New Year, New You: Clearing Your History

By Melissa Nau

There’s a story I read every year around New Year’s about the “false contingency” of entering a new year, as a sort of oddly pessimistic motivational tool. It talks about how despite this grand crescendo leading up to the moment the ball drops, the only thing that really changes is the tiny number in the bottom right hand side of your computer screen. I mean, don’t you find it ironic that when a new year and “new beginning” starts, most people emerge feeling horrible on January first because of their own choices the night before? The “new you” isn’t reborn the moment you wake up on January 1st, 2017; your life begins to change when you actually make conscious changes. Ultimately, nothing is going to change unless you make it happen for yourself.

Now that I’ve had the pleasure of giving you a reality check before it even hits February, you can stop feeling bad that you still haven’t made it to the gym and start jumping back into the wonderful world of job searching!

And just because I’m cynical and convinced myself that the “New Year” means nothing doesn’t mean you have to share my views. I completely empathize with the desire to start fresh and new, press a magic reset button, and be given a second chance. Finding a new job is the perfect New Year’s resolution. Before you even get to applying, there’s tons you can do to give yourself a fresh start with potential employers, along with bettering your reputation with current colleagues.

Show employers the “new you” by clearing your history

While browsing through a few sources, I’ve deduced that upwards of 60% of employers Google their prospective hires, which includes looking at their social media channels. Even if you think this is an invasion of privacy, you have to admit that you’ve done the same exact thing to look up your best friend’s ex’s new fiancé at least once, so you can’t blame employers for being curious about someone they’re actually going to meet.

The thing we have to remember as dreaded Millennials, that we almost always forget, is how fast and easy it is to ruin your reputation via the Internet. Yes, we are fortunate enough to have freedom of speech, but the things you post may still come with consequences. Plus, you never know when something you wrote or posted could be taken completely out of context. Luckily, there are small and subtle tweaks you can make to keep your social media channels from reaching beyond their intended audience.

Want More Privacy? Make Yourself Private!

We’ll start with Facebook: this really seems like common sense but it’s shocking how many people don’t have their profiles set to private. If you click the little padlock in the top right of your page, you’ll be brought to the page in the screen shot below. Having all of your settings on “Friends [only]” is your best bet—you know who your friends are, and those will be the only people who can see all of your past and future content.

How to keep your Facebook private

I know that Facebook can get glitchy with its privacy settings sometimes, so you can double check this by clicking on the setting for one of your individual posts, which looks like the picture below. “Friends” is what you want to see here, as identified by blue and white icon. You can also use this tool to change your privacy settings on individual posts, pictures, and photo albums, for those moments where you want to share an appropriate, factual, well-written post with the world and not just your friends list.

How to keep your Facebook private

Again, acknowledging Facebook’s glitches, along with other issues with making your various social media profiles private, there are alternative solutions for this as well…

“A Girl Has No Name”

Making your Facebook private seems pretty straight forward, but there are certain things that are always “viewable to the public” like your profile picture (at least the thumbnail) and cover photo, so you probably want to make these as tame as possible. I’m sure your potential employer is not going to look for your Facebook with the same diligence as Nev from Catfish, but it doesn’t hurt to change your display name to make it harder to find your profile. The most common way of doing this, especially for girls, is using your middle name instead of your last name. Do you know how many Nicole Lauren and Lauren Nicole’s are on just my friends list alone, never mind in all of New York State? A LOT.

You can also spell out your name phonetically, separate your first name into two names (like Mel Issa), or even give yourself an alias. Get creative with it! This may or may not be the most fun preparatory step in your job search.

Having an alias definitely comes in handy when it comes to Twitter, which can easily become the most obnoxious form of social media. Twitter is a different beast altogether in that when you make yourself private, yes your tweets are protected from outsiders, but your friends and followers can no longer retweet you. It’s an annoying sacrifice to have to make when your ultimate goal is obviously to become Twitter famous. If you gradually change your twitter handle (@ name), display name, and photo to things that are not directly connected to you, your friends will still be able to recycle your hilarious tweets without having those tweets associated with your true identity. Just think of yourself as Batman, with a lot more free time.

Think Before You Post

No matter how genius and well-hidden your alias may be, if you write something really stupid on the Internet, chances are it’ll get back to you. Again, this may be common sense, but it is advice that falls on deaf ears more often than not.

If you’re a social media addict and you ignored everything I said until now, please take the following things into account:

  1. If you have a job, don’t talk about it online. If you’re praising your job/sharing your achievements that’s one thing, but many people use social media as an outlet to complain. Stop complaining about your job on Facebook/Twitter! Seriously. I have actually seen people get fired for bad mouthing their jobs on social media (it was actually on Instagram of all things, which is one of the easiest outlets to keep private). If your brain automatically turns to social media when you have something to complain about, try opening up your texts instead and use one of your good friends as an outlet. You’ll get your instant gratification even faster that way.
  2. Only “friend” your actual friends. You know how I mentioned someone losing their job because of Instagram? That’s because many of their coworkers saw it and it got back to the wrong person. Even if you follow number one above, there’s no reason for you to let people peer into your personal life unless you actually trust them.
  1. Google Yourself. We’re all human and we go through phases. I’m sure nothing from 2007 will get surfaced by an employer searching your name, but if you browse through your Facebook and see something you no longer want to represent you, just get rid of it. Everyone says that “you can’t really delete anything on the Internet,” and while that may be true to some extent, that doesn’t mean deleting old posts/photos won’t improve your online reputation.

Google search your name and all variations of it, then purge the Internet of everything that does not adequately represent professional and personal lives. You can add “Twitter” or “Facebook” after your name as well to refine your search and see if Google will bring you directly to your profiles. When you delete a page/photo/change your name as suggested earlier, those posts will no longer come up in a Google search of your name in 1-2 weeks. Repeat this process at least twice a year, just to be aware of your own online presence.

  1. Now that you’ve got rid of the bad, promote the good. After getting rid of anything you don’t want associated with your name, it’s time to put your name all over things you are proud of. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, your LinkedIn account isn’t about self-expression, it’s about displaying your achievements, networking, and finding a job. Follow the organizations you’re interested in. Even Twitter can be used professionally; make one to follow news posts and reach out to your colleagues. If you have any blogs, publications, or anything online that you’re proud of academically or otherwise, make sure those pages are more closely associated with your name than your personal social media accounts. It’s one thing to keep an employer from cringing when they Google you—but if they Google you and can easily access the synopsis of your award-winning senior thesis, you’re well on your way to your next job.

Perhaps some people may find it a nuisance to pad their profiles with an extra layer of security, but I promise you that no more than ten minutes can make a huge difference in the way you’re perceived on the Internet. I’ll leave you with this simple, burning question: would you rather take out ten minutes to redevelop your web presence, or spend thirty minutes on a treadmill for the next 356 days?

A Guide to Giving Thanks in the Workplace

By Melissa Nau

It’s just about that time again! Before you embark on your careful journey of gluttony, deep regret, and hibernation via turkey, stuffing, and gravy, let’s take a second to say thanks at work. Now you may be thinking “Thanks? But I didn’t get a raise yet!” or “How could this holiday apply to my job?” or “I don’t even have a job!”…so I should probably elaborate before you take an early vacation.

How could I apply Thanksgiving and the holiday season to my job?

The answer is three letters long: CSR. If you have no idea what that stands for, now is the perfect opportunity for you to not only find out, but introduce those letters to your workplace.

CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility. Simply put, the term refers to your business’ responsibility to give back to the community, whether it’s on a national or local scale. During this time of year, it’s probably most common for your workplace to have a food drive for those in need during the holidays. If your job didn’t host a Thanksgiving food drive, you can propose one for next year, suggest holding a drive for next month’s holidays, or gather some people to donate their time to a food bank. As we venture deeper into the frigid winter months, holding a coat drive is another common yet caring CSR idea. Getting your job involved in charitable activities not only gets your place of work noticed, but it gets you noticed, shows initiative, and effectively reaches “above and beyond” your employer’s expectations.

Here at Roux, CSR is ingrained in our company and has become a large part of our sense of community. We donate our time and finances to organizations like Habitat for Humanity where we participate in “Build Days,” we host a fundraiser each year for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and we assist Coastal Steward in their beach cleanups and in furthering marine education. We donate to many more charitable groups as well, primarily those dedicated to environmental conservation and medical research.

Again, if your company does not offer a CSR program, now’s your chance to make it happen. You could start small with a food drive and then begin searching for credible, relevant charities (for example, it makes sense that Roux, an environmental firm, aligns our interests with environmental conservation groups like Pure Earth). Remember that this also includes charitable athletic events, which could allow you to pick something you love: there’s Bike MS, tons of runs and walks to benefit different charities, and Roux even participates in Courageous Sailing, a summer sailing program. If you find a charity or an event you think a lot of people at your job will be passionate about, it’s likely that your CSR proposal will be approved and up and running before you know it.

If your company does offer CSR, get out there! It will get you noticed and allow you to get to know your coworkers in an informal setting. If your company has a CSR committee and you have a bit of free time to donate, why not join? An opportunity like this could easily be looked at as a leadership position. Taking on any type of work-related responsibility could grant you more responsibilities within your job itself, which could lead to promotions or raises. You could even add your CSR position and/or charity work to your resume (if you have room, of course)!

I don’t have a job…what about me?

If you’re a student or do not yet have a full time job, you can of course look into doing charitable work in your free time. This could be a great networking tool, especially if you find a charity that shares the interests of your ideal career. If you’re actively searching for a job now, however, saying “thank you” is actually one of the easiest ways to get ahead of your competitors.

After you leave an interview, write your interviewer a thank you note. It’s probably the easiest thing you can do to further your chances of getting the job. This is something that never occurred to me until a recruiter instructed me to do it, but it makes perfect sense. You most likely have your interviewer’s email address; if you’re going through a recruiter, you can contact them and ask for it or see if they can forward along your message. The best part is, this “thank you” should be short and sweet, so there’s no need to sweat it:

Dear [so and so],

Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to come in and speak with you regarding the [job] position. 

 It was a pleasure meeting you, hearing about the company in-depth, and learning about your personal experience. I would love to learn more about what goes into [job field, e.g. environmental consulting] and apply my [insert skills here] skills to this position. 

 If you need anything further, please don’t hesitate to ask. I look forward to hearing from you soon. 

 Best regards,

 [You]

That’s about as long as it should possibly be. Literally two sentences would suffice with the common themes of “thank you” and “I look forward to hearing from you.”

And why does this matter? If the person you just interviewed with met you and someone else, and you both hit it out of the park, how will they decide who to pursue further? You may both have gone to ivy league schools, fed orphans in a soup kitchen, and published eight research papers, but if only one of you said “thank you,” there’s an undeniable winner.

Overall, whether you’re working hard at your job or working just as hard in your quest to find one, take this time to relax. Deal with your relatives to the best of your ability. No matter how annoying they get, make sure you say “thank you” at the end of the day, and try to apply those words to your job or your job search.

Happy holidays from everyone at Roux!

Roux Remediation Project: Former Petroleum Refinery and Active Distribution Terminal

In celebrating Roux Associates’ 35th anniversary, we would like to highlight a major project for one of our largest petroleum company clients. Our work for this major oil company began in 1989 at a small corner gas station in the Bronx. Since then, we have been involved in a number of additional projects for the same client, with many of our employees having worked on at least one of these projects. Throughout the years we have continued to gain additional responsibilities working for this client, including the remediation of a former petroleum refinery and active distribution terminal (Remediation Project) in Brooklyn, New York.

The Remediation Project is one of Roux’s largest undertakings. The Site itself is 174 acres and is located within a part of Brooklyn that has a rich industrial history dating back to the mid-1800s. The area was home to a vast number of industrial operations over the years—it housed sugar refineries, fertilizer factories, tanneries, oil refineries and terminals, manufactured gas facilities, and more.

Our client began remediation activities in 1979 and hired Roux to assist them in 1990. Drew Baris, currently a Roux Vice President and Principal Hydrogeologist, was Roux’s original Project Manager when our work began at the Site. Drew explained, “It has been an honor for Roux to work on the Remediation Project. Throughout this time, our client has been steadfast in their objectives: including completing remediation in a manner that is protective of public health and the environment, being respectful of our neighbors in the community, performing our work safely, and complying with all applicable regulatory requirements.” From Drew’s perspective, a major reason for our success on the project has been that Roux employees share these same objectives.

◊◊◊

To date, Roux has designed, installed, upgraded, and maintained remediation systems that have recovered more than 8.5 million gallons of petroleum product from beneath the Site. Perhaps equally impressive as the systems themselves is the diligent work Roux employees put into the Site on a daily basis. As explained by Tom Grindlinger, Roux’s Systems Operation Manager, “The most important and impressive thing to me about the Project is the people who make it go every day.” A Site veteran himself, Tom has worked with these systems for thirteen years. When hired, he was one of three employees working full time on the Project. He has since watched the Site grow to employ more than thirty geologists, technicians, and engineers.

Tom’s primary job function is to supervise and coordinate with a team of nine environmental technicians for the daily operation and maintenance of each remediation system. The specifics of this include a constant focus on safety, making system adjustments to optimize product recovery, and performing maintenance to keep systems running. There is at least a 90% runtime on all of our Site’s remediation systems, meaning they are running more than 90% of the year: well above the industry standard. To achieve this, all critical system components have built-in backups, so the system can remain running when one of the components is shut down for routine maintenance. Tom and his team also oversee critical equipment checks, making sure the systems are operating safely and in compliance with applicable standards.

1
Soil Vapor Extraction (SVE) system, performing at 98% runtime

After comprehensive testing, we determined the fastest, most effective way to remove petroleum product from the groundwater beneath the Site was the use of a two-pump system. The dual-pump recovery approach works by operating a groundwater pump to depress the water-table around a recovery well, which causes the product to flow towards the well, and a second pump recovers the overlying product as it enters the well. Twenty-four dual-pump recovery wells exist at the Site, requiring ongoing maintenance and adjustments by many technicians and engineers.

The water from the recovery wells gets treated at one of two groundwater treatment systems. At each treatment system, the groundwater is treated with aeration and sand filters to remove metals, and air strippers to remove volatiles from the water, making it safe to discharge back into the nearby creek. This water is sampled to make sure it is compliant with all of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) standards.

2
One of the groundwater treatment systems

Tim Unalp, who joined Tom as one of Roux’s earliest technicians at the Site, has spent eleven years with our firm. He identified the biggest on-site challenge was managing the transition from a handful of staff members to more than thirty. It was difficult to prioritize all of the different jobs that needed to be done, a challenge that Roux was able to overcome with organized training and scheduling.

Tim is a Senior Environmental Technician who believes that what sets this Site apart from others is its unique location. “You’re removed from the community at most other remediation sites,” explained Tim. “But in Brooklyn, you’re in the heart of people’s neighborhoods. You become entwined in their backgrounds.” Demonstrating our respect for the community while performing our work is paramount. Tim’s perspective and understanding, which are shared by other Roux employees on-site, are integral parts of our remedial success. Our employees also assist our client in public outreach events—providing tours through the Remediation Project Site for regulators, residents, students (including West Point cadets), elected officials, and environmental groups, in order to keep the public well-informed about site activities.

A large portion of Tim’s job is to oversee the soil vapor extraction (SVE) system, which utilizes twenty-three SVE recovery wells to remove contaminated soil vapor from the subsurface. The extracted soil vapor is conveyed to the treatment system, where petroleum vapors are destroyed using a high temperature thermal oxidizer; this is similar to the catalytic converter that treats emissions from your car. The use of SVE has also been added to some of the dual-pump recovery wells within the past year after extensive pilot testing—an accomplishment both Tom and Tim are proud of. “This job is unique and challenging,” said Tom. “There’s no monotony and no textbook. There are many different types of remediation and we have the freedom to try out new things when new equipment and technologies become available.”

3
A closer look at the SVE system

Safety plays a large role in job operations for technicians, but this role extends to every single member of our Project staff. “Tailgate” safety meetings take place each morning before any work is started, acting as an opportunity for field staff, subcontractors, and oversight involved in a project to address their concerns and go over proper safety protocols. Personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn by all staff and subcontractors in the appropriate zones—a rule that even extends to visitors. Our client has developed an industry-leading safety approach that Roux not only participates in, but embraces as the most important aspect of our work. Tim, who has worked on a number of sites, disclosed that these safety protocols were so deeply ingrained in his routine that he followed them during all of his future projects, even if the protocols at other sites were not as stringent.

One of Roux’s Project Engineers, Ian Holst, shared that the Site safety procedures have made him much more cognizant of hazards on-site and in working with other clients. “The core message of identifying and mitigating hazards before starting a task spreads to all your other work, and even your personal life,” he explained. Ian reinforces this safety culture by making sure the staff he oversees takes part in safe performance self-assessments (SPSAs) and properly identifies hazards. He is also part of a biannual scorecard review that evaluates safety performance across all of Roux’s projects. Though he has only been on-site for about six years, hired at Roux right out of college, Ian has worked on each of the Site’s remediation systems. He is involved with site investigation, product recovery optimization, and system endpoint modeling.

4
Employees are reminded to perform safe performance self-assessments, or SPSAs

Another one of Roux’s long-term Project employees, Yury Sonkin, expressed a deep appreciation for the Site’s safety culture. “I have learned outstanding safety procedures,” said Yury, a Senior Engineer at Roux who has spent twelve years working on the Remediation Project. “The safety culture is specifically designed to proactively address circumstances that can lead to any type of loss. Working closely with the engineering and operations project team helped me to develop my own personal safety awareness, and I am absolutely positive that this will be carried forward to all of my future activities.”

As a Senior Engineer working out of Roux’s Islandia, New York office, Yury prepared the mechanical designs for many of the systems that are now running on the Project Site. He designs using AutoCAD drafting, having prepared 3D models and site plan drawings for multiple remediation projects. He saw these designs through to construction and completion, working alongside third-party firms to coordinate submittals, approvals, and deliveries, while providing support to Roux’s junior engineers.

Yury shared that he is most impressed with the size and complexity of the multiple treatment systems—many of which were brought to life with his designs—including multiple recovery wells, our SVE treatment system, and two groundwater treatment system upgrades. Yury has enjoyed witnessing his 3D designs on paper become a reality, including the construction of a two-story 8,000 ft2  building that houses the SVE system and doubles as an office. Over the course of his long career at the Brooklyn Site, Yury has completed his design work alongside what he calls a “consistently great team,” who directly contribute to the success of the overall Project.

5
The two-story 8,000 ft 2 building Yury Sonkin helped to design,
which holds the SVE system and multiple offices

Christopher Proce, who joined Roux over fourteen years ago and is now a Principal Hydrogeologist, has dedicated the majority of his career to the Remediation Project. “I’ve been lucky enough to grow my career at the Site, starting with overseeing assessment drilling activities and pulling recovery well pumps for maintenance,” said Chris. “I’ve been able to be involved in every aspect of the project, including system operation and maintenance, regulatory negotiations, real estate transactions, and long-term strategic planning. While the project is demanding and challenging, it is also the most rewarding project that I’ve ever worked on because of what we accomplish through teamwork between Roux employees and the client we work for.”

In addition, the Project’s Lead Engineer, Justin Kennedy, has been an integral part of the design, construction, and operations work on-site throughout his nineteen years at Roux. “From my first day at Roux, I have watched this project grow from just a handful of engineers working part-time to run the early recovery systems, to a large and complex remediation project,” said Justin. The size of the project and its many technical challenges have provided numerous opportunities for Justin to broaden his experience through the years, and to design systems at a scale that he would not have imagined when he first started at Roux. To Justin, it’s most gratifying to see the years of hard work by the team come to fruition; the many years of site investigation driving the design and construction of numerous remediation facilities and site remedies, followed by the successful operation of our systems. “The effectiveness of the facilities and systems that we have built and operate throughout the Site are a testament to the dedication and innovativeness of the entire project team, and I am proud to have been part of making that a reality,” he concluded.

◊◊◊

The Remediation Project has been one of Roux’s most extensive and significant environmental efforts. The operation and maintenance of our systems are among Roux’s top priorities, along with the health and safety of our staff. Our client has set high expectations for our remediation system runtimes and safe work practices, and we work hard to apply these elevated standards to all of Roux’s projects. From three employees to thirty, and interim measures to fully operational systems, Roux will continue to build upon our staff and technology, with the goal to see the Site through to full remediation and closure.

Career Fairs – What Exactly Do They Want?

By Melissa Nau

Even though Starbucks started pushing pumpkin spice on you the second it turned September, the summer is now actually over. Hopefully I’ve given you enough time to trudge back to your alma matter, get reacquainted with your college buddies, complain about assignments, and get right back into career mode. Since I know you already have a perfect resume, for those of you going back to the old academic grind it’s time to talk about one of your school’s best resources and your mom’s favorite thing to remind you about: The Career Fair.

While I always thought a career fair was a bunch of business students in suits mulling around like zombies, there’s actually more to it than that. Chances are, your college will have a career fair just for you—whether it’s environmental science, engineering, or even sustainability, your major has a market, and that market is made up of companies with job openings. They even differentiate between internship fairs and full time recruiting fairs, so you’ll be able to choose what you want right away depending on how many years (or months) of school you have left. It’s best to look up your school’s available career fairs at the beginning of the year, that way you can narrow down your options based on your class times, or even discuss options with your professors to avoid potential conflicts.

Overall, you should think of your interactions at career fairs as mini interviews. You wouldn’t show up to a first interview knowing absolutely nothing about the company you’re interacting with—preparation is key. You should be prepared to share your knowledge of the company whose booth you are standing in front of, and equally prepared to absorb the knowledge you’re missing. Your school will provide a list of companies who will be attending the career fair ahead of time, so get to Googling the ones that catch your eye.

Below I’ve made a list of short tips for proper career fair etiquette, followed by a list of career fairs Roux will be attending at the end of this year and early 2017. To see what positions we have open currently, check out our Careers Page.

Quick Career Fair Tips

  • Bring many copies of your resume and know what is on it! Make sure you have something to say about every bullet point so you’re not caught off guard.
  • With that being said, try to find a balance between being over-rehearsed and under-prepared when it comes to talking about yourself and your achievements.
  • Try to introduce yourself and give a quick overview of what the recruiter is about to see on your resume, rather than just shoving the piece of paper in their face.
  • Pretend you’re playing tennis: as mentioned, this shouldn’t be all about you. Let the recruiter give their overview as well. Give them time to ask you questions, and they will do the same for you.
  • Be confident, not cocky.
  • Be yourself. Yes this is corny, but recruiters do not want to hire a robot. Career fairs are a good test of your human interaction skills, which a lot of us need to work on. We want smart, well-spoken college graduates to join our team, but we also want people who are friendly, personable, and able to carry a casual conversation. While the atmosphere of a career fair tends to be noisy and chaotic, you’ll be able to make a lasting impression by speaking clearly and making eye-contact. Balance comes into play here as well—you don’t have to yell, but if you’re mumbling and can’t be heard, you’ll likely be forgotten.
  • Frame your interaction based on what you can offer the firm, not the other way around.
  • Dress to impress, obviously.
  • When researching a company, look at their office locations. Whether or not you’re honestly willing to relocate is important to a company; it’s almost always mentioned on a job application. Knowing the office locations will not only let recruiters know that you’ve read up on the company, but you can mention a specific office if it’s within range of where you want to live. For example, if you’re interested in Roux’s New Jersey office specifically, you could mention that to our recruiters and we could help you learn more about that particular office.
  • In addition to preparedness, punctuality is key! An inside source told me they were most impressed by the first person who came to Roux’s booth at a recent fair, and least impressed by the last person. If you have the power to make it on time, definitely go for it. You’re showing our firm that you’re super interested and ready to go. If you show up at 3:50 pm when the fair ends at 4, we’re going to assume we’re your last resort.

Upcoming Roux Recruiting Events

Tufts University Fall Career Fair
September 30 @ 11:30 am – 2:30 pm

Manhattan College 2016 STEM Career Fair
October 4 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

University of New Hampshire 2016 Fall Career & Internship Fair
October 5 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Columbia University Engineering Career Fair
October 14 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

UMass Lowell Fall Career Fair
October 26 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

All Ivy Environmental & Sustainable Development Career Fair
March 3, 2017 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

One more tip: Save this page under your favorites and check back in the future!
We’re always adding more career fairs to the list.

Resume Writing, Part 2: Actually Writing/What to Include

By Melissa Nau

Good day again, fellow graduates. Congratulations, because the worst is over. If you’ve made it this far, you already know the basics of setting up your resume and maybe even picked out a nice template. Now I’ll be going through all the parts of a resume and basically write yours for you. Aren’t you glad I’m around?

Resume Writing, Part 2: Actually Writing/What to Include

Let me preface this by highlighting the importance of font. Script and bubble letters are not appropriate for your resume, even if you work with children. Your size range should be 10-12 with fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, Veranda, or Calibri if you’re feeling exotic. Your exact size depends on your font. If you have to squint, try again. An employer may be going through your resume with a fine tooth comb; they do not want to hold a magnifying glass in their other hand.

Next off, we have your header. See the picture below for the absolute basic essentials: Name, Phone number, Email, and Address. However, as discussed previously, you may be putting your resume on sites like CareerBuilder in order to be reached by potential recruiters, so you do not necessarily want to include your full address. Mine only has City, State. You may feel uneasy about having your phone number plastered on the Internet as well, but if this is the fastest and easiest way for someone to contact you, it should appear on your resume. Personally, I have not received any “scam” phone calls from having my resume on job sites. Above all, you must list at least one contact method so employers can reach you. I’d recommend listing everything below:

header

Additionally, you may want to incorporate a link to your LinkedIn profile in your header. LinkedIn should be an extended version of your resume. Employers will likely look you up on LinkedIn anyway, so they will appreciate if you save them some time. You can write something like “View my LinkedIn profile” and highlight “LinkedIn,” on Word, right click to Hyperlink, and add the link directly to your page. When you PDF your resume, employers will be able to click through to the link directly. You can find this link if you view your profile page, directly under “View profile as.”

Linkedin

Once your header is done, you can start thinking about/formatting your actual sections—which remember, you’re fitting to one page. These should act as the core foundation of your resume, so I’ll dedicate some time to explaining each of them:

  • Objective
  • Education
  • Experience

And, depending on the space you have/what is most relevant to the position you want, a couple extras, including:

  • Skills
  • Awards
  • Relevant Coursework
  • Publications
  • Extracurricular/Volunteer Work/Leadership Experience
  • Interests

Objective

While an objective is not 100% necessary in the same way that your Education and Experience are, it’s certainly a nice touch and should only be about a sentence or two. An objective should be exactly what it sounds like: your objective. What do you want to get out of this job? Why do you want it? What are some key words you can add in to really get across your interest/make you stand out from other candidates? Let’s look at some real resume examples below:

obj1

Here is an example of an objective, but not a particularly good one. Primarily, I’d advise against the red text and the small font size. Content wise, it’s extremely vague and does not identify the field the person is interested in. Improving one’s self and gaining life experiences are okay personal goals, but not necessarily career oriented. If you write an objective, be specific, and don’t be afraid to state exactly what you want:

obj2

The above objective is a lot more specific and more likely to capture an employer’s attention. Not only does this person want to be challenged, but they have “passion” for a specific field (environmental geology) and they are targeting a particular job market (environmental companies). Perhaps the best part of this objective is the fact that the person mentioned they’d “add value” to their potential employer. If your objectives/goals are not all about you, employers can already tell that you’re a team player.

To further specify and tailor your objective to the job you’re looking to apply to, feel free to alter your statement depending on the application. If the company’s job listing is emphasizing safety, for example, you could rewrite the above objective as such: “To obtain a challenging role in an environmental company to further pursue my passion in environmental geology and use my geological knowledge to add value to my employer, while implementing my safety training to benefit overall company operations.”

At Roux Associates our Recruiting Director reads every resume carefully, but it’s important to realize that not all companies do this. The rumors are true: most companies do use software that scans your resume for a predetermined set of words and phrases. Luckily, those words are exactly what they ask of you in their “qualifications” section—it’s your job to match your lingo to theirs, as long as you’re not lying about your qualifications.

Education

Just like your parents told you, Education comes first (only second to your Objective, if you have one). Many of the jobs you’re applying for likely require the degree you’ve just earned. This resume features degrees/programs in bold; you can bold your schools instead, but do not bold both. I prefer making the degree bold since it’s almost always the first thing your employer looks for. They will then look for name recognition (to see if they’ve heard of your schools and companies you’ve worked for) -> recognition of job titles -> the dates (how long you’ve spent at each school/job) -> and finally, the overall way your resume is written/presented. Remember, a computer can pull out key words from your resume, but it cannot interpret your character.

resumeed

With this formatting, employers can quickly glance back and forth and take note of dates right away—make sure the date is not jumbled within the rest of your content. You can pick out awards and recognitions associated with your schooling, or you can move these into an “awards” section if you have more than one/have the room to do so. Please note that “magna cum laude” takes the place of a numerical GPA; do not list both. Remember, the goal of your resume is to fit as much as you can while staying relevant to the job you want, which should include cutting out any and all redundancies. Overall, your education needs to include: your date/expected date of graduation, your degree, the school itself, and your concentrations.

Experience

Listing your relevant work experience is one of the most important parts of your resume. Your most recent degrees are likely closely related to what you want in a career, so it’s best to list them from most to least recent. Job experiences may be different, though. You’re right out of college and you have to survive—you likely have/had a recent job that isn’t directly related to your degree. Because of this, you should opt to list the jobs or internships you’ve had that are related to your job field first, even if they’re not the most recent. You should also retain the same formatting as before—bold the job itself like you did with your degrees, and list the corresponding dates on the right:

experience1

Above is a good example of formatting a relevant internship. While listing the hours is uncommon, it indicates an impressive timeframe, breaking down to 8-hour days three days a week for the whole semester. The description is a thorough list without having to be written in full sentences, verbs are in the present tense, and there is no mention of pronouns (i.e. I did this, I did that). While there are four description lines here and you may not have room for that, the first bullet could suffice on its own. This person is likely looking for a job that requires these skills: copyediting, proofreading, fact checking—and all are included on the resume as potential “key words” for a resume screening.

exp3

The second example above falls a bit short. While the job itself is from a more recognizable agency, the candidate left out the location of the internship, a specific time frame, the formal job title (I’m sure it wasn’t just “Intern”), and ends their description with “etc.” If you went out of the way to make your margins that wide, you should take the time to fill out each line with as much content as you can fit. This graduate could have said a lot more of this interesting internship; the use of “etc.” is lazy.

Since I can’t possibly say it enough: relevance is key. What this same person did achieve was listing their most relevant experience first, despite the fact that their Research Fellow position took place after being a Teaching Assistant:

experience2

The last Supervisor position is clearly the least relevant to attaining an environmental job; when you run out of room to list relevant experiences, this should be the first to go. Again, this is how your whole resume should be situated: in order of most relevant to least relevant content. It makes it a lot easier for others to read and for you to edit.

Everything Else

Since I can feel your attention span wearing thin, I’ll give you a nice chart to look at. Below are some examples of things I often see on resumes, many of which I wish I didn’t:

“Should I include this in my resume???!”

ResumeChart

To be frank, if you’re a recent college graduate everyone knows you know Microsoft Word, nobody cares about your frat if you did not hold a leadership position within it, and everything in yellow is only appropriate if you have a large excess of free space. Volunteering can be included, especially if it’s somewhat related to your field (i.e. beach cleanups if you’re an aspiring marine biologist), but working in a soup kitchen really does not speak to your academic/work achievements. Same goes for your job at that hole-in-the-wall ice cream place and your two summers as a camp counselor. The things in yellow, if included, should be immediately booted off of your resume once you’ve landed your next job.

I really hope this two-part resume guide helped to relieve you of your tireless social media duties. As a final word of advice: try writing your resume from the perspective of the responsible adult that you keep doing everything in your power to stop becoming. If Responsible Future You no longer thinks it’s cool that you won Best Teeth in high school, you should probably leave that one out.

Resume Writing, Part 1: Quick Tips & Prewriting Guidelines

By Melissa Nau

If you’re finally tired of sipping cold drinks in the sun and/or binge watching Netflix without leaving your house for weeks, you may want to check your bank account, panic, and keep looking for a job. As long as you’re ready, I’m here to help.

Last time, we discussed preliminary steps for job searching—including updating LinkedIn, creating accounts on CareerBuilder and/or Monster, and briefly mentioned updating your resume. Since your resume is your real first impression with any employer and sometimes even potential networking contacts, I’ve decided to backtrack and spend some time going over what goes into a good resume.

 Resume Writing, Part 1: Quick Tips & Prewriting Guidelines*

While we all like to be sure of ourselves and confidence is key in interviews, you might have to accept the fact that your resume isn’t perfect. Luckily, there are a few tips to keep in mind that you can use to revamp your resume in seconds:

1. Please PDF. I wasn’t kidding when I said you can revamp in seconds. You most likely created your resume in a Word document, which is to be expected, but it’s best to save it as a PDF. Why? It looks cleaner, is usually the preferred format while applying online, and it will not automatically underline “misspelled” words aka the names of your schools and former jobs. This should also apply to cover letters. To do this, click on File while in Word and then Save as Adobe PDF. If you have an older version of Word or do not have Adobe this feature may not be built in—you can use a friend’s computer/the library/your work computer (on your break time of course), or update your software. After this quick step you’ll have two different versions of your resume (doc/docx and pdf), so if a job application requires a specific file, you’ll already have it covered.

2. Get Gmail. Though this isn’t mandatory, getting a Gmail account is a helpful tool. If your current email address is less than professional and/or from the ancient era of Hotmail, try creating a Gmail account as yourname@gmail.com. If your name is taken, try adding one extra character. You want this email address to be as simple as possible; check your creativity at the door. You would expect this to be common sense, but you’d be surprised. The reason why this step is helpful is because not only are you “branding” your name to your resume, but your ultimate goal is to look professional. Though it is a tiny part of your overall resume, your email address says a lot about you—if yours contains a strange nickname or an inappropriate string of letters or numbers, it could be an instant turnoff, no matter how qualified you may be. Also, keep in mind that some college email accounts will shut down in your post-colligate years. My college account is still active, but mine was also a series of nonsensical letters and numbers which looks like spam at first glance. By creating a Gmail address with your name in it, you’re further clarifying to employers, recruiters, and the Internet in general that you are an actual person who needs a job, not the emperor of an elaborate pyramid scheme. You’ll also be free to check this separate job email without getting distracted by SALES!!!!! and your abysmal bank statements.

resume1
Actual emails from my seldom used AOL email account

3. One and Done. This may or may not take you more than a few seconds, but it’s probably the most important rule of thumb: Make your resume one page. Just one. Seriously. This should be your cardinal rule for multiple reasons, including the obvious one: employers don’t want to read a novel, they want to fill a position. Other reasons include file size, visual appeal, and because I told you to. But above all else, in writing anything ever, economizing is just as important as the story you’re telling. Economizing in this sense refers to your ability to pick and choose what is important to tell other people about yourself. If you can choose and prioritize your top attributes and have the good sense to cut out your not-so-relevant experiences, you can prioritize the tasks your future boss asks of you. Kindly understand that nobody cares you were a lifeguard if you’re applying for a job as an accountant. If your resume remains an endless litany of jumbled facts, you won’t exactly come across as someone who has “excellent organizational skills.”

While keeping this in mind you can now ask yourself: Well, what should I put on my resume?
The answer should always be: Only what you can fit while keeping your experiences relevant to the job you’re after.

Now that you know the quick tips and basic commandments of resume writing, you may want to start a new resume from scratch. Before you even start Googling templates, Word is your best resource. You can go to File > New > and search “Resume” under Office.com Templates where you’ll find a wide array of free options.

resumetemplates

The highlighted “entry-level” template on is what you’re looking for. Some are fancier than others. To be safe, I’d go with strictly black text/white background, unless you’re a designer, artist, etc., where your profession is dependent on your sense of style and color. If you’re going for a job where you’re being judged by your resume and not a portfolio, the words will matter more than the template.

These designs are great, but you’ll likely want to tweak them. Your name should not be size 72 and bolded no matter how much free space you have (see “Resume (Essential design)” above). And conversely, if you’re trying to fit a lot of content on one page, you should definitely widen the margins on the top of your sheet to give yourself more room.

margins

I know this was a lot to throw at you, so feel free to go back to watching season 14 episode 22 of whatever tantalizing series you’ve stumbled upon this summer. Next week when you need a break from your rough life, I’ll disclose what to actually write on your resume, how to choose the most relevant information, and dissect some real resumes to provide reliable examples and save you from clichés.

*Will be followed by Resume Writing, Part 2: Actually Writing/What to Include