Other Things I Wrote

Thanks to the blog, people saw my writing, and started hiring me to write for them.

That’s crazy, and I’m so happy.

In chronological order, here’s what and where my work’s been published. That I can disclose that I wrote. Other things are under disclosure agreements.


October 31: 20 Brands to Watch Out for this Holiday Season! on WhenInManila

(Note: 4.55k shares on Facebook with an estimated reach of about 320k)

September 29:  5 Small Steps to Choosing Success Everyday on Inquirer.net

(Note: I have no idea why it’s formatted so badly. There’s supposed to be things in bold, things in bullet point, hell, the title isn’t even correctly capitalized. No idea why it looks like that.)

September 15: How She Became a Millionaire Before 30: 5 Secrets for Early Success on WhenInManila

[As of October 26, 2016, this post has 2.9k reactions and 671 shares on Facebook. One of the most popular posts in WIM’s recent history. (Link to FB post) On WIM’s site, it says it’s garnered 4.98k shares over Facebook. I don’t know how.]


How to Fix Your Resume in 1 Hour – The Border Collective

I’m serious, it’s that easy; you can fix it all up in an hour. But you have to listen to the timer and not procrastinate. Sit down with pen, paper, and laptop and be fully present for this. Preferably your laptop should just have Google open, not 1 million tabs, because those tabs will siren call you. Don’t listen to them. If you don’t listen to this preface, then this won’t work. Yes, you’ll fix your resume, but most definitely not in 1 hour.

Before anything else, let me introduce myself.

My name’s Justine Chua, I co-founded The Border Collective (a blog about everything college kids in the Philippines need to know about the work life) with Betina Ong, and if you want to know more about us, TBC, or anything else, just click around the site. There’s a body of knowledge there that no other website has, which I’m quite proud of.

Now onto why this article exists.

I’m 21 years old, a college senior, and I’ve personally run more than 300 resume consultations in the last 6 months aka I help people present their best selves on 1 A4 when I have free time.

I’ve helped people get to Erasmus, to internships abroad, to scholarships abroad, to Oxford summer programmes, to interviews with the top MNC’s in the country, to their first internship, to their first job, and more. What I’ve realized is this: even the absolute best think they’re shitty when it comes to presenting themselves in resume format. Nothing in school or life prepares you for that. Google is your only friend, but there’s so much information out there made for the West and not as much for the East so we end up not knowing what’s relevant to those of us here in the Philippines.

And I hate to say it, but I’ve gotten really good at fixing resumes and helping people job hunt thanks to my consulting work, the stuff I read, and the blog. (I personally think this is a stupid skill to pick up but whatever, I’m going to roll with it.) Trust in me when I say, I’m about to drop some real talk that helps. I already know what you’re struggling with; don’t worry, your situation isn’t unique.

And as much as I’d like to help everyone with personalized advice, I really can’t. That’s why I’m writing this. For as many people to solve this problem on their own as they can.

The resume is the first hurdle, and arguably the biggest. Nothing’s more daunting than trying to condense your entire college life and career on one flimsy piece of paper. Even if your background is totally impressive.

The longer you put off starting your resume though, the scarier it’ll be. It’s just going to take up valuable brain space and whisper to you negative thoughts all hours of the day until you actually start and finish writing it. So, silence that voice by forcing yourself to knock out a first draft in 60 minutes. Once you have that first draft down, I promise you, it’ll start improving bit by bit as you learn more about yourself.

Anyways, let’s get started. Thanks for reading and hope I write something useful for you!

Choose a template (5 mins)

Literally just google for one. Make sure it’s not the most amazing, well-designed resume on earth because then you are telling the employer that you know Photoshop. Even if you don’t ever say it on the resume. Or at the very least, you’re saying that you’re so extra, you spent a lot of time on the aesthetics of a resume.

But if you are a designer, then you really have to go all out. Showcase your talent from the get go, but remember to study the psychology behind the colors you use since it’ll prime the employers’ perception of you.

The margins and spacing shouldn’t be so big that I can write a full sentence on it. All that empty space just highlights you haven’t done a lot with your life.

Super extra bonus tip from me: Pick a template that doesn’t involve a photo. You don’t need to add your photo at all for the same reason that you should be maximizing space. It’s also silly to do so because most likely, you don’t look good in that photo since it’ll be you all stiff and formal. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot like that.

You can also use the UP, ADMU, DLSU standard template; their career offices are going to say “it has brand recognition”. I agree, it does. It also says that you’re a generic UP, ADMU, DLSU grad who couldn’t have been bothered to google for a template, even though there are more than a million out there. So the choice is yours.


Fill in your personal info (2 mins)

I vote making a professional Gmail that’s purely dedicated to job hunting and LinkedIn aka professional things. Some employers reverse google search your email to see what turns up. Ya’ll don’t want them to see your wild party pics, angry Twitter rants, or embarrassing song covers. Bonus Tip: your email shouldn’t be a bunch of letters and numbers like jltc1131995@gmail.com. That’s not memorable. Use something like jennifer.ltco@gmail.com.

Personal Info Checklist: email, cell phone number, LinkedIn URL

That’s literally it. Nothing else. No address. No height or weight. No ‘single’, ‘married’, ‘in an open relationship’. Nothing irrelevant or too personal.


Delete your objective, references, and bullshit skills and interests (3 min)

[This is a generic career objective I screenshotted from a LinkedIn connection. It’s too long, all over the place, and peppered with filler words. Don’t do this.]

If you spent forever writing it, copy and paste it somewhere safe to keep it in your heart. If you haven’t started writing one, good job, you saved yourself some heartache. But in the end, a career objective is irrelevant, especially if you’re a good candidate. You’ll need to save that space to make everything relevant fit.

Alternatively if you’ve done nothing with your life and cannot fill that 1 page up, please add your objective and references into it. Hide your ineptitude with a wall of text.

[Notice how disjointed it is, like something no one would ever say out loud. Don’t do this. Make sure to read aloud everything you wrote to see if it sounds human.]

For objective, there’s a right and wrong way of doing it. I’ve shown you the wrong. For references, writing that they’re available upon request is a waste of everyone’s time. Either add in their name and numbers or don’t write it at all. For bullshit skills and interests, keep in mind this: if it is not a fact, delete it. Being a competitive golfer for 13 years is a fact; being a skilled communicator and team player isn’t.


Choose 5 things to write into it (10 mins)

List everything you’ve ever done down, and then pick just 5. I mean it, just 5. My pick is always 3 work experience + 2 co-curricular but not everyone has that. At the very least, try to add in 1 work experience that’s relevant to the job at hand.

Super bonus points if you can write “Published Papers” because who doesn’t want to say they’re a published author??? It also highlights that you’re analytical, collaborative, and good at condensing what you learned to share with others.

Don’t stress over remembering everything you’ve ever done; chances are that if you’ve forgotten it, it wasn’t important to your growth in the first place.


Write those 5 things down (30 mins – 6 for each)

Ah, the hardest part. I have a formula down pat for this but unfortunately, I’m not sharing that here publicly. Yet. That’s what I teach those who book resume consultations with me. I’m sure you guys can write this part down though; there are a billion resources online that tell you how to do so. Pick one and try it out to see if you feel comfortable talking about yourself that way.

This will be the bulk of your resume, which is why it takes so much time. There are at least 4 ways I can count to write up what you did and the results of those actions.

Super extra bonus tip from me: Don’t write in 1st person. No “I was in charge of handling the accounts”. And no extreme bragging that’s practically lying. Nobody is going to believe that you “singlehandedly hit the year’s fundraising target, therefore saving the org from extinction”.

(That is an actual line I’ve seen in a resume. I had to put the paper down, take my glasses off and pray for patience. Everything after the comma was unnecessary bragging on the owner’s behalf.)


Beg your honest friends to critique your resume (5 mins)

Usually an offer for free food gets them on board. Don’t ask them to critique it professionally; ask them to read it as a normal person and give you feedback on what their impression of you based on the resume is.

Did they like you? Did they feel like they want to work with you? Do they feel like it’s truthful to who you really are? Did you come off as competent?? Does the resume sound like it was written by a human being, and not a robot or desperate job-seeking Gollum-like creature?

And tell them to be super honest. Don’t let your feelings get in the way; everything they say are all just their perceptions based on a piece of paper, not on their perceptions of you as their friend.

This takes 5 mins because if your friends are as honest//brutal as I am, they’re not going to want to give you the ~real opinion~ because they don’t want to hurt you. Alternatively, if they’re super excited to shred you to pieces, do rethink your friendship with this person.


Give yourself a pat on the back for doing all of this//have a good cry at how difficult this was (5 mins)

Congrats!! Once you finished asking for feedback, sit down and rest. Don’t bother reading the feedback or re-editing right away; your brain will be fried, your emotions will be exhausted, and you will be consumed with thinking about your impending job hunt. Let yourself recharge. And don’t worry too much. At least you took 1 hour off to do the super basic things that normally takes worried job seekers a whole day.

Spend these 5 minutes thinking about how you’ll rest. Take the rest of the day off. Or if you’re like me, take 2 hours off to chill, knowing full well that you’re going to worry incessantly the whole time about the comments, so much so that once that timer runs out, you’ll immediately start working again. You know, normal thoughts.

But kidding aside, do take a break. That’s going to be incredibly helpful before you start the editing process. You want to be well-rested and as unbiased as you can before you start rewriting. And once you’re ok, restart this whole 1 hour process but instead of writing down your first draft, spend it refocusing your resume based on the feedback you got.

And that’s it. You’ve fixed your whole resume in 1 hour.

Related: 14.5 Things You Didn’t Know Had Resume Value

Doing it on a deadline helps, because you’re forced into finishing it rather than on perfecting it. Number one thing I stress in resume consultations, you’re never going to pass a perfect resume. There’s no such thing as one. You’re going to pass a great resume that highlights who you are, but that’s it. You’re never going to pass a “I’m the best person you can ever hire” resume that alerts every single company to you and has them blowing your phone up with calls and texts. To get that, you need to be famous already for your work, something I’ll talk about someday. Not impossible but highly unlikely to happen to the general populace.

Anyways, wishing you guys luck as you fix up your resumes. If you really do need help though, I’m opening up a few slots for resume consultations before school starts for me because I know how difficult it is for most people. Emotional support is an unspoken part of resume consultations, along with career advice and connecting you with job opportunities in my network.

For those of you interested in availing of some focused resume consultation time with me, check out the packages here at http://bit.ly/ResumeConsultations.

Easiest way to get more content like this is through The Border Collective’s Sunday newsletter, sign up for it here http://bit.ly/TBCSundays.

And if you want me//TBC to write more articles like this, let me know on the comments down below, in an email, or just like and share it. Seeing audience reactions with the stats is how we gauge what kind of articles to write or not. So if we see no traction, then we’re never going to write another one like this. Simple as that.

If you have anything else you want to ask, say, or comment about to either Betina or me, email us at either justine@thebordercollective.com or betina@thebordercollective.com! For partnerships and business deals, like our features on Startup Weekend and Woman Up 2016, you can email admin@thebordercollective.com.

Like The Border Collective’s Facebook page and if you have any questions to ask us anonymously or anything you want us to write about, drop it into the comments down below, or to our ask.fm and Google Form!

Thanks for reading and hope I wrote something useful for you!

Intern-view: Nicole Wong on Christian Dior

A while back I stopped posting here on TBC because I felt like it was becoming a chore and it just wasn’t fun anymore. So, I took a break. A long hiatus that gave me time to reevaluate my life, what I wanted to do, and more importantly what I didn’t want to be doing.

And I’ve realized that I (aka Justine) like doing the blog. But only when it’s answering questions and giving out info that I think is relevant, it’s on my free time, and it’s not me feeling obligated or pressured by some readers to start disclosing everything I know willy-nilly.

So, to get back into the groove of things, I’m going to start posting the huge backlog of Intern-views and #WorkLifeGoals. And a few other things, like my recent trip to Hong Kong for #RISEconf.

I’d appreciate it if you guys gave constructive criticism: what works, what can be improved, and most importantly, what are you struggling with. What companies do you want to see an Intern-view from? What’s the hardest part of internship and job hunting? What do you wish you could just google the answers to?

Drop your answers to that in ask.fm/thebordercollective or in an email to me at justine@thebordercollective.com if you’re willing to start a conversation on it. So without further ado, almost a year late edition of Intern-view with an intro by Bea Pelayo.

Hey guys! It’s been a while since we featured a girl here on Intern-view, so tonight it’s going to be an estrogen overload as we get to know about a super girly girl who interned at Parfums Christian Dior (how amazing is that?) during Ateneo’s long summer break of 2015. Her internship was really cool since she helped launch the first ever Christian Dior boutique here in the Philippines (sorry for spoiling!), and in a bit we’ll get to learn more about how she did it.

“What’s with the female hormones?,” you might wonder. Well, when I was talking to Nicole most of what I saw were the stereotypical girly things, and I mean this in a good way. Her friends would always describe her as “fashown”, and she’s the type of girl who talks in a high-pitched voice whenever there are dogs or other cute things. She’s also passionate about fashion and art, and she dreams of becoming a fashion designer someday. Check out her IG for some #ahrt! (@nicyannawong)

When I asked her to describe herself, Nicole said she’s an empowered woman; she’s career-oriented and independent. When she was still in school, she was that classmate you’d want to have in your group because she’s always the reliable one. Her orgmates also dubbed her as their org’s marketing goddess not just because of being so good at getting sponsors but also for training her colleagues.

And when I asked her to give five random facts about herself, she just made me conclude how girly of a girl she was.

  1. I underwent my school’s study abroad program and I had the time of my life studying Luxury and Fashion Management in a fashion school in Paris!
  2. I want to become a fashion designer ever since I was a wee little girl.
  3. I am obsessed with doggies!!!
  4. To beat typical touristy photos, I make paper dolls (which I call as Paper Darlings) and take photos of them in the landmarks, instead of me being in the photo. (omg gets ba? Lol if not, check attached photo or my IG or #PaperDarling lol)
  5. Almost everything I own is pink, except for clothes. I only have a few pink pieces.

Girl power wins tonight, was I right? Anywho, I won’t keep you waiting too long. Ladies and gentlemen, here comes tonight’s Intern-viewee, Nicole!

How did you find and pick this internship?

It was internship-seeking season where everybody was scrambling to find an internship so they can put the 4-month summer vacation to good use. One day, I just received a phone call from my blockmate, inviting me to apply to this beauty company. She felt bad for turning them down, so she was looking for a replacement. I researched the company and found that they house many of my favorite brands, so I applied right away.


Why did you choose to intern?

Internships aren’t required for my course, but we had a 4-month break thanks to the calendar shift. I might as well gain some skills and experience, rather than just bum around.


How was the experience of applying and being interviewed for the internship?

I was on a family trip when I received a call from the HR manager, asking me my availability for an interview, so imagine my surprise! She said that if ever, she is assigning me to Make Up For Ever. Ok cool! Fast forward to the interview, I got the biggest surprise of my life, when the receptionist informed me that the brand manager of Dior was the one who was going to interview me. I panicked a little since I was so not prepared! But of course, I got super excited also because OMG DIOR??!!! And I finally get to apply (and show off) what I learned in Paris!

As soon as I met the brand manager, all the panic instantly disappeared. She gave off a strong sense of familiarity that it feels like I was meeting my twin. The interview itself went pretty well. We instantly hit it off! It felt like we were just chatting. The questions were pretty standard – personal information, questions from my resume, etc. She also took the time to inform me of the busy calendar of Dior that year (which doubled my excitement).

But that’s not the end of it. Coincidentally, THE HEAD of Dior Philippines just came in and said he also wanted to interview me. So the panic arose again. This time, my interview was done very professionally and with utmost seriousness. Although that is so, he gave subtle hints that he was already going to get me, saying things like “… a valuable candidate such as yourself…” (or something like that), which spurred a rage of excitement once again (but I maintained my decorum, of course).


What would you say were the skills you needed when you applied? Did you pick up any new skills throughout your internship?

During both interviews, the bulk of the questions were about my past experiences. Some people, especially parents, think that you only have to study hard to get a good job, but in reality, hiring managers look at experience. They want you to show them what you’ve done and how capable you are.

Throughout the internship, I did learn new skills such as handling employees, store merchandising, Excel tools, Photoshop, events management, PR and day-to-day operations.


What was your expectation for the internship? How did the actual experience compare?

I knew from the start that it’s not a glamorous job and that I was going to do all the dirty work. And I did. But they also trusted me with important tasks, which I really appreciated because it made me feel like I was not just some lowly clueless intern. It made me feel like I was really a significant member of the Dior team. There was even one time when both of my superiors were out of the country, so that technically made me the temporary head of Dior Philippines! LOL.


What did you do during your internship? What kinds of tasks and projects were you given? Did you volunteer to take on a task yourself?

I helped out with PR events, like a product launch and more importantly, the opening of the first ever Dior boutique in the Philippines! Apart from that, I did operational activities like managing stocks and testers, sales reports, press kits, and so on. I also revived their Instagram account, creating content and significantly increasing its follower count.


How would you describe the working environment you were in?

I really like the culture there. Everyone’s friends with everyone. You can even crack jokes and chat with your superiors. Even the interns from sister brands would definitely attest to that. But of course, there are still professional limits.


In school, luxury brands are not typically made a focus of discussions and cases. What insights did you gain from working for one? What are some similarities and differences it has, especially in terms of marketing, with the usual FMCGs, F&B, etc.?

Luckily, since I took up Luxury and Fashion Management, I was already familiar with how luxury brands work. However, I found myself still completely surprised when I actually interned for one. I didn’t realize that luxury brands require more work than usual. Because of their tight focus on brand image and customer experience, I had to learn to be anal and OC. Everything has to be perfect and “Diorific” in the customer’s eyes.


Would you consider working for Christian Dior in the future?

Honestly, no, because I plan to pursue my first love, fashion. And I want to build my own brand in the future. But I consider myself very lucky to have been exposed to the secrets of a very prestigious brand.


What would you say were the best parts about your internship?

The people, most definitely. I had the coolest boss, who is still one of my dear friends ‘til today. The Dior general manager is also a total sweetheart despite his tough exterior! And I got to work with my close college friends, who interned in sister brands. (Their bosses are also so fun!) Truly, without these people, I wouldn’t have loved my stay in Dior as much. They made all the difference.


What would you say were the worst parts about your internship (or interning in general)?

Traffic! I live around 1.5 to 2 hours away from the office by car, so it was a struggle. Not to mention those awful moments when I got stuck in the infamous Friday pay day rush hour traffic in the Makati area. Not cute.


If you could go back in time to the first day of your internship, what is one piece of advice you would have given yourself?

I’d say to myself, “The people here trust you. They will assign crucial tasks to you because they know you can do it, so stop doubting yourself.”


What was the most interesting thing you did at your internship?

The highlight of my internship was the Dior boutique opening. It was a grand launch and I saw a lot of famous celebrities, personalities and business moguls, whom I got to mingle with! It was such an amazing event! Everything was spot-on. The regional executives from Singapore were also quite pleased. And to think that I was part of those who helped make it all happen, now that’s something incredible.


What would you say was your greatest learning from interning?

I’ve learned many things about running a brand that I can never learn in school, but the most valuable learning that I’ve gotten was about myself. In working for Dior, I’ve gotten to know myself better – my capabilities, limitations, mindset, tendencies and even my dreams for the future. And this has led me to find myself and to gain self-confidence.


What advice would you give anybody who wants/is about to start interning?

For all starting to intern, don’t forget to make the most out of it! Don’t just complete tasks. Observe how the business runs. Observe how your superiors deal with things. Ask questions. It will be a short stay, so maximize all opportunities to learn and grow.


Anything else you want to share with the readers?

One last note, as early as the application process, ask about the company culture already, because no matter how fun or amazing your work is, if you don’t fit in the culture, then I wish you all the luck in the world.

Hit me up on Instagram (@nicyannawong) if you have any more questions or simply want to see some cute fashion doodles! =)))

Thank you all for reading!!!

And that’s one down from the backlog, and what an interesting one. I never knew Christian Dior had a real office in the Philippines. The things you learn from running Intern-views lol.

If you’re still looking for stuff to read, or you’re still thinking “who the fuq are these people”, read 10 Things We Learned at Unilever Business Week or Why You Should Be Attending Conferences.

If you have anything you want to ask, say, or comment about to either Betina or me, email us at either justine@thebordercollective.com or betina@thebordercollective.com! For partnerships and business deals, you can email us at admin@thebordercollective.com!

And if you want to get a faster reply, message us on The Border Collective’s Facebook page!

If you have any questions to ask us anonymously or anything you want us to write about, drop it into our ask.fm and Google Form!

Thanks for reading and hope Nicole wrote something useful for you! 🙂