This week, I’m spending a lot of time trying to get prepared for the job market. I vacillate between being very worried and thinking that it will all work itself out in the long run. In any case, I’m applying all of the knowledge I’ve accrued from helping other people apply for jobs and going to a billion workshops on how to find a job at random conferences. I’m mostly glad that past Neem thought it was a good idea to take notes on the matter even though I didn’t have a pressing need to find a job at the time.
Yesterday, I decided to upload all of my programming projects to GitHub. I’m about 80% done. I didn’t realize I had coded so many things in so many different languages. I’m torn as to whether or not I should upload code from when I first started out. It makes you cringe a little bit to see how you code when you’re first learning a language or better yet, first learning how to program in general. I have research scripts that I copied and pasted code over and over because I hadn’t learned that functions existed. Oof. I have code with functions that are much too long and should have been parsed into smaller functions. I have an embarrassing amount of untested code. Being recently introduced to test driven development, I’m somewhat horrified that any of my code ever worked at all without me having tested it. It’s interesting to realize that when you code alone and without much input from the outside world, you adopt some habits and are blissfully ignorant as to there being better ways to do things. One of the main reasons I want to work in a paired programming environment is so that I can see how other people think and alter my behavior for the better.
Today, I worked on fixing up my LinkedIn profile. I have an odd habit of saving all of my old resumes just in case I took out something from before and needed to remember it later on. But, oh goodness, some of the things I had were special. No, I don’t mean special in a good way.
When I needed my first real job as a nanny, my objective was: “To find a position where I can take care of children. I am a very caring and patient individual who loves children. I am very energetic and I can keep up with some of the liveliest kids. I am very organized and responsible as I can multitask. I am extremely dependable, trustworthy, and honest.”
I had a skills section that said:
-Can cook meals or anything from a recipe
-Ability to clean meticulously including laundry and dishes
-Can tutor up to Calculus II, Organic Chemistry, reading, history, and other subjects. Nothing is too basic for me to tutor
-Basic computer skills, ability to type fast, and quick learning skills that allows me to pick up on how to work anything
-Courteous phone skills and basic accounting skills
And my volunteer experience had gems such as “Tour guide at Lee’s Summit Historical Cemetery” and “Children’s Program Director for Halucas”(Halucas being some sort of religious learning Sunday school type thing). Wow. I forgot that I spent the summer of 2003 volunteering for St. Anthony’s hospital in the Sleep Lab and the Home Care Unit. It brings back fond memories of me being excited to get to spend $5 on whatever I wanted in the cafeteria, but more importantly, getting to hang out for half an hour with my older brother.
Oh, and let’s not forget, people were very worried about my name sounding foreign so I had to have two lines explaining it. One was stating that I was, in fact, born in Missouri, was a US citizen, and knew how to speak English. The other one said that my Bengali heritage adds to a multicultural view. Multicultural view. I don’t even know what to say about that.
Well, hey, I did end up getting two jobs out of it so I suppose that must have worked for I what I wanted. And that second nannying job did change my life and open so many more opportunities. Overall though, this reminded me that sometimes, it’s very hard to help yourself. There’s only so much you can do on your own before you need outside input. I’m very lucky to have a lot of people now who can look at my resume and tell me to cut different parts out of it or emphasize certain things. Back then though, I didn’t actually have anyone at all to help me with it, and I knew it sucked. I think that’s part of the reason I keep going to these “how to make an effective resume” talks and feel like it’s important for me to offer my little expertise on the matter to anyone who wants it because hey, it’s much better than going it alone.