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Another Quick Resume Comment

December 7, 2017 Leave a comment

Reviewing resumes is a very tedious adventure and an adventure it is. Most of the resumes can be quickly discarded, but the rest leave you searching. As stated before, colleges do a very horrible job of helping students with resumes. People take the one opportunity to open a door and screw it up.

The majority of resumes that I actually open, read, and try to understand the prospective employee are riddled with issues that have me closing their pdf, doc, or txt file. Yes, the txt file is the evil one that should NEVER be submitted. There are free tools that mimic Word. What is one of the main problems? It is information. The resume is the initial introduction and needs to reflect you in a positive light.

For some reason, people will leave out vital bits of data that tell me about yourself in terms of your work and what you are interested in. What is worse is that the resume organization is poorly done. For some reason, a person looking for an engineering position or web development feels the need to let me know they studied music or won some vocal performance. These may be nice accomplishments, but they are not related to what you are applying for. I really do not care if you were voted “Most likely to succeed” in high school. Yes! That was actually on a resume. If you write that you are hoping for a job in Denver and you are applying for a position in Binghampton, NY, what am I to think? Your veteran with five points gets you nowhere with me if the points have no bearing on this position. Again, I do not care that you are able to handle raw meat if you are interested in an accounting position. Do you need to emphasize your leadership skills if you are applying for an entry-level position?

Most of what I see is sloppy and inattentive resume writing. One-size fits all resumes doesn’t work. I shouldn’t have to search the internet about you in order to see if you are worth calling for an interview. If I can find more about you on the net that is related to your skills and job hunting desires, then consider putting it on your resume. Take about the volunteering at the soup kitchen and add your advanced math tutoring. You can tell me about your volunteering when I interview you as this is when I am trying to gauge you as a person.

A resume needs to be relevant to the position be applied for. All pertinent information needs to be on the resume as this is what sells you. These two sentences are redundant, but somehow people can’t seem to understand this fact. If I have to search, you have likely lost the opportunity. I shouldn’t have to search your resume to get an idea about you. I should be able to quickly read the resume to know your abilities. There is a difference between searching a resume and reading the resume. If I am searching your resume, your information is lost and never to be found by me.

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Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

The Christmas Card Review

November 6, 2017 Leave a comment

I had the habit of watching Hallmark Christmas movies until the more recent movies became so bad, that I’ve stopped watching them. There are few older movies that I continue to watch from time to time. I’m not sure what it is about some of them, but for some, there is something entertaining that keeps me watching. The Christmas Card is one of those movies.

I’ll come out say it, this is a bad movie. For some reason, there is something that keeps me watching. From the beginning scenes of the Afghan military base, you immediately recognize this as a bad, bad movie. The soldiers are dealing with some of the worst dialogue and stiff acting. Come on, “Jonesy.” Are we being serious? The writing is horrible and it doesn’t get any better. I’ll spare you from having to read some of the dialogue, but the writing is some of the worst. Continuing with the opening scene, the explosion that kills Jonesy, is cheap and brings you out of the story, if you were ever in it, and the reason why Sgt. Cody Cullen is sent home is just as silly. To end the military aspect of the movie, it is very bad acting when Cullen visits Jonesy’s wife in order to give her dogtags.

If you continue with the movie, the dialogue is simply horrible and the actors are forcing their lines. The scenes do not blend and work as if the scenes are being held hostage and forced to mingle with each other. If we even take the premise that a family will take in a stranger, wouldn’t it be strange that a soldier searched a woman down based on a Christmas Card? The timeline doesn’t even work in this movie unless Cody, at the end of the movie, has decided to push his motorcycle to the memorial bridge in order to give Faith time to buy a meal and take it to him.

How bad is the acting? Cody’s character is a cardboard cutout without emotion as is the beau, Paul. They are one in the same. If they were to fight over Faith, it would be a battle of boredom. Faith isn’t much of an improvement, but the actress does occasionally provide life to her character. She shows no affection for this Paul, so you conclude early on she doesn’t love him, but she does, I think. She has more affection and life towards Cody when she first meets him than this Paul whenever Paul is around. Now to Ed Asner. He is too old for the part and shows it. His acting is actually rather good and is believable. Sadly, his character is too unrealistic, so thanks go to the writers. Uncle Richard has the most life but is used as a poor comedic relief that doesn’t fit the scene. Stuck with corny lines, this character meanders through the movie like a sideshow that distracts.

If there is poor acting, poor script writing, poor directing, poor plot design, and plenty of other poor and unrealistic issues, then what attracts me? I believe the character Faith has, on occasion, showed life much like a young girl that practices kissing on a cardboard cutout of the rockstar she admires. It may be the mother who appears to question who Cody is without ever saying so. You get the impression that she isn’t sure of the man. I really don’t know what it is as the more modern Hallmark movies are trash. It may even be a combination of Christmas, snow, woods, sawmill, and moments of decent acting that win me over.

If I were to rate this 2006 television movie, it would be two stars. The only reason it gets this is that there is an element that attracts my attention even though I am constantly cringing throughout the movie. I am cringing for the actors, audience, and myself for watching it. I now wonder if Hallmark is a place where people try to learn to write, direct, and act. Well, Linda Hamilton wasn’t too bad in her Christmas movie.

October 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Listening to a podcast about Fred Korematsu, the man who sued the government, Korematsu v United States, the podcasters mentioned a difference between the treatment of the Japanese and Germans living in America. I am not sure which person mentioned German-American rallies in Madison Square Garden supporting Nazi Germany as evidence of bias, but I started thinking, how accurate is this and is it relevant? This isn’t about the right or wrong of interring Japanese-Americans, but whether or not there is a fair comparison between those of Japanese descent and German descent.

The first thing to understand is the fact the Japan attacked American held territory while Hitler was trying not to aggravate the Americans. Germany did declare war on America on December 11.  There is a huge difference between the two as one attacked and killed Americans in an aggressive act while Germany and America played a game without going to war. There is an understandable reason why America would target Japanese-Americans and this is evident by the draconian measures taken in Hawaii and the West Coast. Spying on Pearl Harbor was a real issue, so it was prudent, in the minds of leaders, to not only question the loyalty of Japanese-Americans but also isolate people that were relatively easy to identify.

For the German-Americans part, there were attempts by the Un-American Activities Committee to restrict any Nazi supporting rally. Prior to December 11, 1941, there was no reason to restrict any activities by German-Americans as the two nations were not at war and Germany had not attacked American territory with the intent of going to war. The only Madison Square Garden rally that I came across was a 1939 rally. This is clearly well before American and Germany went to war, thus there was no need to censor the German-Americans supporting Nazi Germany. In fact, it was before Germany invaded Poland. It was only after the declaration of war by Germany that we see the suppression of pro-Nazi feelings. In fact, Fritz Kuhn, the leader of the German American Bund, was targeted by Thomas Dewey and the White House. They were successful in taking down Kuhn as they got a conviction for tax evasion and upon his release in 1943, he was again arrested as an enemy alien. As for the Bund, it was defunct by 1941.

What we fail to recall is that 11,000 German-Americans were placed in internment camps during the Second World War, though not at the levels of Japanese-Americans. Latin America was pressured by America to arrest German-Latin Americans. There is also a failure to recall how German-Americans were persecuted during the First World War. What was being done to the Japanese-Americans was not uncommon as the past history of America shows the drastic actions America takes to protect herself.

Hawaii and the West Coast saw the worst of the treatment towards Japanese-Americans as the main threat from Japan came from the Pacific. Executive Order 9066 forced the Japanese-Americans to evacuate the West Coast. Fear was a key factor more so than racism, but we cannot forget how racism also affected the decisions made by those in power. When this event is discussed one term is often mentioned – paranoia. That is the prevailing issue after the bombing of Pearl Harbor much like of the fear and paranoia during the First World War.

I have several friends whose grandparents and even parents were interred at these camps. They have strong feelings about how people are treated as they are directly descended from wrongfully interred Japanese-Americans, and I know they do not approve of the distortion of facts to make this event sound even worse. How much worse can it get for those interred who had to suffer from the harsh conditions? Marginalizing or distorting what happened to the German-Americans does not help anyone understand why Japanese-Americans were interred, nor does it add to the event. I am not a believer of learning from the past as past issues are not similar to current issues. What I do believe is we can make drastic and horrible mistakes when we distort the past to satisfy, support, or validate an ideology whether it is political or social.

 

 

Schooling Through The Summer

August 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Last June, I was in a discussion about education and having school year round. The parent’s thought was that it would be beneficial to her son’s education as their school was implementing some type of system to maintain students year round. Is this necessary? There are a few reasons why I believe year round education to be not worth the effort and a poor idea, but am I missing something?

The common argument I hear is that students lose so much over the summer to the point that teachers must spend a considerable amount of time reviewing what was taught the year before. How accurate is this assessment? I’ll take a look at several subjects and analyze them.

The first is history. Some schools do not teach history on a linear basis or chronological basis. There is some jumping around in the realm of history, therefore, what teacher reviews the previous school year’s history? If we look at how history is taught at the high school level, we immediately see that it is nothing more than a cursory coverage. While in graduate school alongside school teachers, the common statement was how little students know about the Civil War and even the Second World War! Do you think any of these children know about the War of 1812? Asiatic history is fully ignored and with understandable reason. The majority of the American population is European based so no one will recall the Imjin War or the multiple Chinese dynasties. Even South America is blank for Americans as few to none know who Simón Bolívar was. Certainly, no one recalls the first successful slave revolt in Haiti. They definitely wouldn’t know that there were black slave owners on Haiti at the time, too.

My point is that history at this level is too superficial and disjointed to require any summary. Another point is that our method of teaching history is so dull that students forget the history shortly after the knowledge is no longer required for exams. Another factor to consider is that there are people that simply do not enjoy history. I love history, but I will fail to recall certain historical topics that I have no interest about. Even going to school year-round will not help the student accumulate a wider knowledge of history as it is just too much and it continues to add up every day. We can say the argument fails. Even the idea of having more time for history fails as little is gained.

What about the sciences? We are talking chemistry, physics, biology, and the other types of sciences taught. Again, these subjects, though related, are not related in educational terms. If a student fails to remember water is made of 2 parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, it won’t hurt the student in physics or biology or even the study of clouds. The argument is even flimsier than when applied to history. When I dissected a frog, I had no need of how to balance chemical equations, how to determine acceleration or force, or what types of clouds there are.

What about English, do students lose something? Yes, students lose something, but this is less of forgetting and more that the instructor couldn’t teach. If you learn the fundamentals and understand them, you are more likely to retain them. Having a review reaffirms what has been learned. The review helped to solidify the foundation of what has been learned. You build upon what you learn but the vast majority of students have not been properly taught as it is tedious and rather dull. My sons have had their summers off and never struggled with reading, writing, and understanding the basics of English. What difficulties they had fell to my spouse and me as we did not educate them properly.

I have saved my favorite for last. Mathematics. This is a field that is similar to English. Again, I find fault with the original argument. Students do fail to recall elements of math after the summer and do need a review. Is the argument correct for this? Yes and no. Any of us that studied math should be able to attest that we forgot what we learned at the beginning of the course as we neared the end. Students go to school continually from late August to early June and yet, students forget much of what they learned in the fall. If you look at certain math programs, extra problems are built into each chapter that review previous chapters, why? Without continual practice, a student who does not understand the fundamentals will forget. How does learning math year round help? It doesn’t. You will need a review period or increase the homework, even more, to accommodate what was taught six or eight months ago. If the instructor properly teaches the students then the review becomes less necessary.

I will openly admit my sons forget elements of their math as they didn’t understand the concepts taught. In fact, they would fight me when I tried getting them to understand trig functions through deriving them. Once you understand how something is developed or calculated, you are less likely to forget it. Sadly for many out there, math requires an understanding of the concepts taught and practice problems to reinforce.

This isn’t a comprehensive review, but it does show how unnecessary going to school year round is. Our educational failings are with our school districts and those teaching. They are failing our students and money has nothing to do with this. It is how we apply our education strategies as schools and teachers. To continue with schooling through the summer is an expensive effort with little reward. The student is going to gain almost three months of what knowledge? It is a nice idea to think of how much more our children will learn, but if the process is inefficient, to begin with, how will a few extra months help? I do not the value exceeding the overall cost of educating year-round.

Chicago Blackhawks

August 8, 2017 Leave a comment

The Chicago Blackhawks were swept by Nashville Predators with ease. Was this an aberration or portends to come? They only scored three goals in four games while being shut out in two of the games. Some years the puck doesn’t go the way you want. Was this the case?

It is easy to look at the Nashville Predators and assume their making the Stanley Cup finals proves the Blackhawks played a great team, but this is too simple. The Predators were the sixteenth seeded team and clearly were not one of the better teams entering the playoffs. They were tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New York Islanders for regulation victories with 39. They were five and five their last ten games. There was not much to write about as the Predators entered the playoffs.

Chicago, on the other hand, lost their final four games with two being in overtime and the team was three and seven in their final ten. They couldn’t average two goals per game their final four games, and they held a four and one record against Nashville with two victories in Nashville. On the surface, there wasn’t any reason to believe Chicago would be swept.

The losing streak provides one impetus for their being defeated by Nashville. The ‘hawks were struggling at the end of the year and this lack of energy was carried into the playoffs. When a team dials it back, they sometimes lose their momentum and this appears to be one of those times. They didn’t have any momentum and Pekka Rinne had a great two game start to push back the ‘hawks.

Without seeing the series or videos, it is difficult to show how the Predators were able to neutralize the ‘hawks. One video I did see (Game 1) was on the ‘hawks offensive zone as they were on a powerplay in the second period down 1-0. Every shot by the ‘hawks on Rinne were unscreened with Rinne given time to set up. Patrick Kane, all alone, shooting from the faceoff circle to Rinne’s left had plenty of time to move in if he should choose. Instead, he fired a shot to a well-positioned Rinne who saved it. Toews was briefly trying to screen Rinne, but he did a poor job and was rather ineffective. A second video showing Hossa’s second period shot displayed nothing more than a weak shot that was easily saved by Rinne. In fact, I do not believe Hossa got all of that shot.

Nashville’s goal was a nice goal but more of a luck type that more often than not does not go right. This doesn’t take anything away from the goal, but it is simply something that happens from time to time. For Rinne, he played well but didn’t face many difficult shots. In fact, Chicago shot wide many good scoring chances. The first game validates the fact that Chicago was not ready to play. There was energy, just not the crispness the Blackhawks were used to.

An early goal in game two continue the momentum the Predators had from game one.

Categories: Uncategorized

Resume Season For Me

August 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Bad emails are back again for those in the need to write one for a job. It never ceases to amaze me at how poorly resumes are written. If you want an interview, your resume is the gateway to the interview. You need to keep it concise, clear, and informative. Put some effort in writing the summary of who you are as a potential employee.

Somehow colleges and universities do a very poor job of teaching students how to write resumes. The first issue, I believe, is the fact that those teaching how to write resumes do not write standard resumes. They construct a college teaching oriented version that is vastly different than what most people are looking for. Also, they teach obsolete ideas. The biggest issue would be the variety of resume styles needed. Each profession has a focus such are published works for professor positions and website work for those looking to program.

As I look at my newest batch of resumes, I see quite a number of people omitting names. Seriously!? A few only provided what I presume to be the first name. If you cannot take the time to provide your full name, I will not take the time to read your resume. You have told me you do not care. While you are at it, provide me with a means of contacting you. Give me a phone number and an email. Also, where are you located?

Length. If I have to read fives pages worth of a resume to get an idea about you, you have wasted my time. This young lady’s resume is slightly over four and I stopped at one page. Her summary of qualifications took nearly half of the first page and the technical skills were vastly overloaded. Simple to say, reduce this information. Instead of listing in a vertical position your name, number and email, why not go horizontal with this. Oh, the 24 font name is not necessary. Keep it standard and bold if you must.

This lady brings up another issue and that is experience or skills. Do not oversell yourself as doubt begins to set it when you “know everything.” She may be experienced in her listed technical skills but by no means is she proficient in all of them. Remove the Microsoft information if you are going to add 35 additional skills. Why not combine the MS information and leave out what you are not proficient at. Pick what you are best at or use the skills you know to target a specific job. Design your resume as if it is a guided missile. Make it specific to the job you are seeking.

Experience and past jobs are another problem I have found. Please refrain from using the buzz words. Only a simpleton falls for them or the experienced graduate. I have eight resumes that I swear the applicants used the same source. “Experience working on large scale projects…” What does this tell me? Absolutely nothing. “Was able to autonomously understand the overall requirements…” and “Experience with process modeling…”and so on. This means nothing to me. Just because you are experienced at using a software has no value. I can find dozens if not hundreds of people that can use Microsoft Word. Leave out the phrases “Good experience…”, “Good knowledge…”, “Experience in creating…”, and “Involved in…” Include substance within your experience. If you worked at place A for a time, then give me some detail about what you did. I know you did not do ten different major projects in the year or two you were there. You may have assisted in some minor way, but you were not the most important person. Leave the lesser part of your experience out.

For goodness sake, do NOT tell me why you lost your job. You want me to bring you in; not exclude you! Do not tell me that you left because of personal reasons or company culture reasons especially when I see you work at companies for no more than a year or two. If you keep being laid off or downsized, this tells me all I need to know about your skillset. I recommend you keep a job for a minimum of four to five years. It is understood that some jobs are not what you thought, but when you leave a company every one to two years, this tells me you are not someone I want to bring in.

Layouts of resumes have changed. I have a ten year old or more resume that needs updating. Today’s college graduates are changing how resumes look. One gentleman has his objective, skills, and additional knowledge listed on the left while his experience is listed vertically on the right. The left side information tend to be single words or short phrases. Another person has his skills, tools, and language listed on the right. These are organized and clear and very easy to read. One mistake I do see are paragraphs that are too long. Three sentences are nice but keep them short. Search on the internet for templates that best fit you. Please, please for you own sake do not say you are not willing to relocate. Do NOT highlight it in any color, too.

One final point to bring up is providing links to your work. Obviously this is not for everyone, but it is for those that do developer work, research, teaching, and other jobs that provide an opportunity for me to peruse beyond your resume. If you are a college student that wants to be a web developer, then have some examples! You had to do this while in school, so give me this and do an outstanding job on this. Do web work for a local church or organization even if it is free. I hired a great lady whose experience was doing a few simple sites for two small businesses. Her school project was immaculate, too! Do not blow off your school project and do whatever you can do. The more I learn about you the more I can determine if you should be brought in for an interview.

The key to take away is to design your resume to fit a specific job. You may need five or more different versions of your resume, but this will help your resume stand out more. Stay away from buzz words or generalized statements. These statements and words bore me and tell me you are not very experienced and are not as in depth with your work as you want me to believe. Update your resume to the current standards and continue to keep it fresh. Do not be overly flamboyant but go outside the box while maintaining some conservatism. Do not oversell yourself and be concise. I do not a dissertation on a job you held for one or two years. If you did lead a project then spend a sentence or two giving me the meat of what you did. What was the success? Did you save anything? If you were a minor role player, then give me the meat for that. Take a lot of time developing your resume as it will show and tell me that you care.

 

Categories: Education, Uncategorized Tags: ,

Jefferson Street Joe

Joe Gilliam was a black quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers before their Super Bowl run in the 70s. I have always been intrigued by what could have been with him. It was my opinion that Joe may have been a better quarterback than Terry Bradshaw. From the little I recall and viewed, he had a great arm and was accurate. Also, he appeared to read defenses better than Bradshaw. His brief career as a starting quarterback lasted only six games during the 1974 season. He began with a bang but quickly disappeared with more than forgettable performances. He was a sad case where the player closed the door on opportunity. Why did his opportunity close? A writer, Dexter Rogers, has taken a different view that I hold – he believes it was racism.

Mr. Rogers, Dexter and not Fred, claims it was a racial issue. I have given Rogers the benefit of the doubt and have reviewed his argument, but I find that he uncovers racism where there is no racism. Rogers writes, “The combination of the social climate and race played a role in Gilliam’s eventual demise.” This is flat out wrong. Another errant statement is, “Sadly Gilliam turned to drugs to cope with his surprising demotion.” Rogers is looking to place blame on the white authority rather than Gilliam himself. The problem with that Rogers doesn’t know what the reasons were and makes assumptions to fit his narrative.

He does not know or understand who the Rooneys were or who Chuck Noll was. It is easy to understand why he doesn’t know who Chuck Noll was, for there are very people that do. Noll was a private person but one that did not march to the beat of society. Rogers does have interviews with different people, so this should have illuminated why Gilliam was no longer the starter. When studying these two, one can easily conclude that racism was not a factor. As evidence, we can see Noll’s relationship with Joe Greene and Bill Nunn.

The simple fact is Joe Gilliam was a good quarterback who could have been great but drugs destroyed him. His drug use didn’t begin after he was benched but more likely before he started the season. His drug use began to affect his play and led him to be late for team meetings which contributed to his being benched. The Players were aware of his drug use and John Fuqua and Joe Greene had stated in interviews for the book, “Chuck Noll: His Life’s Work”. Joe Greene even stated that he wanted Bradshaw as the starter over Gilliam. Gilliam was undermining his future and the team’s and his teammates were aware of this. Gilliam’s drug problem forced Noll to roll with Bradshaw and dispose of Gilliam.

Joe Gilliam’s downfall was not the result of racism; it was the result of drugs. This is not to say Joe was not dealing with racism. The country was in the middle of change for the good but change never the less. He was the recipient of racial insults and slurs, but this wasn’t the reason for his fall. No, Gilliam’s downfall was the drug use. To say it was because of racism would be an excuse for an easy answer and one that would be popular with many people. Drug use killed Jefferson Street Joe and likely kept the 70s Steelers from winning more than four Super Bowls.