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gbaughma (IS/IT--Management) (OP)
27 Mar 08 9:51
I don't get it.

OK, so I don't have a BS in computer science.  But I have 20+ years of computer experience; hardware, software development, networking, systems administration... and management experience.

I just dropped my resume out to a company, and got a "dear applicant" letter back.  They had filled the position.

I *should* have been a shoe-in for the job.

Same thing with a hospital position that I applied for.  Almost half of my career has been in the medical field (the other half in business).  Didn't even get a call.

Now, considering that there are not a whole lot of IT people in this area, I can't believe that these places were so over-run with applicants (*especially* with my level of work experience) that I don't even merit a phone interview.

When I got my current job, I was flat told "You were by far the most qualified person who applied".  So, the reality of it is, if I can *get* an interview, I blow their socks off.  But I can't get to first base.

My cover letter (when I can send one... a lot of these applications are online now, and don't give the opportunity for a cover letter) talks about customer focus (both internal and external customers), and a desire to dedicate myself to a company that appreciates hard work and loyalty (ok, that's part of the reason that I'm looking... the company I'm working for now seems to have the opinion that everyone is replacable, and they're doing all of us a favor by "letting" us work here....)

Anyway... I don't get it.  How can I get in at least for an interview?  I just feel like my resume is being circular-filed before they even look at my experience.

Just my 2¢
-Cole's Law:  Shredded cabbage


Helpful Member!  CajunCenturion (Programmer)
27 Mar 08 10:09
Maybe Greg, because of your experience, the company doesn't think they can afford you?

Good Luck
To get the most from your Tek-Tips experience, please read
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rjoubert (Programmer)
27 Mar 08 10:17
I think it just depends on the company and/or the individual doing the hiring.  When our small development team was looking for another developer, we were given the freedom to select whoever we wanted to interview and hire.  I remember the selection coming down to two people.  One had a 4 year degree and great experience.  The other never attended college and had similar experience to the first candidate.  We hired the one without any college under his belt because we felt he "fit in" better with the rest of the team.  We never regretted that decision for a second.
JCreamerII (MIS)
27 Mar 08 10:45

I'm betting that they got someone for less money, you didn't mention the type of business the last one was, so no way to match your experience to the job.   Also possibly someone got hired because of who they were, or know?   In my town the town administrator's daughter got the IT supervisors job at the town hall, they said she had some "dbase exerpience" & knew EXCEL, as reported in the local paper, she wouldn't have got an intern's job at the company I work for.  Hospitals are notorious for keeping costs down so that one was understandable, but you never know what people are thinking.

Jim C.
Helpful Member!  gbaughma (IS/IT--Management) (OP)
27 Mar 08 10:48
Well, I do know that quite often, companies are required to post jobs externally, but it's just a formality.

They already have someone picked for the job LONG before they post it, but they have to go through the motions.... really bugs me.

Just my 2¢
-Cole's Law:  Shredded cabbage


acewarlock (TechnicalUser)
27 Mar 08 11:20
I don't think it makes a lot of difference if you do or don't have a degree. The best jobs I have had in my life, have been jobs I didn't think I would get because they wanted a BS in Computer science or what ever and I only had a Trade school Diploma and 27 years of experence. there where also jobs I though I should have gotten, but didn't because I was to experenced and they though I would want to much money.

Just look at it this way, It's just a CRAP Shoot.

This is a Signature and not part of the answer, it appears on every reply.

This is an Analogy so don't take it personally as some have.

Why change the engine if all you need is to change the spark plugs.


DonQuichote (Programmer)
27 Mar 08 11:51


My cover letter (when I can send one... a lot of these applications are online now, and don't give the opportunity for a cover letter) ...

The very first paragraph of my resume gives an overview of what I want and what I can offer. After that paragraph, the rest is just details. Important details, but the start should give the reader a good short introduction with the real me.

+++ Despite being wrong in every important aspect, that is a very good analogy +++
   Hex (in Darwin's Watch)

gbaughma (IS/IT--Management) (OP)
27 Mar 08 12:18

Yeah... my resume has an "Objective" right at the top... first paragraph.

It reads:


To obtain a challenging career as a technician, troubleshooter, trainer, or system administrator with a company that recognizes and rewards excellent performance delivered by its employees.

Just my 2¢
-Cole's Law:  Shredded cabbage


Bandenjamin (Programmer)
27 Mar 08 12:28

I've had a lot of success in tailoring my objective to match up with what the posting is looking for. Also if you have an objective that is vauge (technician, troubleshooter, trainer or system admin) it can frighten a few people off.

Also I'm sure the above comments were all very accurate, many companies are scared off by too much experience.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Mark Twain

Hap007 (MIS)
27 Mar 08 12:42
Hi Greg,

I am in the same boat, 27 years, some college, all current skills are now self taught.

In all those years, every interview I ever attended, I was offered the job, except one interview where I had a bad cold.

Back in those days, you mailed your resume, or faxed it or had a recruiter make the first contact.

Now a days, a job is posted on a web site,
Then, 5 or more job boards place the same job on their web,
then 25 recruiters listed the same job.

By the time it is done, one job maybe listed dozens of times and then who knows how good the 'date posted' is.

So, now you and 100 others email a resume to some HR person, who proofs maybe the first 10 or 20 or 30 emails and forwards 5 or so to the hiring manager.

Bottom line, if you apply to 100 jobs, I would bet your actual resume only would reach a manager 1 in every 100 jobs you apply for.

I guess that is progress.

I would love to hear from an HR person or a hiring manager using todays tools to determine if what I am assuming is true.

My advice, track down the job to the actual company doing the hiring. Then apply on line on their web site. Finally, give the company a call and see if you can actually speak to HR or IT or whatever department is hiring.

Good Luck,

Access Developer  pc
   Access based Accounting Solutions - with free source code
Access Consultants forum

sha76 (Programmer)
28 Mar 08 6:13
Greg, with all your experience, is there any chance that your applications could be making you seem a bit arrogant, a bit of a know-it-all?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not accusing you of being either, you certainly don't come across that way in the slightest from your postings here, quite the opposite, but just thought it might be an angle worth considering.
I'd also second Hap007's suggestion of calling up, but do it before you submit your application, make sure you give your name & mention a couple of things on your cv that they'll remember & have a good chat about what the job involves, etc, then (assuming of course that you made a good impression!) they'll be looking out for your cv.  I have selected people for interview more on the strength of their informal enquiry than their formal application!

"Your rock is eroding wrong." -Dogbert

gbaughma (IS/IT--Management) (OP)
28 Mar 08 9:16

I've always strived to find the balance between self-confidence and arrogance.  I think (I hope) I have it pretty well figured out.

The reality of it is, when I say that I can build a computer from scratch and have the OS installing in under a half hour, or that I've written almost a quarter-million lines of code at my current job, or that I'm an A+ instructor, I'm not trying to be arrogant; I'm being factual.

I don't know... it's all very frustrating.  I just applied for a job as a trainer with a big 3-letter company... I hope I get a call back.  It's 75% travel, but it's $85k... I could live with that.

Just my 2¢
-Cole's Law:  Shredded cabbage


AlexCuse (Programmer)
28 Mar 08 9:18
I have a friend who works in a technology-specific HR role for a large financial institution in Southeast PA.  The main advice she gave me with regards to my resume was to use as many acronyms and buzzwords as possible (no matter how much I hate to do it) because those are what catch HR people's eyes.

If someone specializing in filling tech positions does this, I imagine it is far worse at smaller companies that only have one or two HR people.  I guess you need a careful balance here.  Use enough buzzwords to get it through the HR people, but not so many that the manager immediately knows your full of "stuff".

Good Luck!

----signature below----
Majority rule don't work in mental institutions

My Crummy Web Page

chrissie1 (Programmer)
28 Mar 08 9:58
Poeple always think I'm arrogant while I'm just being honest about myself. I can't help it the rest of the world is less smart than me.

Christiaan Baes

My Blog

LNBruno (Programmer)
28 Mar 08 10:23
I may not be a smart man, but I know "Poeple" looks funny.

< M!ke >
First Rule of Holes: When you're in one, stop digging.

Dollie (MIS)
28 Mar 08 11:01
If you are posting your resume online, LOAD it with keywords that people are looking for.  The more times the keywords appear in your resume, the higher in the search it will appear.  Today's technologies are good and bad for applicants.  For those of us who grew up using cover letters and mailed in resumes, sites like Monster are intimidating and less personal. I would recommend that you also peruse articles on job seeking on the internet, there may be that one tip out there that you missed that will land you the next job.
Helpful Member!  aarenot (Vendor)
29 Mar 08 0:12
Research, and find three companies in the world you would like to work for.

Find a way to meet someone who works there in IT, or HR.   Use that contact to get the inside track.   Go to the bar closest to the office if that is what you have to do.   Find a networking opportunity with someone in the org., and then start talking shop/geek, and let them talk more than you do, then fix their problem for them if you can.   

Think about it, how many guys on here that you have helped in a bind would put in a good word for you where they work, and want you on their team?   

Posting a resume online, is for the birds.   

Ever heard of "ask the headhunter"?   google it.   Not that it makes me an expert, but my sister also is the head IT recruiter for a multinational, and she finds most great candidates by personal intro, or recomendation from within her network, or her networks, network.   She does not fill the IT dept through the ISP.

SQLSister (Programmer)
31 Mar 08 9:28
Try only listing the last ten years of experience. There isa lot of age discrimination out there.

"NOTHING is more important in a database than integrity." ESquared

gbaughma (IS/IT--Management) (OP)
31 Mar 08 12:32


Go to the bar closest to the office if that is what you have to do.

Mmm.... don't drink.  But I do see what you're saying.

Just my 2¢
-Cole's Law:  Shredded cabbage


lespaul (Programmer)
31 Mar 08 13:55


Mmm.... don't drink

first, let's clarify that you don't drink alcohol; and while I can't be certain, I've heard they DO have non-alcoholic beverages in bars...

aarenot (Vendor)
31 Mar 08 14:20
Play golf?   Find out where their IT guys do, and wait for one to be late, and they need a 4th.   I have a friend who got his job by finding out the usual golf time for a group from IT.   He went for a few weeks, and struck up convo in the bar after they got around, eventualy he was their 4th when they needed one, and then he got asked.   Hey, you know such, and such, you looking for a move, we could use a guy with that knowledge?   One interview with one of the 4, and he had the job.

spamly (MIS)
31 Mar 08 17:05
Do you create a custom cover letter and resume for every job for which you apply?  I've heard that helps. You don't have to lie, you just showcase your most relevant experience for the specific position.
SantaMufasa (TechnicalUser)
31 Mar 08 17:36

Quote (Les):

I've heard they DO have non-alcoholic beverages in bars...

I'm not as think as you drunk I am, right, Les?

(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
[I provide low-cost, remote Database Administration services:]

lespaul (Programmer)
1 Apr 08 12:36
I noticed that yesterday and decided I'd wait to see how long it took for someone to say something!


(notice I decided to not include the optional letters this time!)
SantaMufasa (TechnicalUser)
1 Apr 08 13:33
BTW, Les, completely off into the weeds here, but is your surname Paul? I have a ton of relatives/ancestors that are surnamed Paul, including Captain John Paul Jones, the naval hero from the Revolutionary War. (He adopted "Jones" to avoid prosecution for the death of a crewman earlier in his career.)

Let me know if I should break out my genealogy records.

(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
[I provide low-cost, remote Database Administration services:]

lespaul (Programmer)
1 Apr 08 14:49
no, it's my husband's first name; I use it because I like the "Les Paul"/guitar questions that I get to answer!  Plus I find that it makes posters assume I'm male and for some reason that makes my replies more "believable" or "authentic".  While it's changing, there are still men people who don't think that women know what we're doing, especially in technology.


JCreamerII (MIS)
1 Apr 08 15:35

I knew you were female, your thoughts always seen to be sensitive and cogent.  That's a rare combo these days.   Makes no difference to me, but I can see why you would think that way.  Also I always like the reference to the original LP.

Jim C.

stackdump (TechnicalUser)
13 Apr 08 11:35
I had a similar experience. I found that the cause was because I put too much onto my resume. I put all my experience, buzz words, software, O/S experience and my certifications complete with their official symbols etc.

What the interviewers (or selection person) saw was somebody that looked *really* good. The problem with that was it provoked reactions like;
(a) He will be really expensive
(b) He won't be satisfied working here
(c) His skills are over the top for what we want
(d) This guy frightens me!, look at all this stuff
(e) Why is someone like him, applying for a job here?

I dumbed my resume right down, leaving a huge amount of detail out, targeting only what was relevant and also inferring I wanted to learn more about x, y, z. Bingo!

I guess I had made my resume look like what the company wanted/expected, rather than an excuse to show off all my accomplishments/skills. I took all my certificates with me to the interviews, just in case they described some skill they needed, that I had not documented. It was also amazing how much value they placed on being able to build web pages and web sites, so having a couple of www sites they could look at was incredibly useful.
Helpful Member!  wahnula (TechnicalUser)
13 Apr 08 18:58

As someone on the other end (the hiring end) I can offer you this nugget:  Do whatever it takes to separate yourself from the pack.  Last job posting we made (for QuickBooks operator) all the resumes said the same thing:  "...looking to utilize my skills in a positive environment good team player grow with the business blah blah blah.  Your eyes glaze over after the first few.  

I received an email saying "you can really mess up QuickBooks if you don't know what you're doing"...she had a very thin resume but something about that statement grabbed me and I recommended her for an interview.  She turned out to be 57, but very meticulous in nature and developed into an excellent hire and valuable employee.  

She has streamlined our business ($3M+ design/build construction co.) and implemented new procedures, really works hard and plans to work for us as long as we'll have her.

I'm saying to find something unique, succinct and memorable to use as the first line or two in your resume.  It will mean much, much more than a laundry list of your achievements or a boilerplate "mission statement".  As someone who was responsible for weeding out resumes to present to the boss, that line still sticks with me five years after reading that's memorable, and exactly what you should be after.  Best of luck.



Users helping Users...

acewarlock (TechnicalUser)
13 Apr 08 23:48
I just applied for a job and on the Application they asked why I want to work at this company. The answer I gave was (because I want a job), I know that's not the answer they where looking for as they want a BS answer. If I need to lie to get a job at a company by answering those stupid questions, I guess I'll never get one. I like the kind of work I do and I do the best I can and I don't care who or what the company does. it seems like the lying starts with the Resume and just continues up to the top, what ever happened to integrity at work? How do they expect people to be honest any more. Enron is a prime example.

This is a Signature and not part of the answer, it appears on every reply.

This is an Analogy so don't take it personally as some have.

Why change the engine if all you need is to change the spark plugs.


bednarjm (Programmer)
17 Apr 08 15:54

Of course you want a job.  That is a given.  Why you want the job with that particular company is what they were looking for.  This is **not** a BS answer but instead goes to your motivation.  They can hire many people with the same skills as you've got (maybe even better).  Instead you need to list what sets you apart and how this can help them in doing their business.

aarenot mentioned "ask the headhunter" (

This is an excellent site that will give a different perspective on how to job hunt (or career manage).

acewarlock (TechnicalUser)
17 Apr 08 22:45
If you can be taught how to answer questions at an interview, then it's all BS, it's not honest and your just saying what they want to hear. I have read Resume's from job Applicants and I sometimes want to just puke reading the BS in the Cover Letter. I love doing what I do and telling a company that there wonderful and we can do great thing together may fool the HR person, but once your face to face with the guy your going to work for, you better know what the job is about and that you can do it.

This is a Signature and not part of the answer, it appears on every reply.

This is an Analogy so don't take it personally as some have.

Why change the engine if all you need is to change the spark plugs.


sha76 (Programmer)
18 Apr 08 5:14
acewarlock, its not about learning set answers to questions to guarantee you get the job, there are no such standard answers.  What you can learn is how to present yourself in a better light.  Just as bednarjm said, its about setting yourself apart.   

"Your rock is eroding wrong." -Dogbert

bednarjm (Programmer)
21 Apr 08 11:27


once your face to face with the guy your going to work for, you better know what the job is about and that you can do it.

I would add - how are you going to make his/her job easier.  This is what get's you the job.  It's NOT the **bs** answers that HR sometimes wants.  It's getting to the actual hiring manager and demonstrating how you can actually do the work.

gbaughma (IS/IT--Management) (OP)
21 Apr 08 12:20

Look what (wonderful) thing happened to the guy who developed the KnoppMyth distribution...


Normally, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas". But, I've been told it is ok to share this information. Last week, I was in Las Vegas.  While at the bar in the Mirage, my friend and I were talking.  He was asking how the my project was going and I was filling him in...  Unbeknownst to either of us, our conversation was being listened to by the fellow next to us.

After a few minutes, the fellow sitting next to us introduced himself as Jeff Chaucer, Senior Manager of Windows Media Center Edition.

Jeff, goes on to tell us that he overheard what we were talking about and he is interested in learning more about KnoppMyth (I may not care for Microsoft, but my parents taught me not to be rude.).  So, I tell him how I started the project, etc.  "Interesting" he says.

Jeff then goes on to tell me that Microsoft is looking to make changes to MCE and if I'd be interested in joining the team.  I tell him that I'm happy with my current employer and that if I were to be a Microsoft employee that I imagine my working on KnoppMyth would be frowned upon.  He says "No, not at all. Microsoft is looking to change it's image and there would be no issues with me continuing to work on an Open Source project.  The only sipulation is that it doesn't interfare with an employee's day to day duties."

Interesting I thought, but I declined.  Jeff insisted I think about it and to contact him in a few days.  We exchanged information and he paid our tab.

I got a call from Jeff yesterday and he has sweetened the deal.  Not only will Microsoft double my income, I can work on KnoppMyth 30% of my time. In addition, I'll have full access to their hardware labs to test KnoppMyth.

So, starting April 21st, I'll be a full time Microsoft employee.   

I'm happy for him... that's cool... no doubt...

I guess I'm just feeling slightly sorry for myself that nothing like that ever happens to me.  lol


Just my 2¢
-Cole's Law:  Shredded cabbage


Glenn9999 (Programmer)
21 Apr 08 13:26


I love doing what I do and telling a company that there wonderful and we can do great thing together may fool the HR person, but once your face to face with the guy your going to work for, you better know what the job is about and that you can do it.

Assuming you get to be face to face with the guy you would work for - in 99% of the cases I've encountered, HR is the sole decision maker on the hiring decision.
fredericofonseca (IS/IT--Management)
21 Apr 08 13:38
Gleen is right.

I am a contractor, and have been told by a friend that works on the HR department of a big bank, that I would never be hired by them based on the HR "rules". Main reason given was that I was too prone to introduce "changes" to the existing processes, and that was not seen with good eyes.

Another company (international consulting one) I applied for, when contracting was way dead, told me I wasn't "client facing". This was the HR also. Both the senior partner that interviewed me, and the technical argued about it, but HR had last word.


Frederico Fonseca
SysSoft Integrated Ltd

FAQ219-2884: How Do I Get Great Answers To my Tek-Tips Questions?
FAQ181-2886: How can I maximize my chances of getting an answer?

Glenn9999 (Programmer)
21 Apr 08 13:49


Main reason given was that I was too prone to introduce "changes" to the existing processes, and that was not seen with good eyes.

Indeed.  Much of the hiring decision involves perpetuating the status quo - creating dead men walking, in other words.  They don't seek "new blood", "change", "new ideas", or however you want to put it - it shows up the bosses (welcome to Dilbert hell).  It's basically saying "the process you put in isn't good enough".  It's a good as a gauntlet to the face.  The boss isn't going to hire someone that will present a threat to him or anything he has done.

I know I've seen that myself - I'm a whole lot more interested in design process than I am coding, and have encountered similar "problems" in my travels.  I've found, truthfully, that coding skills, or even design skills are completely irrelevant.  What is relevant is towing the line and doing just good enough that the boss is not shown up by your incompetence (as opposed to theirs).  What acewarlock wrote is true to that point: "you better know what the job is about and that you can do it." - the job is managing the pointy-haired bosses and putting up with their BS, fighting political battles, and tolerating all the nonsense.

Truthfully, especially what I've heard about Microsoft and their management processes dragging them into oblivion, KnoppMyth guy would be happier if he didn't take the job.
acewarlock (TechnicalUser)
21 Apr 08 20:43
I'm going to continue to tell them I want a job even if I don't get, because I wouldn't want to work for a company that is run by HR again. The last company I worked for HR ran the company into the ground and it was sold. My Resume tell my story and if that doesn't get me the job, then so be it. My integerity it worth more to me than that.

This is a Signature and not part of the answer, it appears on every reply.

This is an Analogy so don't take it personally as some have.

Why change the engine if all you need is to change the spark plugs.


gbaughma (IS/IT--Management) (OP)
22 Apr 08 9:25
It's kind of funny... because many of the interviews that I've been on in the past have been the boss saying "Boy, we got problems... what would you do to improve [whatever]"

I like to think of myself as an "Idea person".

Yes, sometimes that gets me called the "Loose cannon" or the "wildcard", but it also means that I get things done.  I look at the entire process, not just the technical aspect of it, and come up with a solution (sometimes not a technology solution, either).


Just my 2¢
-Cole's Law:  Shredded cabbage


wbodger (Programmer)
22 Apr 08 17:45
yup, it's all about selling yourself these days. Resumes have gone thru a metamorphosis of sorts. The intro should sell you, why you are the best person for this job, brag about yourself, but don't overdo it and make sure that you specifically address at least 2-3 key points that the employer noted in their job posting.
acewarlock (TechnicalUser)
23 Apr 08 13:20
I looked at one job posting today and it said min 2 years, but all the other req would take about 5 years  going to school to get the Certs they want. so from what I see they just list every possible thing you could be asked to do in this job and I have never meet anyone with even 1/2 of this traing or Exp.

This is a Signature and not part of the answer, it appears on every reply.

This is an Analogy so don't take it personally as some have.

Why change the engine if all you need is to change the spark plugs.


EdwardMartinIII (TechnicalUser)
13 May 08 12:01
I have to agree with what wahnula wrote above.  Stand out.

The downside or cynical side to standing out is that if yuo're a little strange or different or spikey, then some companies don't want you.

But you know something?  It's okay, because you don't want them, either.

You solve each problem a little differently.  

If it's "just" a recruiter, you still snap to and be friendly and accessible and memorable.  these folks have jobs going through all the time.  If you know a recruiter, then get to know them BETTER.  If yuo run across a lead, send it to your recruiter and ask if they know about it.

The mechanical piece there is that you become known as a person who calls in with oportunities, instead of a person who calls in with needs.

If it's an HR person, make sure there's no reason to exclude you from consideration.  If they ask if you have experience with Flash, all you need to say is "I have experience with Flash."  Chances are, they don't NEED to read a whole paragraph about your killer Flash application (especially considering one link will do, yes?).

If you're talking to a person or people with whom you would be working, focus on that interaction.  Be a person someone would enjoy working with every day.

From the point of view of a person who has spent vast amounts of time "between jobs," the one thing I've had to learn is that it IS a crapshoot in many respects, but you can influence the dice.

Sometimes, that influence takes the strangest forms.  Several jobs I've had in the past I got because I also listed other work or other experience that wasn't quite in line with the same thing, but was creative or different.  A lot of that other stuf was volunteer, in fact.

It's like this:  We're all identical in resumes, for example, except for the one gal who includes her experience helping organize local filmmakers (in doing so, she's managed teams as large as three hundred other people).  For some folks, they ignore that.  For some potential employers, that's a turn-off ("we only want buzzwords -- no creativity allowed!"), but for those employers who enjoy creativity, or who have a kid who's a struggling filmmaker, all of a sudden, this seemingly weird experience makes you stand out.  "oh yeah," they say, "the filmmaker!"

I guess in short, be yourself, do a little massaging of the resume, be 100% involved in every interaction you do, and recognize that every job that opens up sees, oh, five hundred resumes.  Only one hundred of them are total losers.  That means 399 brilliant candidates have to be told no.  Shrug, thank them for their time, and move on.  re-apply at the same place in the future, if a different position opens up -- don't burn bridges.

It's really demoralizing to look for work.  Be sure to schedule fun things to do after each session!

monkey Edward monkey

"Cut a hole in the door.  Hang a flap.  Criminy, why didn't I think of this earlier?!" -- inventor of the cat door

Demonpiggies (Programmer)
14 May 08 11:58
"It's really demoralizing to look for work. "
I was laid off at the beginning of March and just received a job offer last week.  I can tell you it SUCKS looking for a job.  I have a BA in computer science and 1 1/2 years experience as a software engineer and have GREAT references.  I've had an interview every week since the lay off and everyone hired "someone with a little more experience."  I have been told that I was one of the best resumes/candidates for the position and that I stood out but I did not get the position. I hate looking for jobs.  I believe some places do not want a candidate to stand out.  One company I interviewed at I asked about the growth opportunity like 5 - 6 years down the line and was told that there is none.  Also being noticed does not always bode well for other people in the group especially when they notice it during your interview.  It's like you have to strike some kind of balance between being nervous and overly-confident.  Small, upcoming companies would be a good opportunity if you have real experience.  They tend to take just about anyone with at least a few years experience.  No offense.  I have worked for two now and everyone is either a genus programmer out of school or has close to ten years experience.  Who knows....
EdwardMartinIII (TechnicalUser)
14 May 08 15:51
Sure, it's possible that by being you, you alienate a potential employer.  Would you necessarily want to work for that employer, though?  ;)

There's a lot to be said for speaking quietly and carrying a big stick.

Also a lot to be said for not selling your soul in exchange for a regular paycheck.

The longest I've ever been out of work was for almost exactly one year.  That was pretty hard, and this was with a decade of relevant experience, a fantastic portfolio of samples, and several very good references.

You just have to be philosophical about it.

It's not that much unlike dating -- keep looking until you find someone compatible with you -- don't pretend to be someone you aren't.

Probably more dangerous than dating, in some respects...

monkey Edward monkey

"Cut a hole in the door.  Hang a flap.  Criminy, why didn't I think of this earlier?!" -- inventor of the cat door

Glenn9999 (Programmer)
14 May 08 17:00


Probably more dangerous than dating, in some respects...

Definitely is.  And infinitely more consequences.  Life really doesn't change much if members of the opposite sex say no to a date.  But life changes drastically if enough employers say no to you to work.

It's much more dangerous indeed to be deprived of money in this world than being deprived of time to impress the opposite sex.  And in the end that makes even the business of employment to be very dangerous and a very nasty prison indeed.  We search for work not because we are free, but because we are not free.

Those who work hard are rewarded with more work and remembered come time to downsize.  Those who hardly work are given a paycheck and ignored completely.

EdwardMartinIII (TechnicalUser)
14 May 08 19:48
"We search for work not because we are free, but because we are not free."

Well, that and we need Pop-Tarts.

monkey Edward monkey

"Cut a hole in the door.  Hang a flap.  Criminy, why didn't I think of this earlier?!" -- inventor of the cat door

kmcferrin (MIS)
19 May 08 16:57
I find it interesting that so many people have had such negative experiences with HR making the final decision in hiring.  In just about every case I can think of, it's the department manager who chooses who he wants.  Usually HR is there to just screen out the "not a chance in hell" types.  Sometimes I've seen them fight a candidate being hired because they want too much salary (happened to me once), but usually they leave that up to the manager as long as it's within the right scale.

At any rate, the best way to sell yourself is NOT to list 27 years of experience and every little thing that you did on your resume.  I've only been in IT professionally for 10 years, but I have a 7-page resume.  There's no way I'd submit that to a prospective employer.  But when I apply for a position I trim out all of the material that's not relevant.  I still list all of my previous employers, but if there is little relevant info then they only get a couple of lines, whereas the more relevant positions get many bullet points.

I usually trim it down to two pages, which includes an introduction/cover letter with a list of skills and certifications, then a separate page for experience.  I know that conventional knowledge has been to keep a resume to one page, but that can be hard to do these days.  It used to be that you worked for a total of 2-4 companies in your lifetime, these days most people are changing jobs every 3-5 years (or even more often).

At any rate, the key is to cut down on the signal to noise ratio.  If it's not directly relevant, the employer probably doesn't care.  If by eliminating your non-relevant experience it makes your resume look like EXACTLY the guy they're looking for, then you'll have a much easier time getting the interview.  After all, you want to look like you have in-depth experience in the areas that they're looking for, not look like the "jack of all trades and master of none."

When I see something that says "technician, troubleshooter, trainer, or system administrator" I have serious reservations.  Those are four very different jobs, and that makes me anticipate someone who either isn't focused or who is desperate for anything they can get.  Desperate people are usually desperate because nobody will hire them.  Does that mean that there's something wrong with this candidate?  Should I be worried?

One last point, I often do technical interviews for my employer, and I find that usually the longer or more built up the resume, the weaker the candidate.  That's not always the case, but there is a strong correlation.  That goes doubly for people who put certification/product logos on their resume.  It's almost as if they think that having the logo (or the right to use the logo) somehow covers up for lack of experience.  I've only interviewed a handful of candidates who have used logos on their resume, but in every case they were so bad that we wouldn't hire them.

And yes, I do see the irony in having my certs listed here too.

CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCSE:Security 2003
MCTS:Active Directory
MCTS:Network Infrastructure
MCTS:Applications Infrastructure  

gbaughma (IS/IT--Management) (OP)
20 May 08 10:56
Interestingly enough, I had a phone interview recently.

A pretty big company called me; there were 4 people in on the interview; 3 locally and one from Cleveland.

They were obviously the "technical end", because they wanted technical details of what I'm doing right now.  They also asked why, after 10 years, I'm wishing to move on.

I was honest with them, and made sure that I kept my answers at the same technical level as the questions that they were asking.  They were especially interested in hearing the story of how, working with the engineers, I took a manufacturing company from 3% to 100% QA on their production line.  Then they asked specific technical questions about that; how did I collect the data, what safety features did I include, and so forth.

They seemed very impressed, and the guy at Cleveland said to one of the other guys "Give me a call as soon as we're done here...." so, it sounded promising.

So, of course, I'm chomping at the bit, because I know this particular company isn't real fast to move on hires, and I'm wondering how long I should wait to (or even if I should) "follow up" by giving them a call.

But, at least I got a nibble.  First one I've had in a while.


Just my 2¢
-Cole's Law:  Shredded cabbage


sha76 (Programmer)
20 May 08 12:28
Sounds promising, good luck!

"Your rock is eroding wrong." -Dogbert

SF0751 (MIS)
20 May 08 16:34
Greg - the phone interview sounds like it went well, keep us posted on the outcome!

"When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers." - Oscar Wilde, An Ideal husband, 1893

lespaul (Programmer)
20 May 08 16:43
glad to hear that you've got an opportunity!  make the most of it!

SantaMufasa (TechnicalUser)
21 May 08 0:06
If all goes well, then the next round is on Greg.

   ,----------- Root Beer
   | ,--------- Ginger Ale
   | |    ,---- Martinelli's Sparkling Cider
   | |    | ,-- Vanilla Caffeine-free Diet Coke
   V V    V V


(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
[I provide low-cost, remote Database Administration services:]

shoalcreek (MIS)
23 May 08 18:01

If you have 20 years of experience, you are most likely over 40. You are a victim of age discrimination--plain and simple.
kmcferrin (MIS)
24 May 08 9:29
Age discrimination can be very difficult to prove.  It usually involves a documented history of events from a single employer involving multiple individuals that appear to be discriminatory.  It is not easy to prove.  To think that someone with only a tiny slice of information about a single candidate and multiple employers who are very unlikely to be acting in collusion can accurately determine whether age discrimination is happening is, frankly, ridiculous.  To claim that just because someone is over the age of 40 and having trouble finding work that it must be a cut and dried case of age discrimination is equally laughable.

I find it much more likely that the OP just needs to polish up his resume a bit and work on more directly targeting the positions that he is interested in, that way he can get to the interview and blow their socks off.

CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCSE:Security 2003
MCTS:Active Directory
MCTS:Network Infrastructure
MCTS:Applications Infrastructure  

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