Stickers declaring “Skateboarding is not a crime” show up almost everywhere there are signs saying skateboarding prohibited or forbidden or something similar. It’s skateboarders way of protest.

Now, a study out of the University of Southern California could add “Skateboarding is good for your mental health” and “Skateboarding encourages diversity” and a few others promoting the new found positive effects of the sport.

“Our research shows that through skateboarding, skaters develop the ability to communicate and build relationships with people from diverse backgrounds,” said Neftalie William, a co-author of the study published by the university’s Pullias Center for Higher Education.

The Beyond the Board study surveyed over 5,000 skateboarders, most between 13 and 25. The responses included both women and skaters of color. In addition, researchers interviewed 120 skaters and stakeholders in seven cities across the US discovering skateboarding has benefits at odds with the stereotype of skaters.

According to the study, researchers found:

Skateboarding improves mental health – The vast majority of skaters surveyed indicated they skateboard for fun and/or to relieve stress.

Skateboarding and skateparks facilitate a sense of community among skaters – Skateboarders reported the value of connecting with people who share similar passions in skateparks, skate shops, and at skating events.

Skateboarding encourages resilience – The nature of skateboarding requires skaters to learn on their own and develop their own strategies to succeed Skaters frequently perform a trick hundreds of times over long periods before developing proficiency or experiencing reward for the efforts. Skaters in the study reported that they apply these lessons of resilience to their lives outside of skateboarding.

Gender and race matter – The study also showed that skaters of color felt a greater degree of safety from judgment within the skateboarding community than in nonskate contexts. Female skaters indicated they believe they are judged by their gender both in and out of skateboarding contexts.

The research was funded by the Tony Hawk Foundation.

Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay


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Green Key

Tech Writers Code In English

There’s a tech job that pays well, is growing fast and is in such demand that it’s taking employers weeks to fill an opening.

And it typically doesn’t require knowing any language besides English.

With the number of devices and applications mushrooming and their capabilities increasing just as rapidly, explaining to users how to make everything work is the job of technical writers. “They’re vital players when the time comes for a company or team to communicate its work to the rest of the world,” writes Nick Kolakowski on the Dice.com blog.

Instruction manuals are how most of us come in contact with the work of technical writers. Some technical writers specialize in writing these consumer focused materials; most write them along with handling other documentation tasks.

It may seem simple enough to describe the features of a new smartphone, but as the Dice article points out, “If the technical writer screws up, it could result in an extremely frustrated customer base — which reflects badly on the company.”

Many technical writers have a broad range of responsibilities that in the tech industry itself may include maintaining internal documentation of software fixes and new features. Often, the technical writer will work directly with an engineering team, becoming involved early in the product cycle to develop the deep understanding they’ll need to clearly explain complex features. This is especially true for those tech writers whose documentation will be used by IT professionals and engineers.

Simon Dew, a technical writer with an international firm that sells a database platform, says he writes for a technical audience because the users are database managers and developers.

It may not be a job requirement to know how to code – though there are writing jobs requiring a computer science background – all writers must be good at asking questions, be detail-oriented, understand technical concepts and write clearly.

Jacklyn Carroll, a technical writer who was an undergraduate English major who went on to earn a Master’s in professional and technical writing, says, “Any tech writer would be able to tell you that our job includes a lot more than just documentation. We have to communicate with people across multiple departments, write for a variety of audiences, and many of us have to understand programming or code at the same level as software developers.”

As a result, starting salaries can be as high as $70,000, according to Dice.com. The average for those writers with up to 2 years’ experience is $60,000. With more experience and skills, technical writers at the top can earn into six figures.

Photo by Andrew Neel


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Green Key

How to Format Your Resume

Even if you know what to include and omit, formatting a resume isn’t as simple as it may seem. It’s important to be on top of the tricks that may give you the upper hand.  

What are Automatic Tracking Systems?

Large corporations and staffing agencies are now using Automatic Tracking Systems (ATS) to filter through resumes electronically. With the increased volume of applicants, it’s faster for a computerized system to parse resumes into a structured form. By recognizing specific text and key words, this can expedite the hiring process and create a fair pool of applicants.  According to a 2018 Jobscan study, 98 percent of Fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking systems. 

However, this organization strategy is not perfect. Flaws in the system can cause perfectly qualified applications to filter out of the pool. Luckily, there are a few ways you can prevent your resume from getting rejected. 

How do you format resumes for ATS?

Right from top, the Huffpost says not to put any information in the header or footer. “The problem is that software may not read information correctly or at all if it appears in those top and bottom margins,” they claim.  The parsers are looking for fielded information and may not find it in those areas. Instead, it is safer to put your name and contact information right below the header. 

Additionally, try not to get fancy with columns and graphics. Unless your resume goes straight to the hands of a human reader, its best to avoid visuals like this. The system will struggle to parse them and they’ll likely get deleted. To avoid this, save your resume as a .txt file and look at it from there. If you can still read everything unformatted, you are probably in the clear. 

Using suitable keyword optimization is also crucial. You’ll want to use keywords in your resume that mirror the job description in the listing. Indeed.com instructs, “Look for role-specific terms that the article reuses multiple times. The more prevalent a specific keyword is, the more importance you should place on it within your own resume.” Also, if you have held multiple positions in one company, be sure to reference the company name on every role. Otherwise, the ATS might not recognize each position as associated with that company.  

Formatting a resume is the first step in job searching. In these computerized times, learning the methods to get your resume recognized is pivotal. To further perfect this process, check out our recent articles outlining what to include on your resume and what to leave off your resume.  

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Green Key