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Offline Rennhack

Why You Didn't Get the Interview
« on: Aug 07, 2012, 11:16 »
Why You Didn’t Get the Interview by Dave Fecak

With a down economy, most of us have heard accounts of job seekers sending out 100, 200, perhaps 300 résumés without getting even one response. To anyone who has sent out large quantities of résumés without any response or interviews, I offer this advice:

The complete lack of response is not due to the economy. It's based on your résumé, your experience, or your résumé submission itself.

My intent here is to help and certainly not to offend, so if you are one of these people that has had a hard time finding new work, please view this as free advice mixed with a touch of tough love. I have read far too many comments lately from struggling job seekers casting blame for their lack of success in the search ("it wasn't a real job posting", "the manager wasn't a good judge of talent", etc.), but now it's time to take a look inward on how you can maximize your success. I spoke to a person recently who had sent out over 100 résumés without getting more than two interviews, and I quickly discovered that the reasons for the failure were quite obvious to the trained eye (mine). The economy isn't great, but there are candidates being interviewed for the jobs you are applying for (most of them anyway), and it's time to figure out why that interview isn't being given to you.

If you apply for a job and don't receive a response, there are only a few possibilities as to why that are within our control (please note the emphasis before commenting).
Generally the problem is:

1. a mistake made during the résumé submission itself
2. problems with the résumé
3. your experience


Qualified candidates that pay attention to these tips will see better results from their search efforts.

Your Résumé Submission

Follow instructions: If the job posting asks that you send a cover letter, résumé, and salary requirements, this request serves two purposes. First and most obviously, they actually want to see how well you write (cover letter), your experience (résumé), and the price tag (salary requirements). Second, they want to see if you are able and willing to follow instructions. Perhaps that is why the ad requested the documents in a specific format? Some companies are now consciously making the application process even a bit more complicated, which serves as both a test of your attention to detail and to gauge whether applicants are interested enough to take an extra step. Making it more difficult for candidates to apply should yield a qualified and engaged candidate pool, which is the desired result.

Solution: Carefully read what the manager/recruiter is seeking and be sure to follow the directions exactly. Have a friend review your application before hitting send.


Spelling and grammar: Spelling errors are inexcusable on a résumé today. Grammar is given much more leeway, but frequent grammatical errors are a killer.

Solution: Have a friend or colleague read it for you, as it is much more difficult to edit your own material (trust me).


Price tag: As you would expect, if you provide a salary requirement that is well above the listed (or unlisted) range, you will not get a response. Conversely and counter-intuitively, if you provide a salary requirement that is well below the range, you will also not get a response. Huh? Suppose you want to hire someone to put in a new kitchen, and you get three estimates. The first is 25K, the second is 20K, and the third is 2K. Which one are you going to choose? It's hard to tell, but I'm pretty sure you aren't going to use the one that quoted you 2K. Companies want to hire candidates that are aware of market value and priced accordingly, and anyone asking for amounts well above market will not get any attention.

Solution: Research the going rate for the job and be sure to manage your expectations based on market conditions. Another strategy is trying to delay providing salary information until mutual interest is established. If the company falls in love, the compensation expectation might hurt less. There is some risk of wasting time in interviews if you do not provide information early in the process, and most companies today will require the information before agreeing to an interview.


Canned application: By ‘canned' I am referring to job seekers that are obviously cutting and pasting content from previous cover letters instead of taking the time to try and personalize the content.

Solution: Go to the hiring firm's website and find something specific and unique that makes you want to work for that company. Include that information in your submission. If you are using a template and just filling in the blanks ("I read your job posting on _____ and I am really excited to learn that your company _____ is hiring a ______"), delete the template now. If you aren't willing to invest even a few minutes into the application process, why should the company invest any time learning about you?


Too eager: If I receive a résumé submission for a job posting and then get a second email from that candidate within 24 hours asking about the submission, I can be fairly sure that this is an omen. If I get a call on my mobile immediately after receiving the application ‘just to make sure it came through‘, you might as well just have the Psycho music playing in the background. Even if this candidate is qualified, there will probably be lots of hand-holding and coaching required to get this person hired. Reasonably qualified candidates with realistic expectations and an understanding of business acumen don't make this mistake.

Solution: Have patience while waiting for a response to your résumé, and be sure to give someone at least a couple/few days to respond. If you are clearly qualified for a position, you will get a reply when your résumé hits the right desk. Pestering or questioning the ability of those that are processing your application is a guarantee that you will not be called in.


Your Résumé

Your objective: If your objective states "Seeking a position as a chemist in a stable corporate environment", don't expect a callback from the company looking for an Operator. This applies even if you are qualified for the job! Why doesn't the company want to talk to you if you are qualified? Because you clearly stated that you wanted to do something else. If you put in writing that you are seeking a specific job, that information must closely resemble the job to which you are applying.

Solution: You may choose to have multiple copies of your résumé with multiple objectives, so you can customize the résumé to the job (just be sure to remember which one you used so you bring the correct résumé to the interview!). As there may be a range of positions you are both qualified and willing to take, using a ‘Profile' section that summarizes your skills instead of an ‘Objective' is a safer alternative.


tl;dr: To any non-geek readers, this means ‘too long; didn't read‘. To my geek readers, many of you are guilty of this. I have witnessed hiring managers respond to long-winded résumés with such gems as ‘if her résumé is this long, imagine how verbose her report will be‘.  Hiring managers for jobs that require writing skills or even verbal communication can be extremely critical of tl;dr résumés.

Solution: Keep it to two or three pages maximum. If you can't handle that, get professional help.


Buzzword bingo: This is a term that industry insiders use to refer to résumés that include a laundry list of acronyms and buzzwords. The goal is to either catch the eye of an automated search robot (or human) designed to rate résumés based on certain words, or to insinuate that the candidate actually has all the listed skills. Nukes are probably more guilty of this than other professionals, as the inclusion of one particular skill can sometimes make the difference between your document being viewed by an actual human or not. When candidates list far too many skills buzzwords than would be reasonably possible for one person to actually know, you can be sure the recruiter or manager will pass based on credibility concerns.

Solution: I advise candidates to limit the buzzwords on your résumé to technologies, tools, or concepts that you could discuss in an intelligent conversation. If you would not be comfortable answering questions about it in an interview, leave it off.


Your Experience

Gaping holes: If you have had one or more extended period of unemployment, hiring managers and recruiters may simply decide to pass on you instead of asking about the reasons why. Perhaps you took a sabbatical, went back to school full-time, or left on maternity leave. Don't assume that managers are going to play detective and figure out that the years associated with your Master's degree correspond to the two year gap in employment.

Solution: Explain and justify any periods of unemployment on your résumé with as much clarity as possible without going into too many personal details. Mentioning family leave is appropriate, but providing the medical diagnosis of your sick relative is not.


Job hopping: Some managers are very wary of candidates that have multiple employers over short periods of time. In the nuclear world it tends to be common to make moves a bit more frequently than in some other professions, but there comes a point where it's one move too many and you may be viewed as a job hopper. The fear of hiring a job hopper has several roots. A manager may feel you are a low performer, a mercenary that always goes to the highest bidder, or that you may get bored after a short time and seek a new challenge. Companies are unwilling to invest in hires that appear to be temporary.

Solution: If the moves were the result of mergers, acquisitions, layoffs, or a change in company direction, be sure to note these conditions somewhere in the résumé. Never use what could be viewed as potential derogatory information in the explanation. Clearly list if certain jobs were project/contract.


Listed experience is irrelevant/unrelated: This could be a symptom of simply being unqualified for the position, or it could be tied to an inability to detail what you actually do that is relevant to the listed job requirements. I would suspect that most of the aforementioned people (that received no responses to 100 submission) probably fall into the unqualified category, as job seekers tend to feel overconfident about being a fit for a wider range of positions than is realistic. Companies expect a very close fit during a buyer's market, and are willing to open up their hiring standards a bit when the playing field starts to level.

Solution: Be sure to elaborate on all elements of your job that closely resemble the responsibilities listed in the posting. Instead of wasting time filling out applications for jobs that are clearly well out of reach, spend that time researching jobs that are a better match for you.


You are overqualified: The term ‘overqualified' seems to be overused by rejected applicants today, as there is no real stigma to the term. It's entirely comfortable for a candidate to say/think "I didn't get the job because I possess more skills at a higher level than the employer was seeking". When a company is seeking an intermediate level engineer, it isn't always because they want someone earlier in their career than a senior level engineer (although in some cases this could be true). Rather, they want the intermediate level engineer because that is what their budget dictates or they expect that senior engineers would not be challenged by the role (and therefore would leave). There are also situations where companies will not want to hire you because your experience is indicative that you will only be taking this job until something better comes along. A CEO applying for a job as a deconner will not be taken seriously.

Solution: Be sure that your résumé accurately represents your level of skill and experience. Inflating your credentials or job titles will always work against you.


Conclusion

The time you spend on your job search is valuable, so be sure to use it wisely. Invest additional effort on applications for jobs that you feel are a great fit, and go above and beyond to be sure your submission gets attention. As a general rule of thumb, you want to be sure that whoever receives your résumé will get it into the hands of someone who has a similar job to the one you want, not just someone trained to look for buzzwords. Employees that have similar experience will be the best judges of your fit. If you aren't getting the response you want, do not keep using the same methods and expecting a different result.


About the Author: Dave Fecak is an independent recruiter and consultant that specializes in working with software firms primarily in the Philadelphia area. Dave is also the founder/JUGmaster of the Philadelphia Area Java Users' Group. His blog is JobTipsForGeeks and he tweets at @jobtipsforgeeks.
« Last Edit: Apr 13, 2016, 09:48 by Marlin »

Fermi2

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Re: Why You Didn’t Get the Interview
« Reply #1 on: Aug 08, 2012, 08:35 »
Too bad most of the snowflakes won't read this because it's the best item of it's type I have seen anywhere. May I borrow this for my facebook as many of my children's friends are seeking employment in the big post college world.

Also:
"If I get a call on my mobile immediately after receiving the application ‘just to make sure it came through‘, you might as well just have the Psycho music playing in the background. "  CLASSIC!!!! LMAO!

nuclear_janitor

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Re: Why You Didn’t Get the Interview
« Reply #2 on: Aug 09, 2012, 09:29 »
Thank you for these very useful tips. I am currently an intern at a nuclear power plant, and this advice will definitely help a lot when I will start looking for full time employment.

Thanks again for taking the time to put this document together.

Offline say78

Re: Why You Didn’t Get the Interview
« Reply #3 on: Aug 12, 2012, 06:33 »
Excellent advice, thank you very much for posting!
This is the questions I've been asking myself for the past couple of months since I joined the ranks of recent graduates looking for a full time employment... To be honest, I am guilty of some of the "don'ts" that were mentioned in the post...Well, at least now I know what needs to be done differently in order to get that call back for an interview!
Very helpful tips, thanks again for taking time to put it all together!

Offline Neutron_Enforcer

Re: Why You Didn’t Get the Interview
« Reply #4 on: Jun 20, 2013, 11:44 »
Much appreciated gonna have to bookmark this thread.

Offline HousePuke

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Re: Why You Didn’t Get the Interview
« Reply #5 on: Jun 21, 2013, 11:10 »
Excellent advice Mike. I recently hired someone and I screened the resumes very close to how your advice reads.
For HP / RP please, for the love of god don't put what meters you have used on your resume. Instant red flag that gets you in the "NO" pile.
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Offline Nukette

Re: Why You Didn’t Get the Interview
« Reply #6 on: Aug 05, 2013, 07:17 »
Thank you for sharinng this!  Very helpful

Offline tolstoy

Re: Why You Didn’t Get the Interview
« Reply #7 on: Apr 13, 2016, 09:39 »
I received a little bit of insight from a woman who admitted that she made eight bucks an hour to scan for keywords.

I submitted a resume for a position for which I had all of the bases covered. I had done the job before with the same title and fully expected that I met the requirements for getting an interview. Then I received an email the next day saying that I was not under consideration. I called the office and talked to one of the people who screened resumes. I told her that my education, experience, NRRPT, and CHP fully met all their requirements. After some frustrating back and forth she told me that she makes eight bucks an hour and her job is to scan resumes for ten key words. If you hit seven your resume goes in one pile. Less than that and it goes in the trash.


Offline Rerun

Re: Why You Didn't Get the Interview
« Reply #8 on: Apr 13, 2016, 10:19 »
Bullcrap

Offline tolstoy

Re: Why You Didn't Get the Interview
« Reply #9 on: Apr 13, 2016, 11:52 »

Offline OldHP

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Re: Why You Didn't Get the Interview
« Reply #10 on: Apr 17, 2016, 02:15 »
Bullcrap

The company in question does exactly that! 
Humor is a wonderful way to prevent hardening of the attitudes! unknown
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TechSuper

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Re: Why You Didn't Get the Interview
« Reply #11 on: Feb 26, 2020, 02:29 »
My question, which I am sure applies to most traveling contractors, is; "How do you cover your experience in one, two, or even three pages when the companies being applied to require that you list your job history by date to eliminate time gaps?" Those of us who have been in the business for say >30 years have worked at so many locations that they take up at least that many pages, so how do we reduce the length and still identify our jobs and employers? I have sent my resume to numerous resume builders who when completed have created a resume that doesn't even fit my qualifications. Granted they have utilized those key words and phrases but the resume looks like something that came out of a novices mind set. The experience that many of us have covers a huge gambit of experience, not just say HP, but also procedure writing, training, QA/QC, and etc. This cannot all be reduced into a single paragraph that covers all of the responsibilities and tasks of those positions.
« Last Edit: Feb 26, 2020, 02:30 by TechSuper »

Offline Rennhack

Re: Why You Didn't Get the Interview
« Reply #12 on: Feb 26, 2020, 08:18 »
My question, which I am sure applies to most traveling contractors, is; "How do you cover your experience in one, two, or even three pages when the companies being applied to require that you list your job history by date to eliminate time gaps?" Those of us who have been in the business for say >30 years have worked at so many locations that they take up at least that many pages, so how do we reduce the length and still identify our jobs and employers? I have sent my resume to numerous resume builders who when completed have created a resume that doesn't even fit my qualifications. Granted they have utilized those key words and phrases but the resume looks like something that came out of a novices mind set. The experience that many of us have covers a huge gambit of experience, not just say HP, but also procedure writing, training, QA/QC, and etc. This cannot all be reduced into a single paragraph that covers all of the responsibilities and tasks of those positions.

There is not a one size that fits all. 
IF you are an RP tech contractor, looking for an RP Tech contractor job, list all of the jobs, and all of the tasks at each job.
If you are a Rad Engineer, you would probably list the skills/experience you have on one or two pages, with a complete work history on a different document.


It really depends on your target audience, and their expectations.
« Last Edit: Mar 07, 2020, 10:47 by Rennhack »

Offline ipregen

Re: Why You Didn't Get the Interview
« Reply #13 on: Mar 03, 2020, 12:00 »
It's been a while since I reviewed contractor resumes but I would not even look at the samples shown here. It's a lot of nebulous content. What I did look for was the type of work you did and where along with how long you have been in your present title. So SGRP/pipe replacement/refuel floor/ SG inspections all mattered. How many stations you had been to as well as how often you went back. If someone was rarely a returnee then that means something. But I also looked for up and comers. I didn't want only old timers who just want to tell stories all day, and if I did have questions I would call Bartlett or Atlantic for more info. If you were a pain in the butt last outage you would be skipping our next one.

TechSuper

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Re: Why You Didn't Get the Interview
« Reply #14 on: Mar 03, 2020, 12:29 »
In some situations, as a consultant, opportunities to return to jobs/locations were rare and generally far between. Many of us work at a level that is not at the technician level, more management and consulting. With that being said I have found that a resume writer that is not nuclear has difficulty understanding how to logically write a resume for outside the nuclear field.

Offline fiveeleven

Re: Why You Didn't Get the Interview
« Reply #15 on: Mar 04, 2020, 07:32 »
So a SuperTech consultant who has ascended to a level far superior  to that of the lowly RPT, cant write a flippin resume. Good luck to you, and the"many" of you who find yourselves in this challenging situation. I miss the 34 years of work that I did at the technician level, I dont miss the "many" self-inflated blowhards that seem to be so prevalent within the rocks. Today was tomorrow yesterday, whereas today will be yesterday tomorrow. May the mean free path of the COVID 19 virus be a short one.

Offline scotoma

Re: Why You Didn't Get the Interview
« Reply #16 on: Mar 04, 2020, 07:49 »
Is this a joke?

Offline fiveeleven

Re: Why You Didn't Get the Interview
« Reply #17 on: Mar 04, 2020, 09:51 »
More of an observational reflection.

TechSuper

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Re: Why You Didn't Get the Interview
« Reply #18 on: Mar 04, 2020, 11:02 »
I guess this useful conversation is over. Just thought maybe there was a respectful level of professionalism that would prevail but as it appears that is not the case. There are those in today's environment that don't fall into the level of knowledge that was displayed in this discussion.

Offline ipregen

Re: Why You Didn't Get the Interview
« Reply #19 on: Mar 04, 2020, 11:26 »
In some situations, as a consultant, opportunities to return to jobs/locations were rare and generally far between.
Maybe that's a reflection on you. I had found people are always welcome back if they did a good job and established good relationships.

Offline Marlin

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Re: Why You Didn't Get the Interview
« Reply #20 on: Mar 04, 2020, 11:55 »
I guess this useful conversation is over. Just thought maybe there was a respectful level of professionalism that would prevail but as it appears that is not the case. There are those in today's environment that don't fall into the level of knowledge that was displayed in this discussion.

It is a bit hard in a flexible contract field where one may fill staff augmentation in a variety of roles and facilities from job to job to have one all encompassing resume. Mike earlier mentioned this.

There is not a one size that fits all. 
IF you are an RP tech contractor, looking for an RP Tech contractor job, list all of the jobs, and all of the tasks at each job.
If you are a Rad Engineer, you would probably list the skills/experience you have on one or two pages, with a complete work history on a different document.


It really depends on your target audience, and their expectations.

   As a technician verifying requirements to meet standards is the primary function of a resume. As you move up to more responsible positions experience in an area of expertise and accomplishments become more important. If you are a nuclear roadie having a number of resumes to fit multiple disciplines is a must aimed at nuclear in general, or to a BWR vs a PWR, specific facility project, remediation, etc etc.. As the position advances a cover letter becomes important to condense the resume to an easily understood synopsis and to avoid having your resume trash canned because the reviewers do not want to or have time to wade through long bloviations or chronological listing of jobs. The cover letter may also be a short synopsis on the top of a resume as contract companies frequently do not forward a cover letter with a resume. In more senior positions references become important, list at least three if you have them at the bottom of the resume. References should be from the same discipline as the position you are seeking if possible.

Hope this helps, I know it is a bit broad but there is not a magic bullet. Talking to recruiters or facility as what they are looking for helps. If you read some requirements in adds they list a standard blurb that may not be exactly what they want but has been filtered through Human Resources.

Offline Fluffy Bunny

Re: Why You Didn't Get the Interview
« Reply #21 on: Mar 07, 2020, 11:10 »
It's been a while since I reviewed contractor resumes but I would not even look at the samples shown here.

Like they said, not everyone is a contractor or a tech.  It depends on your target audience.  The resume you describe would not be considered for a professional level position (Manager, Engineer, etc).  Which is why Rennhack described two different example scenarios.  They are many other scenarios, with many other 'correct ways' to make a resume.  You have to know your audience, and write a document for what your audience wants to see.  If you were applying for a Plant Manager job, and you offered YOU idea of what is good.  You wouldn't make it to the interview.  They don't have time to read through 50 pages describing WHAT you can do, and HOW you fulfill the requirements. 

Maybe that's a reflection on you. I had found people are always welcome back if they did a good job and established good relationships.

It's kinda hard to return to a decommissioning project, after you have turned it into a green field...  Or to write a license to a new reactor after that reactor is running. You keep thinking that everyone is a contract RP tech at a refueling outage.  That is a small portion of the world.  And not what we are talking about.  Seems more of a reflection of YOU, and your ignorance.

For a contract RP job, you should refer to the OTHER statement.

There is not a one size that fits all. 
IF you are an RP tech contractor, looking for an RP Tech contractor job, list all of the jobs, and all of the tasks at each job.



And sure, IF you are an outage worker, going back to the same place many times is a good indication that you don't totally suck...  but then again, maybe that worker doesnt have a drivers license and his mom takes him to work in his 40's...maybe the plant is hard to staff, so they take the same old weirdo that is local, just because they come every time, and they have a known quantity.  Maybe that weirdo is basically useless, but again, its a known quantity.  Being a returnee just means that person likes what is known and comfortable.  The person that has been to 50 different sites might be welcome back, but would prefer the excitement and challenge of learning new things, and new perspectives.... but I guess you like the "that's the way we have always done it" vs "I know a better way to do it"...

I have one last thing to say...


Bashing other people that are trying to write a resume for a DIFFERENT job than the one you have, is asinine.
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TVA

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Re: Why You Didn't Get the Interview
« Reply #22 on: Mar 07, 2020, 03:47 »
Any job. Over one page. I throw it away.

Offline fiveeleven

Re: Why You Didn't Get the Interview
« Reply #23 on: Mar 07, 2020, 05:08 »

I have one last thing to say...Bashing other people that are trying to write a resume for a DIFFERENT job than the one you have, is asinine.
[/quote]

As is word-capitalization when applied as an agent of frustration.

TVA

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Re: Why You Didn't Get the Interview
« Reply #24 on: Mar 07, 2020, 05:30 »
I have one last thing to say...Bashing other people that are trying to write a resume for a DIFFERENT job than the one you have, is asinine.


As is word-capitalization when applied as an agent of frustration.


Agreed

 


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