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Having a bad project on your resume

Having a bad project on your resume

Having a bad project on your resume


If you (as i have) were working on a project that crashed catastrophically even public - but you honestly feel that you (in your discipline and in the design) did a good job and that the major cause for the poor performance was project execution would you then refrain from mentioning this project on your CV? I am working on the client side.

Best regards, Morten

RE: Having a bad project on your resume

Can you adequately explain away the failure to something other than your performance, and do so in a way that won't make you look like someone looking for a scapegoat? That's a lot harder than it sounds once you get into the meat of things.

Sometimes it's best to refer to certain things in generic terms, or not mention them at all.

Dan - Owner

RE: Having a bad project on your resume

I'll answer you with a question:

Would you put on your resume that you were the engineer who designed the Flint, Michigan's conversion design for their water intake? Note: you were only responsible for the design of the pumps, storage, etc. and had no responsibility in regards to water treatment.

Or, since you're in the petroleum field, would you put in your resume that you an engineer who designed something related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill? The problem with referring to anything with negative connotations is probably not a good idea in a resume.

RE: Having a bad project on your resume

My own thoughts, thanks guys

RE: Having a bad project on your resume

Or, refer to it but not by name and only list your positive contributions. In some industries where confidentiality or even government classification etc. comes into play it's hard to explicitly list the name of a project. However, you can still say you worked on a project of this general type/size/$ value and achieved X, Y & Z.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Having a bad project on your resume

It's one thing to be employed by (or be the employer) for a failed startup company. The number of new businesses that fail is relatively high, I have heard. It's a whole different ballgame to be the engineer of record, or largely involved with, a big engineering project that failed very publicly, or worse was the cause of loss of life!

I agree with others that you can leave your involvement in such projects generic. If questioned during an interview, you can provide more relevant details.

RE: Having a bad project on your resume

IRstuff....not so in design and construction!!

RE: Having a bad project on your resume

I have been involved in several projects that failed to perform to expectations, or turned out to be economically disastrous for my employers.

In some of those cases, I 'threw a red flag' well before the peanut butter hit the fan.
... and was roundly condemned by Marketing types and MBAs for 'having a bad attitude' or 'not being a team player',
despite engineering analysis and reasoning based on fact or some semblance thereof.
I can't say that speaking up was good for my career.

In other cases, I was able to do post-mortem analysis that revealed hidden causes of problems, and sometimes led to a solution. I was able to use some of those small successes as 'mini-stories' in my resume. I will quote one such mini-story below:

* Solved an injection molding shrinkage/ scratching problem by calculating that a stainless steel sleeve insert would be plastically deformed by 9000 psi molding pressure to .0012" larger than the mold pin, regardless of the sleeve’s initial size. Then the molder admitted grinding the pin undersize to ease sleeve placement.

To expand a bit on the story, we were making diluters which included a ~2.25" dia Teflon piston riding in a precision lapped, ~.030" wall stainless steel sleeve, which was in turn insert molded in a PVC plastic cylinder assembly. We supplied the finished sleeves to a molder, who was supposed to slip them over a mold pin about .0002" smaller than the sleeve. The machine was a suboptimal design in a lot of ways, but it had been in production for decades. All of a sudden we got complaints about leaks between the piston and cylinder, which were traced to axial scratches in the cylinder. Said scratches were not present in the parts we supplied to the molder. Close examination of a few assemblies and careful analysis of the molding conditions suggested that the axial marks in the finished molded-in sleeves were not scratches, but actually tight folds that could have occurred if the mold pin was too small. A few telephone calls revealed that the molder had ground the pin undersize by .005" in order to make placement of the sleeves easier, and faster. Replacing the mold pin made the problem go away.

Mini-stories like that, focused very tightly on one problem and a solution, can enhance a resume without identifying the product, and are independent of the product's fate or reputation.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Having a bad project on your resume

We have had a saying at a previous job, "Fairchild (University) is where you go to learn what not to do." It cost Schlumberger something like $1 billion to buy and $7 billion in losses, until they sold it to National Semiconductor for about $120 million in cash, which trumped the $250 million MBO that required Schlumberger to carry $100 million in debt. My division burned its way through about 10 general managers in the 5 yrs I worked there.

I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

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