Tag Archives: human resources

Coaching and Leading for the short-term and authenticity

Coaching and Leading for the short-term and authenticity

The short term gets a bad press.  A short-term measure is frequently seen as superficial, a temporary band aid solution that fails to address the deeper underlying problem. This perspective fails to recognise the fact that the short term regularly turns out to be long term. The things that we do now can and often do have a major influence on things down the track (in the longer term).

You cannot get to the longer term without going through lots of short terms, it simply isn’t possible. However frequently Leaders are criticised for not taking a long-term view, coaches and counselors are enjoined to take a longer term perspective.  However anyone demanding a long-term view should be made to spell out how that view articulates in the short term.

I think people are reluctant to spell out the short-term implications of a long-term view, because they feel compelled to produce a “complete” solution.  Often an honest and legitimate short term implication is that little will appear to have changed.

Short term is not synonymous with simple. However it is often necessary to simplify in any one short term action, simply because we are human and there are limits to what we can think and do simultaneously.  However doing lots of simple things reasonably contemporarily can add up to complexity.  Lots of short term actions can address complexity.

The corollary of this is that short-term strategies do not have to be over-simplified and rigid.  This is how short-term actions get a bad name. In our preoccupation to be seen to be doing something tangible, we can miscontrue a situation in overly simple terms which in turn begets an overly narrow, simplistic set of actions that may give the appearance of addressing a problem, but in fact is not doing so particularly effectively.

Imagine someone pitching the idea of aging.  The long term view is that our hair will go grey or just go and our skin will become wrinkled (Joan Rivers excepted).  But what about now? What is the short term effect of aging.  The true answer is that tomorrow you’ll pretty much the same as today, notwithstanding any major life events or traumas. And the day after, and the day after that.  If you’re lucky and the year after that.

The key to embracing BOTH the short term and the long term is to recognise that in a complex and changing world, it is not always possible to get  clear line of sight between the short term and the long term.  It may not be clear why events happening now have any meaningful connection with outcomes then. This insight means we cannot control and predict, we cannot know all, we are indeed vulnerable as Brene Brown points out here and in this knowledge we can be authentic leaders, coaches or counsellors.

Being aware and comfortable in discussing that the short term may not offer a complete solution to the puzzle, and indeed that in reality, neither does the longer term, rather what we are trying to do is intentionally and intelligently explore the mystery, is an important step toward authenticity.

Once you have a stated (long term aim, purpose or calling) you can be liberated into attempting lots of short term experiments.  The danger lies in attempting to apply planning techniques that work well in a short term situation like goal setting that demands a specific result by a specific time.  Imposing such specificity on longer term outcomes has the tendency to stymie short term innovation and experimentation, because it is always being held to account against a rigid set of criteria.

Short term actions may not only fail to appear to be moving things along, it may even appear to be going in the wrong direction.  Within the Chaos Theory of Careers, the long term is an emergent pattern (or state) that results from many many repeated short-term events.

Taking action in the short term without a sense of purpose, intention or calling may result in good longer term outcomes, but it relies a lot on chance.  Following an intentional, purposeful path may not result in a desired or even desirable outcome (there are no guarantees in life) but it does at least mean you are more likely to be prepared to follow hunches, hear calling, try things out and take action in the first place.

Placing demands on yourself and on others to articulate tangible and specific outcomes in the short-term or the long-term may result in such a jaundiced view of the short term, that you don’t bother even trying.  It is a failure to appreciate that trying and striving now can and does lead to places then.  The short term is the birthplace of action, but dont waste your time anxiously looking for results.  For some things, and dare I say, the most important things, the outcome or result emerges over time, and in some cases, those patterns may not be evident within our lifetimes.  That fact should not deter us from trying and trying now.

see also this post on calling and re-souling your career

 

 

Oppositional Thoughts Volume 8 – Amusing Sideways look at Careers, HR and Life Advice

Here is Volume 8 of my Oppositional Thoughts…They are designed to gently puncture some of the slightly precious life advice out there, and to complexify overly simplistic homilies, that make life appear a lot simpler than it is in reality.

You can find Volume 7 hereVolume 6 hereVolume 5 here,  Volume 4 here,  Volume 3 here and Volume 2 here and Volume 1 here

Oppositional Thoughts…if you go the extra mile do you meet people half way or have you gone too far?

Oppositional Thoughts…on the first day on the job in a hall of mirrors, would you have difficulty finding your feet?

Oppositional Thoughts…I wonder if John West Tuna have a recruitment problem, as all their job ads look fishy to me…

Oppositional thoughts.if a Helicopter parent hovers over their kids does  helicopter salesman hover near customers or do they sell choppers?

Oppositional Thoughts…In New Zealand if it goes pear-shaped they say its turned to custard, personally if it happened I’d turn to egg nog

Oppositional Thoughts…I was told that to get things done one must act. So I gave them the final act of Richard III and missed the deadline

Oppositional thoughts… never final? What about failing to press the eject button in time? @KontraCreative

Oppositional thoughts…give up trying to have the final word.  Ultimately that honor will go to a priest, or a pilot screaming brace!

Oppositional Thoughts…Hanging out with colleagues after work can be good team bonding. Here’s a tip, be careful what you are hanging out

Oppositional thoughts….Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it. -Bill Cosby….not such a good idea if it is absinthe…

Oppositional thoughts…One for all, all for one, or two for the price of one. I know which one I’m taking…..

Oppositional Thoughts..To live without risk is to risk not living. & to live with risk is to risk not living,that’s the risk you (dont) take

Oppositional thoughts…My careers advisor told me that the writing’s on the wall for my career, and that’s how I became a graffitti artist

Oppositional thoughts…I listened to my coach and gave 110% in my accountancy job. I got fired for being innumerate…

Oppositional Thoughts…I turned around performance at the manufacturing plant. They started with the finished product and deconstructed it

Oppositional thoughts…don’t try pushing your luck, it is a better idea to ride your luck than push it

Oppositional thoughts…what if you discover that others are better at being myself that I am?

Oppositional thoughts…In seeking to be happier I’ve tried psychics, consulted medics but you still cant beat comics

Oppositional thoughts…What is not started today is never finished tomorrow?….What about a 1-day sale on tomorrow?

Oppositional thoughts…Listen, Listen, Listen – its amazing what you hear when you listen to your employees!  Install bugging devices.

Oppositional Thoughts…Volume 4 http://f.ast.ly/ufQNc

Oppositional thoughts….I organised a flash mob and it was a riot!   No truly it turned into a riot & my case comes up next week

Oppositional thoughts…I got confused and organised a mob flash, instead of a flash mob.  All those mafia members exposed..not pretty

Oppositional thoughts…I decided to take action & go for it!  But when I got there I missed it, as it had been delivered to my home

Oppositional thoughts…Not everyone has Xmas spirit. I was ding donging merrily on high when the judge dismissed me from the jury…

Oppositional thoughts…if your new year’s resolution is not to make a resolution what happens when you break it?

Oppositional Thoughts…had to discuss the results of my 360 degree feedback. It was more like 1st degree feedback…

Oppositional Thoughts…Tipping point=point at which an idea has been stripped of all complexity and nuance

Oppositional thoughts…Waiting at snowbound Heathrow airport is a spiritual experience. Everybody is seeking a higher plane

Oppositional thoughts..”If u r talking then u r not listening & if u r not listening then u r not learning.” …and if u r typing tweets?

Oppositional thoughts…”Nothing is ever wrong.Whatever you did today was the way it was meant to be”…so saying this is wrong is right?

Oppositional thoughts..”Everything in the world we want to do or get done, we must do with & through people” argument 4 communal lavatories?

Oppositional thoughts…living free spirited sounds great, but you have to be good at shoplifting the local liquor store to make it work

Oppositional thoughts…I pulled out all the stops and busted a gut, and now I am appearing before the surgical medical board for misconduct

Oppositional thoughts…my boss told me she expected a material improvement in my reports, so I printed them on carbon fibre not paper

Oppositional thoughts…”Limits exist only in the mind” …try telling that to the Traffic Cop who has booked you for speeding…..

Oppositional thoughts…I was helpless with laughter reading a tweet when I was asked the leave the funeral….

Oppositional thoughts…”Shine your light, don’t hide it and don’t be shy to share it” unless you’ve just broken into the Watergate building

Oppositional thoughts…”” Let your heart guide you…but listen closely because it whispers.” but what if it murmurs?

Oppositional thoughts…NYE advice. Hangover cure for New Years Day.  Have a hangover so bad from night of 30th you cant drink on 31st

Oppositional thoughts…”What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? ” Hmmm.. try to better that quote?

Oppositional thoughts…”Unless u walk into the unknown, odds making difference in life r low” & you can always scrape it of your shoe later

Oppositional thoughts…everybody should embrace a paradox. Those air cushioned soles make them very comfortable foot ware….

Oppositional thoughts…if you want a creative job, become a postal worker as they are always pushing the envelope…..

Oppositional thoughts…..I got the team really humming, but all the visitors in the library complained they couldn’t think for the racket

Oppositional thoughts….entertaining thoughts is all very well, but how often do they return the hospitality?

Oppositional thoughts…one should not only entertain thoughts, but strive to ensure their thoughts are entertaining…

 

Oppositional Thoughts Volume 7 – Amusing Sideways look at Careers, HR and Life Advice

Here is Volume 7 of my Oppositional Thoughts…They are designed to gently puncture some of the slightly precious life advice out there, and to complexify overly simplistic homilies, that make life appear a lot simpler than it is in reality.

You can find Volume 6 here, Volume 5 here,  Volume 4 here,  Volume 3 here and Volume 2 here and Volume 1 here

Oppositional thoughts…”personal branding” fixes an idea of person and limits the creative possibilities of people who change and emerge

Oppositional thoughts…what’s so great about a balanced scorecard? It means its a draw, nil-nil,no winners. I want an imbalanced scorecard!

Oppositional Thoughts…Planning pays. Noah built ark before rain..but it hasn’t stopped raining since they built the desal plant in Sydney

Oppositional thoughts…Be true to yourself…only yourself?  What and lie through your teeth to everybody else?

Oppositional Thoughts…Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second…unless you are eating curry

Oppositional Thoughts…I’ve always been conflicted about self-actualising ever since a teacher caught me doing it in the bike sheds…

Oppositional thoughts…to jump straight to the front of the queue, just phone the person on the desk and walk forward – phones trump people

Oppositional Thoughts…you feel better if you let others have the final word, but what if they don’t say anything?!!

Oppositional thoughts…“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”…and get arrested….

Oppositional thoughts…You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who can never repay you…like the banks did

Oppositional Thoughts…How do you push forward your best ideas? Break through the barrier of skepticism….hmm not sure about that

Oppositional thoughts…Those that talk down to you…probably haven’t thrown their 1970s platform heels out of their wardrobe….

Oppositional thoughts…”Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off your goals.”…and opportunities and better alternatives

Oppositional thoughts…if my #newyearsresolutions are to break my new years resolutions does this increase the chances of me keeping them?

Oppositional thoughts Volume 3 Amusing and lateral views on Career and HR Advice http://f.ast.ly/PcnkL

Oppositional Thoughts…I was in the moment, but was disturbed by a man shouting “hurry up in there, I want to use it” http://bit.ly/dlpDJ9

Oppositional thoughts…I considered self-acceptance, but decided not to accept it and marked it return to sender….

Oppositional thoughts..I am having problems with rigid and extreme thoughts, the rigid ones aren’t extreme and the extreme ones aren’t rigid

Oppositional thoughts…Ubuntu know my people know me…Hollywood star, know my agent know me

Oppositional thoughts…A postmodernist walks into their imaginary bank and makes out a reality cheque to “self”

Oppositional thoughts…a postmodernist painting is just a pigment of your imagination…

Oppositional thoughts…I went to work on my goals,my colleague went on a bus. He arrived on time and got promoted, I got fired for no-show.

Oppositional thoughts…there was a power failure in the operating theatre, the Dr asked where’s the patient? So I took a stab in the dark

Oppositional thoughts…I was told to develop my employability skills, but I am more concerned about my sack-ability.

Oppositional thoughts…Sack-ability definition: 1) ease of getting laid off 2) ease of getting laid…Casanova had lots of sack ability…

Oppositional thoughts… Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom…depends whose bottom….@AvidCareerist

Oppositional thoughts..Going the extra mile is a great for taxi drivers,not for their passengers,and a disaster for golfers @emergentinsight

Oppositional thoughts….is saying “Few families teach manners” being rude about families?

Oppositional Thoughts…Shop local during Small Business Saturday…and make the big businesses into small ones in no time at all!!

Oppositional Thoughts…I wanted to change the world, but when I took it back they didn’t have another one in my size…

Oppositional thoughts…what came first; the Xerox copier or the Office Christmas party?

Oppositional thoughts…there are no bars on your imagination & creativity, but it was my imagination & creativity that put me behind bars

Oppositional thoughts…I took some risks and broke down all the barriers, unfortunately it was during my driving test…

Oppositional thoughts…ask not what your nation can do for you, ask why are they doing it, for whom and what is it going to cost me

Oppositional thoughts…it is great to remember people in your thoughts and even better for business to remember them in your invoices….

Oppositional Thoughts…To look at something as though we had never seen it before requires great courage…or a diagnosis of prosopagnosia

Oppositional thoughts…I was told I was called and gifted..sounded great till I found out what they were calling me and what the gifts were

Oppositional thoughts….A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery even when he’s lost..what if it is pitch dark?

Oppositional thoughts…Life is 90% how you handle it…of course you might get life for handling it in the first place….

Oppositional thoughts…”Without goals, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination”.which allows a wonderful exploring cruise

Oppositional Thoughts Volume 6 Amusing Sideways look at Careers, HR and Life Advice

Oppositional Thoughts

Oppositional thoughts…Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success…but a real laundry headache…

Oppositional thoughts…The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions. ~ Da Vinci…in his opinion….

Oppositional thoughts…Your power is proportional to your ability to relax…so I am most powerful when asleep?  Kind of figures…

Oppositional thoughts..As long as your going to be thinking anyway, think big..thanks! I was thinking failure, now I am thinking big failure

Oppositional thoughts..Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible..funny I find changing the light bulb works

Oppositional thoughts…Make a dent in the universe today..but be sure to exchange insurance particulars and note the names of any witnesses

Oppositional thoughts…My job as CEO is to eliminate doubt across my organization…are you sure? And then what? And if you dont?

Oppositional thoughts…”The real leader has no need to lead; he is content to point the way.”…that’s just going to encourage traffic cops

Oppositional thoughts…Nothing like starting the month with #PeterGabriel. Make your November ROCK!..and then smash it with a Sledgehammer!

Oppositional thoughts…‘Britain’s Next Top Model’ is back…the Austin Princess towed by the Morris Marina…

Oppositional thoughts…Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under…I wondered who was upstairs making that racket..

Oppositional thoughts…Businesses can save time and money by going cashless…no cash in, no cash out, no business, no worries in no time!

Oppositional Thoughts… Interesting experiment by hungry young copywriter…making a meal out of indigestible prose…

Jim Bright’s Career Coaching Course in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane & Melbourne 2011

I’m running my 3-day career counselling, coaching & assessment course in March in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide & Melbourne and Brisbane.  You can register or get more details here: http://bit.ly/eYmzWk

2011

JULY

19 – 21 CAREER COUNSELLING, COACHING AND ASSESSMENT COURSE, ADELAIDE

AUGUST – SEPTEMBER

30TH AUG – 1ST SEPT CAREER COUNSELLING, COACHING AND ASSESSMENT COURSE, PERTH

14TH – 16TH CAREER COUNSELLING, COACHING AND ASSESSMENT COURSE, SYDNEY

OCTOBER

12TH – 14TH CAREER COUNSELLING, COACHING AND ASSESSMENT COURSE, BRISBANE

26TH – 28TH CAREER COUNSELLING, COACHING AND ASSESSMENT COURSE, MELBOURNE

DOWNLOAD 3-DAY COURSE FLYER

 

Highlights:

  • Highly practical – learn how to use 2 valid career tests and receive all materials to use them
  • Entertaining – delivered in a light hearted and amusing style
  • Leading edge – learn about the latest thinking in the field
  • Evidence-based learn stuff that works and has been tested and reviewed
  • Leads to CICA endorsed PG Cert in Career Development for those wanting formal credentials
  • Approved PD hours for Australian Psychological Society either Generalist (18hrs) or Specialist for Colleges of Organisational, Counselling and Educational/Developmental.

More details click on this link http://bit.ly/eYmzWk

Register soon to reserve a place.  Contact Jim for further details.

Transform your Career by shifting: Shift 2 From Plans To Plans And Planning

Shiftwork is the work we all have to do to manage, survive and thrive in the face of a world where Shift Happens.

I’ve identified 11 shifts that we have to make (see here) and the first shift (see here) below I give a few tips about how to achieve the second one.

Shift 2: From Plans To Plans And Planning

We all like to make plans. They make us feel comfortable, they give and sense of direction and underline a sense of purpose.  However in a rapidly changing world that is so interconnected that decisions and actions taken by people we’ve never met in a country we’ve never visited can turn our own plans on their head, we need to be continually planning, not relying on a plan.  Add to that the forces of globalisation, technological advances, plus social changes and you have recipe for undermining our plans.

Having just one plan can lead to inflexibility and it may leave you stalled when conditions make your plan obsolete.  Military General and President Dwight Eisenhower said “In battle plans are useless but planning is indispensable”.  In other words learning how to do planning is just as important or more important than the plan itself.

Here are some suggestions to improve your planning skills:

  • engage in scenario planning – think of lots of different possible outcomes, no matter how improbable and work out what you’d do in those situations
  • Consider for each scenario what would need to happen for me to: quit the plan; stick with the plan; revise the plan
  • listen to  and be aware of small “insignificant signs” what might they be telling you?
  • look at your current plan on a daily basis – is there a better one out there? how can I change it/refine it/finesse it/fine tune it?
  • think about what you know you know; what you know you dont know; what you dont know you know and most importantly what you dont know you dont know
  • identify emergency resources that you have (skills; attitudes; support; finances)
  • make a liferaft plan and mentally equip it with survival items (where I can go for support or shelter – e.g. my family; my friends; my boss; my lawyer etc)
  • be open to new information/opportunities/ possibilities
  • go beyond probability thinking (considering what will probably happen) and always consider possibility thinking
  • devote part of each day to developing new plans
  • resist getting into SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities threats) thinking while developing plans – let the plans develop fully before doing this
  • adopt a wait and see policy to see what emerges
  • ask yourself what else am I missing here
  • step into the shoes of your fiercest critic – what would they say about your plans – try your hardest to make their arguments
  • consider that other people can have a point
  • follow WC Fields dictum – “if at first you dont succeed, try again and then give up, there’s no point being a damn fool about it”
  • develop mini plans for the very short term that have little realistic downside and put them into action
  • regularly test the boundaries and extremes of your plans – where does it lead you
  • implement several plans at once, even if they are contradictory or paradoxical and monitor them

  • consider the value of small steps and reducing the timelines for your plans
  • consider moving from SMART goals (Specific Measureable Attainable Realistic and Time-based) to fuzzy goals – non specific, not necessarily measurable, not necessarily attainable and not necessarily realistic)
  • get connected and listen to feedback (note listen not necessarily automatically acting on it)

What are your tips for developing planning skills as opposed to have a plan?

Getting Amazing Results on your resume

Extract from Amazing Resumes by Jim Bright & Jo Earl, published by Jist

This post covers issues to do with CV layout, and how to deal with your education and qualifications on your resume.  Before the extract is a short background to the book.

Background

The material comes from my book Amazing Resumes.  This book is the culmination of over 10 years of scientific research into what gets resumes shortlisted.  My co-author Jo (now Dr Jo!) Earl completed her Masters Thesis in Organizational Psychology working with recruiters on what gets resumes shortlisted. Her work and that of many more of my team is included in this book. It means the advice you get has been demonstrated empirically to impress recruiters.

Why not become part of growing international movement who have found this book to be an essential part of their job search strategy.  The sister title in the UK, Brilliant CV, is a decade old best-seller in its 4th edition just out.  In Australia, Resumes that get shortlisted continues to be a leader, and the book is now in a Chinese version too!

We are proud of this book, and if you are a professional advising others or know someone who needs some help, we invite you to get hold of a copy through Amazon as we are sure you’ll find it will support your important work and most importantly help others get that all important job..

Amazing Resumes by Jim Bright and Jo Earl

Which Resume Is for Me?

Our extensive work has found that hiring managers prefer resumes that look conventional. This has been found in studies throughout the world. Most managers are conventional people, and they have a clear idea of what they expect to see when they read a resume. Reading a resume is a bit like walking into a restaurant—we know what to expect. In a restaurant, we know that there will be tables and a menu, that we will be asked for our order, and that we will have to pay for the food. We might even expect to leave a tip! Receiving an unusual resume would be like walking into the restaurant and seeing no tables or serving staff. We might figure out that there is a food vending machine to use, or alternatively, we might just walk out. Similarly, an employer might persevere with an unusual resume, or he or she might just reject it.

Before we look at some actual examples, we will take a look at what things you should put in your resume. The following is our list of important elements of a resume.

Tip: Use our 4-S rule: Keep it Simple, Structured, Succinct, and Significant.

Essential Contact Details

Always include your

  • Name you want to be known by—for example, “James Bright” and not “James Edward Harold Bright”
  • Home address
  • Telephone number
  • Fax number
  • E-mail address

Only give contact details for places where you are prepared to be contacted by prospective employers. If receiving a call or an e-mail at your current workplace might lead to embarrassing questions from your boss, do not give work contact details. Of course, if you want to include an e-mail address, it is now very easy to get a free e-mail account on the Web from companies like Hotmail (www.hotmail.com).

You must put your name, address, and telephone number on the first page of your resume.

Education and Training

If you haven’t had any formal education, obviously you omit these elements and should be thinking of using the functional or the structured interview resume. Have a look at the ideal candidate you constructed from the job ad in Chapter 4. What qualifications is our potential employer looking for? These qualifications are the ones to focus on.

Tip: Do not bore the reader by listing every qualification you have obtained—keep it to the relevant and impressive stuff.

Go through the list of qualifications you made in chapter 6 and determine which are relevant to the job. List the relevant ones in order. Some qualifications, like a college degree, are regarded as relevant information in most circumstances. Other qualifications, such as a first-aid course, may be seen as useful for some jobs, but would look odd being listed for others.

Although we have not researched where your educational details are best positioned, we find that what works best depends on how important and impressive your qualifications are to the position. Ask yourself the questions “How important are my qualifications to this position?” “How impressed will employers be by my degree I have or the school that I attended?” “What is most impressive, my qualifications or my work achievements?” If the answers to these questions are in favor of your educational qualifications, then place them toward the top of your resume (after the career objective statement or competencies and before your work achievements). If you answer in favor of your work achievements, then place educational details after your work details.

Our colleagues agree you should take a tailored approach to positioning details of your education where they are needed most. Wendy Enelow, author of the Expert Resumes series of resume guides, recommends that you “load” the resume—upfront—with your greatest selling points. Susan Britton Whitcomb, author of Résumé Magic (2003), has an excellent three-year rule of thumb for determining where to position your education. If you received a degree that is relevant to the vacancy in the last three years, place it toward the top of your resume. If you graduated more than three years ago and you have relevant work achievements to be proud of, place these first. Louise Kursmark, author of Sales and Marketing Resumes for $100,000 Careers and many other books, suggests that education be viewed as a foundational credential rather than as a key selling point. Remember, don’t waste prime resume “real estate” on something that will never sell.

Tip: Be clear and concise, and always refer back to the job ad to ensure that you’re remaining relevant.

When you do include your educational qualifications, you should order them as follows:

  • Highest postgraduate qualification—Masters or Ph.D., the subject, and the university at which the degree was earned
  • Highest undergraduate qualification—the degree, the subject, and the university at which the degree was earned
  • College qualifications—what college you attended and your grade-point average

This point may not apply to many people at all, but should you have a Ph.D., bear in mind that the title of Ph.D. dissertations can often appear to be so obscure or trivially narrow as to detract from a great achievement. Believe us, we have heard the sniggers that sometimes accompany Ph.D. award presentation ceremonies! If you have a very specialized title that is not going to be directly relevant to the job you’re applying for, stick to the subject discipline name (such as chemistry, physics, English, or psychology). For example, if you’re applying for a research role, a title such as “An investigation into the antecedents and consequences of brown squirrel mating rituals” might be better referred to as “Biology”—unless you are applying for a job that requires you to specifically monitor squirrels.

If you have a degree, it is probably not necessary to include your high school results unless they are exceptional. A degree will lead most employers to credit you with a certain amount of intelligence.

What might be useful is to list a few subjects you covered in high school, to give an indication of your versatility. For instance, if you have an arts degree, it is probably worth listing “courses included mathematics, chemistry, and statistics” or other numerate subjects studied at high school, as this gives an indication of well-rounded abilities. The opposite applies to science graduates, who might list English and history if applicable. List any extra languages that you speak, but see our later section on bias.

If there is any special thesis topic or aspect of your studies that is particularly relevant to the job, mention it here. With all qualifications, do not assume that the reader will understand what they are.

If you are applying for a job in the same country and state in which you were trained, and the qualification system has not changed in the last 10 years, it is safe to assume that the employer will understand the meaning of your qualifications. Otherwise, do not assume anyone else will understand your qualifications, and if in doubt explain what they mean.

Tip: When applying for a job in another state or country, don’t assume employers will understand what your qualifications mean. Explain your grades and degrees in the employer’s local system.

You can buy a copy of Amazing Resumes here