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Re: Climbing the corporate ladder

by Callum (Chaplain)
on Jun 11, 2004 at 09:53 UTC ( #363344=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Climbing the corporate ladder

A few comments for getting through the HR CV sift and into the hands of someone technical.

There will generally be a hierarchy of degrees for a typical technical role -- at the top is a relevant science/tech degree, then a non-relevant sci/tech degree, then non-tech, then no degree. Not directly applicable to you, but for myself (astrophysics) and many others it's important.

Distance learning, night classes, etc can be of great use, even if you're only taking one course a year your CV now says you're currently taking a (relevant) degree. This isn't 100% of course, as some companies definately don't want people studying whilst working, but in many cases it will get your CV through the initial sifts and onto the desk of someone who can evaluate it on it's technical merits.

"But what about those times when you don't know someone in the company who can help get you past HR?" I'll be a bit flippant and say -- find someone who can. If your covering letter can say that you've spoken with Joe Manager about the job then it stands a chance of bypassing the sift altogether.

Unless time is short, write to the HR department before you submit a CV, ask if they've any preffered formats for receiving CVs -- they may like to receive it in a particular easily OCRable font for example, or if they accept email applications in a particular document format. Also enquire if there's a particular person that applications should be addressed to -- ie rather than hr@acme.com IT applications go to it_hr@acme.com -- at the least this ensures the company recieves your CV the way they want it, with the added benefit that a couple of people there may recognise your name the next time they see it.

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Re^2: Climbing the corporate ladder
by drewbie (Chaplain) on Jun 11, 2004 at 13:05 UTC
    Distance learning, night classes, etc can be of great use, even if you're only taking one course a year your CV now says you're currently taking a (relevant) degree.
    That's a good point. So "Finish my degree" moves from my TODO list to my DOING list, therefore I show initiative. And that is (almost) always a good thing.
    "But what about those times when you don't know someone in the company who can help get you past HR?" I'll be a bit flippant and say -- find someone who can. If your covering letter can say that you've spoken with Joe Manager about the job then it stands a chance of bypassing the sift altogether.
    Another good point. This echos what Ask The Headhunter has been saying for a long time: Study the companies out there, find one that you want to work for, and then cultivate a contact so can get you in the back door.

    Here's an interesting article off that site. Basically it says: Be honest, don't lie, and it's your responsibility to make yourself outshine the others.

    If you need a rule to follow, let it be this: Speak the truth.
    • Let it be the listener's responsibility to take your words at face value and act on them accordingly. If you're afraid the truth won't help you achieve your goal, then it's up to you to find a more compelling and honest way to communicate your point. The challenge is yours.
    • Take others at their word, and let it be their responsibility to be honest. If it turns out they're lying, stop doing business with them; stop associating with them. The challenge is theirs.

      I'm in a similar situation. Left school early because I ran out of money and started working. Did several (10) years hard time as an SA (actually dug it, but quite tired of it now) and slowly moved into writing more and more code. I'm now writing software for a living. It's quite nice. However, when I was job hunting after getting laid off it was fairly apparent that not having a degree (and not currently working on one) was quite detrimental.

      Luckily I have a job that I love. I have a strong desire to make sure that I'm in as good of a position as I can be to always have jobs that I love. (for the most part I have, I consider myself extremely fortunate) As a result of my recent experiance job hunting (and much prodding and poking from my fiance) I am taking classes again.

      After much thought about work and life schedules I realized that spending 3 nights a week in class would not be practical. So I started taking classes at Uo Phoenix. The classes are reasonably challenging (have not taken any techincal classes yet) and the format is fantastic. I'm fully aware that a deg. from UoP is not going to carry nearly as much weight as a deg. from a more traditional school but I figured that with my experience would get me past a lot of the roadblocks.

      The amount of work needed for the classes is by no means less than the amount of work needed for "traditional" schools. You just get to do it when you have time to. The classes are condensed into 6 weeks and you will cover the same amount of material that would be covered in a normal 16 week semester. I would work an average of 4 to 5 hours a night 4 nights a week on the class I was taking. I expect that will change depending on the class but that's been my experience with the 3 classes I've taken so far.

      my .02
        I've heard of UoP (hard not to) but hadn't really considered them before. A compressed schedule certainly has it's benefits: receiving my degree before I'm 80 is nice. :-)

        One of the things that I enjoyed while going to school was the interaction w/ fellow students. If I was having a hard time wrapping my head around a calculus problem I could consult w/ other students to help me understand. How does UoP address this? Are there chat rooms, mailing lists, etc? IMHO There is absolutely nothing wrong with distance learning, but you do lose out on the personal relationship side.

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