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Job Skills A good career objective

  1. Oct 22, 2016 #1
    Good morning all,

    I really need to find something else so I'm trying to get back into electronics with only 2 problems.1) All of my work history is pre 2000s and 2) the school I even attended and got my associates closed up for good in 2015. I have no problem starting at the bottom again, as this is not a long term plan but a way to sustain myself while I go back to school.

    So I've been trying to figure out how to create a resume to send out. Many have suggested using a functional resume. That way I can focus on listing my skills. They also suggested that this is one of the rare situations where a career objective would benefit. The only thing is, What do I put down?

    They say first impressions are everything and a career objective is usually about what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. Overall, I need a place that I can get my foot in the door and start rebuilding relative experience that can be transferred to mechanical engineering when I graduate from college. But with my experience being from so long ago, what I can I pout down that would make me sound like a benefit to them?

    I've never been good at selling myself. So any advice or help would be welcomed.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 24, 2016 #2
    No one has a suggestion?
  4. Oct 24, 2016 #3
    Job markets are local. It is better to get advice from someone who is both familiar with your local market as well as your specific strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Oct 24, 2016 #4
    From your writing, I presume you're in the US. But before I consider a reply, could you please confirm? What to put in a resume varies a lot from country to country.
  6. Oct 24, 2016 #5


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    Education Advisor

    His profile indicates that the OP is from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
  7. Oct 24, 2016 #6
    Personally I've never included an objective statement in my resume because it's a waste of space and that info should be addressed in your cover letter anyway, not to mention your objective is to get the damn job. Your resume should be in functional format and contain sections like "summary", "experience", "education" and "accomplishments". It shouldn't be longer than 1.5-2.5 pages unless you're a tenured professor or PhD postdoc. Also pe prepared to address any large gaps in education or employment, if you can appropriately work them into the cover letter or summary do so.

    Almost none of the recruiters or "talent acquisition" employees reading your resume will have similar field experience so they're trained to look for key words and sentences, most notably the same words or phrases used in the job posting. Due to the volume of applicants per position, most corporations actually run resumes through a software program that looks for specific key words and kicks out matching ones for a person to review, which is why wording is very important in both cover letter and resume. Don't use acronyms such as "ICP-MS", spell out "Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry" at least once or twice. HR won't take the extra time to identify an acronym and many acronyms vary from company to company, RC is reactor coolant at a plant I used to work in and its NC where I work now and RC is recirc condenser. Once you've drafted a resume it shouldn't change much from one submission to the next but the cover letter should always be customized for each position, and always list the position you're applying for exactly as it is in the posting. If you apply to "Mechanical Engineer I-287521" you want to say "...formally submit my application/resume for the position of Mechanical Engineer I-287521" in the opening paragraph of the cover letter and on your resume itself if you have a summary section. I've applied to dozens of jobs and my cover letter and resume format got me a lot of face to face interviews, even when I didn't get an offer at least I got an interview.
  8. Oct 24, 2016 #7
    Thanks to everyone for replying.

    Dr. Courtney: I understand what you mean, However I have very few people to ask. Which is one of the reasons I'm here.

    CrysPhys: Yes, I am located in the U.S.

    Those are great suggestions. Thank you. Have you ever just made up a resume to send to a company that isn't advertising? I ask because someone recommend I put a resume in with a company even though they aren't looking for a electronic tech per say at this time. But it still couldn't hurt. Would you make any changes? How would you gear your cover letter for that?
  9. Oct 24, 2016 #8
    Not sure what you mean by "just made up a resume" but any resume you send out should be your official resume. The same one you would submit to any job opening you apply for because they will want another one for an official opening and any discrepancies look suspicious and they will probably remove you from consideration. If you submit your resume formally or informally make sure it's complete and accurate. The cover letter would just omit "applying for x position-job id#" and substitute "seeking employment in the field(s) of x" but make sure it's a field they have at the location you're applying to, won't help if you're qualified or looking to work in electrical engineering and the location you give it to only employs mechanical engineers.

    There's certainly nothing wrong with just emailing it to a contact you've been given by a friend but remember you'll still have to go through the same interview process as other applicants when a position does open up, which most likely means you'll have to officially apply and go through the vetting process at that time. With such a saturated job market companies won't come looking for you, you have to convince them you're the one. If/when you do contact the hiring or department manager or other employees don't expect much in the way of a response other than "thank you", you're a potential HR and legal liability so supervisors will, and should, go through the proper channels when communicating with you, which will probably be an HR rep until you interview and receive a formal offer.
  10. Oct 24, 2016 #9
    Thank you again, What I meant by "Made up a resume" is that I'm still working on it. These are skills I've never been good at. (As I've said before in my original post, I've never been good at selling myself"
  11. Oct 25, 2016 #10
    I’ve been on both sides of the table. At one time I was a senior scientist and engineer in a major industrial R&D lab. In that position, I reviewed resumes and interviewed applicants. I’ve also been through multiple career shifts. During those transitions, I’ve worked with career counsellors, HR personnel, and recruiters. For a while, I also attended weekly career development seminars.

    (a) The person reviewing your resume will typically decide within ~30 sec whether to hold it for further consideration or to trash it.

    (b) The unanimous agreement among the career development professionals I worked with was to *avoid* functional resumes. Stick to resumes in reverse chronological order. A functional resume is a red flag that something is amiss with your work record, something that will require time and effort to sort out ... so, in the trash.

    (c) The place to highlight your overall skills and experiences is in a summary section at the beginning of the resume, before the detailed reverse chronological order listing. Also, in a tailored cover letter.

    (d) A “Career Objective” statement serves no purpose in a resume. Employers are interested in candidates who can satisfy the employers’ needs, plain and simple.

    (1) If you write your true career objective, it would be along the lines of: “I plan to go to college and earn a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. In the meantime, I need to support myself. Ideally, I would like a job related to mechanical engineering. Since I don’t have any experience in that field, however, I don’t have much to offer employers there. But, since I do have experience in electronic technology, I’m hoping that I can find a job there to hold me over until I’m trained as a mechanical engineer and get a job that I really want.”

    So, what do you think would be the reaction of someone looking to hire an electronics technician?

    (2) Similarly, if you write (as many unfortunately do) something along the lines of: “I want a challenging position in which I can apply my skills and experience to help your company succeed,” it just comes across as a lot of BS.

    (e) Transparency is critical. If there are gaps or unusual circumstances in your resume, address them in your cover letter, where appropriate. Otherwise, be prepared to discuss them during an interview. It’s better for a prospective employer to know about them upfront than to be blindsided later on. Also, if a prospective employer knows your minuses (as well as pluses) and does hire you, you’re more likely to have a supportive employer, which is what you want. And what you consider to be minuses may not turn out to be such. I once hired a research assistant who got mediocre grades from a middling university; I chose her over A students from Ivy’s. But she had worked her way through school instead of partying on her parents' $$$ and had grown up on a farm and could service machinery. She had a lot of practical skills and a work ethic that I wanted. I figured I could teach her the techy stuff. Turned out to be one of the best research assistants I ever hired.
  12. Oct 25, 2016 #11

    Thank you for your response. A lot of good info to think about. When you say a resume in reverse chronological order, I take it you mean a combination resume?
  13. Oct 25, 2016 #12
    A combination resume refers to a hybrid of a reverse chronological order resume and a functional resume. There are several varieties. Some people consider the format I recommended (a summary at the beginning followed by a reverse chronological order listing) to be one version of a combination resume, but there are other variations. The reverse chronological order listing follows the form

    Professional Experience

    Company Z, Mar 2009 - Present
    (Position, roles, responsibilities, accomplishments)

    Company Y, Jan 2002 - Feb 2009
    (Position, roles, responsibilities, accomplishments)

    Company X, Jun 1995 - Dec 2001
    (Position, roles, responsibilities, accomplishments)



    Degree Z, School Z, Year Received

    Degree Y, School Y, Year Received


    So, the complete resume would follow:

    Name and contact info
    Reverse chronological order listing.

    The content of the Summary and (Position, roles, responsibilities, accomplishments) fields will vary with field, level of experience, and position posted.

    Do a search for services available in your area. I previously referred to a weekly career development seminar I once attended. It was held at a local Y for free. The speakers were all volunteers, including career counsellors, HR personnel, and managers. In your situation, I think you need personal assistance to custom tailor a resume and cover letters.
  14. Oct 26, 2016 #13
    I've also spent time on both sides of the resume, with three careers between four jobs since graduating.

    I absolutely second everything CrysPhys said.

    I would add that clean and concise are important properties of resumes. There's rarely (in non-academic settings) a reason for a two or more page resume - it'll either be trash or hold long before they get there. And frankly, multi-page entry (or even near-entry) level resumes are ghastly to read through.
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