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Workshop on resume writing (and interview skills)

Workshop on resume writing (and interview skills)

Workshop on resume writing (and interview skills)

(OP)
Hello,

I am currently attending a workshop on resume writing (and interview skills). The workshop is offered for free to job seekers by the Province (Canada). Our teacher/coatch is an ex HR from corporate world...I decided to attend this headache workshop simply because it can result in some work placement opportunities. I am the only engineer / technical person in the audience.

Nevertheless it is an opportunity to discover some untold truth behind the recruitment process, the teacher being an HR. To me it is unprecedented... Even more interesting, the resume techniques needed to pass the selection filters. In this respect, HR has been providing their own resume as a model. This is what I noticed:

1/ It is 3 pages long - is this not a lot?
2/ It is of fancy style: various fonts of different sizes are used, the layout is two column with left one of blue background color.
3/ The first page includes a "professional profile" paragraph followed by a section stating "summary of knowledge, skills and ability". When you read through, it is made of hundreds of magic words as if you are bombarding your recipient with keywords. It was quite impressive. Also a portion of these keywords is taken from job description(s) / duties. What this reminds me of - by analogy - is certain old techniques (sequence of keywords) used by web developers to make sure their websites would rank high / appear in search engines. I know that these techniques are ineffective nowadays.
4/ The rest of the resume is more or less familiar to what I am used to (professional experience, education, volunteer work, etc.)

I would like to hear some of your impressions on this.
Does this make sense to you and do you think this can work out for engineers?

Thanks

RE: Workshop on resume writing (and interview skills)

I have noticed that hiring companies are machine scanning resumes these days looking for buzzwords that match their job requirements. It may well be that your Resume writer is capitalizing on that.
I have also noticed that these machines ignore anything more than 7 years old, this makes life difficult for people with long careers, especially those applying for a job where they have the older experience. Sometimes this type of experience needs to be mentioned in the cover letter if it is relevant to the job. The machine scanner will otherwise ignore it.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Workshop on resume writing (and interview skills)

Yes, I would think the same, sort of like "Teaching to the test", which may be what you have to do if that's the only way that you can get yourself a second look.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Workshop on resume writing (and interview skills)

It seems strange to me that employees are selected based on a written resume and one-shot interview. Two skills in which an ideal candidate would only have limited experience.

I used to count sand. Now I don't count at all.

RE: Workshop on resume writing (and interview skills)

rotw,

I have had this discussion earlier.

thread730-422666: Job Searching After Thirty Five Years

When I was laid off, the resume consultants who prepared my resume used a simple format, with only one font. They were not all that skilled with Microsoft Word, not understanding the stylesheet headings. They recommended preparing the resume as an RTF file and changing the extension to DOC. They did load it with keywords. At one job interview, I was quizzed on some of them. Be prepared to field questions like that.

One of Drawoh's rules of style is that you should keep things simple. You are an engineer, not an artiste. Maybe your creative consultant works in some artistic industry.

--
JHG

RE: Workshop on resume writing (and interview skills)

I'd be squinting hard at your instructor's resume to see if they had either been at the same small company most of their career or possibly left the corporate world at a young age. Most of what you have listed would quickly result in a resume being binned. IME:

1. Standard rule of thumb is no more than a page per decade of your career.
2. Stick to a standard font & format, which your instructor apparently does not.
3. A summary list of strong skills & software experience is pretty normal, a cloud of keywords is somewhere between annoying and fraudulent as is listing every irrelevant and/or weak skill you believe you have. I once took a BASIC programming class in high school, I'm not going to list that on my resume for ME/mechanical designer positions.

I hope she emphasized the need to tailor your resume to specific job listings to get past the electronic filters, speaking in plain English, and said something about dressing and acting appropriately for interviews. Those seem to be the biggest issues with candidates that I've seen from the engineering office.

RE: Workshop on resume writing (and interview skills)

(OP)
drawoh,

"One of Drawoh's rules of style is that you should keep things simple. You are an engineer, not an artiste. Maybe your creative consultant works in some artistic industry."

That is exactly the feedback I wanted to hear. Thanks for the link as well.

RE: Workshop on resume writing (and interview skills)

(OP)
CWB1,

1. Standard rule of thumb is no more than a page per decade of your career.
HR 30+ experience, so the Resume length would make sense then.

2. Stick to a standard font & format, which your instructor apparently does not.
Noted. Instructor is definitely using fancy style. And BTW, I know that purpose is to pass the HR step but if such a Resume would have landed on the desk of my former engineering boss (a very senior guy / sharp mechanical engineer at an EPC firm), his head would have moved sligthly backward, with an expression of astonishment on his face and he would be saying: who made that? ok that is for engineering documentation..but just saying.

... a cloud of keywords is somewhere between annoying and fraudulent as is listing every irrelevant and/or weak skill you believe you have...
I agree, and you could get questions and the interview can really move out of control, IMO.

I hope she emphasized the need to tailor your resume to specific job listings to get past the electronic filters, speaking in plain English, and said something about dressing and acting appropriately for interviews. Those seem to be the biggest issues with candidates that I've seen from the engineering office.
more or less, yep.


Other concern

I asked instructor best strategy to workaround unemployment gap. Their reponse was state that you were working as "individual consultant". Well I did some side work during that time frame but I did not charge clients - actually I cannot not even call then clients. HR did not seem to be bothered, means taking it too easy. I found the ethics of this to be quite (very?) borderline. Edit: Not only that, it could get you into troubles during the interview (misrepresentation).



RE: Workshop on resume writing (and interview skills)

Quote:

It seems strange to me that employees are selected based on a written resume and one-shot interview. Two skills in which an ideal candidate would only have limited experience.

Are your experiences different or why do you find it strange? With the exception of one tiny company, every interview I've had in ten years of engineering now has been largely the same format. Submit your resume/online profile, 30-60 minute phone interview with HR, 30-60 minute phone interview with multiple engineering managers (usually simultaneous), multiple hours of in-person interviews with multiple engineering managers (usually individually, tho sometimes combined when they really like you from previous interviews).

IME written and verbal communication skills and presentation skills are a "must-have" for engineers due to the nature of our work reporting to govt agencies and customers alike. Writing resumes and interviewing are simply offshoots of these needs and some would say a good test of them.

Quote:

I asked instructor best strategy to workaround unemployment gap. Their reponse was state that you were working as "individual consultant".

I concur with your ethical questioning of white or outright lies. JMO but I've never been averse with telling nor had problems with folks simply telling me that they were simply taking time off and/or being selective about accepting offers. Life happens and I believe most folks understand that.

Kudos on your continuing self development btw, I do similar things regularly to help get me outside the bubble and keep up with modern life and "people'isms."

RE: Workshop on resume writing (and interview skills)

In addition to care with buzzwords, take care with anything identifiable that someone can drill down on. I've been disappointed more than a few times where I see something on a resume, "Great! They know XXXX already," only to find, in the most absurd case, "Oh, I didn't actually use that software, but I watched someone using it."

You need to be able to explain any technical term or experience on your resume. Deer in headlights look does not help in getting hired.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: Workshop on resume writing (and interview skills)

Here is an observation of an old guy, very old. I just clicked on your handle and looked at the history of your activity in this forum since 2013. It tells a clear story. I can only summarize in a few words. It applies to many of us. No job is perfect. In fact most jobs are loaded with problems. Keep trying but don't expect to ever be fully satisfied.

There are those that disagree with this observation,but here goes. When it came to evaluating new employee and then watching their story, those that had jumped from job to job also left us early on and in time never seemed to have obtained any stature in the engineering field, job type or salary.. Thus, with a history of frequent job jumping, one doesn't present a prospect of being a dependable future employee. A negative that is difficult to counter.

RE: Workshop on resume writing (and interview skills)

(OP)
Hi olestguy

Thanks for taking the time to review my activity. I appreciate this.

I agree that no job is perfect. In general, despite the negative that you mentionned and which is to the point, I kind of managed to survive...however, and I truly believe you are a wise person, I would like to say this proverb that says "a vaincre sans perils, on triomphe sans gloire" google translate is your friend :)
I am working hard to get back on my feet, I am sure tail events speeds up your learning curve by many folds goes for work as goes for life. Dont you agree?

RE: Workshop on resume writing (and interview skills)

Hello again. I hesitated to jump in on this, but hopefully these observations from my past might be helpful. Settling down in a not-so-hot job is difficult, but sometime sitting back and living with it has to be done for the practical aspect of eating and having a place to stay.

RE: Workshop on resume writing (and interview skills)

I would consult with a head-hunting firm specializing in technical placements and follow their lead regarding resume and cover letter formats. I think it is important to follow the latest trends and buzzwords to get your resume past the HR screening and into the hands of the actual hiring manager. Play the game. When you get an actual interview you can supplement the resume you submitted with one that reflects your true talents (some people refer to it as a dossier of prior work).

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