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'[OT] Resume help for person out of field for 8 yea'
I’m looking for some suggestions to help me with a
rather large dilemma. As the subject line suggested,
I have been away from engineering for the last 8 years and I need to re-enter the field (specifically
embedded hardware and/or software). Although I’ve been keeping track of new technologies and even winning some design contests (as a hobby of course),
not having a record for the last eight years is a giant problem. I know that both HR and hiring managers
prefer chronological resumes, and that functional
resumes without dates are typically tossed without
being read. Does anyone have any suggestions for the
resume format, as well as hints for showing my worth
(despite the long absence)?
My pseudo-resume with the bad (1998-Present) would
look something like this:
Full time unrelated stock market investing, i.e., no boss, employees or being accountable
to anyone except myself.
Occasional “engineering design contest entries”
in the last 2 years (I couldn’t keep away).
Ran small part-time (one-man) engineering business (active-x controls) – sold them online and via advertisements.
Part time unrelated stock market investing.
Contracted at XYZ company developing embedded
hardware/firmware. (It seems the contract
house I went through no longer exists)
Worked at XYZ company for 10 years (1985-1994)
developing embedded hardware/firmware. (All potential references seem to have scattered in the winds of time!)
Other than being thankful you are not me and then hitting the delete key, if anyone has any useful ideas,
I would really appreciate hearing them.
adelphia.net wrote: old_engineer
>Other than being thankful you are not me and then
>hitting the delete key,
I am thankful that my life in engineering started many years before you,
Does this make me an ANCIENT engineer? (I still think tubes had some
I am thankful for the situation I am in, not the way it could have been.
> if anyone has any useful ideas,
>I would really appreciate hearing them.
Your life is before you,
With hard work, Hope, and prayer you can make it an enjoyable experience.
| __O Thomas C. Sefranek ARRL.netWA1RHP
|_-\<,_ Amateur Radio Operator: WA1RHP
(*)/ (*) Bicycle mobile on 145.41, 448.625 MHz
> I=E2=80=99m looking for some suggestions to help me with a
> rather large dilemma. As the subject line suggested,
> I have been away from engineering for the last 8=20
> years and I need to re-enter the field (specifically
> embedded hardware and/or software). Although I=E2=80=99ve=20
> been keeping track of new technologies and even=20
> winning some design contests (as a hobby of course),
> not having a record for the last eight years is a=20
> giant problem.
Yup. It's going to be *very* tough to have someone not toss the resume on
sight, whether an HR drone or the hiring manager.
> I know that both HR and hiring managers
> prefer chronological resumes,
Yup. Don't try anything different.
> and that functional
> resumes without dates are typically tossed without
> being read.
> Does anyone have any suggestions for the
> resume format,
You're not going to hide the fact that your 8 years out of date. Clearly
you don't want to feature that, but don't try to lie about it either. It
will be discovered in the end.
> as well as hints for showing my worth (despite the long absence)?
Well that's exactly the problem. You seem to be missing the point that your
worth as an engineer *is* low, precisely because of the long absence. Face
it, you abandoned your engineering career 8 years ago. You can't go
backwards and magically fix it despite how much you think you can still do
engineering. Nobody else is going to believe it. Frankly, I suspect you
are significantly out of date on many fronts. Don't kid yourself that you
are still current.
> Full time unrelated stock market investing,=20
> i.e., no boss, employees or being accountable
> to anyone except myself.
Don't lie, but accentuating the negative is a bad idea too. Say what you've
been doing. Let the employer realize it wasn't engineering. No need to
point out you were accountable to noone.
> Occasional =E2=80=9Cengineering design contest entries=E2=80=9D
> in the last 2 years (I couldn=E2=80=99t keep away).
Spell these out specifically and give some details.
> Ran small part-time (one-man) engineering=20
> business (active-x controls) =E2=80=93 sold them=20
> online and via advertisements.
Again, no need to point out the one-man and part-time.
> Part time unrelated stock market investing.
I wouldn't even mention this. It says you weren't even committed to
engineering when you were doing engineering.
> if anyone has any useful ideas,
> I would really appreciate hearing them.
I see two ways to re-enter the engineering world:
1 - Go for an entry level position or technician just to get in the door.
Of course this will come with pay commensurate to that position. If you're
really really sure your still a good engineer, then this will give you a
chance to prove it and move into a engineering role in that company in a
year or so.
2 - Do consulting for a while thru friends and previous contacts that know
you and might be willing to ignore you haven't been doing this for a long
time. Make sure to pick something you can do. After a year or so and a few
consulting jobs and happy customers as references, you can try floating your
resume out there. The 8 year gap will still be an issue, but a lot less of
one if you've done full time engineering successfully for at least a year
Make sure you are busy with a job when looking for full time work. Nobody
wants to hire someone that nobody else wants to hire either. This is the
thing too many otherwise intelligent people don't get. Never wait for the
layoff to find a job. Otherwise people will wonder why you weren't good
enough to be one of the people they kept, or not smart enough to know it was
time to abandon ship.
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, (978) 742-9014. #1 PIC
consultant in 2004 program year. http://www.embedinc.com/products
I would also recommend looking at the contract agencies. There are a lot of companies that need solid skills that do not change over time to get the job done. After 8 years out you do not have the latest and greatist technology skills but you do still have the solid methodology skills we all learned at the start of our careers. People still hate doing the cleanup tasks associated with the projects. ECO releases, documentation, etc.
This may be an area to push into. Any "consulting skills" from doing your own thing will showcase the ability to get things done.
|One thought I had about all this - is it necessary to get a "normal" salaried job? You've already done the one-man engineering business gig. Why not try going from design contests to freelance / contract projects?
Or maybe the time spent being the one-man engineer is why you're going after a "normal" salaried job... :)
Regardless, as long as freelance work doesn't preclude searching for or starting a "normal" job (due to time commitments) you might as well try to grow in that direction. No need to try to make equivalent per-hour as that salaried job, just some bucks to stay afloat and have fun. And hey, if you do get a big project or two that is paying pretty well, and have to put off the job search for awhile, you'll then have more to talk about down the road at job interviews.
My only advice would be to document any freelance projects, at least a photo of the finished board. I try to keep a proto if possible to have in the "trophy case" to show to some future hypothetical hiring manager type.
Ok I'm done procrastinating on my work. :)
adelphia.net wrote: old_engineer
> Make sure you are busy with a job when looking for full time work. Nobody
> wants to hire someone that nobody else wants to hire either. This is the
> thing too many otherwise intelligent people don't get. Never wait for the
> layoff to find a job. Otherwise people will wonder why you weren't good
> enough to be one of the people they kept, or not smart enough to know it
> was time to abandon ship.
This will be true at least for me, I gave a guy a chance and invested on
him, he left a bad experience. He imprinted on me the lack of "right
altitude" and "responsibility".
Olin Lathrop wrote:
> Well that's exactly the problem. You seem to be missing the point that
> your worth as an engineer *is* low, precisely because of the long
> absence. Face it, you abandoned your engineering career 8 years ago.
> You can't go backwards and magically fix it despite how much you think
> you can still do engineering. Nobody else is going to believe it.
> Frankly, I suspect you are significantly out of date on many fronts.
> Don't kid yourself that you are still current.
While that's probably true, it also probably is true for most fields for
most full-time employees. Most (not all!) of the engineering employees I've
known are not up to date on engineering matters not closely related to
their jobs. And engineering has too many angles; often the next job one
applies for will be closely related to one of those areas that were not
closely related to the prior job. Which often makes an absence from
engineering not that much different -- after all, you did gather experience
in /something/, and that might well be relevant. The important thing is to
put it in the right angle.
It's a matter of seeing the relevant. As Olin pointed out, there are many
things in the resume that seem to imply that /you/ don't see the relevant
(yet), which also means that you can't expect your potential future boss to
see it. Your resume should show what is relevant to an engineering job you
want, not what's not. Did you not learn anything relevant to engineering
during your stock trading time? That's been more than seven years (counting
your previous part-time involvement). There must be something positive to
get out of that, something that's relevant to an engineering job like you
want it. Engineering projects live in a financial environment, have budgets
that need to be managed, have relationships to their companies' stock
value. Being able to manage yourself is a ability that's often valued.
Don't talk only about activities, start to think also in skills. Try to get
away from the "box view" and see the greater picture. Give it a positive
spin -- give yourself a positive spin :) Don't think "I've been away for
eight years", start to think "what is relevant to the type of job I want of
what I did in the past eight (or ten, or...) years?" Give the things that
are primarily relevant the prime location in your resume, and give the
things that are just a bit relevant (maybe only to show that you didn't
just do nothing) a "honorable mention".
My resume is full of "time holes"; so far I never spent a long time in a
row in any one activity. I never found that to be a problem. Often to the
contrary. ("Oh, you play music, too?" -- and the conversation is already on
a completely different level.) Of course, the focus of the resume changes
with the activity I apply for -- as every document, it should be written
with the target audience in mind, and should show what that audience wants
Sell yourself. That's what you want -- selling your services. If you just
want a job, that's what you'll (probably) get, sooner or later, with almost
any resume. But if you want a job where you can show who you are, do what
you are good at doing, you need to point that out as clearly as possible in
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