Sometimes the job hunting process can feel really lonely. Luckily, members of the Open Heroines Slack are able to turn to each other for advice, feedback, and celebration of their skills and experiences.
Earlier this year, Marisa Miodosky and I organized an informal “CV swap” for members of Open Heroines, an international community of women working in open data. We modelled the swap off of a process I participated in a few years ago in a similar setting.
From that experience, I saw how sometimes it can be really helpful to have someone else reflect back on what they see and value about your experience, to help you celebrate your strengths and better put your weaknesses into perspective. It’s an activity that still informs how I talk about my work to this day and I was excited to share it with this other community.
Marisa and I worked together to draft a short form to help gather information about participants, and especially for an international community, information about language, location, and time zone so we could factor that into the pairing process. We paired up about a half dozen community members to share their CV or resume with each other, offer feedback, and, hopefully, get to know each other better in the process!
Some themes people wanted feedback on included:
- Formatting and design, including if there are new strategies people are using or how to structure a lot of information more clearly
- More clearly targeting the CV for particular areas of the open data world, such as communications or civic tech
- Tailoring their CV for international organizations
- Just generally better communicating abilities and achievements
While none of us involved in the process are HR experts, we all did our best to offer feedback based on our personal experiences and help talk through ideas and questions. We encouraged participants to follow their curiosity in the conversation, and be mindful that some CV styles may be specific to a certain country or industry so they should not expect there are “right” and “wrong” answers. In addition, we shared a resume writing guide from the US site ‘Ask A Manager’ to offer some starter suggestions and a template.
I haven’t heard whether anyone got a new job after these conversations, but I’m sure we’ll get to celebrate soon in the Open Heroines Slack. Slack is such a great platform for ongoing informal discussions. It was great to try out this experiment offering a slightly more structured approach to feedback and discussion. If you’d like to talk about running swaps like this or would like to see us try it again (or iterate on it!) in the Open Heroines Slack, ping me there or email email@example.com. Thanks to Marisa and all the participants in our first swap!
Erika Owens is an organizer and facilitator based in Philadelphia. As Co-Executive Director of OpenNews, Erika convenes people and projects in journalism and open source technology. Erika and the OpenNews team seek ways to build enduring connections by supporting a thriving network of inclusive, caring spaces for the journalism-tech community. Her adroit community work has been instrumental in establishing OpenNews as a leader in how to foster and sustain networks. Previously, Erika was web editor at the Philadelphia Public School Notebook. She loves nonprofit journalism, people-watching, and laughing heartily.