication, volume, ISBN, date of publication, number of pages, etc.
  • Conferences and presentations (usually for CVs): Make a list of conference seminars, presentations and professional workshops.
  • Professional affiliations: List organizations you belong to and include current memberships, with dates.
  • Volunteer experience: You can list here the organizations for which you volunteered or add brief detail about your contributions.
  • Hobbies and interests: Insofar as you can do, show hobbies and interests with relevance to academic life and the job you are seeking.
  • References: This point is not strictly necessary. If you are running short of space, just write: “References are available on request.” In case you decide to write about references, supply the name, title and contact information of your referees and be sure to ask their permission before submitting their names.

Step 3: Be accurate in its content and be careful with spelling mistakes

     Your CV is not a book of 120 pages; it has only 2, so keep the number of mistakes in zero or at least below the acceptable limit and this limit is … one! Many employers will probably move on to the next CV as soon as he or she detects a second mistake. In some cases, for example, if you are applying for a teaching position, even a single mistake is unacceptable. There is no margin for error there.

Step 4: Be honest

     A lie might help you to get a job, but it will not prevent you from being fired as soon as the employer finds out what’s going on there. Be honest because honesty is as highly appreciated as your curriculum or résumé.

Copyright 2015 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights reserved.

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(7) Seven steps to pass an exam

September 2, 2014

By Eddy Montilla.

EXAM

During my academic years, I remembered that my best moments were when I had to take an exam, something that usually puzzled my classmates because while they were in stony silence and there was mounting anxiety for the test, I was… smiling! And since this idea can be easily open to misinterpretation, let me tell you that I was happy not because I was intelligent (I was not and I am not), well prepared for the exam or because vacations were about to start, but because my classmates and I lived in different realities. The only problem they had was to pass the test, but in my case, I was plagued with problems at that time and to take an exam was the smallest of them, so I had a good reason to be very happy. I had in front of me a problem with two possibilities only: I approved or failed the exam. That’s all. Since you probably share the same reality as my classmates did (fortunately, not mine!), let me give you some specific steps that will help you to pass your exam.

Before your exam

Step 1: Don’t take notes directly on your school notebook or computer

NOTEBOOK

     Inside your classroom, there are a lot factors that lead to distraction or mistakes: Time is limited, the beautiful girl at your side, etc. If you take notes directly on your notebook about what is written on the blackboard or your teacher says, you might take mistakes with you too, mistakes that you will probably not check later and will consider them exact data. Besides, by transcribing your notes later at home, you will be reviewing your lessons day by day without even realizing it. This idea is excellent, especially if you find it hard to study every day. As for computers, students rely on them more than ever. However, to take notes directly on your computer might not be a good idea because it might interfere with your ability to remember information. You are just typing and don’t have time to think, but when you take notes by hand, your limitations to write at the same speed as your teacher speaks force you to listen carefully and take the most important ideas. During this process, you are learning.

Step 2: Increase your energy levels

ENERGY-CHOCOLATE

     To do well in your exam will require all your powers of concentration and sustained mental effort, and that means energy consumption. Have a good breakfast and, if possible, a piece of chocolate or something before your test “for fuel”. For those who usually have butterflies in their stomach when they take a test, a cup of green tea or coffee is acceptable (only for university students).

Step 3: Do not study minutes prior to your exam

STUDY

     Except for something really important, like a piece of information that you forgot and could have strong and negative impact on your grades, keep your hand away from your notebook. What you could not learn in six months will not be memorized in two minutes. If you browse through your book to make sure that you “remember everything”, you will be confused because your mind cannot give you an answer as quickly as you browse through your notebook and that would only serve to make you feel nervous. Try to laugh, read o remember a funny story, so that you can be in better position to receive the test.

Step 4: Read your exam first

     It is not a waste of time, as many people say. By reading the test first, you will know exactly where to begin, how to allocate your time and you will know well where to tread too. Those who say: “I start from the first question and if I cannot answer it, I go to the next one” usually end up losing time and getting anxious because they don’t remember what questions they answered, what questions are left and how to use their time properly.

Step 5: Plan how to answer your questions

PLAN

     Start from the easiest topics first. Then look at your watch and divide the minutes that are left into the questions you are not answered yet. If you have a multiple choice test, remember that one question has not connection with the topic. Another answer can be ruled out without much effort. Then, you only have to deal with two possible answers, that is, you have 50 per cent already! If you have to answer a question with a lot of details, you should begin with the most important facts in the first paragraph: who, when, where, why, etc., and if you don’t remember some information, you have another ace to play: “pad the test out” with general ideas.

Step 6: Trust yourself rather than your classmates

     Don’t cheat on a test. By doing so, you will stoop pretty low. The most intelligent students sit usually near the teacher because they do not want to be distracted or asked during a test. So, the other students around you are in the same situation as you are. There is no point in asking them this or that question. Trust
yourself and gradually you will gain confidence for future exams.

Step 7: Control your emotions

EMOTIONS

     A lot of mistakes that we made during an exam are the result of anxiety, the feeling of nervousness that examinations produce and physical and mental fatigue after long hours studying for the test. Take a deep breath from time to time and do your best to maintain serenity because pressure makes us forget even the easiest things in a test.

     Finally, remember that a test is just a piece of paper with questions and topics. It is neither more nor less than that. A test does not necessarily reflect your ability to do this or that or your knowledge. I know a lot of students who do well in a language exam, for example, but cannot start a simple conversation using the language they are studying despite their grades. Study to learn and have fun and you will see that to pass the exam will become easier.

Copyright 2014 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


(4) Four steps to get along well with your wife or girlfriend

June 5, 2014

By Eddy Montilla.

QUARREL

We wrote (5) five steps to get along with your husband or boyfriend before, and a male reader asked me if I could do something similar, but this time, the steps should be aimed at women. All things considered, I think that he was right because men and women are somehow different, and therefore, the same steps cannot be applied perfectly to both genders. This is what we got:

Step 1: Listen and talk to your wife or girlfriend more often

Rather than money or infidelity, loneliness has been the real constant source of concern to wives. After their early years of marriage, women felt alone, in part because their husbands reduce their level of communication to the minimum necessary, according to their own criteria: Conversations that could lead to make a profit or cover their own interests, such as sports, politics, etc. But women are talkative and to be with a man who talks less and less every day is devastating for them. Stop being so rational, so logical and talk to your wife or girlfriend more. Just talk about different things and listen to your wife’s topics because, among spouses, the benefits of a conversation do not come from the topic itself, but from the idea of spending more time together.

Step 2: Make your wife or girlfriend feel that you love her

“Do you love me?” is a significant question that wives and girlfriends ask their husbands and boyfriends. This is not a question that happens by chance: A woman needs to feel loved by her partner more than a man does. And this idea should not be misinterpreted as a sign of weakness, but of great maturity in terms of relationships. As we said before, in general, men want to make love when they achieve something important, after a terrible day at work, when they are overwhelmed with problems, etc., as an antidote to stress. Women, however, have a nobler and better idea about it: They want to make love when they are happy with their live and the man they love. Do your best to show your love for your wife or girlfriend because women need the phrase “I love you” more than a night on a bed. A lot of men, in general, move in opposite direction and by looking for a night on the bed only and forgetting the romantic part that women want to see and hear from them, they ruin everything.

Step 3: Learn to adjust to your present circumstances

Women can change their mood, thoughts and feeling in a flash. The reason is not because they are unstable or have a highly volatile personality, but, in my opinion, because they are like a bee: They like tasting nectar from many different flowers, that is, to try new things, to enjoy the emotion of changing direction. For men, however, such sudden changes in mood or plans are not always welcomed. But you have to see the other side of the situation too. As a man, you are frequently anchored to one possibility, to one plan instead of being flexible enough to change direction with her too.

Step 4: On a more secure footing, make your wife or girlfriend feel protected

After the ferocious tsunami and the earthquake that hit Japan in 2011, a lot of Japanese women wanted to get married as soon as possible. They started looking for a boyfriend, and those who had one already, tried “aggressively” to persuade him to get married despite being regarded as conservative people on these kinds of things. For these women, getting married went from something indifferent to something of paramount importance and the reason (in Japan, in US, in Peru or any other country) is the same: Women want to feel protected, and the presence of a man, somehow, satisfies in part this feeling. With actions and words, let your wife or girlfriend know that you were, are and always will be there, at her side.

Copyright 2014 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


(5) Five steps to get along well with your husband or boyfriend

February 24, 2014

By Eddy Montilla.

SPOUSE

To spend the rest of your life with someone with whom you frequently have a quarrel is not a living hell, but… It must be close it! “I don’t understand my husband/boyfriend. What is the problem?” A lot of women have told me. And the problem is exactly the sentence they said, “I don’t understand him”. The problem is that we are only thinking about difficulties in our relationships instead of trying to understand better the person we have at our side. So, let’s see some steps on how to get along well with your husband/boyfriend, and I hope it can serve as a guide to help you have a better life together.

Step 1: Look for synchronization

A person can get along well with his or her brothers and parents (or if the worst comes to the worst, to put up with them!) just because they have been living together from the beginning. But when two people are together after being adults, the story is different, and once the first years of passion and sexual attraction are gone, the quality of their relationship changes and this situation puts a different complexion on it. For that reason, you have to learn to make adjustments, to put it more clearly, you have to adjust to your husband/boyfriend’s way of thinking and feeling. You have to learn to cede and give up sometimes and request or demand other times. This is to “Synchronize with your partner”.

Step 2: Remember that men are monochromatic

We lived, are living and will continue living for a while in a sexist society with inequalities against women. In a family where both parents work, for instance, when they get home, she has to cook, pay attention to her children and husband too while he can only think about the baseball game on TV. This unfair condition has only one bright side to look on: It gave women the opportunity to develop an incredible ability to do many things at the same time, that is, they are polychromatic. Men, however, are monochromatic and, in general, they cannot do things simultaneously. It is easy to understand this idea when you ask your husband to stay at home and take care of the children, for example. At the end of the day, he will be tired and go to sleep early. In other cases, you can see him breathing a sigh of relief when he knows that you are at home already. Things are better for men when they can use their way of working: Doing things one by one.

Step 3: Try to understand the emotional needs of your husband or boyfriend

The need for affection of men is paradoxically as higher as children’s, but the sexist society we mentioned before restricts the freedom to express their feelings clearly. “Boys don’t cry”, “Men are strong” and other phrases like these ones deeply entrenched prejudices very difficult to eradicate. When it comes to love, a lot of men are laconic; they think they make fools of themselves if they ask for a gentle caress or they just don’t know how to ask about it. So, remember that he will not ask for a caress, for example, but he will be waiting and longing for it. A gentle pat on the shoulder, a loving caress, etc., especially after a long day at work or when things are not going well can improve a lot a relationship.

Step 4: Do not use excessively your resource to insistence

A typical way for wives and girlfriends to obtain something from their partners or to make them do some task is to repeat and repeat and repeat the same. This old method works for some period of time, but in the long run, it brings more problems than benefits. Men usually need more time than women to think and find possible solutions. They need more time to reflect on things and the implications of their decisions. On this aspect, women have a clear advantage over men. Then, instead of repeating several times: “When are you going to do this? When are you going to do this?” to your husband or boyfriend, it’s much better to try something that encourages or challenges him.

Step 5: Make him see that to be together somehow means freedom too

It is very difficult to get rid of prejudice or a wrong way of thinking from a particular social context. For example, a lot of men think that the union between a man and a woman means the end of his freedom. This wrong perception has been alive for centuries and if you constantly ask your husband or boyfriend questions like “where did you go? where are you going? Who are you going with? Etc. your questions will only help to make them think that they are not wrong. A union must be based on trust and truth. Besides, constant questions might push him to do what you don’t want him to do. Instead, make him see that his family, home and you mean freedom and peace. Make him see that all of you free him of worries about his job and problems. I can assure you that your relationship with your husband or boyfriend will be better from that moment.

Copyright 2014 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights are reserved.


(4) Four steps about how to respond to criticism

January 19, 2014

By Eddy Montilla.

Today, more than ever, many people seem to delight in leveling fierce criticism at others. Some people do that for different reasons: Envy, ignorance or because they just want to bother you. Since nobody can get rid of this problem, let’s find a way to deal with it properly with these 4 steps about how to respond to criticism.

Step 1: Don’t make the mistake of getting angry

ANGRY

     If you get angry at the person who criticizes you, then you are incautious and will fall into the trap because this is exactly what he or she wants you to do. If you get mad it would be tantamount to admitting that he or she is right. So, you will have lost the boxing match without entering the ring! There is no point in thinking too much about it because while you are fully awake suffering for what he or she said, this person will be sleeping peacefully. Do not lose your composure and remain calm throughout as if nothing had happened, and in doing so, your detractors will get confused since they were expecting anger instead of calmness.

Step 2: Be receptive

RECEPTIVE

     This step is perhaps the most difficult part of all. As human beings (and I hope you belong to this group because I do not write for alien beings from outer space!) we have a tendency to attack or flee when we are attacked. However, remember what we said at the beginning: Some people make harsh comments or criticism for ignorance rather than evil deed, I mean, they never learned to give (receive) feedback. Behind these rude words, pieces of mockery and criticism, you might find perhaps a piece of truth of something wrong about your work or personality. There are always different areas to improve, so if you put feelings aside and try to be objective, you can find in criticism something that can help you to grow despite being muddy.

Step 3: Do not respond to criticism with insults

CRITICISM

     How would you feel if you had to go back to school at your age and study in a classroom full of children? You would blush with embarrassment, right? Well, this is the only thing you can get by responding to criticism in the same way: You prove to have the same mentality as a kindergarten boy or girl if you go back to that period of time when you pushed me and I pushed you, you made fun of me and I made fun of you…

Step 4: Be practical and show facts and evidence

PRACTICAL

     Words are words: They only represent ideas and theories. Your opinion against another person’s opinion may result in a zero-sum game between the parties. Therefore, you must show facts and concrete actions that prove that your job or opinion is right. And leave the rest to Mister Time. Perhaps, your detractors will continue with their criticism, will continue hating you, but sooner or later, they will have to admit that your right or at least that you are not wrong.

Copyright 2014 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights reserved.


(4) Four steps to deal with controversial bosses, co-workers and problems at work.

October 31, 2013

By Eddy Montilla.

OFFICE

When people are asked to talk about their happiest memories, they usually answer with stories over their school days and rarely about their time at work as if it were a terrible place to be. Adding your short or long commute to work and the time you need to prepare yourself, a person spends almost half a day on things related to his or her job. Since we are working for 40 years or more, I don’t think it is nice to spend half your life in a miserable way five days per week. So let’s see four steps on how to deal with a controversial boss, co-workers and problems at work.

Step 1: Don’t separate your life from your job

When people have problems at work, they tend to live a double life, something like “before and after my job”. But… Can you divide your head from your body? No, because they form an indivisible unit. Likewise, you don’t have to endure everything from 8:00pm to 6:00pm and try to be happy after that. Sooner or later, a double life will be more upsetting because during your working hours, you will be watching the clock and counting bitterly the minutes to leave, and once you leave there, you will be sad whenever you think that tomorrow you will have to come back again. It becomes a vicious circle and therefore the only solution is to solve your problems at work and be yourself.

Step 2: Counteract your annoying boss and co-workers showing efficiency

A work, a lot of bosses are like many kings, emperors and presidents: At first, they are as humble as pebbles under the water of a river, but gradually, intoxicated with power, they become arrogant and almost unbearable people. You can also find some co-workers who want to be your boss when he or she is absent or try to be promoted using the horrible method of denigrating the others. This is the moment when you would love to leave this job, run away from your reality and go somewhere. But when it comes to jobs, we don’t have enough room for youthful idealism. He or she is the boss and you… You are an employee. Therefore, the most viable option is to learn how to deal with this person. Besides, you cannot change your job whenever you find a man or woman who is difficult to work with. Then, how can you coexist with this boss or coworker who really bothers you?

This is the answer: Be efficient. Be better than all of them, including your boss, of course. Learn and study as much as you can to become somehow “indispensable”. Work harder than ever to be one of the best at work because if you are “one among many other employees”, when you have some problems with your boss, he or she would not think twice to tell you: “You are fired!” However, things are different when you are good: Your voice (ideas) will be listened, you will be consulted about important things. It seems that you are (behind the curtain) another boss (a good one!). And something important: Someday you will go home jumping for joy and with your heart pounding with excitement by reading on the face of your boss the following message: “I don’t like this person at all, but I have to admit that he/she is good and I… I need him/her!

Step 3: Don’t divide your co-workers into groups: I like these people and dislike the others

During the first weeks of a new job, people begin to divide co-workers into two groups: I can work with Peter, Sally, etc., and I cannot stand the others. A terrible mistake because a job is not a game, like picking petals off a daisy while saying: “He loves me he loves me not”. A job is not a matter of likes or dislikes. It is something that takes a lot of effort and that’s why we receive a salary every month for doing it. Besides, there are more than seven billion people in the world and no matter what you do, you will like and dislike people and vice versa. Instead of making these mental and emotional divisions, see all co-workers like people with whom you have to do a job, to achieve a particular goal, and as all of you achieve your goals together, your working relationship with them will improve.

Step 4: Love your job

Do you know what geniuses, millionaires and successful people have in common? The fact that it seems they are working all the time, which is only possible when you love what you are doing. Love your job and not matter the problems you could have with your boss and co-workers, you will enter the door of your office with a broad smile while saying to everybody: “Good morning!”

Copyright 2013 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights reserved.


4 steps to spend a peaceful and happy day

February 12, 2013

By Eddy Montilla.

A lot of people think all that stuff about spending a peaceful and happy day recently is just a fairy tale. People usually say: “That’s not for me!” or they just bow to other people’s reality. However, when they see a person smiling and free from worry, it baffles them how this person manages to get it. Well, you can do it too. These are the steps.

FIRST: TODAY, don’t worry about problems that, in fact, you don’t have yet. More than 70 percent of all problems you think you have are imaginary fears. Let’s take a look at some people around the world: Yui, in Japan, thought she was going to arrive late because of the traffic, and she came 20 minutes earlier. Pablo, in Mexico, thought that he would never pass his math test, but he got 72. Ben, in Canada, USA, Germany or any other country, thought that his presentation would be an absolute disaster, but what he really got was an invitation for dinner from his boss because of his good job. I gave you some examples, now think about your own experience and you will realize that most of your days were normal or better than what you expected despite your fears for problems that never came up. And the worst part of it was that you could not enjoy all good things that happened to you on that day.

PROBLEMS

SECOND: Today, contemplate nature. If you observe some cities where people live a long life, like Nicoya in Costa Rica, Okinawa in Japan, Nuoro in Italy, etc., you will easily notice that in these cities, people live close to nature, which is something that the human race can neither create nor control, and that’s why people are always captivated by it. Observe TODAY the sky, clouds, stars, plants or the sea. They will give you peace, motivation and energy to have a great day.

NATURE

THIRD: Do something, read something that makes you laugh. Laugh is like piece of chewing gum: It is small, but it can stretch a lot.

LAUGH

FOURTH: Prepare your mind and heart to have a nice day. It does not take much effort to have a bad day. You only have to think that you will definitely have it and let people do the rest. But if you really want to enjoy your day, then, you will have to learn to get people and their comments out of your mind.

MIND

Spending a peaceful and happy day has little connection with having a wallet crammed with money. It’s a matter of setting oneself a goal rather than any other thing. As you can see, the world TODAY is repeated ad nauseam because it is the key of this topic. I hope you can try these four steps TODAY (again?, Sorry!), and if at the end of the day, your life was better than yesterday, it is because these steps really work and you can try them tomorrow, the day after tomorrow and all days of your life.

Copyright 2013 littlethings4all.wordpress.com. All rights reserved.