The Computer Science Society was today privileged to have another special guest speaker – Karolyn Maynard. Karolyn has led a diverse regional banking and insurance portfolio combining both business and technical knowledge to lead teams toward successful completion of projects. Focusing on professional,personal and technical skills development, she has coached recent graduates and experienced team members to improved on-the-job performance – both technically and professionally to heighten their brand.
During Karolyn’s invigorating and heavily interactive session, she touched on the following areas.
Length – What is the ideal length for a resume? Ideally, you want to compress your resume as much as possible. Try to include details that are applicable to the job you’re applying for. Academic qualifications should date no farther back than CSEC.
Formatting and Style – Formatting is important. Stress on ensuring that your resume is as legible and structured as possible.
Sentences & Verbs – Avoid lengthy sentences as you mention details about your job experiences. Bullet format as much as possible. In regards to the verbs, structure your duties/responsibilities like ” Facilitated with the sanitation of rooms ” as opposed to ” I was responsible for cleaning the rooms”.
E-mail addresses – If your email address cannot be deemed as professional then it’s time to sign up for a new one. Ideally, you want an email address structured like or similar to ” firstname.lastname@example.org”
Jargon – As she expounded on the use of jargon, Karolyn posed the following question:
” What are some typical words that you might be tempted to use when writing a resume ?
A few responses to this question were : “hard worker”, “team player”, “diligent” etc.
Her second question was:
“What do they mean to you ?”
As the students gave their respective responses, she implored them to be aware of what is expected in the work environment so that they can adapt/adjust based on what was written on their resume. “Don’t put yourself in a position where you’ve mentioned that you’re a great team player and when placed in an environment with others your behavior says otherwise”, she said.
Cater the resume to the position by using relevant professional experience. Do not take volunteer experience for granted. It speaks volume to your character. Providing detailed personal information is important but, at the same time, leave some of you a mystery. There have been cases where candidates have been asked to say a bit more about themselves. Namely, ” tell me something about you that is not on your resume”. Ensure that you’re in a position to provide a response.
Know the difference between a duty and an accomplishment.
While adding duties is important, stress on accomplishments as well to solidify and sell yourself.
These accomplishments can be in the form of awards received as an example.
How can you save the company money?
If you’ve implemented a new system or solved an existing problem then this information is what you would provide to show how you’ve saved a company money in the past.
Throughout the presentation the students engaged in various interactive activities.
The first activity involved the students having to choose three (3) words which best described themselves.
Secondly, we were presented with a sample resume and asked to identify changes that we would make or what we would like to see done differently. Then, with our changes in mind, Karolyn showed a well formatted version of the previously shown resume.
The students were given 3 minutes to state a job and 3 duties associated with the job that they were involved with.
Activity #3 – Personal Brand
Include an overview of yourself – what your interest are , what special attributes you bring to the table.
Example: “I’m fluent in French and Spanish”
Karolyn encouraged us to start thinking of ourselves as a brand.
“What do you wish for people to associate you with when they think of you?
Is there a certain subject that you want to be considered an expert in or is there a set of qualities that you want to be perceived as having ?
What makes you , you ?
- What’s your super power?
- Your top values?
- Do people frequently compliment you on or praise you for ?
- What adjectives do people consistently describe you ?
- How do you do what you do ?
- What energizes or ignites you ?
A question was posed to the presenter :
“If i’m asked about my weak points in an interview, how do i answer ?”
Her response was to state the weakness and after doing so state the steps you’ve implemented to help eliminate the weakness or what you’re doing to make it better.
Behavioural vs Situational questions
Research these types of questions and practice them with a family member, a friend or with yourself in front of the mirror.
Common Interview Questions
- Tell me about you?
- What makes you the right candidate
- Do you enjoy working with others
- Describe a time you have received negative feedback.
- How did you handle ?
In closing, Karolyn did a recap , mentioning the following points and briefly explaining them.
- Recap and things to remember
Start with the basics
Choose the right resume style
Brainstorm your experience and skills
Volunteer experiences is important
Use impactful verbs
Never, ever, ever lie
Karolyn left us with the following quote
‘ The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook’
while imploring us to stay in our ‘Strength Zone’. If you know you’re not the ideal candidate based on how the interview is going, then be honest about that.