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Author Topic: I'm In Ops At A Refinery. What Do I Need To Do To Get On As a Nuclear Operator?  (Read 19178 times)

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Offline MisplacedHog

I'm baffled.  I recently applied for an AO position (there were 20 openings) at a nuke facility in my home state (Arkansas).  I've been an operator for close to two years at a refinery, completed my Process Technology degree (with a 4.0 GPA), have a B.S degree, have a stable work history, and even have written glowing references and great work feedback that I uploaded as part of my resume package.

I wasn't even invited to an interview.  I am beyond stunned.  What am I missing here?  What do I need to do?  Is it my lack of nuclear experience?  I figured being an operator plus having the Process Technology degree would have been enough to at least get an interview.

What do I need to do?  I'm trying to get my family back home, but it appears that will never happen.  Thanks for any help/feedback.
« Last Edit: Mar 03, 2016, 12:10 by MisplacedHog »

Offline ddickey

Before I read your second to last sentence I was going to ask why you'd want to.
Who knows why. You are more than qualified considering an AO is an entry level job.

Offline Rerun

Entergy closing nuke plants might have a lot to do with it. Also most utilities have a 100 mile rule for hiring an entry level position. Within that hundred miles they will get about 1000 applicants. These people can immediately take any testing and if IIRC Entergy requires the POSS. They can immediately show up for interviews. Of those 1000 they will probably interview maybe 80 people, sometimes more sometimes yes. For an entry level position they don't have the resources to spend on flying you in, getting you a room, and buying meals. Most importantly they will find qualified candidates within that population. If they can't its a lot less expensive to simply repost the job until they get the right people. This is a shrinking industry, with lots of qualified candidates out there.

Offline MisplacedHog

Entergy closing nuke plants might have a lot to do with it. Also most utilities have a 100 mile rule for hiring an entry level position. Within that hundred miles they will get about 1000 applicants. These people can immediately take any testing. They can immediately show up for interviews.
As can I.  I would take a vacation day, if needed, in order to make a pre-employment test and/or an interview.
For an entry level position they don't have the resources to spend on flying you in, getting you a room, and buying meals.
I wouldn't expect that.  I don't think they are covering that anyway as the job posting specifies that there is no relocation assistance with this job.
Most importantly they will find qualified candidates within that population.
Not doubting you, but based upon their desired qualifications for the job posting, I don't see it.  Anyway, feels like I was kicked in the jewels by not being invited to an interview.

Offline Rerun

You miss the point.... By 100 Miles I mean they require you LIVE within 100 miles. Its been proven local people stay. Its not a matter of whether you can make to the interview.

Two: I have interviewed hundreds and hired well over 200 people into operations.. Don't doubt me. I can get hundreds of qualified  people in a 100 mile radius, then chunk in the Navy guys.... If I am going to go out of 100 miles Entergy has plants that are CLOSING, I can get guys from other nuclear utilities, or I can get guys from the Navy with actual nuclear experience. Then maybe you.

I am telling you exactly why you didn't get an interview. You live outside a certain radius and people who applied outside the radius are infinitely more qualified.

Offline Frank Cable

You miss the point.... By 100 Miles I mean they require you LIVE within 100 miles. Its been proven local people stay. Its not a matter of whether you can make to the interview.

Two: I have interviewed hundreds and hired well over 200 people into operations.. Don't doubt me. I can get hundreds of qualified  people in a 100 mile radius, then chunk in the Navy guys.... If I am going to go out of 100 miles Entergy has plants that are CLOSING, I can get guys from other nuclear utilities, or I can get guys from the Navy with actual nuclear experience. Then maybe you.

I am telling you exactly why you didn't get an interview. You live outside a certain radius and people who applied outside the radius are infinitely more qualified.

 

With this being said, you know what you need to do right?  Use a local relatives/friends address. There's nothing wrong with it.
« Last Edit: Mar 04, 2016, 01:49 by Frank Cable »

Offline Rerun

Until you have to prove it with a lease..

Offline Frank Cable

Until you have to prove it with a lease..

I wasn't asked for "proof of residence" at my place. Do you ask at yours?

Offline GLW

With this being said, you know what you need to do right?  Use a local relatives/friends address. There's nothing wrong with it.

nothing other than misrepresentation of the facts,... :-\


been there, dun that,... the doormat to hell does not read "welcome", the doormat to hell reads "it's just business"

Offline OldHP

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nothing other than misrepresentation of the facts,... :-\

It has been a few years since I was doing this at a NPP.  But an entry level (without Nuke or Navy experience) greater than 50 miles was not considered. 

I distinctly remember a candidate applying for a learner HP position showed an address in MD and this was NC.  (Resume/Application Trashed)

About two weeks later a person from HR called and asked if I would consider this person if they lived locally.  My answer was, "of course", she faxed me a new resume that showed an address approximately 20 miles away, I scheduled an interview.  Although this person had no experience, this person had been trained by many folks that I knew. 

Hired for a training class (Learner 1).  Most of the folks in the class had some experience and were hired as L-2, L-3, or L-4.  It wasn't one plant, but 3 providing trainees.  Long story short, this individual came out of the class as #1, was promoted faster than anyone else in the class, and was a supervisor in less than 5 years.

Moral of the story, to the OP, if you really want the job you may have to give up something else!  But do not misrepresent reality, that will cost in the long run.
Humor is a wonderful way to prevent hardening of the attitudes! unknown
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Offline Rennhack

With this being said, you know what you need to do right?  Use a local relatives/friends address. There's nothing wrong with it.

Integrity.

Offline MisplacedHog

Appreciate everyone's feedback.  Have a good weekend.

Offline Rerun

I wasn't asked for "proof of residence" at my place. Do you ask at yours?

Absolutely I do

Offline Nuke1315

Just as another reference point.  I was called for 3 separate interviews at two different companies that were greater than 100 miles away.  All three interviews were for an NLO job.  I was flown to one interview and was paid mileage for the other two.  I had neither navy nor nuke experience.  Ended up being offered a job after my third interview.  Some plants may go for people in a close radius, but I am proof that they all don't operate that way.  I was hired with a class of ten.  There were only 2 or 3 people in that class that lived even remotely close to the plant. A majority of us came from out of state.

Offline Rerun

Note I never said all. I simply offered it as a potential and likely reason

Offline OldHP

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Note I never said all. I simply offered it as a potential and likely reason 

Likely reason, Yes!

Unless the reviewer understands the experience gained at the present location, it is another shred/trash.  If the reviewer understands the difference and the experience gained, then it becomes much more viable to bring someone in from out of the area.

Humor is a wonderful way to prevent hardening of the attitudes! unknown
The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. Regan

Offline Red Gold

Most plants prefer local candidates, even if it's only a slight preference. If there are two similar candidates, the local one will get the nod every time. On the flip side, like zf800, I've had travel covered to multiple places to interview... but I obtained those interviews with some prior nuclear experience, which as others have pointed out is a massive factor in this industry. Even though you probably did some great work at the refinery, nukes will always consider nuclear experience over and above most other kinds of industrial experience.

And then there's the fact that ANO is an Entergy plant. With VY reducing further staff plus the closure of Fitzpatrick and Pilgrim, there are going to be plenty of candidates from other Entergy sites coming from far away to consider many other people who aren't local. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you may have to either wait a while or look at some other nuclear plants to enter the industry.
« Last Edit: Mar 07, 2016, 08:31 by Red Gold »

Offline tr

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Given the local preference utities have, I'd stress your local ties and the stated desire to "get back home" the next time they hire.  It might be worthwhile trying to reach out to HR as well to see if they can give you any advice.

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Next time  I would suggest putting in your cover letter your desire to get your family back home to Arkansas, that way they will know that you are local.

Offline MisplacedHog

Next time  I would suggest putting in your cover letter your desire to get your family back home to Arkansas, that way they will know that you are local.

I did.  I stressed it heavily.  Trust me.

What's so disheartening is that I tried for over a year to get into operations, but found it impossible to do so without any Ops experience.  A number of people told me to go to PTEC school (process technology) because plants love people with the PTEC degree.  Well, I did that, landed an internship my last semester and that led to a full time Operator position.

There were no PTEC programs (in Arkansas) three years ago when I decided to enroll in school in Louisiana.  So, I moved nine hours south, by myself to south Louisiana (had a three month old little girl, three year old little boy, and wife back home) in order to complete the PTEC program.  I had to better my career for myself and my family.  I sacrificed a lot to get into operations.

So, fast forward three years later and I hear the same thing as before....no nuke experience and I'm not a local.  It's always something.  I almost feel trapped.  It's as if I can't leave and I'll never be able to get back home.  Anyway, not that any of you really care.  I'm just blowing off steam.

It's always flipping something.

Offline Rerun

It will always be that way. Sorry. But question: Have you tried Nucor in Louisiana?

jowlman, no one will care if he puts that in the cover letter. I don't even read them. Also the Cover Letter isn't for BS like that.

Offline MisplacedHog

Have you tried Nucor in Louisiana?

Nucor actually has a pretty terrible reputation down here for being a plant that you don't want to work for.  Secondly, that doesn't accomplish anything....I'm trying to get my family back home to Arkansas.  Nucor is a DRI plant, not a nuclear plant.

Offline Rerun

Agreed but fact is you arent going to get into a nuke. I was trying to be helpful

Offline MisplacedHog

Agreed but fact is you arent going to get into a nuke. I was trying to be helpful
Right now, probably not.  In the future, maybe.  If I don't, it won't be due to a lack of effort and trying on my end.

I could have sat on my ass when I attempted to become an operator back three years ago, but I did what was necessary to get there.  When I got in PTEC school, I told the advisor that I needed to be done in three semesters.  Her exact words were "There's no way you can complete the program in three semesters."  Guess what?  I completed the program in three semesters with a 4.0.

I don't let people tell me I can't do something.  If I don't look like an attractive enough candidate on paper, then I will do what's necessary to become more attractive to HR people and hiring managers.

By the way, has anyone told you that you're a ray of sunshine?

Offline retired nuke

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By the way, has anyone told you that you're a ray of sunshine?

Note his karma score - he's been told he is a ray of sunshine once or twice ;-)
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Remember that you will die, and that this day is a gift. Remember how you wish to live, may the blessing of the Lord be with you

Offline Red Gold

MisplacedHog, in your shoes, what I'd be doing is applying as widely as you can, to as many nuke plants as you can. Everything else - being selective about type of reactor, location of plant, and so on - is mainly going to be the concern of folks with a few years' experience and several offers on the table. Your goal at this point is simply to get your foot in the door of this industry. If anything, you should be selective with respect to factors that make a plant less "desirable" but more likely to consider you (unglamorous location, etc).

You can still get hired in this industry with no nuclear experience. But you're going to have to work for it. The days of cherry-picking a plant and saying "This is where I'm getting a job" are long gone - if they ever happened at all. If you want to work at ANO, you're going to have to either already be local to the plant or, more likely for you, get some nuke experience under your belt elsewhere first. (And who knows? Like many nukes, you may find that the 'elsewhere' is a lot better than you thought)

Now... if returning to Arkansas is more important to you than working in nuclear power, per se? Then I'd be considering a different kind of career change, perhaps to a fossil plant or other industrial facility in the state. You have to arrange your priorities first before you can decide how to proceed.
« Last Edit: Mar 12, 2016, 05:20 by Red Gold »

Offline Rerun

Thats really well said and dead on.

Offline OldHP

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Now... if returning to Arkansas is more important to you than working in nuclear power, per se? Then I'd be considering a different kind of career change, perhaps to a fossil plant or other industrial facility in the state. You have to arrange your priorities first before you can decide how to proceed.

That's really well said and dead on.

MPH, from your earlier posts it appears that getting back to Arkansas is your primary goal.  There are fissile plants close to A-1.  Try there, if hired, (partially the same problem, i.e., relocation) establish a high class reputation and then apply for a transfer. 

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Offline MisplacedHog

MisplacedHog, in your shoes, what I'd be doing is applying as widely as you can, to as many nuke plants as you can. Everything else - being selective about type of reactor, location of plant, and so on - is mainly going to be the concern of folks with a few years' experience and several offers on the table. Your goal at this point is simply to get your foot in the door of this industry. If anything, you should be selective with respect to factors that make a plant less "desirable" but more likely to consider you (unglamorous location, etc).

You can still get hired in this industry with no nuclear experience. But you're going to have to work for it. The days of cherry-picking a plant and saying "This is where I'm getting a job" are long gone - if they ever happened at all. If you want to work at ANO, you're going to have to either already be local to the plant or, more likely for you, get some nuke experience under your belt elsewhere first. (And who knows? Like many nukes, you may find that the 'elsewhere' is a lot better than you thought)

Now... if returning to Arkansas is more important to you than working in nuclear power, per se? Then I'd be considering a different kind of career change, perhaps to a fossil plant or other industrial facility in the state. You have to arrange your priorities first before you can decide how to proceed.


Appreciate the insight.  I'm kinda kicking the tires on all scenarios.  I somewhat (in a round about way) have already thought of all of that, but it's always helpful to see/hear it in order to keep things in perspective.

Offline Red Gold

Appreciate the insight.  I'm kinda kicking the tires on all scenarios.  I somewhat (in a round about way) have already thought of all of that, but it's always helpful to see/hear it in order to keep things in perspective.

No problem. There's more than a little of how I got to my own current career position in what I wrote. The same is true for many others here. I'm not suggesting indiscriminate shotgunning of applications - the old hands on hiring committees can see those sort of applications coming a mile away! - but you might have to spread the net a bit more widely for long-term success. :)

Offline Rerun

Actually if you feel you are qualified a little bit of shotgunning doesn't hurt. I interviewed a person who didn't meet the literal qualifications for a job and they ended up doing a bang up job. Also, keep applying at ANO or anywhere you so choose. At TVA we hired a guy after the 3rd application. Same at Fermi. The think is no one here including you has no idea why you didn't make the cut, We are giving educated guesses based on our experience. 20 years ago we could have said because you weren't nuclear navy and we would have probably been dead on. That's not the case anymore. For all we know you just missed the cut this time but your resume caught someone's eye.

Offline tr

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Have you tried for nuclear positions other other than operator jobs (I&C, maintenance planner, instructor, industrial safety, etc.) that may be a fit with your process background?  Does your resume stress experience common with nuclear plants (pumps, valves, equipment surveillance testing, control room operations, equipment performance monitoring, coordinating maintenance work, ...).

Offline Frank Cable

nothing other than misrepresentation of the facts,... :-\



Like the STAR interviews don't encourage that...its just a matter of who tells the most convincing story. Think about it.

Offline hamsamich

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Some places are weird about who they hire.  And it can change from year to year depending on who is in charge of the hiring.  Anyway can you find out what types of people were hired?  Some places tend to prefer ex-navy nukes, other places want a degree first.  If you can find out who controls the hiring and what they are after that may help dispel the mystery.  I asked the HR person doing the hiring when I got my first operator job and they told me point blank they wanted ex-navy nukes or people with higher level scientific degrees first.  That was a while ago.  Getting people who will eventually be good CR operators is huge for almost every hiring manager for ops.  Maybe the person doing the hiring doesn't value your non-nuc operator experience?  It can vary so wildly depending on who is doing the hiring.  Maybe they are looking for women and minorities because they don't have enough?  They probably won't answer that one.  Most places prefer local but it may be a much stronger selling point for some nuke plants.

Anybody who tells you point blank this is what all nuc plants are after are full of HS because the one thing I know is different managers prefer different things.  So don't be too baffled unless you don't get an interview from 3 or 4 different nukes.

Also make sure your resume has the key words applicable to nuclear..maybe the person screening didn't comprehend your skills correctly...a long shot but possible.  Process degree doesn't seem to be the best fit and is a pretty specific degree iif it is what I think it is.  There could be worry you will leave for a job that fits your degree better.

A huge advantage at most places is if you have a reference who is known by the interviewing team.  If enough of these people are applying then you may not have a chance in he11.

I think it is true that it is harder to get into ops today compared to 2007 or so, but things might change.

Offline MisplacedHog

Quote
Anyway can you find out what types of people were hired?

I wish.  Unfortunately, I have no contacts there.

It's strange....I work for a company that's considered the cream of the crop in the energy industry, and also one of the companies that is extremely difficult to get hired on with, but I can't seem to get an interview in my home state in a job which is considered an entry level position (one in which I'm more than qualified) ::)

I've tried speaking with their HR people, but that really didn't get anywhere.  I need someone local (one that's familiar with ANO) that I could speak with.  It would just be good to know what type of people that they hire so I could know what I need to do to potentially become a better looking candidate on paper, or if I just need to concentrate my efforts elsewhere.

Offline Rerun

Lol no wonder they didnt interview him. Look you havent accomplished anything. Learn that first

 


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