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I have a Master's Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering (graduated in 2010). I took courses in the areas of signal processing and digital communications. I have also had teaching and research experience (journal papers) in the same and a couple of internships.

Right after graduation I started working as a verification engineer (working with Verilog, systemverilog, ovm testplans etc). Worked there for about a year. Right now I work as the sole Quality Assurance person at a dot com (coding in Python, writing test plans, setting up an automated testing environment etc).

Both my job choices were influenced by financial and personal reasons.

I now want to go back to working with communication and DSP software. An ideal position would be as a developer working in close tandem with a research team.

However, most similar positions listed on job/company sites require a recent college grad or a M.S degree with 2-3 years of relevant experience.

I am no longer a recent grad and though I have work experience, it is varied. This is the daunting part because I am not sure my resume will be picked up in the initial scan either by the software or the recruiter. Once I am at the interview stage I know I can perform well, but how do I get past this roadblock and end up being called for the interview?

Edit: Cannot seem to post comments so here goes:

Thank you @jcmeloni for the link. @pdr you have nailed the subtle difference that i was trying to put in words. The post linked to by @jcmeloni seems to question the correlation between skills and the years of experience. I get that part totally. If that weren't so i wouldn't be looking for recent graduate jobs.My dilemma is that recent graduate jobs are for recent graduates and the ones with 2-3 years of experience want "relevant" experience. My degree is in the relevant field, for example i know the theory behind wireless communication,have written code for protocol simulation (MATLAB,C,C++) and come up with new formulas. But my development experience in this field has not been for real world applications.Just trying to explain my background here. @Rarity No the top answer in that other post does not answer my question. I will edit this post based on your feedback, but i will have to think just a little bit. Please hang on till then.

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    Hi user1411110 - let me bring this question to your attention and let you and the community determine if it this is a duplicate: How can I overcome “years of experience” requirements when applying to positions?. There may be some nuance between the questions that I'm not seeing, so any edits to make those more clear would be great. Thanks! – jcmeloni Jul 19 '12 at 22:17
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    @jcmeloni: The subtle difference for me is that this post is not claiming to have the skills of a more experienced person, it's about shifting your career with realistic expectations. The question may be very similar but you surely can't claim that the top answer on that question answers this one sufficiently. – pdr Jul 19 '12 at 22:31
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    @pdr I am not making that or any claim. I am just pointing out the similarity so that we can find the subtle differences and edit the question to make it less subtle, more clear, and ultimately more useful to everyone. – jcmeloni Jul 19 '12 at 22:52
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    I don't see how the top answer of that question doesn't suit this perfectly; that answer was saying "your claim to having awesome skills isn't really relevant, so no, you can't really get around the requirement". That doesn't change if you don't have those extra skills because, at least according to that answer, those extra skills weren't relevant. – Rarity Jul 19 '12 at 23:17
  • Are you actually being rejected for screenings and interviews due to not meeting the posted educational/experience requirements, or are you just concerned about how you'll look? The cover email/letter will be your best opportunity to pitch your relevance by emphasizing education and skills; for skilled engineering roles, many companies will overlook small divergences from their posted requirements with a well written pitch, good-enough alignment with their needs, and reasonable expectations on your part regarding compensation and role. – JasonTrue Aug 18 '12 at 4:34
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Although I think getting certificates is a good idea, you may not have enough time for them because you're looking for a DSP related job now.

My suggestion is, emphasize the DSP related courses you took while in graduate school. List them in details : the grades you received, the contents covered in the courses, the interesting topics you learned in the class, etc. Get recommendation letters from the professors who taught you those courses if you can.

Generally speaking, MS degree is equivalent to BS plus 2-3 years experience. It depends on the recruiting managers' view. Some think experience is important. Some think the theory you learn in school is crucial. After all, DSP requires quite a bit expertise knowledge. If I did not misread the first part of your post, you had written journal papers. You should mention it in your CV. You said you want to work with researchers, that's what they pay most attention to. Also, make sure you indicate in your CV that you would like to work with research team. Emphasizing the word "research" will make your CV stand out to attract a research group hiring manager's eyes.

  • Thank you for the constructive suggestion. I think i have been cramming all my work/school experience in one resume.Emphasizing DSP courses,putting an appropriate resume objective,and streamlining my non dsp work description is a good idea. I will also be doing Cover letters emphasizing my skills and aspirations as suggested by @JasonTrue . I have also signed up for an IEEE networking event. Hope this all gives me a break enough to get an interview call. Again, Thank you. – user1411110 Aug 21 '12 at 6:59
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My 2 cents... Most recruiters won't know the difference, so you have to get to the hiring manager. Put the buzzwords for the job you want on your resume. As long as you're confident enough to talk about them, and not lying about the context, you'll be fine. The buzzwords will get through the automated HR, and will get you into the interview. Once you're in the interview, you just need to convince the interviewer that you're smart and useful.

Doing a little moving around early in your career is fine. 10 or 20 years it might be an issue if you're still shifting once a year and haven't found what you're looking for.

Don't get disheartened. A lot of people find jobs that have nothing to do with their experience or degree. In your case you are least in the ballpark.

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I faced a similar situation like you, what I did was to go for some certification courses and training. With that I worked for small companies as a part time and Intern employee and finally landed up in a contract job for 6 months, all in the relevant field which I want to go.Now I got finally selected by a big MNC.

I would recommend to first acquire the skills that is need for whatever the job that you are going to apply. To show that you must have some relevant experience in your resume. That could be your projects you done before in college. It all comes down to how you write your CV and Cover letter convincing enought to get a call for the interview.

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