Arte Nathan – Takeaways From a Killer Keynote

ArteI recently attended an awards banquet for the Nevada College of Business and the keynote speaker was Arte Nathan, Executive Director of Professional and Leadership Studies at UNLV. He was also the Chief Human Resources Officer at Wynn Resorts for over 20 years. After stating that he wasn’t going to read his original speech, Mr. Nathan began reviewing his professional journey and shared words of wisdom to the soon to be business graduates. Below are some of his quotes and my thoughts about each.

Resumes:

“You think we spend more than a minute looking at your resume?”

It is sad, but true. With the state of human resources today, there are too many resumes for too few jobs and there just isn’t time to effectively look at them all.

“The top line that says objective is what they look at. You’re supposed to know what your objective is.”

While I agree that having an objective is important on a resume, the idea here that struck me was being able to state your objective in the first place. I have had to state my own objectives, as most everyone has, and understood that having an objective doesn’t mean knowing exactly how you will get there. It is about having the goal and working to reach it.

“GPA doesn’t matter. You graduated. That’s what matters.”

For the most part, I agree with this statement. It is difficult to say that a GPA from one school is an accurate measure to compare against someone from another institution. This is not necessarily about the quality of the education, but the simple fact that the two systems are likely not the exact same.

“Your internship and attendance at the London School of Something or Other doesn’t matter. What matters is what you did when you weren’t studying. Those involved were holding offices and still graduated. They are multifaceted.”

While I don’t agree that internships and your institution don’t matter (and I don’t think Mr. Nathan does either based on his other comments), I do agree that what you do outside of the classroom can be more important than what you do in it. The reason for this is the application of what you have learned and the ability to build experience.

Life Advice – for Business:

“If you have a can-do attitude, you will go far.”

Attitude is one of the only aspects in our lives where everyone is on an equal playing field. By feeling and living the belief that you can get the job done shows confidence, and implementing that attitude will show your dependability and skills.

“If you never fail, you will never learn.”

While I don’t believe anyone sets out looking to fail, I do believe that if you haven’t failed, then you haven’t tried enough. Additionally, without failing, you will likely be ill-equipped do effectively respond when that inevitable time does comes.

~             ~             ~

It was reassuring to hear the words of Mr. Nathan as I share many of his beliefs and he has led a highly successful career. The three key elements I took away from his keynote were to know your objective, put your best foot forward and always be ready to learn.

Now, take a look at your own resume. Do you feel it puts your best foot forward? If not, make changes, ask others for their thoughts, get advice. For most of us, a resume is the first impression, so it is worth taking the time to make it count.

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