Entries from the Job Hunter's Journal

How Is The Plastic Industry Job Market?

“How is the Plastic Industry Job Market?” remains the primary question I am asked by candidates looking for positions in the Plastics Industry.

In my role as a Third Party Recruiter (Headhunter) to the Plastics Industry, I have been talking to many plastic manufacturing companies about their current hiring plans.  The good news is that most of the companies report they are hiring, and in addition, many of them are hiring sales people.  The hiring of plastic sales people, especially resin sales people, is viewed as a very strong indicator because, from our experience, companies hire sales people when the market is on an upward swing and, strangely enough, companies downsize sales people when the plastics market is going south.

Overall, I believe the plastic industry job market is going to continue to grow in 2017 but probably at a slightly reduced rate from 2015 and 2016, so if you are looking at a great job offer this year, you might want to take it.


A recruiter that is a member of the same recruiting network I am a member of, had what appeared to be a stellar Big-4 CPA candidate sail through a phone and follow up SKYPE interview with one of my top clients. They discussed money and responsibilities on the SKYPE and he was ready to accept an on the spot offer when they flew him in for the in person interview. As part of the interview process, the team took him out for lunch and twice during the luncheon discussion he looked down and checked his cell phone, once returning a text message. He was devastated when I told him that is why he is not getting the offer. He mentioned that all of his 20 something friends and fellow Big-4 CPAs text during meals.

I found this kind of amusing until, the very next day, one of my candidates who was suppose to be being trained could not quit texting an lost his job on the first day of work.  He is in his low twenties.   Now I am concerned this may be reoccurring problem with the Millennials.

The moral of the story is whether interviewing or being trained, turn the cell phone off and more importantly; do not text.


Once upon a time, in America, all that was needed to start a very good paying career was a four year college degree but, unfortunately, that is no longer the case.  Companies no longer just care about what you know, they want to know how well you can apply that knowledge.  After all, companies are looking for employees that can solve their problems and solve them immediately.  Gone are the days when companies were willing, and could afford to, train promising talent coming straight out of college.  Technology is changing so rapidly, and most schools lag behind industry, that a degree, even in an engineering or computer technology field, is no longer considered an adequate proxy by employers for candidates to do a particular job.  Many employers are designing, or purchasing, tests to determine if the candidate can apply their knowledge.  Unfortunately, most schools (High Schools and Colleges) are so busy trying to force feed knowledge into students’ brains, and then testing to make sure it is there, that they do not have time to teach students how to apply that knowledge.   Now many technical companies are asking candidates questions, such as, “how many tennis balls will fit in a school bus and what was your thought process that led you to this solution?”, instead of asking; what is the value of Planck’s constant?

What does this mean for individuals looking for their first or a new job (obsolescence occurs very rapidly in todays job market)?  Obviously, demonstrated experience and training in the field that the employer is trying to fill is a must.  As a Technical Recruiter in the Plastics Industry, I am constantly amazed that after advertising for an Injection Molding Engineer, almost 90% of the respondents do not have any experience in the plastics field, much less, injection molding experience. If you have the requisite experience, the next step is preparing a resume that not only shows that you have the experience and training in the field you are applying for, but in addition, it is very important to provide examples of how you have used that knowledge to solve your employer’s problems and, therefore, increase sales and profits.  Obviously, most college students lack the experience and skills upon graduation that employer’s want so desperately.  That is why it is important, more than ever, for college students to perform internships, or summer positions, with companies that can provide some of the experience and skills that you want to pursue upon graduation from college and emphasize them on your resume.

Keeping your resume current is also very important.  Not listing skills or experience that you have that a company wants, based on the posted job description, is the kiss of death.  I never cease to be amazed how many individuals send me resumes that do not contain any reference to the experience required by the hiring company and when I reject them for consideration for the position they e-mail saying they have the experience requested but they have not had time to update their resume or “you are a recruiter and should have been able to tell that I have the right experience”.   Despite of what some people believe, Corporate or Third Party Recruiters are rarely clairvoyant.

Companies are constantly looking for overqualified people these days or “purple squirrels” as those of us in the recruiting industry call them.  Usually, if a company asks that a candidate meets 10 criteria, as soon as I submit a candidate that meets all 10 criteria, the company comes up with a 11th.  Being under qualified in areas of experience, training and skills will also keep the company from seriously considering you for the position.  This means that someone that has been out of school for a years should be continuing their education, usually through seminars conducted by whatever technical society they belong.  Companies use to provide continuing training to their employees but that is rarely the case anymore.  It has fallen upon the individual to assume much of the responsibility for keeping expertise and skills current, much as it is the responsibility of the professional athlete to run and lift weights to stay in shape in the off-season.  An example is; currently almost all plastic injection molding companies want engineers and technicians with “Scientific Molding” or RJG experience but some companies do not do scientific molding and their engineers or technicians lack that expertise and then when the get “downsized or rightsized” they have trouble finding another position because the lack the scientific molding skills.   Scientific Molding and/or RJG training is offered by some very good trainers and should be pursued by everyone in the industry if for no other reason than to keep themselves marketable.

In summary, candidates get rejected for jobs for two main reasons; the candidate cannot demonstrate to the company that they can solve the problems they are being interviewed for, or they don’t know what the company needs, and it comes through because the candidate has not developed the expertise and learned the skills that are needed.



The perfect resume probably has not been written but a resume does not have to be perfect, it merely has to be good enough to get you a job interview.  The following 13 items should help in your efforts to write an effective, if not perfect, resume.

  1. Never, never lie on your resume.  Even stating that you are still working for a company when you are merely collecting some type of unemployment compensation from the company is a lie.  Intentionally misleading people into believing you have a degree when you do not is a lie.  Leaving a job off the resume that you worked at for six months can be construed as a lie.  Leaving positions off the resume that are so old as to be irrelevant for the position you are applying for is usually a good idea, because; it makes the resume easier to read and, if you think you might become a victim of age discrimination, leaving old positions off the resume makes it more difficult to guess your age.
  2. Make sure all contact information is correct.  I once had an executive, making over $250,000 a year, get very angry with me because my client company would not send him his interview expense check.  When I checked into it, I found out the check had been returned to the company several times.  The candidate had an incorrect address on the resume.  I have seen many resumes with incorrect telephone numbers.  This is not as important in the email era, unless your email address is wrong also, and that is not a good thing.
  3. Make sure you have NO spelling errors on the resume.  Virtually everyone has access to word processing program with a spell checker.  If you do not, invest in a word processing program and use the spell checker.  Spelling errors send everyone who reads the resume a message that you don’t really care or you are sloppy.  I once had a candidate who after interviewing with a company felt compelled to write a thank you letter, which is normally a good thing.  Unfortunately, the thank you note was hand written and full of spelling errors.  The company’s offer letter and the candidate’s thank you note passed each other in the mail.  After receiving the thank you note, the company withdrew the offer.
  4. Talk about your accomplishment’s not the team’s accomplishments.  The team (in most cases) is not trying to get the job, you are.
  5. List accomplishments, not your job description.  The hiring company wants to know what you did to make your company more successful, not that you watered the plants every morning.  This can be very important.  I rewrote an executive candidate’s resume (for a fee) that had been out of work for six months.  The main thing I changed was his to list his accomplishments and eliminated his duties.  A few weeks later I received a letter from him stating he had 6 interviews and was deciding between 3 offers.   He also sent me an additional check.
  6. Minimize or eliminate the use of  fancy graphics.  My computer reads most of the resumes sent to me before I do and it gets very upset if it has to sift through cute winking happy faces.  Also, more and more hiring companies are reading resumes directly into data bases and bullet points and graphics make this a slow process.
  7. Do not use tables.   Tables present a whole host of problems if the recruiter has to make a change to the resume or if the company is trying to feed the resume directly into their data base.
  8. Try to keep the resume to two pages.  One page is usually too short but more that 2 page resumes often get ignored because no one has time to read more than two pages.
  9. Focus on what your can do for the company not what the company can do for you.  Remember, the company has a problem that has to be addressed or they would not be using their limited resources to make you happy.  Hopefully, the hiring process will be a win-win for both of you but remember the golden rule “he who has the gold rules”.
  10. Do not list references on your resume.  There are so many reasons not to do this that I do not want to list them here.  One of the biggest reasons not to list references is that the person you have listed as a reference may quickly become your strongest competitor for the job after the recruiter talks to him or her.
  11. Do not put your Social Security Number on your resume.   This seems obvious in this era of identity theft but I still see resumes with Social Security numbers.
  12. Do not list personal items such as hobbies, number of children, church affiliations, etc.  These can only hurt you because most Human Resource Managers are amature Psychiatrists and if they see you like to read, they automatically assume your are introverted and this could be bad if you are interviewing for the Plant Manager or sales position.  Also, deep down most companies believe you should not have a life outside the company.  If you have time for hobbies that means you could be working longer hours developing that perfect report no one is going to read.
  13. Objective statements are passé.  You have submitted your resume to the company so, obviously, you are looking for a job you can be happy performing.  Do not waste valuable resume space and the recruiter’s or Human Resources Manager’s valuable time.

Job Searching Using Social Media

I am reading Job Searching with Social Media For Dummies by Joshua Waldman, MBA among several other books.  I started reading this book to get a better feel for how Social Media can help the job seeker.  After spending several chapters … Continued

Interviewing Tip #1

During a telephone or face-to-face interview, the key thing to remember is the company is trying to solve a perceived problem.  The company hopes that you are the solution to their problem and that is why they are interviewing you.  If for … Continued

An Answer to “How is the Job Market”

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Searching for a Job???

I just read an article by the self proclaimed largest Job Search Board, providing ten reasons a job seeker may not be able to find a job.  I totally agree with the first reason, which was, the job seeker may not … Continued

Headhunters, Friend or Foe???

I am a Third Party Technical Recruiter who likes to feel that I am a friend of any job seeker who asks for my help to find them a new position, or responds to my postings at various job posting sites on the … Continued