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Specialized ProfessionIAMA Freight Train Driving Mommy

Jun 25th 2017 by LadyBillie • 28 Questions • 28 Points

My short bio: At our last AMA 12 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 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: https://twitter.com/mentatapp/status/879336875894464512

Press page where career advice from us has been featured in Time, Inc, Forbes, FastCompany, LifeHacker and others: https://thementat.com/press

Materials we've developed over the years in the resources section: https://thementat.com/resources

Edit: Thanks everyone! We truly enjoyed your engagement. We'll go through and reply to more questions over the next few days, so if you didn't get a chance to post feel free to add to the discussion!

Q:

The mods have verified that OP is a railroad engineer.

A:

Hi Jon and Jason!

It's nice to meet you (anonymously)! Thank you so much for doing this - I attended your last panel and it was so insightful!

I had a question that I never got the chance to ask since we ran out of time... But when working with a show or a film, how do you approach the story and what is your process of finding the "right" sound/musical idea for it? I personally find it very challenging marrying the two together and trying to "read" on what the project would need, and tend to lean more on my personal musical knowledge that's within my comfort zone. What is your process?


Q:

I need a change of career, but I have no idea what I want to do, just that I want to do something else. What's your advice on seeking out a new career?

A:

When not on extraboard and working a regular shift you will only make that $250 daily rate for days actually worked. And no mileage. For me, switching from on call to straight shift has cost me $1200/month easy


Q:

To us, the most important thing is your compass. Your emotional, personal compass. If you're able to expose yourself emotionally and spiritually to the picture, then you will know when something is working and feels like you are on the right trail.

Sometimes we don't even think about it as instruments...its what sound or tone makes us feel the way we need to feel to help tell the story. So its really a journey down the road of trial-and-error.

If you start thinking about what someone else would want you to do, and you lose track of your own compass, then you're in trouble. Please yourself! :)

A:

One exercise we go through with candidates is identifying different family friends within your network. What professions do the people around you have? Aunts, uncles, friends of your parents, older alumni from your high school or college, etc. Grab a coffee or a beer with them and really pick their brain.

You'd be surprised by how much people love to give advice and guidance for someone interested in their field. Don't be too shy to reach out!


Q:

What is the biggest problem you have at work?

Do you use spreadsheets for anything at work?

A:

Wow, thank you for the reply. Was there ever a time where it was difficult for you to get to that point with a picture? What did you do to overcome it?


Q:

How should I respond if they ask me about job jumping (I.e. Switching jobs every few years)? Companies aren't loyal to you anymore but expect you to be, and the only way to move up is by leveraging your current position to land a better one elsewhere.

Is it appropriate to ask an interviewer for feedback to improve myself for the future?

A:

Spreadsheets? Wtf? I guess somebody does. I use a lantern, an air gauge and my wits.

Biggest prob at work. The constant fear of getting coupled between two cars.


Q:

Sometimes the temp score can get in the way. You want to trust that what's in the temp is an indication of what they want, but sometimes it is just a placeholder. We get past it through trial-and-error.

A:

This is a tricky question to tackle broadly since every industry has different norms and perspectives on tenure.

For example, a 12-24 month tenure in some industries (consulting, early-level investment banking & private equity, large tech) is perceived as normal, while it would be shockingly short in pharmaceuticals.

Our advice is generally you want to be testing your market value and opportunities for promotion constantly, but be sensitive to your industry's norms.

The standard answer that does not raise eyebrows during an interview is along the lines of "I was able to land a position that offered more responsibility, opportunity and career development."


Q:

It depends on what kind of job you work on, sounds like OP is an enginer at a smaller railroad or works on a local job. The train crews that work between major cities do spend a lot of time away from home. Avg is 2-3 call before work, 12 hours on duty, X time from depot to hotel, minimum 10 hours(fra requirement) (more like 12-20) at a hotel then 1-2hour report for work and 12 hours till back at home terminal so realistically you will be minimum 34 hours from when you walk out the door to when you walk back in. In practice its more like 45-50.

Source:I am Conductor for a class 1 railroad that works on a road board that travels between major cities.

A:

How much of a show do you get to watch before composing its theme song?


Q:

I'm an older worker (60) who has spent most of his life as a janitor or janitor supervisor. I have other skills, but I feel most jobs won't even consider me due to my age or because I'm a janitor. Is there something I could put on my resume so a company would at least give me an interview?

A:

Never :)


Q:

We watch the whole show, but we are primarily focused on the score. The theme song is a completely separate project.

A:

It's definitely not impossible for older job seekers to make career changes and find something new with their experience. Make sure you are CURRENT - create a LinkedIn profile if you don't already have one and take the time to fill it out and put in a nice, professional headshot. You have a lot of work experience that can be relevant to other fields, so research the positions that you'd like to work in and emphasize how your background will help you to fulfill the requirements of the position. Be prepared to be flexible in terms of payment, don't undersell yourself but realize that if you come off as an expensive hire, you may be passed over for a younger worker willing to settle for less money. Finally, tap into your network, talk to friends/past colleagues or anyone you know working in the industry you're looking to change into. This can be a great help in landing a new position.


Q:

Do you get to blow the big train whistle, or is that automatic?

A:

Is it at all scary to know that, when composing a theme song, to know it will consistently reappear in the future?


Q:

Cover letters -- how important or not important are these actually? I'm sure it varies greatly by industry and maybe even by geographical location, but in general what are your thoughts on writing them, and ideal length?

A:

Yes we blow the whistle. 4 times before each crossing :)


Q:

Its no different than a cue, so it doesn't scare us!

A:

Great question! We've worked with over a dozen career counselors here in the Bay Area and maintain a large network of recruiters -- the direction the hiring industry is moving towards is placing more emphasis on customizing covering emails -- cover letters are seen as a prerequisite and are often unread.

Nevertheless, it's good to include one as it passes a minimum bar -- we recommend 2-3 paragraphs and a density of roughly 75% of one full page. Mirror the header that you use in your resume.


Q:

I always wanted to meet the person that does the choo choo

A:

Are you guys synth guys at all?


Q:

How difficult is it for someone to get hired in their field again if they're coming off of a year "sabbatical" or similar? Does it change by experience level? I have 3 years of experience in my field, and would really like to do some traveling...

A:

Choochoo. You could BE the person that does the choo choo if you wanted to be.


Q:

We are everything guys. Its all a part of our toolbox.

It depends on the project, but synths are often a part of the toolbox.

A:

We work with many clients who are returning to the workforce or have gaps in their work experience. It is important to mention the reasoning for any of these in BOTH the cover letter and any warm introductory emails you send during your job search.

If the gap is less than 6 months, it is fairly normal and most hiring managers will not mention it in an interview. Given there are non-competes, garden leaves, and other common reasons for a gap, you'll only really need to go in depth if you are not working for over a year.


Q:

What's the closest you've been to a collision assuming you were ever that close to one? Also any tips to clean soot off while in the shower or cleaning clothing? Thanks for the AMA.

A:

What is your studio set up like? Favorite piece of gear?


Q:

[deleted]

A:

I have yet to PERSONALLY be involved in a train vs car accident. In my company alone there have been at least a dozen in past 3 years. And it's not that large of a company. But i'm sure i will have that happen at some point in my career. As a conductor my work clothes get washed in hot water with a heavy duty degreaser like pinesol or lestoil which works better than any other cleanser but is becoming harder and harder to find. I wash up at work with bar soap lava soap up to my armpits if i was wearing a short sleeve shirt. And i try to wipe some of the grunge off my face. When i get home i use makeup remover on my face and the shower pretty much gets rid of the rings around my neck and all the cleavage dirt. When i'm working as an engineer i don't generally get quite as dirty UNLESS something goes awry. If something goes screwy in the engine compartment I kinda gotta wedge myself in there and monkey around with some stuff. Really greasy in there. Sometimes when they start up they poof out some soot and splatter oil in your face. It can get ugly.


Q:

We work in 2 similar control rooms, and share a live room.

Our 2 favorite pieces of gear are Neve Pre Amp and Keurig Coffee Machine ;)

A:

Reaching out to your network can be a great way to break into your industry, and it can be useful when trying to overcome the hurdle of a lack of experience from not being able to find a relevant job. If you are still acquiring skills in your unrelated job that could be relevant to a position in a different industry, talk about that. Reach out to people on LinkedIn. Talk about your career goals in your summary. A lack of work experience is definitely a big obstacle but it isn't the nail in the coffin of your job search - you'll just have to find creative and more direct ways around it, like direct outreach.


Q:

Your railroad hiring? If so, please PM with location and company. Experienced and looking.

Hang in there, if your railroad is RRB you'll have a nice retirement. For those who don't know, railroaders have their own separate retirement system, which deducts more than SS but pays more when retired.

A:

When composing for a procedural, is there a procedure of your own that you put into practice?


Q:

Any suggestions for linked in profiles? I am trying to find a new job that is more than a lateral move. I get a few inquiries through it every month but want to make it more effective

A:

Of course it's Railroad Retirement! Woot! But no we aren't hiring :/ i think i've seen that the CN is hiring up in sault ste marie, tho


Q:

We don't brand anything that we work on as one thing or another, so our approach is the same.

We look to find the hidden truth that score can best help bring to life. That's our procedure.

A:

A few tips for Linkedin profiles - make sure you search for jobs and save ones that you're interested in, keep all your content up-to-date and formatted in a way that highlights your achievements, use a clear, professional headshot, and don't be afraid to reach out through the messaging feature to recruiters or other companies that post that they are hiring. It can be a great way to get a direct connection with hiring manager/recruiters/HR departments.


Q:

I've always loved trains and wondered what it would be like to go to work for the railroad. I had a job offer from CSX in SE Michigan/northern Ohio through a fella I played an online game with. I was waiting to go to boot camp when they offered me a job so I turned it down. Fast forward, I'm out of the military now and the guy told me they would have held the position for me (wasn't aware of this at the time) until I completed my service, which I thought was pretty cool.

A:

You’ve created music for shows about cops, lawyers, and doctors. What are some other jobs you’d like to compose for?


Q:

How does one get around a college degree requirement? My friend has almost 20 years experience in his field and in management but has trouble being considered for positions outside his current company because he doesn't have a degree.

A:

You should still apply. I know my company has hired many ex-military dudes. I'm calling bull on that whole thing about holding a job for you line. That's just not how railroads operate.


Q:

We don't think we care about the profession as long as its good storytelling and working with people who care as much as we do about the project.

We found working on Parenthood, which is relatable to us as parents, to be particularly satisfying.

A:

Consider a local staffing company or recruiter. With 20 years of experience, education should be an afterthought.


Q:

Why do some trains have a pusher engine in back and some have 1 in the middle? Do you work 10hr days or?

A:

What's the hardest part of your job?


Q:

I feel trapped in a career I don't like, at 27 I want to find something I can enjoy more and feel confident and happy growing within. How do I start and what steps do i need to take to get there?

A:

In my city we never need helper or pusher engines. But i know in mountainous areas such as west virginia they will need the extra help to get up and over mountains and to hold back a train from getting out of control coming back down. I'm in the great flat midwest. Sometimes we may need to use a 2 engine consist for pulling power but for us it is rare. The road crews typically have 2 or more locomotives. I am able to work a federal max of 12 hours. And i am guaranteed a minimum of 12 hours of rest between shifts. I have worked on the extraboard/on call and the phone will ring at 10 hours of rest to call u for a job which starts 2 hours later. You get a mandatory 2 hour + heads up on a shift. When on extraboard i only had 1 day off each week. Currently i work a regular shift. I go to the yard each night at 10 and have a 2 day weekend. Some nights we switch cars in the yard (shuffle cars into certain tracks) or we transfer cars between a couple different yards which are 5 to 10 miles distant from each other. A transfer betw two yards could take as little as 3 hours (and when we are done we are done and can go home) OR we could get stuck at a signal for 10 hours and never actually make it to the yard. Another crew gets called to relieve us.


Q:

Sticking with a scene even when it feels like its fighting you. Because oftentimes, when you ultimately find it, it turns out you had to stretch and go somewhere that wasn't immediately apparent. Sometimes it involves moving onto something else and coming back to it with fresh ears.

A:

Decide what it is that you want to accomplish in order to reach this feeling of fulfillment. Once you have a clear understanding of what it is you need to work for, you can start to figure out which positions and companies could help you fulfill this. Some people are born to be entrepreneurs and the only way to fulfill their career goals is to break out on their own and start a business. Other people get a great sense of achievement from working on a team and accomplishing a lot for a greater cause like a big company. It all depends on the individual. Once you have a clear idea of specifically what you need to accomplish in order to get this boost of confidence, happiness, and sense of internal growth, you can start to find positions that will help you get there. Make a list of your career goals. Research different companies and their missions and see which ones have values that align with your own. This is a great way to start and hopefully, you'll figure it all out a lot faster.


Q:

what 5 things would u try to experience if u could be the opposite sex for a day?

A:

How did you manage to keep the music fresh on an episodic series such as House and having such a high number of episodes ? Also did Hugh Laurie ever assist on the score of the show personally ?


Q:

When someone is trying to convey that they have managed high dollar budgets, is it appropriate to say a dollar amount, or is it better to just describe the resources you were responsible for? i.e. 10 fleet vehicles, or 30 employees payroll, 900 computers, etc.

A:

Pee on all the things. Uhhhh. That's about the only thing men can do that i can't.


Q:
  1. See above answer
  2. Hugh had ideas about a couple of episodes, especially episodes that he directed. He's a huge music fan and talented musician and composer in his own right. He often told us that he wanted our job, but he was a dream to work with. He came to the studio a few times on particular episodes and couldn't have been more gracious and he was a great collaborator. Also, he was hilarious!

There were a few episodes where he played piano on screen. In some cases, he was playing to what we had already recorded (like in the Dave Matthews episode) -- in other episodes, he played on camera and they used it. There were also times where we needed to replace the production performance because of editing or noise on camera. But, he's a great musician!

A:

Dollar amounts tend to catch the eye of a reviewer first, and I would always include them if it is not confidential information.

Generally it is recommended practice to include 2-3 KPIs for each role, so including supplementary numbers on resources and staff is a positive!


Q:

how do you make your score stand out with shows that have strong soundtracks and other musical accompaniment ?

A:

Thanks for doing this again! I'm in the process of reworking my resume and it's a struggle.

How do I illustrate that I want a company that's willing to teach and train me in my industry, without sounding like I'm incompetent?


Q:

The context for our work is the world of the show we are working on. We would be doing the project that we were hired to do a terrible disservice if we factored in anything else. It ties back to the advice we were giving before...if you are using the show as a vehicle for your own art, then you may have success for a moment, but you won't have a sustained career. The people who are hiring you care deeply about the story they are telling. For the most part, they're not interested in having you pull focus.

A:

Hi kiranrs!

Interesting question...this sounds like something you would mention in a cover letter or introduction instead of your resume. Are you using an objective in your resume? I would encourage you not to; professional summaries have replaced objectives over the past few years.

Training and professional development are highly dependent on the culture of the company. I would suggest getting through to the interview stage and then seeing if they are a good fit for you. If your background is completely unrelated to the field, you'll have to do a lot of research to properly be considered.

For example, if a candidate is looking to break into the field of finance but lacks experience, he/she must write the resume to highlight tangential skillsets, informal education, and side passion projects related to finance. No doubt it is very challenging to start from scratch, but you should not mention you are completely raw and need to learn on the job!


Q:

What is the biggest reward of your job?

A:

This seems to me like a common situation but one that I can never find a good answer for: I'm currently switching careers after twelve years as a licensed massage therapist. I'm doing excellent (4.0) in my studies and my major is computer engineering (beginning jr year this fall).

I know it's important that I have internships to fill out "related" work experience on my resume, and I've also heard the mantra that "just showing you can hold a job is a good thing," and certainly my employment history shows that, my work history includes two positions that I stayed at for over five years and have glowing references from. I'm also doing personal projects with hardware and software and documenting them to put on a sort of resume/portfolio website for when I begin applying for internships and jobs.

So here's my concern: I'm worried that by having what's perceived as either such a blue-collar service industry (at best) or "wacky new agey" (at worst) previous career that I won't be taken seriously by prospective employers. I'm worried that despite a solid education at a good school and with (hopefully) some internship experience that they will see the words "massage therapist" and go "what is she doing applying for this engineering position?"

How would you approach a situation like mine? What advice can you give? I can write a damn good cover letter, but I'm hoping for some insight beyond "just lay it out in the cover letter." I honestly wish I could ignore my previous career entirely on my resume without making it look like I sat on my butt doing nothing for the last twelve years.


Q:

The moment of discovery! When you crack the code.

A:

Hi! We recently had a candidate in a similar situation -- he was a field engineer for an oil company for 15+ years and decided to pursue software engineering. He's been fortunate to land a new role, but what was most effective for him was sending emails en masse to hiring managers. Your background may be interesting to a variety of startups, for example.

What's great about engineering is the interview process is more meritocratic than most -- there's a fairly standard set of technical screens and tests you'll want to prepare for.


Q:

How much time do you typically have to get to know an episode before you need to produce a score?

A:

Is there a common mistake that a lot of people make when looking for a new job?


Q:

It can be anywhere from a couple of weeks to 3 days.

A:

A big mistake is not doing sufficient research on the new company/position that they are looking to fill. This can cause blunders during the interview if you're asked specific questions about the position and the mission of the company, i.e. "why do you want to work HERE?" and it could also lead to regret if you aren't really sure what you are getting yourself into when making a transition into a new job.


Q:

What animal would you be and why?

A:

I'm in Seattle, and there is a lot of work available and there are a number of staffing companies, especially in IT. However, there seems to be a real disconnect between what recruiters think a job entails, and what the hiring manager is looking for. Here are some questions related to that issue:

  • Why do businesses generate such long and convoluted requirements for their positions, when they are really just looking for someone who can quickly adapt, onboard in a convenient timeframe and operate semi-autonomously?

  • What is the most common X-factor omitted by managers and applicants?

  • Are jobs morphing to match human requirements, or are humans compensating to meet job requirements? Can big-data assist in niche-matching position requirements with not only profiles, but personalities?


Q:

Lizards are cool!

A:

This question itself is complex enough it could become it's own reddit thread =)

I'll offer another perspective:

With the average job posting receiving over 300 applications, companies have convoluted requirements on purpose -- to filter candidates. Yes, it's frustrating -- but unfortunately, companies are incentivized to make it difficult to apply to a position.


Q:

How do you evolve the score across many seasons of a show such as house and do you find a show that expansive influences other shows and projects you do ? Also do you let your kids play house as doctors?

A:

At what point in someone's career is it considered worthwhile to go > 1 page on a resume? In the US, are CVs ever useful outside of academia in your opinion? What should be included on your resume if your work is more visual and lends itself to a portfolio better?


Q:
  1. The shows evolve, so its not a struggle. We are led by whatever they put in front of us.

  2. The work we do on one project does influence us on other projects, but it may not be consciously.

  3. My son (Jon) did play Dr. House in a 6th grade commencement play. My son (Jason) was born in diapers when House ended.

A:

Good q's - rule of thumb is if >10 years of experience, 2 pages is OK, but US preferences will always be 1 page - CV's only if you are published - If you're in the design/creative space, portfolios are expected. Make sure you have a separate document that can parse through the automated screens on job apps though.


Q:

Do you find working with a well known actor like billy bob influences the way you write the score for them? For instance would you write different scores for hugh laurrie vs billy bob or do you find the theme of the show has more weight on the influence of the score ?

A:

Make sure you have a separate document that can parse through the automated screens on job apps though

Can you elaborate on that?


Q:

We aren't focused on who the actor is, as fun as it is to work with talented, brilliant people like the two you mentioned. Our focus is not on the billing of the actor, we're hyper-focused on what is Billy McBride's backstory.

A:

Certainly! Most companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to manage their hiring pipeline. When you go through a job application and see that certain fields are automatically filled out for you based on your resume, that's when you know your resume is being parsed properly.

However, if you're in a field that requires portfolios, you need human eyes. Email, email, email! Follow-ups are not considered rude, and jobseekers tend to be too shy.


Q:

My mom has been unemployed for more than a year, and simply can't seem to find a job. She sends out applications all day, gets interviews, and has been a final candidate on several occasions, but she still hasn't landed a job. She's 58 years old with many years of journalism/communication experience, and has won multiple awards for her writing, so her resume is quite impressive. She and I both believe that there may be some ageism at hand, though of course we can't be sure. What are some things she may be able to do when applying and interviewing for jobs that could help her stand out amongst younger candidates with similar resumes?

A:

Joining a shrinking industry is definitely a challenge. Media & journalism has been disrupted heavily, and since we're in an age where no one is accustomed to paying for writing, I completely sympathize. If she's been a career journalist, then she'll have to rely on recommendations rather than cold applications to get through the final round.

We've seen folks pivot their media backgrounds into successful careers as marketing directors, B2B communications & strategy roles, and (more sales-y) account manager roles. PR is tricky since it involves maintaining your network, which at 58 may be too late to try. I would recommend she start branching out to companies that have a core enterprise business model (ie sells things to large companies) where they value a more experienced voice in the conference room. Best of luck!


Q:

How long should I keep putting Eagle Scout on my resume before it begins to seem old/childish?

A:

If the skills you gained/used as a scout are relevant to the position that you are applying to, it's fine to keep it on if you highlight how it makes you a better candidate for the job. If it's just extraneous information about your extracurricular involvement, it's not necessary to include in your resume.


Q:

I am trying to get a job in a city and a country 3000 miles away(where I am originally from). At this point I am pretty sure my resume gets trash binned as soon as my address is seen. One imagines your clients encounter this and other similar problems as well, advice?

A:

This can be a problem due to applicant tracking systems (ATS) but there are ways around it. In your summary, you should make it clear that you are looking to relocate. Also make a point of mentioning your desire to relocate in any cover letters.


Q:

What kind of advice can you offer this up and coming generation (millennials) that are trying to break into this job market for the first time?

A:

Stay open minded, there are many opportunities out there that could seem like they are unrelated to what you want in a career, but could lead to incredible options later down the road. Be prepared to work hard and show that you are interested in staying in the position for awhile - because, with the current job-hopping trend, many employers are hesitant to hire millennials if they are suspicious that they will leave within a year or two of employment. Reach out to your network, this is one of the most valuable tools you have as a young job-seeker looking to break into an industry. Focus on how you can make a big impact at your first employer right away - the more you can achieve in a short time, the better for making moves either up the ladder or into different, better positions.


Q:

Hello my name is Jose Palacios I am a Labor Consultant based out Los Angeles, Ca. I been self employed for over two years now. I notice that I am able to receive more phone calls from cold calling whenever I use the name Joe Palace. What would suggest for brownies like my self in order to stand out and not be stereotyped?

A:

Hi Jose, good question. This is a hot topic of debate within the recruiter community currently and hiring managers are definitely becoming more aware of their biases. There have been a number of studies proving that yes, discrimination does exist; here's a recent one:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/hbsworkingknowledge/2017/05/17/minorities-who-whiten-resumes-get-more-job-interviews/#49ba55c57b74

In general, we don't recommend changing the last name on resumes as it creates problems during the hiring process. However, if you are comfortable going by Joe at the workplace, that is completely acceptable to use on your resume. We often utilize this practice for Asian legal names when the candidate goes by an American name.

More in-depth studies show that aligning your skills and interests to the norm is beneficial -- I hate that stereotyping is a large part of hiring and we wouldn't suggest "whitewashing," but try to align your profile to your industry.


Q:

Hello,

I'm a public health professional that just started a B school MBA program. I was tired of working 60 hours a week and getting poorly paid for 40. Do you have advice as two when I could/should start marketing myself to other fields? I am surrounded by pharma companies so those are the low hanging fruit. Are they other avenues I should also be looking at?

A:

Hi dopo, it's never too early to start the recruitment process in business school! We see candidates pounding the pavement as early as the first Aug/Sep of a 2 year program.

One thing we do consistently see -- the location of the business school is very correlated with the success of its students in landing a job. Take advantage of the network the school offers you first, as there are many relationships between the school and companies that may not be obvious to the student body. Good luck!


Q:

In places like tech startups, would you consider directly emailing the CEO with your resume as a smart move or not?

A:

Yes, but make sure you do your homework about the story of the company and why you'd love it. Target the right person (CEO, CTO, COO) who would be the decision-maker for your role. Following up once or twice on the email is perfectly fine too. Don't be discouraged if they don't respond to your first or second try.


Q:

Any advice on doing a Skype interview from across the world?

A:

Make sure you go to a quiet place, have a good wi-fi connection and show up for the interview as if it was a live, in-person interview. Dress professionally, make sure your hair isn't a mess and have a bright attitude. It can be strange to have an interview through the computer but make it as natural as possible by treating it as if it were an in-person interview. Let your personality shine through and remember that they can still see your body language and get an idea of who you are through cyberspace.


Q:

software portfolio is what my husband calls it, same as an artist might have, a sample of your own work.

A:

Great answer!

To echo what face said -- we're based in SF and as a technology company, half of us are software engineers. If you want to be a developer, you definitely need to have project work to display. Some people learning to code commit to it and have a lot of material to show, while others are only dabbling. Even bootcamps can generate very uneven candidates and aren't seen as "enough" now since they've become so prolific. If you're starting out, there's no reason not to publicize your github.

That being said, web design, data analysis, and PM are all VERY different jobs. Encourage your friend to speak to some more people in the tech industry to see which would suit her strengths.


Q:

How have you helped fresh grads overcome the barrier of entering the job market which demand XX number years of experience in the field when they have little to none?

A:

A little bit of insight on how recruiters at companies think:

Typically jobs available for will be broken into a variation on three categories: Entry (students), Experienced Hires, and Executives.

If you're a fresh grad, you are looking for entry-level positions where ideally the work experience range is 0-3 years. There is some leeway around applying to roles that are 3-5 years of experience required if you have reputable internship experience, AND the years of experience are typically not a hard-and-fast rule for human reviewers, but we encourage you not to waste your time applying to the wrong job.

Talent acquisition staff will look for a few core things in a recent graduate's resume: skillset (education or self-learned), leadership experience, and related industry experience (extracurriculars or interests). Best of luck!


Q:

Any tips for a 30 something currently finishing an undergraduate in engineering to land internships?

A:

Network with your professors. This is one of the best ways for older undergraduate students to land jobs, especially in engineering/hard sciences. Because you are likely far more mature than some of your younger undergraduate counterparts, you can connect with professors or other campus faculties who may have connections either within your university for internships or work experience, or they may have external connections in companies that could help you out. They are your best resource to get started.


Q:

I'm turning 30 soon and despite having a degreee in Hospitality management I've never been above minimum wage. Am I already doomed to fail?

A:

Of course not! Search for the list of successful businessmen & women who were successful later in life -- you'll be surprised to find that is the norm, and success before 30 is the outlier.