Engineering Jobs/Cover Letter Questions?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by emulkahi1, Oct 11, 2006.

  1. emulkahi1

    emulkahi1 Well-Known Member

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    Hello Everyone--

    My DH and I have been living in a small, rural town in central MT, running our own business, for the past 5 or so years. We are interested in keeping our home where it is, and maintaining our current business. However, we have some rather significant bills that need to be paid off. The business easily brings in enough to support our lean lifestyle, but cannot support these hefty payments.

    Before going into business for ourselves, DH worked as a mechanical engineer. He has a degree in that field and is very good at it. He is also a very talented mechanic and welder.

    We've both heard about various engineering-type jobs on ships, etc that tend to function in a one month on/one month off (or some other similar timeframe) schedule. It was our thought that if he were to get a job like this for a couple of years, we could possibly keep our home (and garden and critters) and our business as is, and also have his extra income to help get these large payments put behind us. Have any of you had experience with this sort of thing? If so, your input would be invaluable to us :).

    I ask this question here (if it isn't the right forum, moderators feel free to move my post to the appropriate spot) because I know that integrating the homesteading lifestyle with earning a living can sometimes be tricky (depending on a person's particular situation), so I thought you all might have some experience/input.

    Another related question. Many of the companies that seem to offer these sorts of positions (the one month on/off, etc) also seem to offer regular full-time positions (M-F, 9-5). Would one's cover letter be the right spot to mention the sort of employment you were looking for? DH thought it might be, and I agree....but we were also concerned that it might seem too demanding to be setting one's own schedule before even being hired. But on the flip-side, if that is what is needed for you to agree to work there, it would save them the time of getting in touch with you if they couldn't meet those requirements. Ugh--the stress of it.

    Anyway, thanks so much for any and all advice :) :) !!

    Erin
     
  2. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    Yes, put what you want to do, and why, into your cover letter. Not too wordy, but include clear ideas about your goals. Even discuss your personal service company working for their company, etc.

    You can even include your love of the land.

    Then what works out will have a better chance of being good and successful for both of you.

    Alex

    (PE, PEng -- Mechanical)
     

  3. CatsPaw

    CatsPaw Who...me?

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    Owen Co., Indiana
    AHA!.....(rubbing my hands together like a fly about to pounce on a sugar cube)....one of my favorite subjects (and one of my pet peaves.)

    99.99% of people can't write a good resume. <- don't know the code for the little e with the uppity thing on it.)

    The key to a good resume is to keep the cover letter to less than one page. Distill the actual resume to one page if possible. No frills, no little smiley faces, no colored paper to get their attention.

    Here's what an HR suit does when he/she gets a resume.....

    "well...who's this....name... age...what does he want to do....how much does he want....yawn....hhmmm...looks like his life story....yawn again...o.k. what qualifies him...[flips to the actual resume not bothering to read the second and third page of the cover letter].....oh...geez...elementary school....clubs...junior high grade point average....hhmm...klunk."

    That klunk is your resume going in the trash.

    Cover letter:

    "To whom it may concern,

    (better if you investigate who you should actually be sending the resume to and address it to them personally. Just call the co. and ask who it would be sent to.)

    My name is Earl. I currently reside in Floyd's Knob, Indiana. I am interested in securing employment in the field of mechanical engineering. Having researched your company, I understand you are currently looking for engineers. I would appreciate the opportunity to schedule an interview.

    I have been a working mechanical engineer for xx years. Typically, my work as been in [this discipline] and [this discipline]. I am available for a standard schedule or, if neccessary, a flexible one. I believe I can provide your company as much as you can provide me.

    Thank you in advance for your consideration.

    Signed,

    Earl"

    That takes about 15 seconds to read. If they want, they'll turn to your resume for the details. You don't put your schooling, hobbies/interests, salary requirements, pets, etc. in the cover letter. That's what the resume is for. The cover letter is the sales ad for the car...the resume is the spec. sheet...and the interview is the owners manual.

    They don't need to know everything. Just the basics to know whether they want an interview with you or not. The rest of the details are for the interview. All the chit chat about home and family, work ethic, drinking coffee.

    You don't need to list your high school stuff (except where you went to high school), unless you're just out of college. They don't care that you were secretary of the chess club 20 years ago. Beware of talking about already having a business....this implies that you need extra money for awhile and would quit and go back to the business when you could. That tells them you're not committing to a long term relationship. A company invests alot in an employee and doesn't want to see it go down the tubes in a year or so...especially with older recruits.

    Be honest with your salary requirements. Put down what you need and want. If you don't, you'll waste time when they find out there's no way they'll pay you that much or something. You also don't want to go in low because you think they might not pay higher and find out you're getting paid half of what everyone else is.

    uuhh...my brain is empty now.
     
  4. CatsPaw

    CatsPaw Who...me?

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    Location:
    Owen Co., Indiana
    oh...yeah....(as my brain is drained, these are the gurgglings at the end)...as far as the business is concerned...learn to be vague using double speak.

    Example: (assuming the business is not engineering..)

    For the past 5 years my wife and I have run our own business. However, since it is not in my discipline and the business doesn't really require my presence, it is my desire to offer once again my services as an engineer.

    Translation:

    I haven't been an engineer for the past 5 years. It doesn't make enough money so I have to get back into an eng. job.

    Check your grammar and spelling!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  5. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Remember too that only HR personnel will see your cover letter. It is a waste of time to get into technical or specific details about your talents or abilities on the cover letter. For dh's current job I wrote that he enjoyed solving those quirky hard-to-find problems that plague every business (manufacturing). But be HONEST!!! I know of people being fired or not hired because of lies on the cover letter and/or resume.
     
  6. sullen

    sullen Question Answerer

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    Speaking of Engineers if anyone wants to move to Maine, Bath Iron Works is desperate for Engineers.
     
  7. emulkahi1

    emulkahi1 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you VERY much everyone--for all of your very informative and helpful replies. This decision for DH to look outside our business for employment has been a stressful one for us, so we appreciate as many perspectives as we can get.

    Erin :)
     
  8. bjba

    bjba Drifter

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    emulkahi1

    I'm an engineer. I had a field job for years traveled 3 weeks out of 4 48 weeks a year. The travel was harder on the family than the one doing the traveling.
    I would apply for the job I want. They should have entirely different job descriptions. That will eliminate any confusion on your husbands part or the companys part.