Creating a Compelling Antarctic Resume


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  • #1295

    (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love This Season’s Rejection)

    I’m going to try to start focusing on doing what I can to make myself a more compelling candidate for next year’s applications (just about four and a half months away). I thought this might be a great way for some of our seasoned crew to mentor and provide feedback on some ways in which they’ve personally (or seen others) improved their standing. Of course, all bets are off when Raytheon’s out and the next contractor takes over, but for this (supposedly) final year, maybe there are things we could capitalize on?

    My primary focus is going to be in increasing the depth and quality of my wilderness and disaster cred. I’m a Red Cross volunteer and instructor, but I’ve never managed to get Wilderness First Aid / Rescuer credentials. DONE. This is something I can control, which might aid my cause. I’m also going to try to boost my knowledge of the specifics of some of the positions still open at this point in the year, so that maybe if next year’s crop remains light, I can swoop in in March and nail one of the primary spots.

    Beyond that, I think I need to work on the tone, tenor, and wording of my resume. I think what I’ve done in the course of my positions has been clearly increasing in scope and responsibility, but does Raytheon / the hiring manager feel this way when THEY read my CV? How can I better position myself simply by clarifying my text? (On this note, I know I’ve seen a post by spidey, if memory serves, that talks quite a little bit about this idea, but I can’t find it again to save my life.)

    Other tips, hints, tricks, suggestions??? Anyone else want to chime in?

    #10662
    spidey
    Participant

    You can take whatever I have said with a grain of salt as I have yet to get past that last hurdle of getting an offer.
    However, as summary of sorts from all the advice others have given and just good resume practices, here’s a few tips.

    1. Proofread proofread proofread. You won’t believe how many silly little things are likely wrong on your resume. Spelling, formatting, grammar, saying things one way in one part and another way in another part-consistency is key. Any of those things can cause your resume to go into the circular filing cabinet.

    2. Target your resume. Try to tailor it to the job you are applying for so that you are hi-lighting the skills that are applicable and not filling up pages with things that don’t apply.

    3. Less can be more. You want to tell all the great things about yourself, but remember someone has to read it and find the good bits. Don’t muddy the water too much. But of course you still need to say what you can and have done.

    4. Try to word things in a context that shows how you improved things rather than just did things. ie created new process for tracking inventory that reduced waste by 25% and reorders by 40% , rather than just managed inventory for company of blah blah blah.

    5. Don’t take candy from strangers.

    There’s plenty more but hope that helps.

    #10663
    Sciencetech
    Keymaster

    Spidey’s advice is good, especially the part about proofreading (give it to someone else to proofread!) and tailoring your resume to the position.

    @freckledfroggy wrote:

    My primary focus is going to be in increasing the depth and quality of my wilderness and disaster cred. I’m a Red Cross volunteer and instructor, but I’ve never managed to get Wilderness First Aid / Rescuer credentials. DONE. This is something I can control, which might aid my cause.

    I don’t want to discourage you from doing this; adding these things to your resume shows that you’re a dynamic, outdoorsy sort of person. However…

    You should concentrate on highlighting your skills for the position you’re apply for. Wilderness/WFR/EMT/Skidoo/etc experience is important for jobs that specifically require it, like Field Safety Instructor or Camp Manager, but for most positions it’s not that important. This is especially true if you’re applying for an administrative or finance position.

    So yeah, put it on the resume, somewhere near the end under “Other Skills” or somesuch. But concentrate on highlighting your job-related skills.

    If you need a proofreader I can look over your resume (but be warned — I’m merciless about spelling and formatting errors). It’s a harsh continent, and I’m a harsh proofreader. :mrgreen:

    #10664
    MATKATAMIBA
    Member

    All good advice on how to stand out after your resume gets to the hiring manager, but first you have to get it sent to them by HR.

    HR looks at all resumes submitted for the position and looks for key words. Put them in there. What are the key words? Read the job posting carefully and put your experience in your resume using the same terms they use in describing the position. I’ve seen resumes of people that went through the hiring process at RPSC and were selected for interviews, and the keywords are underlined and highlighted.

    Write your resume to match the job description. For my position over 375 resumes were submitted. HR found 47 of those to be qualified and sent 11 to my hiring manager (9 of those NPQ’d by the way). You have to get your resume in that 11.

    #10665
    MightyAtlas
    Moderator

    Be sure and spell gooder than anyone else…

    #10666

    @spidey wrote:

    2. Target your resume. Try to tailor it to the job you are applying for so that you are hi-lighting the skills that are applicable and not filling up pages with things that don’t apply.

    This is really where I need to spend some time and work with my resume, since I had no real concept of the fact that I should be tailoring my resume for specific positions – I’ve just been selling myself (or trying to) in the cover letter for specific stuff, and then using essentially a stock resume that I submit for each position I’m applying for, without alteration.

    @spidey wrote:

    3. Less can be more. You want to tell all the great things about yourself, but remember someone has to read it and find the good bits. Don’t muddy the water too much. But of course you still need to say what you can and have done.

    This is something that I struggle with – I feel like some recruiters / head hunters / hiring managers / random people who leaf through resumes expect to see everything and a bag of chips, while others seem intent on taking seriously only those for whom they have lingering questions after reviewing their documentation. I guess I’ll have to assume that a little mystery works in everyone’s favor, then?

    @Sciencetech wrote:

    You should concentrate on highlighting your skills for the position you’re apply for. Wilderness/WFR/EMT/Skidoo/etc experience is important for jobs that specifically require it, like Field Safety Instructor or Camp Manager, but for most positions it’s not that important. This is especially true if you’re applying for an administrative or finance position.

    See, and I HAVE that experience, but I feel kind of like the kid with good SAT scores and a decent GPA trying to stand out from the crowd via their extracurriculars . . . who knows. Maybe a leg up, maybe not, but it’s not solely for the pursuit of Antarctic glory: at some point I’d like to hike the Appalachian Trail, so this is good info to know, given how much of a klutz I can be at times. =)

    @Sciencetech wrote:

    If you need a proofreader I can look over your resume (but be warned — I’m merciless about spelling and formatting errors). It’s a harsh continent, and I’m a harsh proofreader.

    I would expect no less, and consider myself pretty merciless and harsh, too, so I can take it when it’s dished.

    @MATKATAMIBA wrote:

    HR looks at all resumes submitted for the position and looks for key words. Put them in there. What are the key words? Read the job posting carefully and put your experience in your resume using the same terms they use in describing the position. I’ve seen resumes of people that went through the hiring process at RPSC and were selected for interviews, and the keywords are underlined and highlighted.

    Write your resume to match the job description. For my position over 375 resumes were submitted. HR found 47 of those to be qualified and sent 11 to my hiring manager (9 of those NPQ’d by the way). You have to get your resume in that 11.

    THIS is the stuff – I’m going to mine those job postings like a crazy person, and you’ll know my resume next time you see a stack – it’ll be the one where only the pronouns aren’t highlighted. Well, maybe conjunctions, too, I guess . . .

    @MightyAtlas wrote:

    Be sure and spell gooder than anyone else…

    Im shure gonner tri two, Atles. Shure gonner tri. =)

    @spidey wrote:

    5. Don’t take candy from strangers.

    Dammit, is THAT why I feel sleepy? She seemed so nice . . .

    Thanks for all the hints, everyone! Now, to fine-tune the documents in question so that I’m ready come application season in March. Keep your behind-the-scenes tips coming, y’all. Much appreciated.

    #10667
    spidey
    Participant

    It does seem that in today’s world what MATKATAMIBA says about keywords is one of the biggest pieces. Most resumes are screened by people who likely are in HR and do not have the knowledge or technical expertise to truly differentiate the good from the bad candidate. The current corporate process is to narrow down resumes based on requirements. These requirements are usually made up of a list of certificates/qualifications and keywords, perhaps a minimum amount of experience. The HR person will then take batch of resumes they have filtered down and pass that small subset onto someone that has some knowledge about the job. If you don’t make that first cut, all your great stuff will never see light.

    #10668
    daneel
    Member

    A copy and paste from a conversation someone had with a hiring manager from CH2MHILL regarding resume’s. link provided.

    Hi,

    I ran into a project manager for CH2M HILL at the airport. He let me know that this June they plan on hiring up to 200 workers. CH2M HILL has a variety of short-term projects (3-4 months) to complete as well as some longer-term contracts to get underway.

    We talked about the hiring process and I asked him which craft is the toughest to fill. His answer? Electricians.

    Here are some tips he passed along that will help everybody (not just electricians) get hired:

    Don’t overqualify yourself. If you want to get hired as an electrician then tell me about your skills & accomplishments on similar type jobs. Don’t tell me how you ran your own business, what a great project manager you are or that you have a PhD in Electrical Engineering. This makes me think you won’t be satisfied working only as an electrician. I won’t want to take a chance on hiring you and then having you quit soon afterwards.

    Tailor your resume for the job. Use the same job title in your resume. Those skills listed as requirements in the job ad? Demonstrate that you have those same skills. Describe how you have used those skills before. How was that job similar to the one you are applying for now?

    Use the same wording. Human Resources, not the onsite managers, screen almost all applications. It is important to use the same job title, same skill descriptions, same lingo that was used in the job posting, in your resume. HR screeners are not specialists in a particular craft. So, if you use terms common to your craft that are not the same as the ones used in the job description, then there’s a very good chance HR won’t recognize your skills. Your application won’t go any further than the InBox.

    The 3 tips above apply to any and all jobs. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to modify EVERY resume/application to fit a particular job. It doesn’t have to take long to do this – address the required skills, tweak words here & there and match the terms used.

    http://www.alaskapipelinejobinfo.com/North_Slope_Insider-Insider_2010_05_23.html

    #10669
    mananath
    Member

    I am a little late in responding to this but here goes. I think an important question when you are applying is if you are “skilled” or “unskilled” labor. If you fall into the unskilled labor, like I do/did, than I would suggest looking into a job with NANA as either a DA or a janitor. These are not the most exciting jobs on station (though I loved being a Jano) but they get you on the ice. Once down there there are opportunities to help out with other departments and meet supervisors and such. You suddenly become a face to the name on the application and often times supervisors can help you format your resume so it passes through HR.

    The reason I suggest NANA is that their HR is different from RPSC. In my experience they are more willing to overlook a sparse resume as most of these jobs are often filled by freshly graduated people.

    Anyway this worked for me. Came down as a jano (and interviewed for it like it was the most important job in the world — 90 minutes), a slot opened up in a RPSC department that I was qualified for for the winter and I stayed. Next month I am back for my 3rd winter. Had I not been down there as a jano I never would have gotten the winter job.
    mc

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