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How to get a job (or not)

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Birdjaguar, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    Depends on the Club and the quality of work.

    When I was in university, I was trusted to handle several thousand dollars a time (with the requisite bookkeeping), held a liquor license, and coordinated with professionals on my own. That's a hell of a lot more job experience and responsibility then I had sub-contracting for Netflix.

    Basically, only put it down if you feel it's comparable or superior to the tasks involved in a real job.
     
  2. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    Anyway I'd like to share what I learned from my recent resume critique since you all were so kind to help me with it.

    Firstly, I had to rewrite my resume for Lockheed. Not only tailor it for Lockheed, but actually format it as a resume. If you remember, Boeing had me fill in textboxes, which meant my resume didn't have a good format and it was very difficult to judge the length of the document. When I rewrote it as an actual resume, it was very easy to get it to one page + a cover letter.

    The Lockheed rep I talked to is an engineer and she told me a cover letter is useless to her and she doesn't read them. Then again, she doesn't actually read many resumes and I heard from people with MoDot who actually do do hiring that the cover letter is something they focus on to get a feel for the person and to judge their intent. They can tell whether or not you're really interested in the job through the cover letter. On the other hand, the Lockheed chick told me that even though HR people have final say, it's project team engineers who really do the picking and select the resumes that they like and pass those on to HR.

    So I guess it doesn't hurt to have one but it may not help either. It depends.

    The Lockheed rep really liked the way I formatted my title but she really tore apart the rest and ignored the cover letter entirely. I have my work cut out in trying to reformat it and she gave me some tips:

    *Action words (tell them what you did)
    *Work experience listed from recent to old
    *If you are listing something like MS Office because of a specific job listing asks for it, list it very last. Do not put it in resumes for jobs that don't ask for proficiency in it.
    *Do not be humble, the resume and the interview are your chance to brag
    *Follow up an interview with a personal email or letter
    *Take advantage of your schools resume building services and any professional development or career opportunity kind of things they offer
    *Take advantage of any opening*


    *I'll share my personal experience from this week to show what I mean:

    Lockheed participated in a total of 3 events at my campus this week. The first one was a resume critique. Now, at first glance this may not be appealing to everyone, particularly those who have used the schools resume building services and have a good one on hand. But if you think about it, it's pretty obvious that Lockheed is using the resume critique to prescreen candidates because they're recruiting.

    How else would they justify sending a team of very busy engineers all the way from Orlando to the middle of nowhere, Missouri? (My rep actually confirmed this for me).

    So I went to that and she started tearing apart my resume. Part way through though, she actually read some of it and the whole conversation changed. She saw my leadership experience on the student government and the college board of trustees and my managerial background and was really impressed. By the end of the 15 minute session (which dragged on to 25), she had given me her email and told me to rework the resume and keep in touch with her so that when it was up to snuff she could skip past the automated HR resume systems and get my resume on her boss's desk.

    I realized that as I was walking out of the room that I was about to become a faceless name behind an email address and that my chances of being remembered as a stand-out where slim, particularly with the throngs of students waiting to get the same resume critique.

    So I decided to go to a 'networking' event that Lockheed put on that evening and the rep I spoke to earlier was there. I sat at her table and chit-chatted and then the Lockheed reps started taking resumes and big lines formed to hand them off. I made a joke about me not having had time to fix my resume after she tore it apart and asked if she wanted the terrible mess of a resume again, and she said 'No, you have my email and I have your terrible resume (laughing), keep in touch'.

    I left that event then, I had made my 2nd impression on her.

    Yesterday was the third Lockheed event. The school put on a 'Leadership Conference' and listed Lockheed on the brochures. I wasn't sure if Lockheed reps were going to be there or if the company was just sponsoring the event. I also really don't need a leadership conference, I've been to so many that I don't find them useful. But there was a non-trivial chance that actual Lockheed reps would be there, so I got my ass up at 7am on a Saturday and went.

    So I get there and go over the schedule and sure enough, Lockheed reps (including the one I'd been talking to) were there and would participate in several panels.

    I selected a panel that was about "Landing your First Job" that my Lockheed rep would be participating on. The panel talked for a bit and one of them talked about being 'fearless'. Then they opened up the floor for questions and I shot my hand up and was the first to ask a question.

    I stood up and thanked them all for coming and turned to my rep and said, "So about landing that first job...how many Student/Employer things do I have to attend to make an impression on a certain Lockheed rep in order that realizes she needs to hire me for an internship?" They all laughed and I immediately followed up, "and about what Amy was saying with regards to fearlessness...How far should I take that? Should I do a song and dance routine?" more laughter.

    Now I am fairly certain that I will not be a random name on a resume or a faceless email address to the Lockheed rep. She's going to remember me for going to multiple, redundant events just to make sure she knew that I wanted the job. She learned that I'm not afraid of public speaking, that I can get a laugh while still being appropriate and she learned from my terrible resume that I have lots of leadership experience.

    I talked to her after the panel and asked if I had accomplished my goal of making an impression, and she showed me her special list of three names of standout candidates. I was the first one on her list. :D Mission accomplished.



    I won't know for a while if this pans out, but the point of this long ass post is to show you to go the extra mile when you've been given an in and to take every opportunity you can to make an impression. You have to sell yourself and you don't do that by sitting quietly at an event (or worse, not even going to the event). You never know what can come of events, openings and brief personal connections, so treat them all like they're crucial.

    If you don't feel comfortable speaking in public like this, then you have to do things like putting together a personal professional website that you can link to on your resume. Do whatever you have to do that's within your capability to stand out.
     
  3. Samez

    Samez ION GUNNER

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    My experience was completely the same. I would even go further and say the more personal/phone contact you have with someone the better your chances (but don't go insane and call them 10 times a day or stuff like that)
    Being present > calling > mailing > homepage form
    It will on one side make you loose your anonymity and it will show your application to the job is not just a generic one for you.
    Also talking to people in real-time might offer you some alternatives like other open positions. A HR employee will probably not write you that their customers or suppliers are currently hiring but might do so in a talk.


    The MS Office requirements which are still out there are sometimes strange. It was also required for my current job but they did never mention that they still use Office 2003 which is quite different from the newer versions (which I know well). I sometimes felt stupid to write about Office knowledge when your profile shows that you're capable of several programming languages.
     
  4. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    Yeah it is weird, but I've also heard from employers at the conference that they still get frequently surpised by graduate hires who aren't proficient in Office.

    I'd also just like to say that while knowing programming languages is awesome and clearly relevant to some jobs, it says very little about your ability to communicate. While knowing how to use Office products doesn't in and of itself doesn't mean you are good at communicating, it makes it much more likely that you won't send out really crappy memos or stumble over basic sentence structure.

    Maybe my experience is different but coming from a STEM background, I hear all the time about how poorly some of my cohorts communicate overall and how awful they write.
     
  5. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus

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    The irony was too good to pass up.
     
  6. ace99

    ace99 Deity

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    So I applied to a job that's about 4 hours away by Amtrak. I asked if they could do a phone or video interview and they said no but that since they were having 3 days of interviews (because they have more candidates than anticipated) I could come in the late afternoon for an interview.

    I'm debating if its worth the effort to go or not. Shelling out for a two-way Amtrak ticket ($150-200) and traveling all day to go to an interview where there's so many candidates they need to do 3 days of it seems like a bit of a wasted effort to me. Thoughts? I think I'd rather stick closer to home.
     
  7. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    What is the value of the job to you? If you got it, would it make a significant change in your lifestyle? Happiness? How much additional money would you get? Responsibility? Would it provide a nice stepping stone?

    Don't be penny wise and pound foolish.
     
  8. ace99

    ace99 Deity

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    I already have a job for 1L summer, but it's government (therefore nonpaying alas, who says slavery is dead?). I've applied to a law firm which pays rather substantially, of course I would have to go down there for the summer. Of course then I would be accused of being a sell-out. On the other hand it would be enough to pay down a nice portion of student loans and then some. They pay summer associates the same rate as their lawyers, substantially to say the least, so snorting cocaine off hookers becomes distinctly possible.
     
  9. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Well a face to face interview is a prime opportunity to sell yourself. A ticket and a train ride seem a small price to pay for a big ticket job.

    How qualified are you for the job? Of its listed qualifications, how many do you meet 100%?
     
  10. Oerdin

    Oerdin Deity

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    ePublish. Usually it costs nothing and the "publisher" gives you a set cut when ever someone buys a digital copy of your ebook.
     
  11. downtown

    downtown Crafternoon Delight

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    Yeah, that is probably the best way, but the old saying in publishing is that books don't sell, authors do. Without a robust marketing effort on your part, even a very good ebook won't move many copies or get noticed much. When you "self-publish", and assume little of the financial risk, you end up having to do a lot of the marketing yourself.
     
  12. Samez

    Samez ION GUNNER

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    Sometimes strange thing happen. Coming to work after my last post here there were 5 applications for a short time support labor job on my desk. (Didn't know yet I have to deal with stuff like that)
    It was incredible how bad all five applications were. The style wasn't the worst but the content was a bit shocking to me: Just one of the five had any school graduation at all. One of them mentioned "using a scanner" as one of his important abilities and none of them did have any work in the last two years.
    Seriously, putting a piece if paper into a scanner and pressing the big green button is not a qualification for anything.
    I didn't expect any academics but this was a bit tough.
    Also I can't get why so many people don't get any job for such a long time, even if it is not well payed and/or a part time job in our region. There is plenty to do (even if it should mean frying Nuggets at Mc Donald's)
    Perhaps the big issue is the cumulation of bad things. To start without any graduation is tough because you will have to find a job you can prove what you are worth. Once you get a gap in your CV and have no graduation it will become really hard to find a new job. So preventing/filling this gap is crucial. It less important what you will do to fill this gap as long as you can show in your CV, you had any initiative to close the gap asap.


    About writing:
    Don't know how it's in the US of A but here in Germany being a full time writer is a tough business. If you are not a big one like J.K. Rowling your wage for a "Bestseller" is an average of about 20k €. So either you will have to publish many books in a short time (I guess this is one of the reasons why there are so many series and trilogies) or you will have to think of some other way to earn your money and see the writing more as a passion than a job.
    In Germany there are the annual bookfairs in Leipzig and in Frankfurt where it is possible to get a personal contact to the publishers.

    About traveling to a job interview:
    Here it is common to get the cost of traveling to an interview payed by the company (usually 30cent/km). I think it should be important enough for a company to not exclude someone with good abilities just because he/she is temporarily short on money. It's not like you wouldn't show your interest be sitting in a train for 2x4 h. Perhaps it's not common in the US and would be seen as arrogant but i think the system works well here.

    About communication skills:
    I don't know for sure but a HR Manager should be able to judge about of your communication skills by the way you interact with them and how your application is written and less by the software you used to calculate some formula or auto corrected you messages.
     
  13. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    Stuff in North America is either drivable without company reimbursement for travel, or far enough away that they need to pay for your plane tickets.
     
  14. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    @Downtown: I have a neighbor who is looking for work and has come up against taking those online personality/assessment tests at every company she applies to. What do you know about them, how they are used, and what kinds of weight do they have in the hiring process? I'm sure others have faced that same hurdle too. My neighbor says it takes her up to an hour or more to go through some of them.

    Thanks.
     
  15. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    I find personality tests pretty amusing, since there's no motivation or compunction to answer them honestly, it just becomes a test of who can best guess what the tester wants.
     
  16. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    I'm pretty sure that the tests are used to screen out applicants who fall outside of some "normal" range. I do know one local company that uses a test that is supposed to measure honesty. They are in the jewelry supply business.

    Large companies are using them more and more as part of online applications. I'm hoping DT can shed some light on this trend.
     
  17. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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  18. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    They are an easy way to cut down the applicant pool without any real cost. I'm curious if they also reduce the number of actually qualified candidates.

    When I was just out of Business school I worked for a company that used a DISC test that was pretty effective. The company "Scored" the job they were filling first by answering the questions as they applied to the position. That created a profile for the job. Applicants took the test and if their profile matched that of the job, they were interviewed. In addition, the test provided a somewhat detailed analysis of the person who took and they got to take that home with them.

    Hey, they have a Wiki page! It was all paper and pencil way back when.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DISC_assessment
     
  19. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    Right, so I'm planning to look for a job exactly where I'm not qualified: Bar work.

    Fortunately, I have the upper hand this year as I think we actually have more functioning bars then houses in my city after Sandy, so I've got a leg up just being able to apply.

    But, has anyone worked a job like this before? Can you tell me what qualities they look for in a bouncer or busboy?
     
  20. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Busboy/barback:
    Reliable, will show up on time ready to work
    Honest
    Willing to work nights and weekends
    Can get along with staff and customers
    Can not use a cell phone during work hours
    Can be helpful
    Won't steal drinks or tips

    Listed in order of importance. in your interview stress these items and when they ask about something you don't know about, say you want to learn that.
     

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