Many experts out there seem to be seeing “some light” at the end of the tunnel...
Now some of you clicked in because you thought I was going to have some amazing insight into this horrific job market, and that I would have an absolute answer as to when it was going to get better. Sorry, no such luck. I just happened to like the "tag line", but what I do have are some thoughts on how to maximize any opportunities that do happen to come your way. And for the record, based on much of what I have read and heard, the recovery should be well underway by Q3-4 and with that will come hiring. Lets all keep our fingers crossed!
Let me start by telling you a little about what has been happening to our company recently. We are actually getting a few more Position Requisitions, but aside from the new reqs, we are also getting reqs that all have one similar theme if you will, a caveat, a thread that runs through them all. Many of the CEO's, VP's , hiring people that we talk to have been saying the same kind of thing to me...."we want to start looking for a new (R&D, APS, SALES) engineer BUT, we have not actually "officially" opened up a new req. You can start to send us résumés, but only for exact fits. If anyone stands out, we can push to get the req opened". Actually, my last few placements happened exactly that way. I sent in resumes on a few candidates that I knew would entice the (particular company's) management to look further; as I knew exactly what they needed. Because I am known to be so on point with my submissions, it worked. So what does this mean to you, and how do you maximize your chances of getting hired in these difficult times?
My friends, I have said it before, and I will say it again...WORK ON YOUR RESUME, let me say it again, WORK ON YOUR RESUME! You must make sure that your resume shortly, (but not to short-ly), accurately, and succinctly tells your story. Take a minute, and put yourself in a hiring manager's shoes, and see if you pass the 1minute test, and be objective! Does your resume have enough in it to catch someone's eye in one minute, and make them want to read more? Is there information to compel them to want to read more each extra second they read? Anything short of YES, and you need to re-do your resume.
A strong resume "in this business" must have all your technical know how, and that must include...
- A strong, specific, but yet open OBJECTIVE...in other words say what you want, but be open to other opportunities
- Tools that you developed or used
- Languages known and your proficiency in them...
- Processors/Memories/ASICS/FPGA etc.
- Scripting Languages
- Any EDA specific languages or sub-sets
(In the above suggestions, use words like Primary Skills, Secondary Skills, or similar) Major Accomplishments
- Major Clients Supported (if applicable)
- Awards Received (if applicable)
- "Short" Synopsis of your projects, or successes...no more than a sentence or three. Again, short and concise, yet complete!
- Do not call yourself SENIOR if you have one or two years experience!
When writing out what you do or did for a company, make sure it includes specific details of your exact areas of expertise...for example: if you're going to say Verification, add in words like Formal or Functional. If you are going to say the Physical space, say Place and Route, Layout, etc. If it is Layout, is it Layout verification? Do not make the person looking at your resume guess! Add phrases like: specializing in "back end from RTL-GDS2" for example. (Remember there is an ongoing debate as to what constitutes FRONT END and what specifically is BACK END; I get lots of different answers on that everyday). List the tools you used or developed. Never assume a hiring person will "figure it out", or "should be able to understand what it is that you do", or "knows your specific strengths". If it is not OBVIOUS, IN YOUR RESUME, you diminish your chances of getting noticed greatly.
Another very relevant and important point to consider: this is a hard time for managers, for marketing people. At least for right now, companies want hands-on technical people, not many manager positions out there...If you want to be considered, adjust your resumes accordingly.
Last, make sure you are ABSOLUTELY AND TOTALLY prepared for your interview. If your recruiter did not do it, call us and we will be glad to help. Even if you are going in direct, we will be glad to help. Our clients never go out to an interview unprepared. (I will try to include points on that in a future column).
The reality is still that there are not a lot of jobs out there, and only exact fits get considered and ultimately hired. Increase your chance of getting the call, by making sure your resume is top-notch; then make sure you do well in the interview by being prepared.