job application conundrum

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  • job application conundrum
  • turin

    Having not been able to secure a “proper” job since finishing my Masters in 2006 for reasons unknown to me 🙁 I have had a number of interviews and getting down to the last 2 or 3 candidates only to miss out. To say I am getting desperate is somewhat of an understatement, I have found a job that looks really interesting and definitely in the area which I have wanted to get into with potential for getting lots of experience with significant company. However in their job advert it looks as though they are really looking for somebody with a little bit more experience than I currently have.

    The question is, in the current employment market I have heard of people offering to work for free for a month or so. Given my lack of experience is it worth suggesting to the company that I would be prepared to do something similar to this to show that while I may not have the direct relevant experience that I would be keen to learn and am not a muppet?

    Thoughts/constructive comments welcomed



    The cost of them having to re-hire someone if they didn’t like you is probably more than a month or two’s salary anyhow – so it might not make much difference.

    Depends on the industry/role etc. obviously.

    for reasons unknown to me

    Have you tried asking for feedback post-interviews? Might not get it, but if you don’t ask you don’t get…


    Bear in mind that in the advert they’ll be listing their ideal candidate, so don’t be put off.

    Question: is it directly with the company or through a recruitment co? If directly, speak to the HR person, find out what they’re really looking for, and be selling your achievements. Think of all the reasons they might not go for you and bring them up at interview (assuming you get there) along with a mitigant for each of the potential objections.

    Get that application form in NOW though – human nature says that once they’ve got 10 good ones, they’re not going to look a lot further.


    Fair point, was just trying to make my application work for me a bit more. I realise that the longer I am out of the field that it will get increasingly difficult to make any inroads.

    Its a direct hire, no agency involved, there are no contact details on the advert apart from the email to send the application to.

    I have asked for feedback on every position, most of the companies have provided it and the general comments are that there was a better candidate. This could of course be BS of the highest order but given that I have had a number of second and a couple of third round interviews it MAY be the case.

    I am at a loss as to whats wrong with me/my CV. I have had a number of people who are in positions that do the hiring in other industries look at it and give comments which I have incorporated into it.

    Its a just above graduate entry level in the wind generation industry, if that adds any relevance.


    Sounds like you might just be unlucky. Def worth checking into internships, which is PC speak for volunteers. Gives you something more to add to CV and shows willing.


    Just to add, if you’re getting interviews, nothing’s wrong with your CV. It’s purpose is just to get an invite to an interview, and give a starting point for discussion.

    If you get to interview, it’s all on you.


    Agree with IA’s take on it–if you are getting interviews, there is appeal to your resume. I am in the search/recruiting business here in the US and I see really good candidates getting passed over—not due to something in their resume, but just because the current soft market has an abnormal number of good people for a company to choose from. From what I see here, it’s a tougher sell when you have your degree, but little or no experience in the specific field. All it takes is another candidate with the same level of education, but who has even a little experience or perhaps an internship or two in the field and they rise to the top.

    Companies are generally pretty poor at providing meaningful feedback to individuals who aren’t hired—-that’s if they take the time to give any feedback at all.
    I know it’s discouraging, but don’t give up—stay at it!!

    Go over interview technique with friends?

    Or even local Uni careers office.

    If you live near your original Uni they may be able to give you a practise interview to put you on the right track.

    Stop repeating the past and start a new strategy.

    Hope it all goes well for you!

    Maybe wait until after the interview, then when you ask for feedback, ask them if your lack of experience was an issue, if yes, the propose the internship

    You might already do this, but do you ever phone up for more info about the role?

    Last year I had the opportunity (for the first time) to hire folk (for a sciency/techy job) and note the following: the folk that phoned were generally able to submit more robust applications (because they knew more about the job) and, because they called, I remembered them when I read their applications and looked forward to meeting them at interview (because they’d caused a favourable impression). I ended up hiring one of the people that called.

    So, if you have a chance and don’t do it already, call the folk recruiting, as it’ll help you prepare for the interview (as noted by one of the previous posts).

    A word of warning, don’t use the phone call as an opportunity to sell yourself too much, as you might miss valuable information about the role. I saw that too. Remember, that the recruiter is also interested in getting the right person for the job, so they should spend some time explaining the role.

    Finally, my friends and I really liked a book called “great answers to tough interview questions” see: (follow the spirit, not the letter, and you should do well).

    Hope this helps and good luck.


    Thanks for the input guys and the good will.

    Ill try and investigate the potential for a mock interview, I know my technical knowledge is diminishing the more time I spend out of the loop which I try to refresh as I can.

    RE internships, I am a member if the IET and I have been doing a bit of digging around on their website and they have a benevolent department who say they can arrange voluntary placements for those out of work so im going to investigate that option.

    It is a real pain, probably close to the biggest understatement there, being in the scenario. I used to hear of people in the position Im in and think that they must be lazy/rubbish/similar maybe its karma giving me a right kick in the reality nuts. I never thought Id find myself in this position at 38 with 2 engineering degrees. To top it all I was offered a couple of positions after graduation and didnt take them, there isnt a day that goes past that I dont give myself a series of slaps about that!!

    Im really sure I could do a good job for a company, if I could just get my big toe in the door.

    Think Im definitely caught in the has qualifications but no experience and cant get experience without experience loop.

    The last position I applied to and had a second interview with gave me all the good chat and vibes, the HR manager said they would let me know within one week and if there were any questions or things I wanted to chat about not to hesitate to call him. After 2 weeks of nothing I gave him a call, and his secretary told me she would pass the message on. After numerous calls and emails,still without managing to speak to him ,getting told on a number of times that he would speak to the engineering manager and get back to me the same day. Eventually after close to three months, I received an email from him telling me that I was unsuccessful and that he was unaware that I had not been told!!! WTF I realise that HR people must be swamped but to me that was taking the pee. I asked for feedback from them and Im still waiting and not expecting anything.



    One last question and then I will lave you all in peace 🙂 Should I address the fact that I am lacking in some of the specific areas of experience by saying that I have other sound positives and that I am more then willing to develop and address these issues?


    There are loads of good posts on here about interview tactics etc. Do a search …


    I will if I get an interview


    IMO most feedback are shite anyway. If they want to reject you they will simply do so by giving you the whole world of excuses as that’s how I found out in the past. Also if they do not reply then I will interpret their message as showing no respect for potential employees so better stay away from such shite as they are too important to smell their own shite.

    Just keep trying as I am sure something will come up unless the whole British manufacturing industry has outsourced to Ch!na or the like.

    By the way what sort of engineering work do you do?



    Thanks for the reply, I tend to agree about the feed back BS but sometimes it would be nice if they were just honest, common courtesy and all that, perhaps Im expecting too much 😕

    My undergrad was Electrical & Electronic Engineering and the postgrad was Electrical Power Engineering with Business. Was hoping to pre-empt the renewable energy bubble but it looks to be more of a whoopee cushion!! 😆 either that or trying to get into the power networks/generation or similar. Although Id take pretty much anything to get some experience now. In the meantime Im getting by working as a self employed electrician,after serving my apprenticeship before my UG. But its tough trying to start in the current climate and its seriously not what I want to do long term so my heart is not really in it. I know its something and I could be so much worse off but Im not suited to self employment

    Im trying to work towards gaining CEng but without experience its pretty hard to build the profile for experience so its limbo land just now.

    This job Im looking at is in the Netherlands and Im living in Edinburgh so the commute will be a bit of a killer 😀 in all seriousness Im prepared to move anywhere to get started


    If self employed is giving some reasonable income then stick to that for a while … otherwise you might want to try Australia as I think they need people with your skill.


    turin – Member

    One last question and then I will lave you all in peace Should I address the fact that I am lacking in some of the specific areas of experience by saying that I have other sound positives and that I am more then willing to develop and address these issues?

    Can’t see any answer to this. Assuming you’re coming up against new grads, a 38 year old who’s been working (successfully?) for years with 2 relevant degrees vs a new, wet behind the ears grad looking for their first placement is a non contest (assuming similar abilities/education). As an experienced, mature adult, you have more to offer than a new grad. Make sure you make this point in interview.

    What have you been doing since 2006? If you really want to work in your chosen field and there’s no paid way in, you might have to volunteer. Or, perhaps, you could initially take a slightly different role to get through the door?


    niknak – thanks for those links, I already look at some of them but will check the others out.It might be worth you looking at BWEA and natural power, good luck.

    Chewkw – currently the sparking just about covers the bills every month, but the future is very uncertain and I cant see it changing much in the short to medium term. All it takes is a quiet couple of weeks and I begin to panic. OZ could be worth a look, though they are probably looking for wave/tidal power right now 😀

    Boblo – Since graduating I got some time as a research assistant at the university I was at for my MSc around 9 months but the funding for the project dried up and we didnt get to finish it. Since then I have been picking up scraps on the tools and even doing some labouring just to get enough to get by on. Unfortunately not exactly great CV fodder! Im thinking that I really need to try and be more creative and try to get some voluntary work in the renewables. I have been applying for pretty much any role I see in the industries, from engineer with experience through to admin positions.

    Thanks all for your input, it is appreciated.


    Cheer turin, I’ve just seen a job on BWEA that interests me, so I’ve popped them my CV.
    Good luck job hunting.



    I think our company is looking for an electrical engineer…. but we’re down in Lancashire..
    Email’s in profile if you’re interested…

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