Thursday, April 21, 2016

A smart comment I wish I had thought of, re: resumes

A piece of advice I heard recently about resumes:
"No one [cares] if you know how to use Microsoft Office."
(There's this terrible "skills section" aspects of resumes for laboratory positions, where you're supposed to list "your skills." And I think that it is useful, but the problem is that people start listing every single lab technique they've ever used, stood next to, looked at or walked around. That's a problem, and I wish I knew what to do about it.) 

12 comments:

  1. The HR screener whose job it is to match those skills to the ones listed in the job description might care. That's part of the problem if you ask me, to get to the person who actually knows what they are looking for, every resume has to get past someone with no clue about scientific research. Unless you happen to know someone at the company you're applying to that will put your resume directly into the hands of the hiring manager (which is highly recommended!).

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    1. I agree with Phil, especially since the HR screener may actually be a computer program that sums up "points" to rank candidates therefore would never make it out of bulk pile. The key to skills section IMO is keep the "core ones" standard plus to look at the job description and if necessary to tailor skills lists to best align with what that states.

      Of course per listing MS Office my problem is since having learned the various Microsoft programs individually so long ago (v1 mostly) all the darn "enhancements" over the years I am not sure I can honestly claim legitimate expertise any longer.

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    2. That must be the reason why this still exists; it's annoying for humans, for sure.

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    3. The particular human who made this statement was a hiring manager, too.

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    4. If you tell people how good you are with MS Office during the interview, you have a problem. But if you've used used JMP (or Matlab, or Tableau) to do statistical modeling on some dataset, that would be worth mentioning for a process chemistry or business position. If that's not a plus to whoever is hiring you (for either position), you should look elsewhere.

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  2. Equally annoying are "career objectives", "mission statements", and listing ones hobbies or high school.

    Do these 'HR scanners' really exist? Maybe I've just never worked for a big company, but it seems lime apocryphal advice provided by some HR drone consultant trying to sound like a useful member of society.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Brassring, Taleo, Jobvite are the top three. See them all the time when applying online- usually in the address bar with a long number string e-mail address for the online form to be sent to, never to be heard from again.

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  3. I list MS Office and Excel, then VBA below that. A little redundant, but gets the point across that I can macro (that, plus accompanying examples under job history). Usually I just leave the MS Office bullet point there because so many job listings explicitly list MS Office as a requirement. It's like job posting that ask for excellent communication skills and attention to detail. (Not that you'd list those in your skill section.)

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  4. No one may care if you can use MS office, but you can bet it's listed as a prerequisite skill in the position description.
    To not list it as a skill risks your application being rejected by the HR drone/computer who screens the applications.

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  5. There are no doubt plenty of people who claim to be able to use Office....but how many of those even know a) what a right aligned tab stop is and b) how you create one?

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  7. I kept sending out dry resumes with only the highest and most technical of my skills. The job I did end up actually getting, was the one where I was counseled to list every silly thing I knew how to do such as rotovap, distillation, clean glassware (really?!) etc. I ended up getting the job! That said, the hiring folks were not chemists.

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