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Tim_Tex
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12 Jul 2019, 2:46 pm

For those who don’t know, this is software that HR people use to screen candidates looking for work.

They’re used to save money, but the algorithms used only approve candidates who have certain buzzwords in their resumes or applications. It completely writes off the idea of transferable skills and a willingness to learn software or other skills.

ATS’s search for the perfect candidate, when no such person exists. I have been eliminated from the running for many jobs likely because of ATS’s.

Has anyone else had experience with these? Is there any way to outsmart the software so you can get your foot in the door?


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martianprincess
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12 Jul 2019, 9:59 pm

I've heard that there are buzz words you should put in your resume for the specific position that you're seeking. I'm not too clear on how to do this, but I think reading through the job description and using adjectives that are similar to the main things they're looking for is sufficient... but it's also not very easy to get an interview in a lot of fields, even if you are highly qualified.


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15 Jul 2019, 12:57 pm

The only 2 job interviews I got in the past 7 years were from literally copying word for word from the job posting. It's so frustrating that most of them are written by people who have NO clue what they are looking for and couldn't recognize talent if it bit them in the face. With my last job interview for a VERY well paying job, the first stage was testing with 7 other people: all I can think is "THIS is the best they can come up with?" and "they actually hired one of these people instead of me??" Some of them didn't even know how to do basic commands in Excel and couple were not only dressed like they crawled out of a sewer but were mean and surly to the HR people.

This is the main reason why I am looking at entrepreneurship: I am likely far more qualified than anybody who applied for a few recent jobs in my field (I basically have the gold standard of certification and only a handful of people have it) and couldn't even get a single interview out of it! When are HR people going to wake up and realize these systems and the corresponding "behavioral interviews" don't work and heavily favor the George Constanzas of the world?



Tim_Tex
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31 Jul 2019, 2:50 pm

Here is a list of my education and skills:

BS in Geography/Urban Planning, minor in Geology
AAS in Geographic Information Systems

Software (job and/or classroom experience):

Microsoft Office
Java
C++
ArcGIS
Global Positioning System
MS Access
AutoCAD

Software (Self-taught):

Python
Oracle 12c

Would like to learn:

SAP
Tableau
R

Classes taken (not listed above, not a complete list):

Intro to Statistics
Land Use Planning
Energy Resource Management
Math through Precalculus
Soil Science
Sedimentation and Stratigraphy
Mineralogy
Physical and Historical Geology
Visual Basic


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GiantHockeyFan
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02 Aug 2019, 6:34 am

Boy, I know a place locally that would bend over backwards to hire you with those credentials (Geography was my special interest for a while).

I don't want to post my full credentials (since I am only one of a few hundred people in Canada who has it) but I do have a Commerce Degree from one of Canada's top business schools, two Diplomas in my field from Canada's largest community college, three major internationally recognized certifications (that cost over $7000 so they aren't just a one day course) and too many small certifications to list (Advanced Medical Responder, Crisis Intervention, several types of heavy equipment operation, etc) but as I have mentioned I have only gotten two interviews. What's worse is that several jobs I have been rejected for (and are more than qualified for) have been re-posted not once but twice!

One of the jobs I applied for (statistics related) went to someone with a psychology degree and another dream promotion I applied for where I literally took a leave of absence to train for went to someone outside the organization who met ZERO of the four educational requirements but had more experience. On the plus side I hold no bitterness towards this person and we have a great professional relationship after I told them the whole story.



Tim_Tex
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30 Aug 2019, 2:57 pm

GiantHockeyFan wrote:
Boy, I know a place locally that would bend over backwards to hire you with those credentials (Geography was my special interest for a while).

I don't want to post my full credentials (since I am only one of a few hundred people in Canada who has it) but I do have a Commerce Degree from one of Canada's top business schools, two Diplomas in my field from Canada's largest community college, three major internationally recognized certifications (that cost over $7000 so they aren't just a one day course) and too many small certifications to list (Advanced Medical Responder, Crisis Intervention, several types of heavy equipment operation, etc) but as I have mentioned I have only gotten two interviews. What's worse is that several jobs I have been rejected for (and are more than qualified for) have been re-posted not once but twice!

One of the jobs I applied for (statistics related) went to someone with a psychology degree and another dream promotion I applied for where I literally took a leave of absence to train for went to someone outside the organization who met ZERO of the four educational requirements but had more experience. On the plus side I hold no bitterness towards this person and we have a great professional relationship after I told them the whole story.


After getting my technical (Associate's) degree in 2002 in GIS, I entered the workforce. I worked as a GIS technician for 4 years, before returning to college to get my Bachelor's degree. I graduated in December 2009, in the midst of the Great Recession. I noticed I still got rejected for employment many times, despite meeting the requirements perfectly, and then some. I only had two jobs since graduation, and those were contract jobs, and was let go both times after just 2 weeks. I am worried the gaps in employment are hurting me with the ATS's.

I just finished a Tableau boot camp and a Data Science boot camp yesterday, through Udemy.


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Tim_Tex
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10 Oct 2019, 10:00 am

Here is a more detailed description of my situation:

My degree is in geography, with a specialization in urban and regional planning.

I worked for nearly 5 years in GIS (Geographic Information Systems), before I returned to college to get my bachelor’s degree. After graduating in 2009, I was faced with a stagnant job market. Nearly all GIS positions in Houston are contract, and I did have two such gigs, only to be let go after 2 weeks in each case for things beyond my control. The most recent position was in 2013.

I have not been able to find anything since. In 2015, I took a Java course at my local community college, and got an A in the course. Since then I have taught myself Oracle, Python, Tableau and data science/analysis skills. Even then, it has been constant rejection. Am I doing anything wrong?

In my spare time, I do like to occasionally write, and if I could do anything just for the fun of it, I would be a travel writer.

Additionally, I have been considering relocating to Seattle, but I would have to make at least $100,000/year to afford to live there.

With the above-mentioned skills sets I described, what is the best course of action, also factoring in the income level should I choose the Seattle option?


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GiantHockeyFan
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10 Oct 2019, 12:33 pm

It's hard to say if you are doing anything wrong without knowing about the local market, your resume, etc. I think in many cases it's just being in the wrong place at the wrong time and nothing more. Personally, I hate to say it but if I saw a 4 year gap on an otherwise excellent resume (i.e. with multiple post secondary credentials) the first thing I would think is "prison".

I recently got an interview (the first one in my organization after 7 years of applying) and I believe it is because:
1) I disclosed I have a disability (not formally dx yet but it is coming soon).
2) I basically took a manger's (not one I report to) advice and grossly exaggerated my skills almost to the point of outright lying to get around their ridiculous screening process. My skills are not 100% in line with the job but are highly transferable (good luck convincing a computer of that though).

I found out through slightly shady means they are interviewing 3 people and I checked one of their resumes out: he has a trade school diploma from 25 years ago and worked in the field briefly in 1999 and that's about it. I will have to wait and see but if this guy gets the job there is obviously something seriously wrong with the whole process. It's amazing that in a city where jobs are so hard to come by this is the best the ATS could come up with!

I repeat what I said before: whoever set up the interview obviously hasn't a clue about what skills are really important and wouldn't be able to recognize talent if it was sitting in front of him. It is frustrating beyond belief: they had to repost the job because they originally wanted a highly experience red seal (interprovincial certification) tradesperson for a job that pays half the going rate for them in my area. The job is NOT a red seal trade and is more of a computer job.

Outside of the ATS, it appears that they have a stereotype of what a person doing this job looks like and can't even comprehend that an intelligent, semi-nerdy guy (or even a woman for that matter) could do it successfully. As one recruiter told me "it's strange for someone like you to enjoy this line of work". :roll: For what it's worth you seem like a swell guy who is always posts enjoyable content free of major spelling and grammar errors and I really hope you don't give up. If I had the power I would definitely give you an interview and provide honest feedback.



shortfatbalduglyman
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10 Oct 2019, 1:44 pm

One job posting said, do not plagiarize the job posting in your resume or cover letter



Tim_Tex
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10 Oct 2019, 7:22 pm

My overall strategy is centered around transferable skills, i.e. "Could my experience in software A translate into my ability to master software B?"

However, employers strictly require that the experience in software B already be there. These days, even "entry-level" jobs require 5 years experience.


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Tim_Tex
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11 Oct 2019, 1:16 am

GiantHockeyFan wrote:
It's hard to say if you are doing anything wrong without knowing about the local market, your resume, etc. I think in many cases it's just being in the wrong place at the wrong time and nothing more. Personally, I hate to say it but if I saw a 4 year gap on an otherwise excellent resume (i.e. with multiple post secondary credentials) the first thing I would think is "prison".

I recently got an interview (the first one in my organization after 7 years of applying) and I believe it is because:
1) I disclosed I have a disability (not formally dx yet but it is coming soon).
2) I basically took a manger's (not one I report to) advice and grossly exaggerated my skills almost to the point of outright lying to get around their ridiculous screening process. My skills are not 100% in line with the job but are highly transferable (good luck convincing a computer of that though).

I found out through slightly shady means they are interviewing 3 people and I checked one of their resumes out: he has a trade school diploma from 25 years ago and worked in the field briefly in 1999 and that's about it. I will have to wait and see but if this guy gets the job there is obviously something seriously wrong with the whole process. It's amazing that in a city where jobs are so hard to come by this is the best the ATS could come up with!

I repeat what I said before: whoever set up the interview obviously hasn't a clue about what skills are really important and wouldn't be able to recognize talent if it was sitting in front of him. It is frustrating beyond belief: they had to repost the job because they originally wanted a highly experience red seal (interprovincial certification) tradesperson for a job that pays half the going rate for them in my area. The job is NOT a red seal trade and is more of a computer job.

Outside of the ATS, it appears that they have a stereotype of what a person doing this job looks like and can't even comprehend that an intelligent, semi-nerdy guy (or even a woman for that matter) could do it successfully. As one recruiter told me "it's strange for someone like you to enjoy this line of work". :roll: For what it's worth you seem like a swell guy who is always posts enjoyable content free of major spelling and grammar errors and I really hope you don't give up. If I had the power I would definitely give you an interview and provide honest feedback.


Are you sure that disclosing my AS diagnosis won't damage my chances of employment? There is a lot of prejudice against us.


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Fnord
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11 Oct 2019, 8:13 am

Business Buzzphrases & Buzzwords

Candidates use terms like these on their resumes to describe themselves when they have few accomplishments to brag about.

• Bleeding-Edge
• Creative
• Cutting-Edge
• Detail-Oriented
• Excellent Communicator
• Experienced
• Expert
• Focused
• Go-Getter
• Go-To Person
• Hard Worker
• Innovative
• Leadership Material
• Leverage
• Motivated
• Outside the Box
• Passionate
• People-Person
• Responsible
• Results-driven
• Skilled
• Specialize
• Strategic
• Synergistic
• Team Player
• Winner

Use action words and phrases that describe your accomplishments instead.

• Achieved
• Before the Deadline
• Budgeted
• Compiled
• Created
• Decided
• Decreased (costs, waste, et cetera)
• Exercised
• Facilitated
• Guided
• Hired
• Improved
• Increased (efficiency, profit, et cetera)
• Influenced
• Judged
• Launched
• Managed
• Mentored/Trained
• Merchandised
• Negotiated (contracts, deals, et cetera)
• Organized
• Presented
• Queried
• Resolved
• Supervised
• Trained
• Under Budget
• Upgraded
• Validated
• Won

Potential employers prefer to hire people who actually do things over anyone who can only brag about themselves (or complain about their past employers).


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Tim_Tex
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11 Oct 2019, 8:27 am

Fnord wrote:
Business Buzzphrases & Buzzwords

Candidates use terms like these on their resumes to describe themselves when they have few accomplishments to brag about.

• Bleeding-Edge
• Creative
• Cutting-Edge
• Detail-Oriented
• Excellent Communicator
• Experienced
• Expert
• Focused
• Go-Getter
• Go-To Person
• Hard Worker
• Innovative
• Leadership Material
• Leverage
• Motivated
• Outside the Box
• Passionate
• People-Person
• Responsible
• Results-driven
• Skilled
• Specialize
• Strategic
• Synergistic
• Team Player
• Winner

Use action words and phrases that describe your accomplishments instead.

• Achieved
• Before the Deadline
• Budgeted
• Compiled
• Created
• Decided
• Decreased (costs, waste, et cetera)
• Exercised
• Facilitated
• Guided
• Hired
• Improved
• Increased (efficiency, profit, et cetera)
• Influenced
• Judged
• Launched
• Managed
• Mentored/Trained
• Merchandised
• Negotiated (contracts, deals, et cetera)
• Organized
• Presented
• Queried
• Resolved
• Supervised
• Trained
• Under Budget
• Upgraded
• Validated
• Won

Potential employers prefer to hire people who actually do things over anyone who can only brag about themselves (or complain about their past employers).


Thanks! How can I emphasize transferrable skills if I don't meet the entire checklist? How do I negotiate salaries, especially if I get a position in Seattle?


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GiantHockeyFan
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11 Oct 2019, 9:02 am

I don't agree often with Fnord but he is bang on here. It's all about "talking yourself up" and making it appear that you are more skilled than you are. Sorry to tell you but everybody does it and it is expected and most HR people don't have a sweet clue what your skills really are and just use a checklist. I would love to see a copy of your resume, perhaps you could send it without any personal details.

As for disclosing, right now I only do it for public and large corporate jobs. The latest craze in Canada is to hire "different" candidates (particularly LGBT) to show how "progressive" you are. Otherwise I don't have a snowballs chance in heck to get an interview.



shortfatbalduglyman
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11 Oct 2019, 9:41 am

This post reminds me of, how the former counselor told me that "you were helping people eat. They were hungry". When I worked at a restaurant.

:roll:

Her statement is correct

The implication is wrong

The implication is that, I risked my "life", to volunteer at the peace corps, feeding precious lil "people". Otherwise they would have dropped dead from starvation



:mrgreen:



Fnord
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11 Oct 2019, 10:01 am

Tim_Tex wrote:
Thanks! How can I emphasize transferable skills if I don't meet the entire checklist?
It is not a checklist. It is a list of examples to support the claim that employers are more interested in what you accomplish than in who you are.
Tim_Tex wrote:
How do I negotiate salaries, especially if I get a position in Seattle?
Provide a brief summary of your accomplishments. For instance, last week I developed a predictive spreadsheet method whereby one could easily determine when certain components should be replaced, based on their actual MTBF rate. This was an accomplishment, not a personal quality -- the difference between winning a race and looking good in a track suit.

What are your accomplishments?


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