Resume and cover letter - How good are yours?

A

Atul Khandekar

I may be one

Good discussion, Wes. However, I don't think I'll be creating a resume for job application in any foreseeable future at all.
Wes Bucey said:
The small truth here is that most persons in a position to hire other people are really clueless about the entire process of hiring people...
Should you consider starting a new thread for these clueless people, I'd be very interested.
 
L

little__cee

"Fill a hole"

I was told once, in an interview, that most organizations have a job opening and attempt to hire just to "fill a hole". The organizations try to find a living, breathing, individual and hope that they work out. Do you all agree and think that's true?

The place where I interviewed conducted extensive testing and several rounds of interviews with different people in the company to really try and find the best person with the best fit for the company, as opposed to just 'filling a hole'.

[In case you're wondering, I removed myself from that interview process for reasons unrelated to the interview process itself.]
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
little__cee said:
I was told once, in an interview, that most organizations have a job opening and attempt to hire just to "fill a hole". The organizations try to find a living, breathing, individual and hope that they work out. Do you all agree and think that's true?

The place where I interviewed conducted extensive testing and several rounds of interviews with different people in the company to really try and find the best person with the best fit for the company, as opposed to just 'filling a hole'.

[In case you're wondering, I removed myself from that interview process for reasons unrelated to the interview process itself.]
Yep! Atul and little_cee have legitimate concerns.

little_cee, perhaps you'd consider telling us the reasons you considered valid for dropping out of the interview/test process.

In my opinion,
Would-be employers who research backgrounds of candidates BEFORE an interview are wasteful and inefficient with their resources. Why waste money on checking references on candidates who might not "appeal" to you in a face to face interview, where you may determine they won't "fit" with your organization?

Similarly, many of the "tests" (psychological and aptitude, as well as practical competence in a necessary field) are also wasteful, except where there is a high security issue. Even then, a little bit of research and practice on the candidate's part can invalidate the results of ALL psychological tests and many aptitude tests. (maybe we'll take that up later this winter [summer for the folks from the land of OZ].)

Atul asks a legitimate question. OK, Atul. This is a holiday week in the States and I have out of town guests and family functions through Sunday. I will post a thread early next week which talks about the employment search from the employer's viewpoint.

I envision three main topics within the thread:
  1. developing TRUE job requirements and realistic salary levels
  2. writing ads and processing responses
  3. the interview process
Can you think of any other points for the employer up to the point of issuing an offer of employment? While you all wait, try to think of ANY legitimate reason for an employer to run a blind box ad.

Probably yet another thread might cover establishing and structuring a "probation period" after employment begins in which to decide whether to "dissolve" the relationship with as little damage to either party as possible. In such a thread, we would probably discuss how a candidate should deal with a job offer and offer enlightenment on maintaining one's integrity and "soul" during the probation period.

What do you think?
 
B

Bill Pflanz

WES BUCEY said:
I'd be especially interested in learning how you secured the interviews in the first place. Was it a lock because you were an insider? or did you have to go through gatekeepers who decided to grant or deny interview based on your resume?

I copied over the above message from another thread so I could answer the question here.

Please remember that I work for a major corporation (160,000 employees) but my following comments will give the readers some idea about how recruiting and interviewing works for that type of company.

- The company has a large internal "Intranet" website that has an Internal Job Posting system for jobs throughout the U.S. and internationally.

- Searches can be done geographically or by key word much like Monster.com. The jobs are posting internally for a few weeks and then the exact job description is posted externally at many job search sites. Resumes can be posted on the site also and applications are submitted electronically.

- Internal job postings include the name of the internal recruiter and the hiring manager. That made it possible for me to find out about jobs before I applied or to help me prepare for an interview. External candidates do not see the hiring manager name.

- It doesn't hurt to be an internal candidate but it won't secure you a job even if you are being displaced because of the merger. So the answer is no it was not a lock getting the job being an insider.

- Internal recruiters do act as gatekeepers but knowing the hiring manager's name allows you to go around them but that can get you in trouble since you are circumventing company policies. Of course if you know the hiring manager personally it makes it easier to stop by and ask them about the job but they still make you formally apply and the recruiters sets up the interviews and even extends the offer :bigwave: (or let you know if not :nope: ).

- My practice is only to apply for jobs that I qualify for (novel idea but it worked for me) so my resume supported the job qualifications. There were a few jobs that had poorly written job descriptions and my resume must have gotten screened out. As I learned the process more, I got better at reading between the lines on what the job descriptions meant. This problem probably exists for everyone looking for jobs. As job hunters we tend to focus on a well written resume but job seekers don't always put the same effort into the job description.

- I suspect that the hiring manager needs to work out how they want screening done with the recruiter. Internal applicants are probably fewer in number than what is received when opened to the public so less screening may happen. Company preference is to hire internally when possible but it does cause internal turnover that eventually causes someone to go outside.

- Putting in the usual buzzwords in your resume helps even internal screening since the initial contact was normally through the internal recruiter who knew about enough to ask a question about the buzzword even if they had no clue if your response was meaningful. For example, some did not know what Six Sigma was but knew it was important.

On the whole, I would not describe the entire process much different than the first time I interviewed here or any other external job search. One difference was it only took 5 weeks from job application to offer which is quick even internally and definitely unlikely for an external candidate.

Bill Pflanz
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
Bill Pflanz said:
I copied over the above message from another thread so I could answer the question here.

Please remember that I work for a major corporation (160,000 employees) but my following comments will give the readers some idea about how recruiting and interviewing works for that type of company.

- The company has a large internal "Intranet" website that has an Internal Job Posting system for jobs throughout the U.S. and internationally.

- Searches can be done geographically or by key word much like Monster.com. The jobs are posting internally for a few weeks and then the exact job description is posted externally at many job search sites. Resumes can be posted on the site also and applications are submitted electronically.

- Internal job postings include the name of the internal recruiter and the hiring manager. That made it possible for me to find out about jobs before I applied or to help me prepare for an interview. External candidates do not see the hiring manager name.

- It doesn't hurt to be an internal candidate but it won't secure you a job even if you are being displaced because of the merger. So the answer is no it was not a lock getting the job being an insider.

- Internal recruiters do act as gatekeepers but knowing the hiring manager's name allows you to go around them but that can get you in trouble since you are circumventing company policies. Of course if you know the hiring manager personally it makes it easier to stop by and ask them about the job but they still make you formally apply and the recruiters sets up the interviews and even extends the offer
Resume and cover letter - How good are yours?
(or let you know if not
Resume and cover letter - How good are yours?
).

- My practice is only to apply for jobs that I qualify for (novel idea but it worked for me) so my resume supported the job qualifications. There were a few jobs that had poorly written job descriptions and my resume must have gotten screened out. As I learned the process more, I got better at reading between the lines on what the job descriptions meant. This problem probably exists for everyone looking for jobs. As job hunters we tend to focus on a well written resume but job seekers don't always put the same effort into the job description.

- I suspect that the hiring manager needs to work out how they want screening done with the recruiter. Internal applicants are probably fewer in number than what is received when opened to the public so less screening may happen. Company preference is to hire internally when possible but it does cause internal turnover that eventually causes someone to go outside.

- Putting in the usual buzzwords in your resume helps even internal screening since the initial contact was normally through the internal recruiter who knew about enough to ask a question about the buzzword even if they had no clue if your response was meaningful. For example, some did not know what Six Sigma was but knew it was important.

On the whole, I would not describe the entire process much different than the first time I interviewed here or any other external job search. One difference was it only took 5 weeks from job application to offer which is quick even internally and definitely unlikely for an external candidate.

Bill Pflanz
I interpret what you say to mean (as if you itemized a list):
  1. I had a head start on outside candidates because job usually not advertised to outsiders until insiders had a crack.
  2. By knowing the actual hiring manager I was able to research both the job and how to set myself to be ready to interview with the hiring manager
  3. Gatekeepers are inevitable, but as I gained more and more experience, I got better at crafting the resume and answers to preliminary questions to improve my chances at getting to interview with the hiring manager.
  4. I did not get hired without an interview, no matter how sterling my resume.
  5. I was extended a courtesy of learning when I was NOT selected for further processing for a position.
One major point I understand you making - the folks who write the job descriptions and listings often do a poor job and you had to "interpret" them and respond appropriately.
 
B

Bill Pflanz

Wes

You interpreted everything correctly. :agree1: Hopefully my comments help some of those quality professionals out there who may want to try landing a job with a major corporation.

Bill
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
Jennifer brought up an interesting point https://elsmar.com/elsmarqualityforum/showpost.php?p=94489&postcount=62 in the companion thread about gatekeepers
(broken link removed)
that MOST employers are not clued in on the precise definitions of Quality terms, nor are they aware that folks proficient in Quality tools can be efficient and effective in jobs that do NOT have the word "quality" in the title.
The point for us in this thread about resumes is to describe the functions you perform in terms the average business person can understand and relate to, without using arcane terms like "Taguchi DOE" or "RAB" or "ASQ" unless you also include a whole story of how (specifically) these will help benefit the company if you bring them to the new job.

The bottom line:
Your resume is a sales tool. You don't print sales brochures in a foreign language the target market can't understand.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
My continuing theme throughout these "job hunt" threads is that often employers are very clueless about job recruitment and waste money and resources on useless things.

Here's a cartoon I made up to illustrate one of the dumber aspects of employer "muda."
 

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Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Leader
Admin
Wes Bucey said:
Jennifer brought up an interesting point https://elsmar.com/elsmarqualityforum/showpost.php?p=94489&postcount=62 in the companion thread about gatekeepers
(broken link removed)
that MOST employers are not clued in on the precise definitions of Quality terms, nor are they aware that folks proficient in Quality tools can be efficient and effective in jobs that do NOT have the word "quality" in the title.
The point for us in this thread about resumes is to describe the functions you perform in terms the average business person can understand and relate to, without using arcane terms like "Taguchi DOE" or "RAB" or "ASQ" unless you also include a whole story of how (specifically) these will help benefit the company if you bring them to the new job.

The bottom line:
Your resume is a sales tool. You don't print sales brochures in a foreign language the target market can't understand.

There's something that I swallowed last week, but will now say:

I have perused many advertised calls for help in managing organizational activities in various capacities. In almost every case, the advertisements specifically required Master's of Business Administration degree, followed by the typical X years of (fill in the blank) experience.

I've consistently read in career columns not to apply for positions where specific requirements (such as education) aren't met--"Don't waste the HR person's time" is the message, which I understand.

However, there's plentiful evidence that an MBA is not what they need. Look at the spectacular failures in business these days--the people in the news are very often MBAs from prestigious schools. They specialize in finance, marketing or something else, but their skills are not in efficiency or strategic organizational effectiveness.

What I have concluded is that there is a gap between what these organizations need and what they think they need. An organization whose highly placed members say "We don't need Quality, we build quality into our products" is, I feel (please correct me if I'm wrong) very likely unable to comprehend, never mind hire and appreciate, the value we bring unless we make ourselves look just as they do.

I can't do that, because I don't have the "qualifications" they understand. Trying to explain that I can indeed help them feels like spitting into the wind. I have blown interviews (in non-manufacturing industries, for example a newspaper publisher) solely upon that premise--they don't want help fixing their problems, they want someone to answer the phones or deliver the papers for carriers that don't come to work.

If you think I'm sinking into defeatism, please tell me plainly.

I will say, however, that from my observation the vast majority of nonmanufacturing organizations simply don't think as we do (measurable value of pragmatic defect prevention and fact based management) and I have not yet found a means to educate them sufficiently to see the need for people like me.

That's why I have written my books. If they hit the market and are successful, even then it would take some time to change the thinking prevalent now.
 
B

Bill Pflanz

Jennifer Kirley said:
I have perused many advertised calls for help in managing organizational activities in various capacities. In almost every case, the advertisements specifically required Master's of Business Administration degree, followed by the typical X years of (fill in the blank) experience.

I've consistently read in career columns not to apply for positions where specific requirements (such as education) aren't met--"Don't waste the HR person's time" is the message, which I understand.

However, there's plentiful evidence that an MBA is not what they need. Look at the spectacular failures in business these days--the people in the news are very often MBAs from prestigious schools. They specialize in finance, marketing or something else, but their skills are not in efficiency or strategic organizational effectiveness.

There are plenty of failures by people with no degrees so don't pick on those that do have them. Any degree just means that you spent time at an educational institution until you collected enough hours to graduate. I always say that there are plenty of ignorant (not necessarily stupid) people who get degrees who cannot run a business and there are people with high school educations who are very successful.

If you can demonstrate that you can do something the MBA is not important. Wes has talked a lot about how to get past the gatekeeper so the MBA may not be as big an obstacle as you think. I have removed my MBA at times so the gatekeeper would not throw my resume in the can as over-qualified.

Jennifer Kirley said:
What I have concluded is that there is a gap between what these organizations need and what they think they need. An organization whose highly placed members say "We don't need Quality, we build quality into our products" is, I feel (please correct me if I'm wrong) very likely unable to comprehend, never mind hire and appreciate, the value we bring unless we make ourselves look just as they do.

I can't do that, because I don't have the "qualifications" they understand. Trying to explain that I can indeed help them feels like spitting into the wind. I have blown interviews (in non-manufacturing industries, for example a newspaper publisher) solely upon that premise--they don't want help fixing their problems, they want someone to answer the phones or deliver the papers for carriers that don't come to work.

Since you have conceded that they don't know what they need than there should be no obstacle in you getting an opportunity. If they don't know what they need then anyone can qualify. Think of it as not having a goal so it doesn't make any difference how you get there.


Jennifer Kirley said:
If you think I'm sinking into defeatism, please tell me plainly.

I will say, however, that from my observation the vast majority of nonmanufacturing organizations simply don't think as we do (measurable value of pragmatic defect prevention and fact based management) and I have not yet found a means to educate them sufficiently to see the need for people like me.

I have seen your comments over the past year and, not to sound harsh, but I do think you are sinking into defeatism. I went from manufacturing to non-manufacturing and found many commonalities. As a matter of fact, I found out that business is business and skills and knowledge are transferrable between the two. Maybe your defeatism is starting to show when you interview. Be positive and start thinking about why you can get a job and not why you can't.

If you think back about your life so far, I suspect you will agree that you have been blessed in many ways that others only wish for. Even if nothing else good happens to you then you have already had more to be thankful for than many others. There is a window of opportunity out there that may be shut or only slightly open, go try to push it up the rest of the way. One of the windows will finally open.

Have a good and safe holidays.

Bill Pflanz
 
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