FOR AND GETTING A GOOD JOB
IME Colloquium Presentation
By Larry Phelan
- Cal Poly Pomona
- February 12, 1998
- The structure of the
following presentation summary was created from Mr. Phelan's
presentation outline. Additional notes were provided by Vicky
Davis and Yogesh Mistry.
to Colloquium Page)
- Table of Contents:
of the Presentation
Control of Your Career
a Job is Created
a Qualified Candidate is Found
Papers (resumes, cover letters, etc.)
Ways to Get into the Company
BACKGROUND (Return to Table
Mr. Phelan is currently a quality
assurance manager for Beckman Instruments, Inc. He has been with
the company for over 17 years. He has a Bachelors of Science
in Electrical Engineering from Cal Poly Pomona, an MBA from Pepperdine,
and Professional Designation in TQM from UCLA. Larry is a Certified
Quality Engineer and currently a member of ASQC and of the IME Department Industry Advisory Council.
Mr. Phelan has considerable experience
in interviewing people and from his experiences has organized
this presentation to inform graduating engineers of what is expected
of them in the workplace/job market.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PRESENTATION
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- TO UNDERSTAND YOU ARE NOT JUST
SEEKING A JOB.
- TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS TAKING PLACE
WITHIN THE COMPANY.
- HOW TO GET INVITED TO INTERVIEW.
- TO UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPENS IN THE
TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR CAREER (Return to Table
- Control of your career belongs to
you; therefore plan it and guard it. There is a difference between
a job and a career; the career is a function of time. Furthermore,
Mr. Phelan cautions against those wanting to help you with your
career. So, outline your career goals, now, and stick to them.
Don't allow others to deviate you from your career path. Mr.
Phelan offered three rules to design your career path:
- Decide what do you want most out
of your career and keep it in mind.
- Decide what your # 1 goal is and
- Decide what your priorities in life
are and use them to help you make decisions.
Be sure to review these three rules
at the end of each year as they apply to your career growth.
In considering the above three points, the following areas should
be contemplated when assessing your career:
- Desire of a specific industry
- Job security
- Social impact of your work
- Pension benefits (i.e. 401k plans,
health plans, etc.)
- Flexible work schedule
- Size of company
Mr. Phelan emphasized two rules of business:
- Companies are in business to make money
- You are there to help the company make money
COROLLARY: Today, a company's competitive advantage
is hiring and maintaining the most qualified people.
HOW A JOB IS CREATED (Return to Table
There are 2 reasons a company is
looking for an employee:
- New position (expansion) - the company
has the time to look for the best-qualified candidate. Response
time may not be immediate.
- Replacement - this usually occurs
when a highly notable employee has given a two weeks notice for
resignation. Response time may be quick.
HOW A QUALIFIED CANDIDATE IS FOUND
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Jobs are filled through:
- 60% Referrals, informal contacts refer to networking
- 15-20% Classified
- 20% Other.
This includes search agencies and job banks, such as monster
board (an Internet service).
- 1% Unsolicited
resumes (sending resumes to companies when a position is not
NETWORKING (Return to Table
Networking is more like farming than
hunting. Prepare and plant your field. Tend your crop.Wait for
the plants to grow before you can harvest them. Your goal is
to get a referral from someone for a position that may be open.
Referrals are best because a person will not refer you unless
they know you, trust you, have confindence in your abilities,
or have some relationship with you. This implies to the prospective
employer that you are trustworthy.
How do you get a referral?
- In-house (Other divisions within
- Outside (Professional societies,
seminars/lectures, and continuing education classes)
How to make better contacts?
Have networking tools. Prepare
the following ahead of time:
- Your Introduction
- What you do, type of business or
industry you are involved in.
- Benefit statement
- Practice, practice, practice
- Name tag (Your name, title, career
- Business cards (On the back write
date and event at which you met the person & any notes)
When you are at a social or business
event, here are some networking tips and etiquette:
- Have a goal of the number of new
- Act like a host, not a guest
- Give information whenever possible
- Describe YOU
- Follow-up each contact
- Don't waste a person's time - keep
- If given a lead about a possible
job opening, ask if you may call the person.
- Ask if you may reference the name
of the person who gave you the lead.
THE PAPERS (RESUMES, COVER LETTERS
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- To catch the attention of the person who
has the job.
- Tailored to the person
- Attention grabber
- Resumes: The Purpose of the resume is to get you to
the interview, the face to face meeting.
- Electronic resumes
- Scanned in resumes - Goal:
To make your resume Scanner Friendly.
Do not underline. Use 12 pt. font. Use white paper. Do not use
colored print. Do not FAX it.
- Electronic file - ASCII
When going from Word processor software to ASCII, formats are
destroyed. The following guidelines should be used to avoid catastrophes:
No special characters. Everything is
left justified. No tabs, instead use spaces.
No word wrap, must use carriage
return. No special fonts.
Remember what is going to happen,
your file is going to be extracted using only key words. Each
industry has its own vocabulary. This is one time that if you
have any questions call and ask the Human Resource department
Letter - Write a follow-up
letter after an interview to show commitment even if you don't
get the job and to show you know the game and are willing to
of Employment Packages - Performed by Human Resources - It is a go/no
go review, very prescriptive.
If your paperwork doesn't get past HR, the person with the job
will never see it. Try to get around HR as far as possible. It's
better to interview with the person you will be working for.
THE INTERVIEW (Return to Table
Tips on how to prepare for an
- Develop sample questions that you
will be asked.
- Develop responses to these questions.
- Do not have indecisive or rambling
- Do not criticize prior companies
- Glowing reports of skills or performance
have credibility only when they come from a reliable third party.
The phone interview
- Prepare for it.
- Do not conduct the interview surrounded
by distractions and noise. If interview time is not suitable
setup a time when distractions may be avoided.
- Avoid using a faint or hesitant
tone of voice. Sound confident.
- Provide answers of sufficient depth
to project a thorough understanding of the issue. (Don't have
to prove in depth knowledge, here)
- The good interviewer is going to
tell you about the position and want you to tell all about your
skills and experience that make you the right person to fill
that job and
a good choice for the future.
(The company looks specifically to fill a job position but also
for future growth)
- What to take with you to the interview:
Information to fill out the forms, Letters of reference, Copies
of awards, Copies of published papers.
- The day(s) of the interview: Fill
out the job application . Arrive early to fill out any
Interview with the HR person . This
process usually involves the assessment of your personality and
moral behavior. They may also be involved with the negotiation
of your salary package. A handout, provided by Mr. Phelan, lists
possible questions an H.R. representative may ask.
Interview with the person that
has the job . This process
is usually very technical and may involve more than one person;
sometimes a group or the entire department. The aforementioned
handout also provides a sample list of questions that may be
anticipated in this type of interview
Typically, the following activities
may occur on the day of the interview:
Brief meeting with the
person who has the job.
Interview with the person's supervisor.
Interview with team members
Interview with experts from functional areas that you will interface
Interview with direct reports
H.R. should handle the discussion of money/salary at the appropriate
OTHER WAYS TO GET IN A COMPANY
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- Temporary employee. Find out the Temporary Placement Service,
the company utilizes and try to obtain temporary employment with
the company. Once inside the company, networking can begin.
- Contract employee.
- Sub contracting companies
- Internships or co-ops prior to
Once inside the company, networking is imperative for possible
FUTURE ADVICE (Return to Table
- Keep resumes up to date.
- Interview every 2-3 years just for
the sake of interviewing. The benefits of doing this are that
you can compare with others in the industry, determine whether
present working conditions are acceptable, and assess you interviewing
skills and whether or not you are still current in your field.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS (Return to Table
Overall, the presentation was very
informative and well organized. This was Mr. Phelan's second
presentation, here at Cal Poly. (The first presentation occurred
in Spring Quarter of 1997) Both presentations have been exceptional.
We highly recommend attending future presentations.
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