Industry News, Trends and Technology, and Standards Updates

Brice Laris MPC, CPLP; Human Resources Manager

Recent Posts

Getting Your Software Engineering Resume Noticed

Posted by Brice Laris MPC, CPLP; Human Resources Manager on May 16, 2019 10:30:00 AM

Show your Talent card with colorful background with defocused lightsAsk ten different people and you will be told ten different ways to write your resume. Some people say education should be up front, others say to focus on your job history, but the reality is you need to write your resume for those who are going to read it. Your resume isn’t a story about what a wonderful and diverse person you are, it needs to provide information quickly and concisely about your ability to do the job. As a software engineer, the temptation is to write your resume for other engineers, which you should, but you also need to think about everyone who will see your resume. There are three people you should keep in mind when writing your resume:

  1. The Human Resources person who will initially look at your resume
  2. The Hiring Manager who will ultimately decide who to interview and hire
  3. The Potential Co-Workers on your team, who may contribute to the hiring decision and be involved in the interview

The Human Resources person will most often be the first person who will review your resume. That person will be looking to see if you meet the minimum requirements for the position, such as:

  • Do you have the required education?
  • Do you have the years of experience?
  • Have you worked in this industry before or something similar?

Back view of modern programmer sitting and writing code in dark roomSometimes the HR person looking at your resume will be familiar with a few software engineering terms, but their degree is often in a non-technology field. So, the easier you can make it for the person to determine the answers to the above three questions, the better. If your degree is in computer science or a related degree, put that before your job history. This is often an easy hurdle that HR uses to determine who is qualified and who is not, so get it out of the way immediately. As part of your education, list the programming languages you studied and which ones you are proficient in. You might even put in a sentence or two about how any class projects relate to the position you are applying for. 

BS – Computer Science, Westminster College                      Graduation Date: 6/1/2018
              
Proficient in: C++, C#, Java
               Studied: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Visual Basic
               Completed class project with C# to create an application to manage multiple devices.

Notice in the above example that Amazon Web Services (AWS) is spelled out. Don’t assume your HR person knows all of the common abbreviations in the industry. Spell them out on first usage with the abbreviation in parenthesis. Then you can just use the abbreviation going forward. 

Now it is time for work history on the resume. You will want to demonstrate the experience you have that is related to the position. Your job as a stock boy at House of Fabrics when you were a teenager can be left off. When listing job history put the name of the company, years worked, a short sentence about what the company does, and three or four bullets that illustrate experience you obtained that qualified for the position you are applying for. If you are struggling with how to describe the company, look it up on Wikipedia.com. They will often have a one sentence description written for you that you can borrow.

SK Hynix - Software Engineer                                                     January, 2001 – March, 2016
               Semiconductor supplier of dynamic random access memory chips and flash memory chips.
               - Developed C++ application that laser measures the drill depths of holes in circuit boards.
               - Worked on a team to create a database of company products that could be accessed via AWS.
               - Interacted with customers on installation of support software products, customized in C#.

Finally, if there are particular projects, applications or accomplishments that speak to your ability to perform the job desired, list those in a heading called “Accomplishments.” Remember, the HR person doesn’t care if you were an Eagle Scout, Student Body President or Employee of the Month three times in a row. They are looking to see if you can do the job. Look at the job description and determine if any of the accomplishments you have achieved relate. If so, include them in a couple of sentences.

Accomplishments
- Served on the board of directors of semi.org, and worked with 14 companies on implementation of Generic Equipment Model (GEM) standards.Above view of young consultant shaking hands with her client

The second person who will look at your resume is the hiring manager. They are going to be focused on can you do the job required. While the HR Person may understand in general terms what the job does, it is the hiring manager who is closest to the job and can make the judgment call as to who can do the job. The hiring manager is going to be looking to see if you have performed similar work elsewhere of if dissimilar work could actually be translated into similar skills at the new employer. You might illustrate this by putting adding another bullet that illustrates this.

IKEA – Computer Support Technician                                      March, 2016 – June 2018
Designs and sells ready to assemble furniture, appliances and home accessories.
- Provided technical support for store operations employees with desktop and Point of Sale (POS) software.
- Developed enhancement in C#, to POS software, to allow for the automation of the credit card reconciliation process on a nightly basis. This software was required to operate with no user intervention and pull the databases of over 100 stores across the world.

So, while the software enhancement above didn’t make microchips, it did demonstrate your ability to create software with no user interaction, automation, via networking, authored in C#. If you are applying outside of your industry, these explanations become critical so that the hiring manager still considers you a viable candidate.

As with the HR Person, don’t assume the hiring manager was an engineer. Some companies will promote people who are good managers, but not necessarily skilled in the area they are managing. If you can demonstrate your ability to clearly communicate to a layperson, this will be another point in your favor.

Learn about all the career possibilities at Cimetrix!

Careers

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture

#Techtoo? Awareness is key to avoiding headlines

Posted by Brice Laris MPC, CPLP; Human Resources Manager on Apr 3, 2019 11:00:00 AM

DiscriminationpicThe #MeToo movement has brought the issues of harassment and discrimination to the forefront of American thought. High profile celebrities, business people and politicians have had their illegal behavior exposed as a result of the movement. While the situations generally profiled in the media center around rampant abuse and overtly inappropriate behavior, it is important to consider that not all issues of harassment and discrimination take the form of sexual assault. In fact, sometimes even our best-intentioned behaviors can send the wrong message.

For example, let's say a hiring manager is looking at four candidates for a software engineer position. Three of the candidates are male, one female. The hiring manager currently has all males reporting to him and they frequently go out to sporting events and movies together. The hiring manager worries that if he hires a female, the fun dynamic he has now will be impacted. After all, women may not be interested in football or slasher movies, right?

There are two fallacies in this hiring manager’s thinking. The first is the impact of choosing someone who is not like the others. Often times the most productive teams are those that bring a variety of skills, knowledge and experience to bear. The second fallacy is in making assumptions about a person based on gender. When gender (or race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) impacts your expectations of how someone will act or work, it is not only insulting to the person, it can lead to bad decision making.

Of course, one key fact is that when hiring, you should not be looking for a friend to hang out with. You should be looking at someone who can perform the job and make positive contributions to the company. Worrying too much about team dynamics, and not enough about job skill, can lead to a bunch of friends who can’t meet the goals of the company.

We must be aware that even our most well-intentioned actions can potentially be inappropriate, and possibly illegal. A male employee working the night shift at a grocery store along with several other employees gets asked to bring in the shopping carts. He agrees and brings in the carts. After this happens for a few nights in a row, the employee asks his manager why only he has to get the carts while none of the female employees do. The manager replies, “Well, this late it is pretty dark, and I don’t like sending our female employees out alone in the dark. There are a lot of crazy people out there.”

While this may seem like a perfectly reasonable explanation, making an employment decision such as work assignments, based on gender is illegal. If there is a legitimate safety concern about female employees being out after dark, then the manager should look for solutions that don’t involve gender bias. Perhaps security cameras need to be installed. Maybe two people should be sent out instead of just one. There are many possibilities you could brainstorm that would not run afoul of the law.

negative-space-office-team-building-fist-bump-desk-rawpixel

Finally, it's important to watch how small impact behaviors can escalate into larger issues. What if one of the female office clerks that supports your team often says things like, “You know women, we change our minds a lot” or, “I need a big strong man to help me move this table.”? If you thought you don’t need to be concerned because a female is talking about females, then you could be making a harmful mistake. If a male said something like, “This is women’s work” it would almost instantly raise our eyebrows and we’d address it. But either gender making denigrating comments about their own gender can also have a cumulative effect. People who get to used hearing a stereotype reinforced may start to view the statement as fact. How do we memorize something? Repeat it over and over. How do we build a negative attitude towards anything? By hearing or saying negative things about it over and over. The result is that, at some point we may become so desensitized, we inadvertently speak or act in an inappropriate way.

While this blog post has focused mainly on gender; any protected class such as race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or veteran status can be substituted in. When working with managers, co-workers and direct reports, the only legal thing to do is treat everyone equally. Don’t let non-job-related factors influence your judgment. Treat people fairly and make your employment decisions based on knowledge, skills and abilities and not any other factors.

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture

Why Work in the Electronics Manufacturing Industry?

Posted by Brice Laris MPC, CPLP; Human Resources Manager on Mar 6, 2019 10:44:00 AM

A question that job seekers should always ask of potential employers is, “Why should I work in your industry?” It is an important question when you consider that only 60 of the original Fortune 500 companies from 1955 are still in existence in 2017. Changing customer tastes, mergers, technology and many other reasons are responsible for this, but it does give us at least one key takeaway: the company I start my career with probably won’t be the one I end it with. As a result, it is important to ensure the industry you go into will be able to stand the test of time.sand-to-systemspdf-1

When one enters an industry, be it as an engineer or an accountant, you begin to build specialized knowledge of that industry within your field. This provides you with a competitive advantage in the job market of that industry. Companies are willing to pay more for an engineer with experience in their industry than one they will have to train. If you suddenly find the industry you are in obsolete, all of your specialized knowledge becomes likewise obsolete. For example, someone who was an engineer in the cathode ray tube industry may not find themselves as competitive for the top jobs anymore. 

The electronics manufacturing industry is an exciting place to be, and there is no immediate replacement or end in sight. When you join a company like Cimetrix you have the opportunity to develop and support the software that runs manufacturing equipment in factories worldwide. Those factories create computer memory and processor chips, RF and microwave transmitters, sensors and actuators of all shapes and sizes, power devices and amplifiers, display drivers, and many more items that go into the electronics we use every day. 

You are also part of an industry that meets the demands of many different and diverse end users, providing some shelter from the ups and downs of any particular market. When cell phones became less popular in favor of smart phones, the demand for new products didn’t go away—it simply changed the type of products were called for. 

One specific benefit of life at Cimetrix is that we are an integral part of the the electronics manufacturing and related industriesy. We often refer to one another as family, we take care of each other, celebrate our successes and create an environment where people enjoy coming to work. We have very competitive benefits and compensation, so we can pay you what you are worth. Many employees even have the option of working from home up to three days a week, saving them wear and tear on their vehicles (and their nerves from driving in traffic!).

If you are ready to join an exciting, dynamic, growing and fun industry, please check out our open positions.

Careers

Topics: Cimetrix Company Culture, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0, Cimetrix Products

Open and Vibrant Communication

Posted by Brice Laris MPC, CPLP; Human Resources Manager on Dec 11, 2018 11:06:00 AM

teamwork-puzzle-organized-pieces-together-frameA small engineering company hired a brand-new engineer from a competitor. He was introduced by management as being “dynamic and creative” and they would see “where he would fit” in the company. The engineer walked around, asked questions, and began to learn about the different projects under consideration and what he might be interested in. During his first month with the company, two of his peers quit. When asked about their reasons for leaving in the exit interview, both felt like that management had hired the new engineer to take their place. In the absence of solid communication from management, two good employees made incorrect assumptions and moved on. It was never management’s intention to replace anyone and the feedback surprised them. Additionally, they were surprised by the fact that the employees didn’t feel comfortable about coming to management and asking about the role of the new engineer. This situation provided a valuable lesson about the importance of open and vibrant communication.At Cimetrix, one of our core values is “Team: Encourage Open and Vibrant Communications.” Open communication is the hallmark of many companies’ core values, but vibrant is an important distinction. When we talk about open communication we usually mean honest, direct feedback—a key component in any business’ success. Vibrant communication means that honest, direct feedback is not only expected, it is also enthusiastically encouraged and provided. We want employees to never be shy about sharing their feelings about how Cimetrix can do better. 

With over 500 years of collective experience amongst our employees, there are very few problems that someone has not encountered before. Sometimes that experience allows a problem to be quickly solved. Other times it might just provide advice about what not to do, because that solution did not work. Both types are valuable, and both are encouraged of all Cimetrix employees. When we say all, we really do mean all. A problem in Human Resources may have been encountered by a software engineer at a previous company. A solutions engineer may be dealing with a challenge similar to one faced by marketing not long ago. Only looking inward for answers to problems, challenges or questions is like driving a car with only one of your five senses. Sure, sight is a big help in driving the car, but so is listening for crossing trains, feeling the pattern of the road when the traffic lines aren’t visible and smelling for fumes that might indicate a problem with the car itself.

Open and vibrant communication has a ripple effect, much like throwing a stone in a pool of water. When employees effectively and efficiently solve problems, our company’s reputation is enhanced, and we build better products. Those better products ripple out to enable our customers to produce better solutions for their customers. Those solutions continue to ripple out through the supply chain all the way to the end users, when they purchase a semiconductor-based product such as a smartphone, television or laptop. 

Team-communication-frame

However, open and vibrant communication does not just happen, it must be constantly modeled and encouraged on a daily basis by management. There must also be a culture that allows people to speak up without fear of reprisal, retaliation or derision. Nothing will shut down communication faster than someone saying, “That was a stupid idea,” or “How could you know anything about this; you’re not an engineer/accountant/marketer/developer/manager/etc.” If this type of behavior occurs it must be called out, professionally, to reinforce the principle that there are no “bad ideas.” 

I encourage you to reflect on your business and ask yourself if open and vibrant communication is a part of your culture, and if it isn’t, what changes do you need to make. While a company with poor communication between and to employees can be successful in the short term, it becomes more difficult to continue to succeed in the long term.

Learn more about Cimetrix, our mission and our culture. 

Meet Cimetrix

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture