Author Topic: EET grad looking for work in North America  (Read 14786 times)

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Offline ratdude747

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EET grad looking for work in North America
« on: August 06, 2015, 02:50:42 am »
I recently graduated from Purdue University's College of Technology with  a BS in Electrical Engineering Technology (Yes, they are ABET accredited).

My background (elective classes,final projects, etc.) is in controls (PLCs and process control techniques), embedded programming (C on Atmel AVR especially), and communications/RF. I'd prefer to focus on embedded electronics but honestly I'll consider a much wider variety of positions.

I'd prefer to stay in the Midwestern United States (Indiana especially), but I'm open to moving to any location that speaks English (domestic and abroad).

My senior capstone project was the re-engineering of an inductively heated vacuum casting machine; it involved reverse engineering of analog, digital, and power electronics, conversion of such to a modern design (which included embedded programming), design of a new PCB, and troubleshooting of the system.

My resume (which includes other info) is attached to this post. The highly detailed final report of the aforementioned project is available upon request (not attached due to file size).
« Last Edit: August 06, 2015, 10:42:11 pm by ratdude747 »
 

Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2015, 08:01:57 am »
Curious, was the induction heating in association with a company?

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Offline ratdude747

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2015, 09:54:15 pm »
^Yes and No. It was for a 3rd party, who bought the machine (made for jewelry) to cast model engine parts. The machine was missing the control circuitry, which is why the project existed in the first place.

He also owns his own design/prototyping firm and his employees were working on it before I did, so in a way it was for a company? With small businesses like this, the line between personal projects and company projects is quite blurry.
 

Offline ratdude747

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2015, 04:45:54 pm »
3 months later, still looking. I'd post more but in fear of a potential employer judging my opinion I am not posting more on the subject (although this may get me judged anyway, talk about a catch 22).
 

Offline John_ITIC

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2015, 09:50:55 pm »
Ok, so here's my take on this: You need to market yourself better. Nobody will get impressed by a one-page resume, especially not after one-shot post. I know from experience that one thinks that people should be impressed by ones accomplishments because one went through so much struggle to get that degree in the first place. Here's the thing: nobody cares. There are hundreds and thousands of engineers with the same or better skills competing for the same jobs. What you have to do is to *market* your services much better. Create a super-impressive web site. Create videos, show-casing what you know and your personality, create articles, etc. Use Internet and the "new media" as a TV (promotion) rather than a mailbox (sending resume). Hiring managers will only pay attention when they see something that stands out from the masses. This applies to any product or service out there.

Watch some of the below:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dan+s+kennedy

1480A USB 2.0 LS/FS/HS/OTG 1.3 Protocol Analyzer - $695 USD
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Offline ratdude747

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2015, 05:59:02 am »
Ok, so here's my take on this: You need to market yourself better. Nobody will get impressed by a one-page resume, especially not after one-shot post. I know from experience that one thinks that people should be impressed by ones accomplishments because one went through so much struggle to get that degree in the first place. Here's the thing: nobody cares. There are hundreds and thousands of engineers with the same or better skills competing for the same jobs. What you have to do is to *market* your services much better. Create a super-impressive web site. Create videos, show-casing what you know and your personality, create articles, etc. Use Internet and the "new media" as a TV (promotion) rather than a mailbox (sending resume). Hiring managers will only pay attention when they see something that stands out from the masses. This applies to any product or service out there.

Watch some of the below:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dan+s+kennedy

I am somewhat skeptical of your advice (at least in my specific case). Three serious issues:

1. I am not very good on camera. Not my strong point. My voice isn't good (never has been long story) among other issues. I worry that I may project what may be seen as bad people skills, the last thing I want to do.

2. Resources. I'm no video editing expert, and on top of that, my camera requirement is not good. Not to mention I work 9-12 hour night shifts four nights a week. I struggle to find time to look for openings, let alone make a bunch of youtube videos (and do them justice).

3. Viewers. Why/how would a potential employer see my videos? I see such as analogous to stapling flyers to telephone poles; it's a small advertisement that has a decent chance of not being seen.

Not to say doing such would not help... I just don't think it is worth the opportunity cost do such. Sure, applying to a bunch of listings (and doing a serious cover letter for each) hasn't gotten me far; it feels like a freaking supermarket sweepstakes drawing. However, I want to make sure that I use my resources wisely and not waste my time on things that won't get seen.
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2015, 06:32:12 pm »
Congratulations on your degree.  One of the best engineers I know possesses the same resume.

You haven't said much about how you have marketed yourself.  While I would value your degree the HR departments at many large companies automatically deselect EET degrees (some do prefer them but they are in a minority).  HR departments in general are far more motivated to prevent a bad hire than to achieve a good hire.  They find it easy to reject someone who is not a perfect paper fit and difficult to find the talent behind the paper.  And as said before they have many, many resumes to sort through.  You have to somehow penetrate the HR barrier. 

Have you looked up the companies that do electronic design work in your preferred geographic areas?  Used your contacts at Purdue and elsewhere to find contacts in the engineering/manufacturing departments of those companies?  Searched public documents to find the engineering manager or managers?  Written letters to those individuals showing your knowledge of those companies products and your interest in participating their development?  Photographs, code snippets, schematics of your project might be useful in this context.

Given your experience with a small business you may also want to pursue a path that a few I know have pursued successfully.  They visit small businesses in the area, ask what their problems are, and then sell them solutions.  Basically doing what you did for your senior project, only getting paid this time.
 

Offline ratdude747

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2015, 07:00:13 pm »
I did most of those. Often I include a PDF of my senior project report which has source code and everything (Gantt charts, flow charts, schematic, etc.)

I am well aware of anti-EET bias.  |O
 

Online Tomorokoshi

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2015, 04:59:41 am »
A few comments:

On the resume, split "Work / Volunteer Experience" into "Work Experience" and "Volunteer Experience".

LabVIEW is listed in one of the volunteer jobs. How extensive was it? Can more detail be added? Is it enough to make it to the major skills list?

For PLC experience, list some that you worked with. AB? Siemens? etc.

There are still a lot of industrial shops around. Track down things like "integrators", "distributors", and the like of industrial equipment used in factories. There may be some PLC opportunities there. Also track down manufacturers that might be using PLC equipment. There may be more than you expect, and they don't advertise the work - they just try to contract it out to various shops.

Add Windows / PC experience to the list. I know, but don't let pride get in the way.

Buy a $50 Microchip PIC eval kit and tinker with it for a weekend. Then you can add Microchip experience to the list.
 

Offline Scrts

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2015, 02:15:57 pm »
Would you be interested in automotive position in Michigan?
 

Offline ratdude747

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2015, 04:18:19 pm »
Would you be interested in automotive position in Michigan?

Perhaps. PM/Post details?
 

Offline ratdude747

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2015, 05:06:37 pm »
Here's an updated resume, FYI.

(edit- found a bug, fixed it)
« Last Edit: December 04, 2015, 05:09:38 pm by ratdude747 »
 

Offline Scrts

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2015, 03:24:48 am »
Well, you can check for positions here: http://www.valeo.com/en/candidates/our-job-offers/#job-search
Select USA. I am in Comfort and Driving Assistance group, but you may find some other business groups interesting.
 

Offline Neganur

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2015, 03:16:11 pm »
Isn't it sad that the way you learn to write a CV is totally not what the industry wants to see?
 

Offline ratdude747

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2015, 08:34:25 pm »
Isn't it sad that the way you learn to write a CV is totally not what the industry wants to see?

No, rather that it doesn't say what they want to see. Mainly in that it doesn't have me graduated 2-3 years prior with 2-3's experience in whatever specific displine they want . It seems that entry level means 2-3 years work expereince. So where do I get that experience (on paper, I already have some but it isn't technically countable)? I already graduated so an internship is pretty much not an option. Seems like a catch 22. Sounds like I better get lucky (shame all my contacts through IEEE are in academia, not exactly the sort who can get me in with just a BS).

I hope I don't sound too depressed. Seeing all your classmates get jobs and you get nothing isn't the best for self esteem. I know I will get a job. At least I tell myself that  |O.
 

Offline cobbler

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2015, 04:12:08 am »
You really need to improve your resume. You need to explain in great detail the technical aspects projects you've worked on and fill it with relevant keywords. I would start from scratch and find some great example resumes.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2015, 06:35:48 am »
I am somewhat skeptical of your advice (at least in my specific case). Three serious issues:

His advice is bang-on.

Quote
1. I am not very good on camera. Not my strong point. My voice isn't good (never has been long story) among other issues. I worry that I may project what may be seen as bad people skills, the last thing I want to do.

Then don't do videos.
You can still do web pages, write papers, publish in a magazine, contribute to open hardware projects etc.

Quote
2. Resources. I'm no video editing expert, and on top of that, my camera requirement is not good. Not to mention I work 9-12 hour night shifts four nights a week. I struggle to find time to look for openings

Sorry, but no one cares about excuses. Tough world.

Quote
3. Viewers. Why/how would a potential employer see my videos? I see such as analogous to stapling flyers to telephone poles; it's a small advertisement that has a decent chance of not being seen.

You are missing the whole point of stuff like this. It's not that an employer is going to random see your stuff and offer you a job or interview (although that does happen). It's about having something to show on your resume, or more importantly, when you get the interview. It makes you stand out.

Quote
Not to say doing such would not help... I just don't think it is worth the opportunity cost do such. Sure, applying to a bunch of listings (and doing a serious cover letter for each) hasn't gotten me far; it feels like a freaking supermarket sweepstakes drawing.

It is, because you have nothing to stand out.
I've looked at countless resumes over the years, and when you have  dozens or even hundreds to look through they usually get nothing more than a cursory glance. You need something that stands out.

Quote
However, I want to make sure that I use my resources wisely and not waste my time on things that won't get seen.

Anything you do will get seen if you put it in front of people.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2015, 06:39:48 am »
No, rather that it doesn't say what they want to see. Mainly in that it doesn't have me graduated 2-3 years prior with 2-3's experience in whatever specific displine they want . It seems that entry level means 2-3 years work expereince. So where do I get that experience (on paper, I already have some but it isn't technically countable)?

You've already lost right there.
Not thinking that stuff you've done (hobby or otherwise) does not count means that you lose, and the other person who shows their little home made widget gets the interview.
If you don't have stuff to show, then make stuff to show.
 

Offline snoopy

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2015, 02:45:55 am »
Isn't it sad that the way you learn to write a CV is totally not what the industry wants to see?

No, rather that it doesn't say what they want to see. Mainly in that it doesn't have me graduated 2-3 years prior with 2-3's experience in whatever specific displine they want . It seems that entry level means 2-3 years work expereince. So where do I get that experience (on paper, I already have some but it isn't technically countable)? I already graduated so an internship is pretty much not an option. Seems like a catch 22. Sounds like I better get lucky (shame all my contacts through IEEE are in academia, not exactly the sort who can get me in with just a BS).

I hope I don't sound too depressed. Seeing all your classmates get jobs and you get nothing isn't the best for self esteem. I know I will get a job. At least I tell myself that  |O.

I used to take along a sample of work from a previous employer or my own business. That was infinitely more valuable than a piece of paper that employers are reluctant to read or are skeptical of, and it always seem to guarantee me a job. But in your case you need to spend some time building something up, writing code etc so that you have something to show a prospective employer. Whilst you are looking for a job this is a perfect opportunity to fill in the time whilst gaining some experience. Don't worry about all your mates getting a job. They are probably good at spinning and selling themselves than you are. Some people are better than this than others. I'm not a good salesman which is why I took examples of my work with me and employers would appreciate that much more than some spin merchant. They would then spend more time pouring over the sample and asking me questions and this is where I excelled because I knew all of the answers ;)

have a great Xmas
cheers and all the best for 2016
 

Offline ratdude747

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #19 on: December 25, 2015, 05:52:55 am »
Isn't it sad that the way you learn to write a CV is totally not what the industry wants to see?

No, rather that it doesn't say what they want to see. Mainly in that it doesn't have me graduated 2-3 years prior with 2-3's experience in whatever specific displine they want . It seems that entry level means 2-3 years work expereince. So where do I get that experience (on paper, I already have some but it isn't technically countable)? I already graduated so an internship is pretty much not an option. Seems like a catch 22. Sounds like I better get lucky (shame all my contacts through IEEE are in academia, not exactly the sort who can get me in with just a BS).

I hope I don't sound too depressed. Seeing all your classmates get jobs and you get nothing isn't the best for self esteem. I know I will get a job. At least I tell myself that  |O.

I used to take along a sample of work from a previous employer or my own business. That was infinitely more valuable than a piece of paper that employers are reluctant to read or are skeptical of, and it always seem to guarantee me a job. But in your case you need to spend some time building something up, writing code etc so that you have something to show a prospective employer. Whilst you are looking for a job this is a perfect opportunity to fill in the time whilst gaining some experience. Don't worry about all your mates getting a job. They are probably good at spinning and selling themselves than you are. Some people are better than this than others. I'm not a good salesman which is why I took examples of my work with me and employers would appreciate that much more than some spin merchant. They would then spend more time pouring over the sample and asking me questions and this is where I excelled because I knew all of the answers ;)

have a great Xmas
cheers and all the best for 2016

That's why I keep a copy of my senior project report in a binder for interviews. It has a couple source codes in it among many other bits of documentation. That said, I've yet to have an interview where source code (or the like) comes up.

Also, Merry Xmas to you too.

A few other notes (names and companies omitted):

-Turns out a buddy of mine in IEEE escaped the academic world and became a project manager at a local controls firm. I ran in to him at the Louisville IEEE Xmas meeting, and he (due a shortage of staff) had me email him my updated resume (which I'm attaching). He in turn gave a very passionate recommendation to HR, which he BCC'd me on. While I haven't heard back (other than a confirmation from HR that they got the files), I ran into another IEEE buddy at the local Ace Hardware (of all places, go figure), who mentioned that he heard they might have something in January. I'm praying that I hear back, as this is a very good opportunity.

-Somebody from a startup in San Francisco who saw this thread emailed me, who was interested in interviewing for a part time bit of embedded work. First, to thou who emailed me, thank you, and I will reply formally to your email soon; I've been busy with family stuff between when I got the email and now. That said, due to travel and cost of living issues, such a job I'd have to work from home as even as an engineer/programmer, (presumably) entry level part time in the bay area is not livable... I'd have to work two more regular jobs  (and my wife a few herself) to make ends meet based on conversations with buddies who have lived there. I really don't know here. While it's encouraging to get a "surprise" email like that,  sadly, I can only play the cards God has dealt me. I can be creative with them, yes, but the situation doesn't allow for a mix of bay area living and part time work. Nothing personal, but I need to be able to feed myself and put a roof over my head. Once again, thanks to the sender of the email; I do appreciate it.
 

Offline kfnight

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2015, 05:37:38 pm »
When I first started my career I worked for ~5 years doing contract work at 1 to 1.5 year stints. If I was at a company I hated I knew my contract would be up in three months and could look forward to that. If I was at a company that I loved then because I had made good inroads with management I could probably work full-time if I so desired. That part of contract work is great. The other parts--no real benefits or paid vacations, swing shift hours--is not so great.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2015, 06:02:10 pm »
I already graduated so an internship is pretty much not an option.

Not necessarily. Where I work we sometimes hire freshly trained graduate engineers as interns on a probationary basis, recognizing that it can be difficult to make a reliable hiring decision based just on an interview process. If everything works out well for the candidate and for us, then we will endeavor to convert the internship into a permanent position.

So I would say you should consider applying for internships even as a graduate if you are looking for work. It can get you a foot in the door, it can get you experience, and it may lead to a full time job offer.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline ratdude747

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2015, 03:11:32 am »
I already graduated so an internship is pretty much not an option.

Not necessarily. Where I work we sometimes hire freshly trained graduate engineers as interns on a probationary basis, recognizing that it can be difficult to make a reliable hiring decision based just on an interview process. If everything works out well for the candidate and for us, then we will endeavor to convert the internship into a permanent position.

So I would say you should consider applying for internships even as a graduate if you are looking for work. It can get you a foot in the door, it can get you experience, and it may lead to a full time job offer.

I've heard this advice before, however, I've also heard not to sell oneself short. To race for the top, not the bottom. If I am going to put serious effort towards something, it's going to be something that is in the direction I wish to go. I know I am good, and I'm not going to let this mess ultimately define me.

---

In regards to Dave's (and others) comments on the relavance of hobby-ish work: I was speaking in regards to resumes, not interviews. In interviews, you better beleive it all gets mentioned. Since the main issue has been a lack of interviews, I don't see how this is an issue worth focusing on now. The issue seems to be what I am on paper not jiving with HR people's expectations. They are given some bullsh!t description from the department, they use it to filter stuff. My specifics don't technically match, so I get axed without my true qualities being known. I thought I had a break with the company with who I been recommended within to, however, I honestly wonder if once again I've run out of luck.

In regards to Dave's comments on promoting oneself through the internet, while I don't do videos any more (I did at one point but to be honest, I don't like them), I have done a number of writeups on various forums. I've backed off in recent times, partially due to a sort of burn out of sorts (more below) and partially due to a lot of negative feedback. People saying that "that's a cool little project, good way to kill a weekend" when it was a project I worked on and polished for a month or more. Not to mention that a lot of it was posted under my screename of ratdude747, which is I try to limit my connections to my current existence. That's why my ratdude747 email address isn't on resumes. Due to some of my stuff I posted under that name and the fact that ratdude747 is "not professional", I have to mask myself with the lawrencejbolan email address that is on the resume. So in short, unless I shot myself in the foot by reverting to my "unprofessional" email  or by reposting every single thing I did under a new account, they are severed. My question to those that are in HR or know people in HR: is "ratdude747" a red flag when used as an email address name?

As for the comment on my resume not explaining things, it's a resume, not an essay. It's supposed to be brief bullet points; the cover letter is where the explanation happens.

Another thing I'll note (and have been reluctant to post due to fear of shooting myself in the foot, I've been walking on eggshells this whole time to avoid being too "unprofessional") is that lately (since graduation) I've been honestly burn out on electronics. It's like writer's block only for electronic design. I can't think of anything to design, and when I come close, my mind seems to link that to my failed job hunt and I no longer wish to work on it. This smiley sums it up:  |O .

I used to be passionate about this. I used to be the project's guy at the college who was always getting things to work that nobody else could. I used to be good. Now I'm loosing the battle, so it seems. First to last. Everything I aspired not to be; the superstar in college who is hopeless in the pro leagues. I know I'm good yet I feel that I'm not. Given a task, sure, I can design, prototype, and tweak what's needed (circuitry, code, PCB, etc.), but I can't think of the task to do that with right now.

Also, it seems like people seem to fall into two groups when they meet me and see what I've done and can do: those that think I'm a genius, and those that can hire me. Really frustrating, to have somebody you know praise you and tell about ho much they're impressed  :-+, and then get laughed at  :-DD or ignored  :blah: by HR.

I will note that what you are reading is me at my truly deepest thoughts on the subject (minus all the swearing that would normally be mixed in). This is not how I act in interviews, or what I type in cover letters. I know this isn't how I should think. I know this isn't how I should be. But, right now, it's what I am, at my core, a semi-depressed wreck that is desperately praying to God that I find a way out of this low point.


Hopefully this post doesn't hurt my job hunt, I pray that it, if anything, shows that I wish to be honest even when I risk getting laughed at or looked down upon. You want honesty, here it is.
 

Offline ratdude747

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2016, 07:56:45 am »
Ok, update time.

Bad news: every position previously mentioned has been a brick wall. Even the one that I got through this thread (and that's all I'll say here). I do have a lead that is sorta going someplace at a smallish Medical, Aerospace, and Defense company local to my area. On one hand, it involves actual electronic hardware (not just coding, in fact there is no coding), which is kinda cool. On the other, it's Associate's degree level work, and while I normally wouldn't apply, my college tipped them off about me and thus I had to anyway (well, not "had to", but you know what I mean). They did send me some questions via email which I answered, and aside from a confirmation of receipt, that's all I've heard. I also applied for Subaru of Indiana Automotive, although all their hiring are assemblers (and that was because my father inlaw did the same tip-off routine).

So yes, people in my life do care, but it seems that I'm having to toss all or half my degree on the shelf to get any meaningful employment at all. Student loan payments are due, and savings won't get me far. I can apply for deferment but I don't want to get eaten alive by interest.

I'll be honest, I really wonder if I ****ed up by following my dreams and talents. I was one of the best in my class, the one who took the hardest projects and completed them the fastest and with the best quality. But I forgot that engineers need to be human, and as somebody whose had to deal with Asperger's all my life (I've gotten better, but I still have struggles), it seems I am not sufficiently human. This is also why I don't produce you tube videos; my voice is too high pitched, I naturally talk to fast, and I often find myself saying too much. Heck, I wonder if I post too much. At the same time, I've grown allergic to pity (a rough time in public school is mostly to blame) so I have a hard time accepting help as it feels like I'm not legitimately earning my way. I know I'm good, but nobody with hiring power agrees. I don't have the vision to start my own business; every product idea I have seems to have already been done by the Chinese for cheaper than I could match as a start-up.

So, it feels like I'm stuck in a ditch. I have skills I can't fully utilize, a degree that isn't paying off, and a wife whom I love so, so much that I can't provide for (and I feel so awful about that part). Graduation and Marriage (they were two weeks apart for me last May) are things that I though would be the gateway to a better life where I could start my career and (in time) family. Instead, things just seem to coast further and further downhill... It's not as low as my live has been before (2nd grade-7th grade were pretty bad, and high school had rough times as well) but that's really cold comfort at best.

At what point do I pronounce my career dead? And if I do, where do I go then?

I hate posting posts like this, but I feel I had something to say.
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2016, 11:17:41 am »
Don't give up; it seems like you have strengths that are not visible in your CV. Hence modifying your CV might be beneficial.

To help you see it as others read it, I speed-read your CV as an HR-droid or engineer would. These points are overly blunt and hard-hitting simply to make the point. Here are my impressions, which are followed by the some tricks you might be able make your CV more interesting:
  • You did stuff and served your time. You didn't make a difference. (Example: " On two high school robotics teams:" So what? Big deal) From reading your postings, that isn't the case but there's nothing in your CV to indicate that! Show how/where you did more than necessary and achieved more than expected.
  • No "profile", so I don't know what you are nor what you want to be, nor where you might fit in my organisation
  • Vague adjectives, e.g. "Advanced Linux usage". Does that mean knows how to use "tar" or knows how to create device drivers?
  • Your understanding of a covering letter is wrong. It purpose is to briefly draw attention to why you are suitable for the job in question, so people will be sufficiently curious that they read your CV.
  • Your understanding of a CV is wrong - although you are following advice given by non-engineering droids. It should contain sufficient information that engineers feel that you might be able to help them with their problems, and want to interview you to find out if that's the case.

Do not underestimate the value of non-professional activities, provided you can show they are relevant or just curious/interesting. From my daughter's long obsolete CV:
  • At ... I was a volunteer ... initially responsible for... After completing ... I continued working there, becoming responsible for ... groups working safely with... (Shows early progression and responsibility)
  • ...I learned to ... at the minimum legal age of 16. As a member of the ... team, I was responsible for greeting visitors, completing legal ... paperwork, communicating safety information by radio and lights, ensuring the ... runs smoothly, retrieving aircraft. The club recognised my contribution by awarding me... (Shows dedication, trust/responsibility and formal recognition thereof, good starting point for a chat . Demonstrating responsible teamwork is surprisingly valuable.)
    While flying solo, an equipment failure significantly compromised the safety of the aircraft. In the official incident report... (I don't panic, a great talking point, and don't try to impress me with your mundane bullshit)
I'm sure you can find something in your background that demonstrates something you are proud of. (Your CV is full of assertions without demonstrable justification - whereas your posts hint at justifications)

I would suggest rewriting your CV, maybe in this format:
  • more than one page; overview and claimed broad competencies first, justifications later
  • profile of why you are the right person that will fit whatever they need now and in the future
  • team roles showing flexibility and progression
  • bullet point skills, for the robotic scanners
  • two lines per employment or other relevant period
  • bullet point project/technical list
  • detailed project/technial achievements, for selected projects that are relevant to the advert

Snippets from my CV where the ellipses indicate specific details...

Profile:
A flexible and adaptable professional engineer with significant experience in a wide range of technologies, applications and corporate roles across the full project life-cycle. His track record shows he can:... He is effective working independently or in small teams, and across geographic or corporate boundaries. He is particularly enthusiastic about working in any application domain involving:...

Corporate Roles and Technical Experience:
Roles: He flexibly adopts whichever role is necessary to ensure the team’s objectives are achieved: Engineer and Technical/Project Leader defining an implementing the full product and project life-cycle... Technical Consultant:...reviews...advising...assessing other companies’ products and processes... Miscellaneous: committees, sales....
Software: keywords for languages/environments/middleware/etc
Hardware: keywords, ditto
Application Domains, ditto

Career Outline:
Company N-3: Engineer and Project Leader in the Digital Systems Group, typically simultaneously operating in different roles in several very different projects

Education: two lines about degree, prizes, professional qualifications. Vital, but nobody really cares about this except that not having the right words can be a lock-out. HR-droids are looking for reasons to ignore CVs, and missing qualifications are an easy target.

Outline Achievements: one-line bullet points for everything I achieved
For details, including the impact on the companies and beyond, see the "Selected Achievements" section
conceiving and patenting a novel ...
conceiving, patenting, specifying and developing a...
developing and manufacturing a...
making key contributions to the FCC...
defining and implementing a...

Selected Achievements: one per project, only those relevant to the job advertised
Optical Attenuation Test Set
He designed and developed a test set that measured the attenuation of optical fibres. The test set was extremely accurate and had an optical dynamic range 20dB larger than the competitors (40dB electrical). This was due to a novel bandpass filter with a Q of ~4000 using 10% components. Two versions of the device were manufactured and produced. Technology: optical fibres, low-noise analogue electronics.


« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 01:01:19 pm by tggzzz »
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Offline ratdude747

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2016, 04:33:19 pm »
I forgot to mention, there was a major resume overhaul recently. I've attached a copy.

I've always heard (and I mean from everybody I've spoken to about resumes over the past five years) to always keep the resume no longer than one page. If the employer wants more, they'll ask for a Vita (CV) instead, which details every single job you've ever worked; they're usually used for academic positions more than anything. While I've seen CV's listed as an option with some people, I've never seen it as the only choice of the two. For non-academic roles, I've been under the impression that hearing my whole life story would be :blah:  :=\ and thus a true CV (as described in the last post) wouldn't be appropriate.

« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 04:41:39 pm by ratdude747 »
 

Offline IanB

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2016, 06:04:31 pm »
When anyone from Europe says "CV" they mean what an American calls a resume. It's just one of the many differences in how words are used across the Atlantic.

However, it can be very difficult to cram everything important onto one page. You should certainly go to two pages (even three) if it means you can include more relevant content. I know I cannot squeeze my resume into one page and still tell the story I want to tell. The one page guideline is just that, a guideline, and an idealistic one at that. Don't treat it as a hard and fast rule.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 06:07:22 pm by IanB »
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Offline ratdude747

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #27 on: February 16, 2016, 06:08:57 pm »
I'll disagree, as the attention span of HR folks isn't all that long, especially with a tall tower of papers. I trim things to fit a page, and anything further that is relevant goes in the cover letter. That said, the new resume eliminated some redundant information and made room for additional information.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2016, 06:16:51 pm »
I'll disagree, as the attention span of HR folks isn't all that long, especially with a tall tower of papers. I trim things to fit a page, and anything further that is relevant goes in the cover letter. That said, the new resume eliminated some redundant information and made room for additional information.

You are posting here about your troubles finding work. So I will suggest that disagreeing with advice offered to you might not be the wisest course of action.

As to who reads and acts on resumes, it is not HR. HR folks will pass on resumes to hiring managers who have an open position they wish to fill. The hiring manager will ask, "Is this a person I might want on my team?" Your resume is your chance to advertise yourself to that manager and convince them to call you for interview. If your resume is too brief, you will fail to communicate what you have to offer.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 06:34:43 pm by IanB »
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Offline ratdude747

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2016, 06:40:32 pm »
Yeah but I have other places I get advice from besides here. Yes, I do have a life outside of here, and outside of the internet for that matter! If I get advice that makes sense and more or less follows the trend of what I've heard before, has a rational basis, and is feasible on my end, then I'll be more willing to adopt it. However, any of those aren't the case, I tend to question the advice more. In this case, from high school through SEVERAL college classes, limiting resumes to a page was the most constant thing I heard. I also know my personal tendencies (some due to Aspergers) and know that without a limit I'd write verbose mess that wouldn't even get me hired at McDonalds. That's why I respectfully disagree.

I know about hiring managers and all that... I tend to lump them in my term "HR folks",  to distinguish them from people who actually work in the department and know the subject matter, such as project managers. The issue is that on paper, no matter how long the paper, I'm not that great. I have an average GPA (3.4/4.0, half my classmates were in the 3.6 range) and no true internship, which despite the practical uselessness (most interns are coffee boys and pack mules I hear), is overvalued by such folks. It's too late to change that (as I know that such would have made me worse off in practice). I know that in practice I'm good. I know my stuff and I'll work my ass off to get the job done the best I can. But no resume can convey that as it's a piece of paper and nothing more. I can claim how good my work ethic is, but no piece of paper will convey that. That's why it seems my only hope is to know somebody who can give a good word, and I have, and they still weren't interested. I'm just having the worst luck it seems.

This is also why I've come to avoid any employer who uses Taleo or the like, as I know I'm never going to get a fair fight with those. They use BS reasons for filters most of the time, and most of the common filters (no EET, must have internship/co-op experience, etc) rule me out. I'm not a number or a .pdf, I'm a living human. Please treat me as such.

I know, I'm probably ranting too much :rant: . That said, you are hearing my 100% true thoughts, minus vulgarities and the like. It's really frustrating, having been praised all through college for working hard and exceeding expectations, only to graduate and find that it's BS, not talent that apparently counts. I'm no cookie-cutter graduate, and apparently that's a problem.
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #30 on: February 16, 2016, 06:45:58 pm »
I'll disagree, as the attention span of HR folks isn't all that long, especially with a tall tower of papers. I trim things to fit a page, and anything further that is relevant goes in the cover letter. That said, the new resume eliminated some redundant information and made room for additional information.

You are posting here about your troubles finding work. So I will suggest that disagreeing with advice offered to you might not be the wisest course of action.

As to who reads and acts on resumes, it is not HR. HR folks will pass on resumes to hiring managers who have an open position they wish to fill. The hiring manager will ask, "Is this a person I might want on my team?" Your resume is your chance to advertise yourself to that manager and convince them to call you for interview. If your resume is too brief, you will fail to communicate what you have to offer.

Yes.

The only quibble is that in many organisations HR-droids filter the CVs before managers see them. If not filtered, managers are inundated with rubbish. If filtered, then potentially good candidates are discarded. Good communication needs to be established and reestablished.

To the OP: the purpose of the first page is to avoid the CV being filtered out before the second and third and fourth pages have been read by those competent to make a decision.
The purpose of the second/third/fourth pages is to tantalise the competent authority into giving you an interview.
Tell them enough that they want to find out more.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
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Online tggzzz

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #31 on: February 16, 2016, 06:54:16 pm »
Yes, I do have a life outside of here, and outside of the internet for that matter!

What soft-skills and achievements would be relevant to employment. HR-droids love demonstrable teamwork, since it gets around the motherhood-and-apple-pie "works well in a team and on their own" pablum.

Quote
If I get advice that makes sense and more or less follows the trend of what I've heard before, has a rational basis, and is feasible on my end, then I'll be more willing to adopt it. However, any of those aren't the case, I tend to question the advice more. In this case, from high school through SEVERAL college classes, limiting resumes to a page was the most constant thing I heard.
... and for whatever reason it hasn't worked, so try something different.

Useful trick for avoiding verbosity. For every thing you write, ask "So what? So why does that make me attractive". If there's no clear answer, then consider cutting it.

That also cuts through a lot of vacant salestalk and marketing festures (sic), especially unquantified adjectives.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline IanB

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #32 on: February 16, 2016, 06:55:47 pm »
I know about hiring managers and all that... I tend to lump them in my term "HR folks",  to distinguish them from people who actually work in the department and know the subject matter, such as project managers.

No, the hiring manager is the person who runs the department and who (with his colleagues) knows the subject matter, and who will actually decide to hire you.

I can assure you that when I read a resume I read all three or four pages and all the way through I am asking myself, "is this person a good fit for the position we need to fill?"
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Online tggzzz

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #33 on: February 16, 2016, 07:43:01 pm »
I know about hiring managers and all that... I tend to lump them in my term "HR folks",  to distinguish them from people who actually work in the department and know the subject matter, such as project managers.

No, the hiring manager is the person who runs the department and who (with his colleagues) knows the subject matter, and who will actually decide to hire you.

I can assure you that when I read a resume I read all three or four pages and all the way through I am asking myself, "is this person a good fit for the position we need to fill?"

Just so. One page CVs are uninformative and boring, don't distinguish one candidate from another, and give me no idea of whether a person is interesting. Give enough information for the manager to think he might enjoy chatting with you.

Summary: HR-droids can say "no" (explicitly or by filtering), whereas managers can say "yes" or "no".
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline ratdude747

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #34 on: February 16, 2016, 08:12:01 pm »
All I am going to say is that when trying something new, there are some things worth trying, and some things that are not worth trying. Fluffing my resume with filler isn't something that seems to be a good move. Did either of you read my attached version a few posts ago? That version is a collaborative effort with a former professor; I didn't just randomly redo things. I feel that every point worth generally mentioning is in there; what didn't make the cut is too specific to be listed in the resume (and would be in my cover letter/application email instead). Resumes are bullet points; there is a reason why cover letters exist as a separate, yet related thing.

My point about hiring managers (once again, nothing personal) is that often it seems they value things that are not in my favor, mainly internship experience as it is often assumed that college is a bunch of non-practical bookwork; while that's not true in my case, unless they're familiar with my college's program (and most of the ones that did select me for interview had employees with my degree), I'm assumed to not be qualified due to a lack of real-world knowhow. I'm not going to comment on the merits of such, but knowing that, I have to wonder if my goose is cooked. Nobody wants me, I'm too unique to be employable it seems.

Having re-read the thread, I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding. Everybody has said to explain this and that, and I do, but not in the resume. As mentioned before, I mention that in application emails and/or cover letters.

(I will also note that today is not going well for other reasons, so if I you think I sound depressed, you're probably right).
« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 08:18:16 pm by ratdude747 »
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #35 on: February 17, 2016, 03:09:12 pm »
I know about hiring managers and all that... I tend to lump them in my term "HR folks",  to distinguish them from people who actually work in the department and know the subject matter, such as project managers.

No, the hiring manager is the person who runs the department and who (with his colleagues) knows the subject matter, and who will actually decide to hire you.

I can assure you that when I read a resume I read all three or four pages and all the way through I am asking myself, "is this person a good fit for the position we need to fill?"

Same here.  The HR department just received applications, collated them and forwarded them to my department.  They didn't cull anything.

But we sure did.
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #36 on: February 17, 2016, 07:34:18 pm »
The HR department just received applications, collated them and forwarded them to my department.  They didn't cull anything.

But we sure did.

And that's the way it should be. But I've seen places where HR had to be, um, re-educated.

Nonetheless, there are some good reasons why HR should be able to reject candidates.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline ratdude747

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #37 on: February 18, 2016, 12:33:17 am »
The HR department just received applications, collated them and forwarded them to my department.  They didn't cull anything.

But we sure did.

And that's the way it should be. But I've seen places where HR had to be, um, re-educated.

Nonetheless, there are some good reasons why HR should be able to reject candidates.

Yeah. My beef was that a lot of places (the bigger companies especially) filter candidates for easy to implement yet stupid reasons that work against me.

Some genera thoughts that come to mind after re-reading the thread (yet again):

As a married graduate it honestly feels juvenile for me to play coffee boy as an intern just to make some robo-filter a little bit happy. I'm sure such positions exist, but I do not feel it is worth the opportunity cost.

I'm sure I've pissed a few people (to include Dave himself?) and potential employers off by starting and posting in this thread, and fine, be pissed off. If you are one to judge all of me based on some forum post, I probably wouldn't be the goody-goody ass kissing two-shoes that you want. I have knowledge and skill, and I respect my superiors, but I'm not a chess pawn.

If you expect resumes to be essays, well, if you look at pretty much every writing guide out there, the one-page-rule is in most of them. Sure, everybody's tastes are different but unless I have a damned-good reason to make a radical change, I tend to be conservative and aim to please the majority of people considering me for employment. Also, I took technical writing class twice. Both professors (and the textbook) agree that two of the biggest objectives of technical writing are brevity and clarity; my resume is intended to follow both, which means no fluff or filler. It says what needs said, in a clear and concise matter.
 

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #38 on: February 18, 2016, 10:14:15 am »
As a married graduate it honestly feels juvenile for me to play coffee boy as an intern just to make some robo-filter a little bit happy. I'm sure such positions exist, but I do not feel it is worth the opportunity cost.

That's your choice either way. Decide whether the advantages are worth tthe disadvantages, and plan accordingly.

Quote
I'm sure I've pissed a few people (to include Dave himself?) and potential employers off by starting and posting in this thread, and fine, be pissed off. If you are one to judge all of me based on some forum post, I probably wouldn't be the goody-goody ass kissing two-shoes that you want. I have knowledge and skill, and I respect my superiors, but I'm not a chess pawn.

Not everywhere is like the Dilbert cartoons - but many are. Deal with it.

Quote
If you expect resumes to be essays, well, if you look at pretty much every writing guide out there, the one-page-rule is in most of them. Sure, everybody's tastes are different but unless I have a damned-good reason to make a radical change, I tend to be conservative and aim to please the majority of people considering me for employment. Also, I took technical writing class twice. Both professors (and the textbook) agree that two of the biggest objectives of technical writing are brevity and clarity; my resume is intended to follow both, which means no fluff or filler. It says what needs said, in a clear and concise matter.

Nobody needs an essay; bullet points are sufficient.

You should be as brief as possible but no briefer. If you don't give sufficient information to distinguish yourself from the other candidates, then you won't stand out from the crowd. If you don't stand out then you are more likely to be treated as a fungible resource. Your choice.

Writing guides say you shouldn't split infinitives and you shouldn't end sentences with a preposition. And don't get me started on the idiocy of MSWord's grammar checker.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline ratdude747

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #39 on: February 18, 2016, 04:34:57 pm »
Nobody needs an essay; bullet points are sufficient.

You should be as brief as possible but no briefer. If you don't give sufficient information to distinguish yourself from the other candidates, then you won't stand out from the crowd. If you don't stand out then you are more likely to be treated as a fungible resource. Your choice.

Writing guides say you shouldn't split infinitives and you shouldn't end sentences with a preposition. And don't get me started on the idiocy of MSWord's grammar checker.

Was that in general or specific to my resume?
 

Offline IanB

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #40 on: February 18, 2016, 05:36:46 pm »
Hi Lawrence, I downloaded your resume and had a look at it. I would have say that it seems quite anonymous, it could be the resume of anyone who has been through a similar education. It doesn't say anything much about you as a person, about your passions, your objectives, what you want from a job or a career.

As it stands, I think your resume doesn't stand out and it is easily going to get put in the discard pile. Engineers are not hired as fungible resources out of the crowd, they are hired as uniquely special and capable people who fit a particular job requirement (should be, in my experience, YMMV).

All the bullet items there are good, but they are the supporting information, the place I will look to find back up for your personal statements. I would extend your resume to two pages, and at the top I would put a personal statement about you (who you are, what drives you, what your particular skills and abilities are), followed by a career objectives statement (given who you are, what kind of job you are looking for and where you want to go with it). In short, it should begin with your "elevator pitch" to get someone's attention.

Follow this with your listed bullet items. Also, don't just list items as dry facts. Try to bring out of some of them what you yourself did there and what benefits and results you achieved. Like for example, "I was nominated as team lead, and by coordinating the efforts of my team members I helped us achieve the top prize".

You may think some of this is cheesy, but it really is not. Your resume is your personal sales pitch, and you really need to sell yourself. Don't go overboard, but don't be too dry. Dry means boring means reject.

One of the worst mistakes when starting out in a career is to think that everything in the business world has to be really stiff and formal. It's not true. Everyone is human, and a little humanity, and a lot of the soft social skills, go a long way.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2016, 07:19:54 pm by IanB »
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Online tggzzz

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #41 on: February 18, 2016, 07:07:57 pm »
Nobody needs an essay; bullet points are sufficient.

You should be as brief as possible but no briefer. If you don't give sufficient information to distinguish yourself from the other candidates, then you won't stand out from the crowd. If you don't stand out then you are more likely to be treated as a fungible resource. Your choice.

Writing guides say you shouldn't split infinitives and you shouldn't end sentences with a preposition. And don't get me started on the idiocy of MSWord's grammar checker.

Was that in general or specific to my resume?

Yes to both.

Other people have made similar points (e.g. IanB). It is your choice whether you listen to HR-droids and arts graduates or to engineers and managers with experience of interviewing and hiring.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #42 on: February 19, 2016, 04:22:01 am »
Here's a question to help you work out a few things - but for it to be of any benefit, you have to really be honest about the role....

Assume you are the manager who is doing the hiring.  Would you hire YOU?

 

Online tggzzz

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #43 on: February 19, 2016, 09:11:48 am »
Here's a question to help you work out a few things - but for it to be of any benefit, you have to really be honest about the role....

Assume you are the manager who is doing the hiring.  Would you hire YOU?

That's a difficult question for anybody to answer accurately, and it might be even more difficult for the OP who has mentioned having Aspbergers. Quite apart from the issue of "accurate" self-evaluation, there is the unavoidable problem of a manager's opinions, which can be justifiable or unjustifyable, relevant or irrelevant. Besides, when looking for jobs I've always regarded it as an opportunity to find out what the manager is like, and for me to reject a job because I don't trust the manager!

Hence I don't think that is a profitable question.

OTOH, it is reasonable and beneficial to try to understand how someone might read and judge the words on paper.

Whether you and an arbitrary manager "get on well together" at an interview is out of your control and therefore not worth worrying about in advance. But words on paper are within your control and should be optimised, whatever that means.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #44 on: February 19, 2016, 01:47:52 pm »
The idea is to offer a different perspective in assessing the value of one's approach.  It would allow a person to apply some critical thinking that will, hopefully, help identify good and bad points.

Expecting someone to attain full and complete objectivity in such an exercise is beyond the abilities of we mere mortals, but this does not invalidate the concept.

However, this comment covers my main point...
OTOH, it is reasonable and beneficial to try to understand how someone might read and judge the words on paper.
 

Offline ratdude747

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #45 on: March 26, 2016, 04:54:34 am »
Good news!

I received (and will accept) a job offer with Arvin Sango in Madison, IN, USA. They make exhaust components (manifolds, cats, mufflers, and complete assemblies) and metal stampings for Toyota, Nissan, and others. I won't post details of the offer in this public forum (confidential!) but I will say that it was a very nice offer that based on what I've seen and heard from fellow engineers and the like. The position involves engineering of their production lines (PLCs and the like, some mechanical stuff too).

I honestly didn't think my interviews went all the well but apparently that wasn't the case. What a relief.

I've attached the final form of my resume that got me the job. It's more or less the same as before, only with hyperlinks. As for the comments on character details, the last line (other skills) sealed the deal with them I think, as my background as a DIY mechanic (among other things) resonated and was a conversation point. To be fair, I did meet them at a job fair, so it wasn't a blind reading of my resume. Not that it matters as that's a moot point.

Yay for me?
 

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Re: EET grad looking for work in North America
« Reply #46 on: March 26, 2016, 07:51:11 am »
I received (and will accept) a job offer with Arvin Sango in Madison, IN, USA.

Congratulations and good luck.
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