How many of us created our resumes just before needing it the first time? Was it the night prior to that big interview? How about when faced with that discouraging “upload resume” button on a job search website?
It’s a mad scramble to desperately cobble something together attempting to recall all those names and dates. It is not expected from applicants looking for summer jobs, therefore, it is put off until “after graduation” when it is really needed.
AN ALTERNATIVE PHILOSOPHY
Build your resume as soon as something eventful occurs in your life; an award, a summer job or some special recognition.
You may be surprised how easy it is to forget your accomplishments. What was the name of your supervisor at Starbucks? Phone number? What was that writing award in 9th grade? Which committee in High School did you join and what were your major accomplishments? Where did you volunteer last summer and what did it teach you?
Get it all on your resume from the smallest accomplishments to the big ones. Include all the details – you can always edit it down later. Of course, you may remove entire items from your resume as you continue growing your list of accomplishments and job experience. It’s much easier to remove an item than to add one a year later when the details are hazy.
Building a resume can become a self-fulfilling prophesy. What is a resume? It’s a reflection of what you have achieved as your life and career marches along. It’s a mirror that a potential employer holds up to their job description and company culture to receive a first impression.
If your resume appears to not be a good fit, offer enough information or reflect adequate experience, you may never get to the interview step in your application process where, you think, you truly shine. It doesn’t matter how good an interviewee you are if the HR department never calls.
The job hunt is a competition and you may need to purposely make the effort to gain specific experience in order to qualify to meet your goals.
For example, if you want to become a doctor, you should consider volunteering at a hospital. Keep your eye on your resume as a gauge of whether you are achieving our goals in order to maximize your chances of success; self-fulfilling prophesy.
Take a look at a college application (future blog) and you will what activities are expected from you during High School. They should all be on your resume.
Even if you are planning on becoming an entrepreneur, a resume may be helpful, someday, when you are sitting across the desk from a banking loan officer. They like to see experience in the field in which you are planning to begin your business.
Let’s face it, not all of us are the right fit for running our own business. Plans change – having an up-to-date resume may help to get that “temporary” job until you can figure it all out. Hedge your bets.
STUDY (RESUME) GROUPS
Consider applying the value of study groups to building a resume. Get together a few friends and build your resumes together. Check in with each other during your High School and College careers and compare. This may motivate you to shore up some areas that may be too light (such as volunteerism).
Imagine how much faster and easier it will be to complete job applications when you have all the information at your fingertips?. Applications are required, in most cases, even if you have a resume.
Finally, how much better will you look applying for that summer job when you are one of the very few applicants with a resume? You’ve just given yourself that much better chance to get that job!
I visited an amazing place yesterday. It’s called Pretend City and it’s located in Irvine, CA. If you are lucky enough to be within driving distance and have little ones between the ages of 2 to 8, go there! You and the children will have a fantastic time, I promise.
Pretend City reminded me what it was like being a child again. Of course, in my day we would pretend a box was a rocket ship to take us to the moon, a blanket was a cape that helped us fly and a bunk bed was a dark and scary cave.
At least, those are examples from my youth. I’m sure you have your own.
Even though, “pretend” has become more sophisticated since my day, the basics haven’t changed; the importance of fantasy in child development.
I’m talking about a child who constructs a fantasy world using their own imagination rather than one constructed for them via video games. Living in a world of fantasy (vis a vis video games) is not the same as creating your own whether it’s from something as inconsequential as a cardboard box or as elaborate as what children find at Pretend City.
The goal is exercising creativity. At Pretend City, a child can pretend to catch a fish, sell it to a restaurant and use pretend money to buy a pretend hamburger at the cafe for their Mom.
In one poignant example, a young child who proclaimed himself to be the Assistant Cafe Manager, asked a stranger how her lunch was. When she said excellent and pointed out her daughter who had pretended to prepare and serve it, the young boy gave pretend money to the girl as a raise for doing such a great job.
A manager in the making? Communication skills exercised? Understanding of work/reward? It’s all there and more.
Pretending is learning. Sometimes it might be hard lessons such as that capes really don’t help you fly off a brick wall (I’m not saying that was me). Sometimes, it’s so subtle that the child may not even recognize it as learning, but it is learning nevertheless.
Not only do we need to encourage our children to engage in pretend play, but we need to join them. By being part of the process, we can learn what most interests our children, how they learn and spend some quality and fun time with them.
Pretending can also serve as a refuge for children when life gets stressful. A safe place. Sometimes, it’s not easy being a kid. Ask any kid.
As with everything in life, balance is key.
I feel that The Storytelling Box is a great game to encourage nonverbal children to communicate. I would love to give away a few boxes for free to families with an autistic child to see if it helps. If you have a child you think it could help or know of one, please let me know.
Let’s face it. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur.
That’s why so many fail – they are not prepared for the challenges, financial as well as emotional. Just because you may have invented a better mousetrap, doesn’t mean you are the right person to sell it. Before committing to the long and arduous path ahead, be certain you have time and resources needed for the long haul.
In every business, there are three basics to be successful; the Mad Inventor, the Super Salesperson and the Businessperson. Think of this as a three-legged stool. Without all three legs, the stool is going to fall.
The Mad Inventor is the one who comes up with the new ideas. The core idea that is worth starting a business. The Mad Inventory also needs to keep coming up with ideas to grow the product line or scope of service. Very few business survive long term on a single idea.
Strengths: Creative, visionary, inventive
Weaknesses: May not understand costs, challenges to get product to market, how to run a business
The Super Salesperson can sell anything. This person understands selling and marketing and knows how to ask for the deal. Just give the Super Salesperson a great product and get out of his or her way.
Strengths: People-person, great communicator, persistent
Weaknesses: Laser-focus on closing the deal despite possible constraints on delivery challenges, fights budget constraints
The Businessperson is the one who holds it all together. Understands the importance of proper pricing, accounting, logistics of setting up a business. Also, vendor supply chain management as well as inventory.
Strengths: Will keep an eye out for possible growth balanced by working capital as well as cash flow. Knows how to run a company.
Weaknesses: Will have the least amount of entrepreneurial spirit of the three so may dampen enthusiasm on new ideas.
Of course, the above list of strengths and weaknesses is not complete, but this should give you a good sense of some of the characteristics needed in a successful company.
ENTREPRENEUR VS. ESTABLISHED COMPANY
The difference between an entrepreneur and an established company is that while a company will, more than likely, have three different people (and more) fulfill those requirements, an entrepreneur may need to be all three.
Let’s step back for a moment and examine the difference between an entrepreneur and an established business. There is no difference.
An established business was begun by an entrepreneur, at some point. It then simply grew. Hired more help, divided up responsibilities, established more resources, etc.. When does an entrepreneurial business move beyond that label? Does it matter? Probably when the owner stops referring to him or herself as an “entrepreneur” and changes that to “CEO” or “President”.
YOU NEED ALL THREE LEGS
The challenge is that the entrepreneur must encompass all three; the Mad Inventor, the Super Salesperson and the Businessperson. If not, then they must have partners that have different strengths and weaknesses to take on one or two of those roles.
If you are just the Mad Inventor, you will end up with 5,000 widgets in your garage (been there, done that). If you are just the Super Salesperson, but nothing awesome to sell, you will lose interest quickly because you won’t be closing deals. If you are the Businessperson with no company, you go start sending out your resume.
Being all 3 of the legs of that stool can be exhausting, frustrating and relentless. It’s not a 9 to 5 job when you work for yourself. And it’s not weeks or a month of working 80 hour weeks. It’s months and months, if not years.
Be realistic. Be sure you are ready to dedicate 100% of yourself to your vision. If not, you will probably not succeed, or, at least, not to the degree you are probably dreaming.
HERE IS ONE TRICK
Celebrate the successes, no matter how small they are. Entrepreneur’s tend to beat themselves up a lot. A lot. The costs are higher than expected, a design correct is going to eat more capital, marketing costs much more than predicted, etc. A lot of head banging on the wall.
So, celebrate the successes. Give yourself a pat on the back once in a while. Step back and relish the moment. Take what motivation you can to keep your engine running.
I am an entrepreneur and have had my share of mis-steps along the way. I’ve redesigned The Storytelling box 3 times already and paid for samples from all over the world that turned out to be useless.
Yet when I received an e-mail like this, it reminds me that it’s all worth the effort.
Earlier this week, I read the article in the OC Register about you and your boxes. I taught Kdg and First grade in Fountain Valley for 38 years, so early literacy is near and dear to my heart. I’ve told so many mermaid stories and stories with character building themes [to my granddaughters] that I’m running out of creative juices. So I was thrilled to read that article!
I’ve checked [The Storytelling Box] out and organized the story starters according to her interests. I can’t wait to start next week! Joy, my granddaughter, is quite artistic so I may have a drawing or two to submit to you.
I love the ongoing value of this product! When a child is ready for writing, these story starters provide a great writing prompt. Words Inspiration seems like it can be used effectively for drawing, story telling or writing.
I hope you are very successful with these boxes. Parents really need alternatives to “screens”.
PURSUE YOUR DREAM
I now it’s a cliche, but I can’t resist reminding you that our country was built by entrepreneurs. Don’t let anything or anyone, even me, scare you away from going after your dream.
Just be realistic and prepared. Plan, plan, plan. If you are not a planner, then find someone who is and ask for help.
Even though you may not encompass all the needed characteristics today, you can still be successful by learning as you go. It is, however, much easier if you start out with all three legs of the stool. Consider bringing in somebody to help.
No stool or company can successfully stand without all three legs, eventually.
This is an interesting article on what NOT to do when you have a child prodigy if you want your child to also be creative. A child prodigy is not creative? Not according to the research – geniuses tend to perfect knowledge of available information, but rarely invent new systems. For example, geniuses on the keyboard may play perfect Mozart, but won’t create their own compositions.
This is related to rules imposed on children by parents and children wanting to please authority figures like teachers.
If you would like to raise a creative child, take a look at this article and how it may change a parent’s behavior as much as the child’s.
When is the right time to print a college application? Most would say when you are ready to apply – probably, junior year. I propose that is way too late.
You should consider printing the application in your Freshman Year. The sooner, the better.
The reason is simple – a college application is a very clear list of goals you should aspire to accomplish in your first three years of High School. This is exactly what the colleges and universities are expecting from you – why not print it out and post it to your bulletin board, vision board or where you will see it on a regular basis?
Aside from an essay, college applications are going to want to see school groups you joined, teams you were on, community service you performed and where you volunteered. If you print the application early, you still have time to achieve these goals instead of scrambling when it will be almost too late. A worse possibility is thinking you are doing all the right things, only to discover at the 11th hour that you overlooked that one thing which might have been the key differentiation to get you accepted to the college of your choice.
You can print from any college website – the website will require you to setup an account – it only takes a few minutes. If you have an idea of your top choices, then print from those. Compare the applications and look for any differences. Hedge your bets by fulfilling ALL the requirements you see – leave your options open.
Use a highlighter and mark those items upon which you need to focus your energies in the next few years. As you accomplish each goal, fill it in on the application – this way you keep track of what you have done and what you still need to do. Also, when the time comes to actually print out the current applications for submittal, it will only take minutes to complete instead of days.
TAKE IT UP A NOTCH
If you really want to be organized, create a calendar schedule of when you plan to reach each goal. If you think that these kinds of goals should simply “happen” when they “happen”, that’s not real life. Achieving your goals in life takes planning, foresight and organization. Those are some of the skills of successful people, whether they work in a company or for themselves. You might as well begin developing those skills as early as possible – they never go away and will help carry you through your life.
WHY ARE THE APPLICATIONS SO SIMILAR?
There is a reason why colleges look for the same achievements. That list is a clear description of well-rounded development as a person. Participating in clubs teaches confidence and responsibility. Volunteering teaches how to appreciate other’s needs, not just your own. Each item from the application will help you become a better you. Even if you are not planning on going to college, you will benefit from the experience.
Aside from gaining experience and confidence by putting yourself out there and pushing beyond your comfort zone, you will have the story you will need to write a much better essay on the application. It’s difficult to answer an essay question about how you have grown as a person, if you haven’t.
We are happy to announce that the OC Register wrote an article about AEO Boxes. It was an exciting experience being interviewed by a reporter and having my photograph taken by a professional. It took 2-1/2 hours and was a whole lot of fun. You can read all about it by click the link below.
Our children won’t ever know a world without video games, apps and texting. However, we can encourage other forms of play than staring at a screen 24/7. There are many other skills we should be focused on beside how to beat the latest game or to only communicate via a phone text.
There is hardly a parent who hasn’t heard the plaintiff cry, at some point in their child’s school career, “Why do I have to learn algebra?” If it isn’t algebra, then something else like history. “I’m never going to use this stuff!”
This is usually the moment when most parents tend to flounder on how to respond. The answers can range from the somewhat reasonable, “Maybe you’ll end up an engineer or architect!” to the frustrated last resort, “Because being a student is your job and this is part of the job!”
(It’s entertaining to muse the reaction of those students who really did become an engineer or architect. “Oh, that’s a great idea. Let me get back to my math homework! Thanks, Mom!” Has that ever happened?)
WHAT IS THE ALGEBRA ANSWER?
So, what is the right answer? How do we explain something that we probably asked our parents years ago and probably received a version closer to “I don’t want to hear it. Go do your homework before I smack you!”
I don’t think there is a single answer that will work for everyone, but I will offer some options.
Calmly discuss the roots of our education system. Our curriculum was developed in the late 1800’s by Victorians. Their motive was two-fold; to standardize an unruly, inconsistent system and mold young people to fit into society’s needs, such as factory workers.
The basic design of the system hasn’t changed in the last 130 plus years. The class curriculum is part of the grand design and shouldn’t be questioned.
Expect a lot of eye-rolling with this approach.
There really are students who do go on to become architects and engineers or historians or whatever the career path that matches the class complaint.
Taking the class exposes the student to the possibilities that may actually interest them.
When, inevitably, the child claims to have zero interest in blah, blah, blah, the response should be that they can’t really make that decision until they have completed the class.
At this point, a small foot is usually stamped and the child sulkily returns to work, which is all you really wanted in the first place.
LEARN HOW TO LEARN APPROACH
My personal approach to this question is the “learn how to learn”.
In other words, don’t think, Johnny, that this is all about algebra. It isn’t. This is teaching you how to learn. How to absorb, understand and apply knowledge that may seem confusing and frustrating. This process teaches you how to approach challenges in life.
I promise you, Johnny, that future challenges will make Algebra seem like a piece of cake. Beating Algebra will help prepare you for the rest. Now, get back in there and learn something, Mister!
And isn’t that actually true? Doesn’t every challenge we face get just a little easier because we are slowly building our tools and coping mechanisms on how to handle them? If it isn’t algebra, then it’s the new boss or a new project dumped on our desk.
We may not appreciate everything we have to learn in school or think we will ever use, but we will. One way or the other.
HOW MUCH SCREEN TIME IS ACCEPTABLE FOR CHILDREN?
This same question has been asked of every new innovation going as far back as the introduction of the radio and probably before that. It seems as if parents have always been struggling to find the right balance between healthy outdoor activity and passive ones. Today, the struggle is even more confusing due to the proliferation of devices, games, social media, computer-based content creation and communication.
Not to betray my age or anything, but I remember, clearly, when Pong came to our television at home. In that moment, to me, the world shifted just slightly. I can actually control something on the TV? It was mind-boggling.
Children are spending more and more screen time than ever before. Although it is tempting to simply set a time limit like television watching, it doesn’t seem that it is as easily accomplished. Technology in all its sorted forms have pervaded so many aspects of our lives, beginning at younger and younger ages, that it’s almost a full-time job to monitor its usage by our children.
SCREEN TIME VARIES
Designating the use of today’s technology simply as “screen time” can overlook some important variations. The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens identifies four main categories of screen time:
- Passive consumption: watching TV, reading, and listening to music
- Interactive consumption: playing games and browsing the Internet
- Communication: video-chatting and using social media
- Content creation: using devices to make digital art or music
While communication may be a frequent usage type (texting, phone, video-chatting) throughout the day, content creation could be school related. Passive and Interactive consumption may be in lieu of more active pursuits. How do you monitor and what do you restrict?
What if you set parameters based on total usage time regardless of the purpose? 4 hours a day of screen time. That might mean on Day One, 3 hours are spent on computer homework and 1 hour games and Day two, 4 hours of games since no homework was required. Would that be acceptable?
Ultimately, your goal should be a balanced experience for your child between the healthy use of technology regardless of its usage and non-screen time activities.
The number of hours split between these will differ between families and, possibly, even seasons.
Screen time should not replace family time. Every opportunity for family interaction, communication and simply playing should be grabbed for the precious time it truly is. We’ve all heard the old adage,”They grow up so quickly.” Well, it’s true! Take it from one with a 28-year-old who was 2 years old a heartbeat ago.
Watch behavior. If, after screen time, your child is positive, up beat, still developing off-line social skills, then that’s the attitude you want to maintain.
Monitor time usage just as you are monitoring, hopefully, your child’s intake of junk food, for example. Be flexible (i.e. rainy day may need a serious source of entertainment) but be consistent. Be firm. Remember, children are natural negotiators.
Monitor type of usage. Confirm that the material being viewed and interacted with is age-appropriate. Set down some rules.
Participate. This doesn’t mean you need to be a helicopter parent, but technology is a big part of our children’s lives so be willing to learn and be part of the experience.
For example, my nephew loves building things in Minecraft. So, I drew my “dream home” for him to re-create inside the game. He wants me to “grade” him; not something that ever occurred to me, but okay. Once he has completed my dream home, I plan to do more and more complicated drawings for him to recreate, challenging him. Even though he lives in AZ and I am in CA, we are interacting.
Finally, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) — one of the only established organizations to make recommendations on screen time — offers guidelines that put limits on media exposure. Studies have shown a link between heavy media use and issues such as obesity, lack of sleep, academic challenges, aggression, and other behavior difficulties.
AAP will be issuing new recommendations in 2016 emphasizing that not all screen time is equal and that take into account the many different kinds of activities that occur on screens (for example, watching TV is not the same as video-chatting with Grandma).
Remember, screen time is not a right; it’s a privilege.