i have no work experience - help me write my resume!

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by felix_suwarno, Jun 21, 2003.

  1. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    hi all, i just got a masters degree on computer graphics, and i am going to start a new chapter in my life.

    but the problem is, i dont have any work experience. i spent my early years learning english ( my toefl score was 620 out of 670 )...now i dont know what to put on my resume.

    i dont even know what to put under "achievement" or "accomplishment" !

    my friends put everything they can into their "Technical skills" section. they put software like macromedia flash, even though they only knew a little bit about it. well, i knew lots of things a little bit, but i dont dare listing these software in my resume because...well, i only knew a little bit! i only put the software that i am proficient with...and when i say proficient, that means i am an advanced user.

    so please help!

    thanks in advance
     
  2. Drue Elrick

    Drue Elrick Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, think back through your life and write down your accomplishments. One biggie already stands out - you learned English and got a huge score! That should show you are not afraid of challenges, are willing to work hard, etc.

    This also shows that you are bilingual. Flaunt it. Lots of places want bilingual people - if you don't tell them, they won't know!

    Look at the projects you did while earning your Master's degree and Bachelor's degree. Surely you did some? Did they involve planning? Research? Cooperation in a group setting? What skills and techniques did you use? What stuff did you learn or expand on? Do not discount your Bachelors and Masters time as non-experience. Its a hell of a lot of experience!

    ANY jobs you've done in the past count. Retail sales? That involves communication, learning tasks, scheduling, etc.

    In the meantime, get a job - ANY job. If you show you were working right after you graduated, it shows you've got drive and sense - you didn't waste your time doing 'nothing' trying to get the 'perfect' job.

    Since you are in the computing field, feel free to list what tools you've used and/or learned. You shouldn't lie about your experience with them but you also do not have to kill your chances at getting jobs by being so honest you make yourself look bad. If you get asked about Macromedia Flash in an interview, make sure you know what project(s) you did, maybe how big they were, etc. Let the interviewer judge for themselves. Who knows, maybe the job description asks for a Flash expert, you still need to apply. Maybe they will overlook your lack of experience because of other skills you possess. The key is - don't take yourself out of the running before they even get your resume!

    Achievements and accomplishments also don't have to be job-related. Did/do you volunteer anywhere? Did you do special things in school like chair a committee or some group? Anything that shows you've done something is good. Its your life - show it off!

    Be proud of what you've done, know it, write it down, and be prepared to impress your interviewer with your wealth of knowledge about yourself! Be sure that you can list situations, the tasks that you were responsible for and accomplished, and the goal(s) achieved. Hook, line, and sinker. It shows you've done your homework, prepared for the interview and are taking it seriously. When you've done that, you feel more confident because you won't be sitting that hmming and hawing. And you'll be more relaxed which will help put your interviewer at ease.

    Don't be afraid to speak about your passions - link them to job requirements where you can. This shows that you are motivated and will probably be happier in the job. Happy employee = more productivity = more incentive for them to pick you.

    Last bit of advice - do not lie on your resume. If you cannot back up what you've written, you'll kill yourself.
     
  3. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    i really have never had a job. i spent my time going to school and concentrating on learning computer graphics my self. lots of my friends have jobs, but that prevent them from mastering anything. i have extensive knowledge of NURBS modelling with rhinoceros3D...they dont have this knowledge, but they do have lots of work experience they can put on their resume.

    in fact, i am looking for my very first job in my whole life!

    thanks for your insightful post, drue.
     
  4. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    Do like everyone else does on their resume'

    Lie!

    Just kidding!

    I have had far more success in life by asking people for referrals than I ever did mailing my resume. Hell, mailing a resume is only good for the people selling you stamps.

    You have a formidable education in techno stuff that I can only awe, but now you have to take that uncomfortable and daunting step into the muckpit called 'SALES' and sell yourself and your qualities.

    The first step is not creating a resume. It is identifying the field you want to work in. If it is not in your town then move.

    Next you want to meet everyone and anyone in that field. Find out what service clubs they belong to, what bars they frequent, etc. Ask your former professors for referrals. Get in front of those people who can hire you or connect you to the people who can hire you.

    A very ball-sy move, but one that can get you noticed, is to walk right into the office and ask for the director of the department you want to work at (never ask for personnel!). If you are lucky you will get 3 minutes. DON'T BE MODEST! Tell him/her "I just graduated with my Masters degree and am exception at what I do and am a fast learner. I am talented and not afraid of a challenge, including my first, and that is an interview with you. If I pay would you be willing to spend lunch with me later today or this week to talk about what I can do that will make me your most valuable team member?" - you'd better be prepared for what you will say in that lunch.

    They may say all hireing is done out of personnel and try to brush you off. Personnel is the graveyard of resumes. Don't go there. You say one of two things "I know personnel is where most begin, but I thought before I spoke with them I'd like to speak with someone on the inside who really knows whats going on. I don't want to impose so I thought we could do it over lunch." or you say "What advice could you share that will get me in the door instead of in the 'call on a rainy day file'?"

    Honestly, any resume I see gets pitched into the 'never look at again' file. However, someone who walks in will always get a few minutes. Even if I can't (or wouldn't) hire them, I'd give them advice that might be useful. Most people I think would go that rout. It is very flattering for most people to be asked for advice. So even if you don't get the job, ask the person for advice of getting one in the industry.

    (and if you don't get in front of the department manager, ask the person you do end up seeing what advice they can give to someone who is eager to work there.)

    Finally, your resume is nothing but a brief outline of a story. Your story. Your first post could almost be considered a resume. Just make sure your story is brief, interesting and likable.
     
  5. PatrickM

    PatrickM Screenwriter

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    Felix,

    I don't want to be a downer but going all the way to get your masters without ever having job experience is a a negative on a resume which I'm sure your already aware.

    If its not in a field where your going to teach its considered very impratical. Even in computer graphics where having a masters shows great aptitude its still scary to a potential employer that your a lifetime student to date.

    Now, to get more positive, its not a lost cause obviously. Your inventory of skills doesn't have to be specific to your field. Letting a potential employer know your team work skills, your communication skills, your ability and thought process in how you tackle problems is key for them to keep you in the short list pile as opposed to the round file pile.

    I've gone through well over 2000+ resumes in my life now over 12 years of being a senior to executive level manager and that is what I would look for from someone who hasn't had extensive work experience.

    Hope this helps.

    Patrick
     
  6. Chris Derby

    Chris Derby Second Unit

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    i would think that in the course of obtaining a degree in computer graphics, you would have amassed quite a bit of material in your "portfolio" that can demonstrate your skills.

    If you are looking for employment in this type of field, include examples of your work with your request for employment.
     
  7. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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    A portfolio is key, as well as putting the graphics in context (this client wanted a design that was X and projected his corporate image as Y, etc).

    I don't know what your monetary needs are right now (must get job to pay back loans, etc), but you might consider an internship or some volunteer work for some non-profit websites/organizations just to get some material out there.

    The biggest problems I usually see from people who have graduated college and never worked in a job before are lack of work ethic and lack of customer service/people skills. Getting a temporary job in retail or foodservice will solve both of those, and will also make you glad when you finally do get the job you've wanted. There is no quicker way to get fired or screw up an interview than by being consistently late/tardy or pissing off a customer/boss/client.
     
  8. Cary_H

    Cary_H Second Unit

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    All advice posted so far is sound. I would suggest you concentrate your efforts toward making your resume stand out. Keep it short, tight, and professional, that is, no spelling and grammatical errors, well laid out, not too glitzy, yet able to stand out and draw the attention of a person scanning a huge pile of mundane submissions. Print it on quality grade paper with a laser. If you go color paper, keep it subdued. You just want it to be different than the usual plain white stuff.
    The real KEY to the success of your resume is a killer cover letter. This is where you tell them how excited you are to have this opportunity to work for this company. This is where you tell them what a great asset you will be to them once you're onboard. Prior job experience has no place on this page. This is for making them need to meet this guy. Make the effort to find out the name of the HR person that your CV is to go to. Head the letter to them personally, not just to some "Mr./Ms", or "To whom this may concern". Follow up your submission with a call to make sure they have it. (of course they have it, you hand delivered it) Tell them you're looking forward to the interview.
    Go to a library and pick up some books on writing killer cover letters. I highly recommend "Cover Letters That Knock 'em Dead" by Martin Yate. While there, load up on material on how to interview successfully. All your efforts to get your foot in the door will be for naught if you crash and burn in the interview.
    From personal experience I can say that I went from "couldn't buy a job", despite years of job experience, to having to choose from multiple job offers from every company I had interviewed with the last time I went out there. What made the difference was that I had educated myself, discovered what mistakes I had been making time after time, and became dominant in interviews.
    Good Luck.
     
  9. Mike Lenthol

    Mike Lenthol Second Unit

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    Job in retail or fast food after a master's? [​IMG] That's killer for self esteem.

    Anyway, just put down freelance work for past say 6 years you were in school. Doing webpage graphics, odds and ends here and there. Surely you'll be able to remember at least a few instances where you did some work for others, not necessarily for a profit either.
     
  10. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    jeez, you guys are really nice to a stranger like me.

    thanks a lot, i am gonna save this thread on my hard drive.

    my port folio is here :

    www.vhylynx.net
    http://vhylynx.net/Resume/CG_Gallery/default.htm

    please let me know what you guys think. i actually sacrificed everything in order to be able to do this kind of port folio. lots of my friends have had a job, but only one or two of them could make anything equal or better than what i did. honestly! i am not boasting. i found that if you got a job, then you cannot concentrate on learning the 3D software...you need a full time schedule to master one! if you ask me, most grad students in my class produced artworks that are no better than high school students. but they do have real world experience.

    i am gonna get "Cover Letters That Knock 'em Dead" ASAP.
     
  11. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I would work on capitalizing "I" in all correspondence with future prospective employers when necessary (which is always).
     
  12. David Susilo

    David Susilo Screenwriter

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    Felix,

    bohong sedikit nggak apa-apa koq, yang penting jangan keterlaluan bohongnya sampai ketahuan. Asal kamu bisa prove bahwa kamu bisa kerja, harus bisa sedikit berani 'omong besar'. Mereka nggak bakal cek koq.
     
  13. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    i am still doing research on this matter. people and books told me to address my resume / port folio etc etc to a specific person in a company. well, i found it hard to do, because i just started to do networking.

    on the company's website, for example, i found this :
    Contact Information:

    Human Resources
    Midway Amusement Games, LLC
    2727 Roscoe Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60618

    so, is it still worth it to send my resume and portfolio to them with "to whom it may concern" or "dear sir/madam" ?

    another question, is it okay to send my resume / port folio randomly?
     
  14. PatrickM

    PatrickM Screenwriter

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    It is always best to address it to someone specific. The easiest way to do this if you don't know somebody there is to phone up reception and quiz them in a polite and quick way because you have to remember they are answering phones.

    It is also okay to send it straight to Human Resources but remember your likelihood of getting a response is the same as when someone sends you junk mail.

    If your looking at Midway you might want to look at EA out here in Vancouver. Their offices here are so kick a$$ its unbelievable. They typically have a lot of openings.

    Check www.bctechnology.net under their job postings and you should find some EA ones.

    Patrick
     
  15. Scott_lb

    Scott_lb Supporting Actor

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    Felix,
    I don't mean to be harsh, but I would highly recommend that you go out to a local bookstore and either buy or at least sit down for a few hours and read through books on resume writing, writing cover letters, and how to get jobs in general. I did so and found the experience invaluable, and I think that you would benefit as well.

    You could try this: find an example of a resume in one of those "best of books" that is representative of someone who is fresh out of school with little experience. You could then model your own resume after that resume and try to get similar results.
     
  16. Dan Lindley

    Dan Lindley Second Unit

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    You might also try the library for books on resume and job hunting, and they (or some other municipal facility, or YMCA, or church, etc.) may have classes on what you need. Finally, your school may/should have a placement office with counselors.

    Good luck.

    DL
     
  17. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Felix, I am reluctant to make these comments and give this advice, but I think it important as you are considering your resume and subsequent job search.

    To begin, as a mostly monolingual person, who has lived and worked in many foreign countries, I am in awe of your mastery of English.

    But in presenting yourself to hiring managers or HR departments that are primarily English speaking, you will present yourself to best advantage by using formal, written English. This means following accepted conventions of spelling, punctuation and, most importantly, capitalization.

    I have read your postings in this thread and in many others and I have always been struck by your choosing to not capitalize in the standard English norms (as Patrick Sun has already suggested). Your grammar, is for the most part correct and your construction is easy to follow. Most native English speakers who are in hiring positions will not be that concerned with the occasional grammatical mistake (unless you were applying for a job as a writer or an editor), but almost all of them (in my belief) will have an adverse reaction to your consistent lack of proper capitalization.

    My strong suggestion is to correct this in all your writing immediately, so that it is natural by the time you are applying.

    As for your resume, as has already been pointed out, being a full-time student can be a bit of a problem. You can compensate for this by putting your resume in chronological order, demonstrating what you were doing (attending various schools and working on various projects) all the time.

    Make sure that you have no gaps. Prospective employers look for an uninterrupted work/study history. So make sure that you cover all you time with something or another.

    Make your cultural background work to your advantage. I am aware that you speak Bahasa. It is possible that you also speak some other languages or have some familiarity with them. Put them on your resume as well—even if they are obscure ones that are not likely to be known here at all.

    You never know what will help. My son got his first full-time job out of college because he could read Hindi and Marathi (and a little Sanskrit). The fact that he could read French and German was beside the point, as he was offered a job in an Ivy League’s library in the South Asian rare books collection.

    You just never know.

    Further, you can subtly point out how you have overcome difficulties in learning English and a host of other things in your resume by listing your accomplishments and achievements in these areas (your English score is a good example). For example in your education, put down the time you spent studying the language and your result. You won’t have to then point out that this was hard—that will self-evident.

    Of course all of this is just my view.
     
  18. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    Okay, Lew, I will follow your advice.

    I also bought 3 books about how to write resume or cover letters ( one of them is called "Cover Letters that knock 'em dead ). I did this before i post this thread. They always had experience in the resume.

    I also tried to put a small info about how I learned english on my resume by stating that my toefl score was 620...but an advisor at DePaul told me that it is unnecessary.

    And I am afraid that I they knew in the first place that I dont have citizenship, they would not employ me. I do have a one year working permit. I was hoping that my employer would help me get H1 visa.

    I am also aware that employers don't like to see "gaps". Well, what kind of a job should I take? The problem is always the same : "don't apply if you didnt have citizenship / permanent residence".

    Most companies ask for 3D studio or Maya. I just started to learn Maya a few weeks ago. My university refused to use Maya or 3D studio as their main subject for some stupid reason ( in my opinion ). So if i took a job, then I will never have the chance to learn Maya...and that also means I could never find a job in computer graphics / game industry.

    I am really confused.
     
  19. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    I have one more stupid question.

    I called a company, asking for the person who takes care of any resume / portfolio sent to it. The person who answered my call spoke really fast, it sounds like she was in a hurry or something. At first she told me "Attn:Recruitment" would be enough, but I told her that I don't feel comfortable sending my resume without addressing it to a real person in her company.

    So she said "address it to Joe". Well, I am not a smooth talker and somehow I forgot to ask for his / her last name. Now, I don't know about how to address this person on my cover letter. Is "Joe" a male or female name???!!!
     
  20. Lee L

    Lee L Supporting Actor

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    Call back and ask for the last name, sending the letter to Joe will not win any points. Either that or just send it to recruitment with no name.
     

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