Resume and cover letter - How good are yours?

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nalandmark

Cover letter examples

Thanks to everyone who has helped me with this. The difference between one week ago and now is immeasurable. I now am tackling the toughest part, the "forceful story". In the latest incarnation of my cover letter I have provided two examples of stories, each with my comments on their prospective merits. If anyone has any other comments that they would like to add I would appreciate it. Thank you again.
 

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ralphsulser

I think you dwelled too much on the negative aspects. Just not as professional as it should be. Everyone knows QMs make unpopular decisions, but these are based on compliance with requirements.
I wouldn't infer production supervisors are arrogant by confirming you know how to do your job. Notification is sufficient to communicate the status, reason and alternate plans.
Just a few thoughts to be constructive. I'm sure you are good at what you do, and have what it takes to do the job.
 

Jim Wynne

Leader
Admin
ralphsulser said:
I think you dwelled too much on the negative aspects. Just not as professional as it should be. Everyone knows QMs make unpopular decisions, but these are based on compliance with requirements.
I wouldn't infer production supervisors are arrogant by confirming you know how to do your job. Notification is sufficient to communicate the status, reason and alternate plans.
Just a few thoughts to be constructive. I'm sure you are good at what you do, and have what it takes to do the job.
I agree with Ralph; you already said that you have experience dealing with "entrenched, long term team members," so let it go at that. You don't need to tell stories or give examples--you've responded directly to the qualifications listed in the ad. You have them, you've informed the addressee affirmatively that you have them, and that you're interested. At this point, unless they want to see a résumé, that's all you need to say.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
I disagree! You MUST address the issue of the two points in the ad:
* Must have ability to shut down production due to raw material testing problems
* Proven ability to lead strong willed, long term team members, required.

If you do not, your letter will go in the circular file. Recruiters may be a lot of things, but they aren't stupid or forgetful. The guy will have his list of requirements in mind as he scans each letter. First responses will go to the folks who covered EVERY item. If you don't address the issue, it is the same as saying you don't meet the requirement.

Recruiters put these kind of trap doors in job listings to help them weed out the unfit and unwary. If it didn't work in their opinion, they wouldn't continue to do it.

My guess, after reading several revisions, is that nalandmark does not have real experience in facing down pressure from colleagues, subordinates, AND superiors with an unpopular judgment call.

Reading between the lines of the job listing (even in the skeletal form it has been described to us) tells me this recruiter is being unusually candid in describing the kind of pressure a job candidate may face when on the job. Further interpolation tells me the open position has probably been a revolving door for precisely the reason incumbents can't take the pressure.

Perhaps nalandmark does NOT have the requisite experience and aptitude for facing such flack. Many of us here in the Cove are experienced warriors in the battle. As I look at nalandmark's Profile, I see his past two years have been at an extremely small company where everyone probably acts like "family." Previously, he was at Pfizer, which has a reputation of being a civilized place to work. I can't imagine any tales of 2nd and 3rd shift workers at Pfizer grumbling if an incoming or outgoing shipment got put into quarantine because of a suspected nonconformance.

I further imagine nalandmark feels stymied in growth opportunities at a small company and wants to broaden his horizons.

This particular opening seems like a tough fit based on what I've seen so far. I envision a recruiter making a similar judgment. I have a lot of experience putting a positive spin on a story, but I need something of substance to spin. I don't see it so far. Most recruiters will not be as charitable of their time and energy as we are in the Cove. This recruiter will just move to the next candidate.
 

Jim Wynne

Leader
Admin
Wes Bucey said:
I disagree! You MUST address the issue of the two points in the ad.


If you do not, your letter will go in the circular file. Recruiters may be a lot of things, but they aren't stupid or forgetful. The guy will have his list of requirements in mind as he scans each letter. First responses will go to the folks who covered EVERY item. If you don't address the issue, it is the same as saying you don't meet the requirement.

Recruiters put these kind of trap doors in job listings to help them weed out the unfit and unwary. If it didn't work in their opinion, they wouldn't continue to do it.

The issue was addressed by the simple expedient of the applicant saying that he had experienced with entrenched long-term employees. If, as you suggest, recruiters aren't stupid, they don't need to be bludgeoned three paragraphs of the bloody obvious. Having been faced on many occassions with stacks of letters and resumes, I know from personal experience that brevity is not only the soul of wit--it's a sign of clear thinking and being able to cut to the heart of the matter. I don't need the applicant's life history or tales of accomplishments in a cover letter. The applicant in this case concisely and clearly showed that he had the qualifications listed in the ad. That's all that recruiters want to see in a cover letter.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
JSW05 said:
The issue was addressed by the simple expedient of the applicant saying that he had experienced with entrenched long-term employees. If, as you suggest, recruiters aren't stupid, they don't need to be bludgeoned three paragraphs of the bloody obvious. Having been faced on many occassions with stacks of letters and resumes, I know from personal experience that brevity is not only the soul of wit--it's a sign of clear thinking and being able to cut to the heart of the matter. I don't need the applicant's life history or tales of accomplishments in a cover letter. The applicant in this case concisely and clearly showed that he had the qualifications listed in the ad. That's all that recruiters want to see in a cover letter.
OUR opinion is less important than the opinion of the gatekeeper who will read the letter.

Only time will tell which of us had more insight into the frame of mind of the recruiter.
 
A

asutherland

Must have ability to shut down production due to raw material testing problems

Just a penny's worth.

Why would anyone want to shut down production due to testing problems?
Is the testing procedure ambiguous? Does it fail MSA? Is this question a test to see what someone would do if a test procedure fails?

What about doing the test again? What about isolating and trying to run a controlled batch?

Regardless of the testing problem, there is still a demand to meet customer shipment with the quantity and quality at expected levels.

I can't imagine telling the customer " Oops, sorry, we can't ship product to you today because of a raw materials testing problem?
 
A

asutherland

Just another penny's worth.

To get by the gatekeeper, I pay a gatekeeper $100 to $200 to write my resume for me and get about a 30% response rate.
 

Jim Wynne

Leader
Admin
Wes Bucey said:
OUR opinion is less important than the opinion of the gatekeeper who will read the letter.
Absolutely. The value here is that the OP has the opinions of several experienced people and a new perspective on his efforts.

Wes Bucey said:
Only time will tell which of us had more insight into the frame of mind of the recruiter.
As David Letterman would say, this is not a competition, so please--no wagering. A lot depends on the market, the skills of the recruiter, time constraints and a lot of other variables that might contribute to how the applicant's letter is received. If the applicant is hired or never hears from the recruiter, there will probably be no way of telling what the cause(s) might have been.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
Clarification

asutherland said:
Just a penny's worth.

Why would anyone want to shut down production due to testing problems?
Is the testing procedure ambiguous? Does it fail MSA? Is this question a test to see what someone would do if a test procedure fails?

What about doing the test again? What about isolating and trying to run a controlled batch?

Regardless of the testing problem, there is still a demand to meet customer shipment with the quantity and quality at expected levels.

I can't imagine telling the customer " Oops, sorry, we can't ship product to you today because of a raw materials testing problem?
Just as a clarification:
In actual practice, processors of bulk materials delivered in tank cars or hopper cars generally have a two-step inspection process for "suspect material."
  1. The initial inspector (or anyone) raises an issue the particular carload may be suspect and "quarantines" or segregates the shipment for followup.
  2. After further testing or conferral with competent advisors who may issue a formal waiver, the shipment is declared conforming or not conforming. This followup may require an extra day or so to complete.
The point at issue becomes what happens to co-workers whose output is crippled (along with their paychecks) because they don't have raw material to work with. In some organizations, and apparently the one the recruiter is writing about falls in this category, attitudes of "long-entrenched workers" are that their pay is diminished, but not the pay of the nerd who ordered the shutdown. This "us vs. them" concept fosters resentment and that can manifest itself in many forms from subtle to outright brutality. Back in the 1920's and 1930's, mine workers were known to retaliate against safety officers who shut down sections of the mine, depriving miners of work. (It never seemed to enter into the workers heads to look at the long term that the safety officer might be saving their lives, only at the short term of what that week's paycheck would be.

Similarly, the lab nerd caught in the situation described in the job listing needs to have the knowledge and the force of personality to get the big picture across to affected workers that assuring quality starting ingredients will keep them ALL employed over the long term. "Better safe than sorry," as my mom would say.

Bottom line:
Ultimately, the blocked or quarantined shipment may be released into production, but everyone needs to have faith that the lab nerd is doing his best to limit false alarms. Faith that an alarm today may save their jobs tomorrow.

On his part, the lab guy has to be on constant alert to avoid "crying wolf."
 
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