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Launching your career

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Launching your career

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									                                         IEEE-USA E-Books



  Launching Your Career:
How to Find Your Perfect Job




                                           By Abby Vogel


                               The GOLD Series: Book 1
TO COME: Look for upcoming books in this series about leadership, networking, mentors, and adjusting to the workplace
Acknowledgments

This e-book series was the brainchild of 2007 IEEE-USA President John Meredith. John proposed themes
that this GOLD e-book series, Launching Your Career, should include, and helped me select the subject for
this first e-book in the series — How to Find Your Perfect Job. John also suggested topics to include in the
e-book, and he helped me develop a survey that asked IEEE members about their previous employment
experiences.

I want to thank the IEEE members who responded to the survey and shared personal stories about their lives
and past jobs. I also want to thank John for his assistance in writing this e-book.
                                                                                             — Abby VOGEL




Published by IEEE-USA.
Copyright © 2008 by the IEEE. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.
Edited by Georgia C. Stelluto, IEEE-USA Publishing Manager.
Cover design and layout by Josie Thompson, Thompson Design.
This IEEE-USA publication is made possible through funding provided by a special dues assessment of IEEE
members residing in the United States.
Copying this material in any form is not permitted without prior written approval from the IEEE.
Table Of Contents                                                                                          3


  Chapter 1 Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

  Chapter 2   Evaluate your Personality and Aspirations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
        2.1   Self-Assessment: Values
        2.2   Self-Assessment: Skills
        2.3   Self-Assessment: Work Style
        2.4   Self-Assessment: Goals

  Chapter 3   Find a Great Company to Work For . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
        3.1   Conduct Research
        3.2   Determine the Company’s Culture
        3.3   Check out the Company’s benefits and Perks
        3.4   Find a Great boss and Colleagues
        3.5   Complete an Internship

  Chapter 4   Choose the best Position for you . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
        4.1   The Job
        4.2   Location, Location, Location
        4.3   Salary, Work/Life balance and Travel

  Chapter 5 build your Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
        5.1 Networking Web Sites
        5.2 Professional Societies

  Chapter 6 Final Thoughts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

  Chapter 7 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18




                                                  THE GOLD SERIES: BOOK 1 — HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT JOB
4       Chapter 1


    Introduction

    y   our perfect job is waiting for you. It might not be your first job out of college, but that
        doesn’t mean that you’ll never find it. The first step in finding your dream job is to adopt a
    long-term strategy in your career development and job search. you can zero in on that perfect
    job, if you prepare yourself correctly, and know how to look.
    The happiest employees have made realistic and attainable goals that encompass their
    passions, strengths and lifestyles. The sooner you take control, consider your options and take
    ownership of your career choice, the easier it will be. Consider your career as a long race —
    a 26.2-year marathon. you may need to accept non-dream jobs to gain skills that will allow you
    to fulfill your career goals down the road.
    but choose carefully, because your career decisions may have lifelong ramifications — your
    job choice can play a major role in determining your income, community status, opportunities
    for success, circle of friends and even your choice of a spouse. The jobs you choose also help
    shape your identity and sense of self-worth.
    This e-book provides a checklist in Chapters 2-5 to get you thinking about your personal,
    long-term career goals, and how to find your ideal job:
    3	 Evaluate your personality and aspirations
    3	 Find a great company to work for
    3	 Choose the best position for you
    3	 build your network




    THE GOLD SERIES: BOOK 1 — HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT JOB
    Chapter 2                                                                                           5




Evaluate Your Personality and Aspirations

L   ooking for the perfect job starts with an understanding of who you are and what you
    most enjoy doing. The process of figuring this out is called self-assessment. you need
to determine your values, skills, work style and goals before you start looking for a job.
When you’re trying to figure these things out, it’s most important to be realistic, honest
and open-minded.
“you need to seek out where your interests lie and follow your dreams,” advises Richard
Larson, a design manager with CH2M HILL International.

2.1 Self-Assessment: Values
your values are possibly the most important thing to consider when you’re choosing a job.
If you don’t take your values into account when planning your career, there’s a good chance
you’ll dislike your work and not succeed in it. Thinking about what you want out of life and
what your values are will help you consider what path you want to take.
To determine your values, ask yourself “What is important to me?” Is it more important
that you interact with people, make a contribution to society or have a high salary? IEEE Senior
Member Larson knows that his ideal job is one where he can make the world a better place for
the future. “I’m contributing to the handling of nuclear wastes generated from the production
of medical isotopes. To be involved in making certain that the environment is not impacted, and
that isotopes can now be produced long-term, is satisfying,” he said.
To find out what’s important to you, there are several value inventory quizzes you can take
online [1-4]. One Web site offers a values worksheet to help you identify your most important
work values [5]. There is also a Web site that reviews value inventories [6]. Once you’ve made
your list of what’s important to you, go back through your list and ask yourself “Do I need
these things or do I just want them?”
your list of values may change throughout your career, so don’t be afraid to revisit these
values inventories down the road. For example, as Paul Kostek has gained more experience,
his values have changed.
“First, it was money and opportunity. Then, it was increasing leadership/management
opportunities. Now it’s the chance to develop products that help people and provide me
the flexibility to work and also pursue personal interests. I’ve had several jobs that met my
desire to work closely with customers and help them develop a solution,” said Kostek, a
principal systems engineer with Physio Control, and the principal of Air Direct Solutions,
a systems engineering/project management consulting firm.




                                               THE GOLD SERIES: BOOK 1 — HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT JOB
6   2.2 Self-Assessment: Skills
    After determining your values, identify those skills you consider your strongest and your
    least proficient. Don’t forget — skills are acquired not only from past work experiences, but
    also from community service and other roles you have in life. Divide your list of skills into
    three categories:
    •	 Transferable or functional skills – Skills you can transport from one job to another
       S
    •	 	 elf-management or adaptive skills – Skills or strengths you develop through life and
       work experience, or from exposure to role models, family members, or friends. Certain
       self-management skills are very important in some occupations, less important in others.
    •	 Technical or work content skills – Skills you learn through training; can often be applied
       to your specific occupation
    you can ask yourself questions such as: Are you good at managing and communicating with a
    team, or persuading others? Are you good at analyzing data and drawing conclusions? Are you
    good at a certain computing programming language? Knowing your skills can help you answer
    important interview questions about your capabilities. If you don’t have the skills to compete for
    your ideal job, learn them in school; or be willing to accept a less than ideal job, so that you can
    learn them.

    2.3 Self-Assessment: Work Style
    your work style includes all facets of how you approach your work. before you choose a job,
    you should consider how you think through problems, arrive at decisions and approach other
    people, because you may clash with your boss and colleagues, if your styles are antagonistic.
    The first thing to consider is how you plan and organize tasks — how you get the job done.
    Do you work best when solutions to problems are constantly changing? Or do you prefer to
    plan projects in detail right from the beginning? Related to how you think through problems:
    How do you seek, sort and process information? Two people can reach the same final decision,
    and yet still not work well together because they arrive at their positions in different ways.
    you should also consider how you approach and communicate with other people.
    Differences between your approach to work and your boss’ could cause major headaches and a
    stressful work environment. A little stress is not a bad thing, but constant stress isn’t good for
    anyone.

    2.4 Self-Assessment: Goals
    Once you have identified your main values, interests and skills, you are well-positioned to
    draw a clearer picture of your goals. Use what you learned about yourself in Chapter 2.1-2.3 to
    define objectives that match your personality and character. Ask yourself what your goals and
    long-term objectives are for your career. What do you want from your career? Where do you
    see yourself in five or ten years? What is the ideal job title or job content you are aiming for?
    Once you’ve answered these questions, think of how you can harness your most important
    values, interests, skills and achievements to fulfill your goals.
    If you are still in college, visit your career services office to speak with a licensed career
    counselor. This counselor will help connect the dots between your self-assessment values,
    work style and skills, and what you should be looking for in a position.


    THE GOLD SERIES: BOOK 1 — HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT JOB
   Chapter 3                                                                                              7




Find a Great Company to Work For
3.1 Conduct Research
Finding out what a company is really like requires a lot of research. you need to conduct
research to determine how successful a company has been and the likelihood of continued
success, and its reputation and ranking among competitors.
To conduct research about a company, start from the inside with the company’s Web site.
you can find out what the company does, how big it is, the atmosphere, what sort of growth it
is expecting and in what areas, and the future direction of the company. Read the company’s
annual reports, speeches and press releases.
Richard Larson looks at the top management’s actions more than their words. “Actions
say whether the company has integrity and the corporation has a good attitude for handling
employees. The benefits are something to evaluate, but working for a company with good
benefits and poor business attitudes/approaches is something I couldn’t do. I put principles,
such as treating employees fairly and justly in growth, stability and downsizing company
situations, at the top of my list. In my experience, employee-owned firms seem to have the
best practices,” Larson said.
Once you’ve scoured the company’s Web site, research the prospective employer in trade
publications, business journals, local publications and Web site articles. A simple search of the
company’s name on a Web search engine should yield timely information to help you
get acquainted with the business.
And don’t forget to check out the company’s finances. Many small- to mid-sized companies
today are extremely stressed for cash. Moving from one cash-starved venture to another could
be commonplace. but, in a small company with limited financial resources, your job security
will be much better if you are working in the main area of the company’s interests, instead of
a sideline. If you are using a recruiter, don’t be shy about asking for that person’s insights into
the true inner workings of the organization.
Sometimes the market share can be very important, according to IEEE Senior Member Paul
Kostek. “I joined a company that is under Food and Drug Administration (FDA) restrictions on
shipping products and will be sold by the corporation that owns them. It seems kind of crazy,
but they have a solid market share of the product they produce (defibrillators), and I felt I could
make a difference joining the company as they emerge from the FDA restrictions and are sold
off,” explained Kostek.




                                                 THE GOLD SERIES: BOOK 1 — HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT JOB
8   3.2 Determine the Company’s Culture
    Some companies are widely recognized as a good employer — and are ones that top applicants
    (people who have multiple offers) end up choosing. These companies could be great places
    to work, because your colleagues are likely to be of the highest caliber. These are the people
    from whom you will learn the most. In addition, you may be more marketable in the future, if
    you work for these types of companies. To find such a company, find out which institutions
    command the best reputations; and where top people have gone in the past.
    Ed Perkins, an independent consultant working in information technology assurance and
    governance, suggests choosing a company by its “reputation, what the rumor mill says, and
    its viability.” He has chosen to work for a larger company in the past, because it was a prime
    place to work at the time.
    Other companies have a fun environment and lifestyle. The work is engaging, the people are
    friendly, employees enjoy what they are doing, and the management knows how to create a
    productive and enjoyable atmosphere. Often, this type of company is involved in interesting
    work, is a young organization, and has interesting and committed people. Every employer will
    advertise themselves as this type of company, but you have to find the ones that are telling the
    truth. Talk to people who work for the company, even if they work in the mailroom. Ask your
    university’s alumni office if they have a list of alumni that work at your prospective companies.
    Ask current employees questions. Slim budgets, unstable funding and second-rate equipment
    all spell trouble. Does everyone work 12-hour days? Do you like to stay up late and sleep until
    9:00 a.m., but everyone at a prospective company has to be in the office by 7:00 a.m.? you can
    also ask questions about the culture during an interview.
    “It’s important to understand the culture and work habits of a company and the organization
    you’re working for. It helps you understand what the expectations will be, and whether that
    company is a good fit for you. I’d use a personal network to find out more, and then the inter-
    view to learn about how they are working, and their communications styles,” said Paul Kostek.
    Like Kostek advises, even if you do not know anyone at a company directly, your friends and
    colleagues probably do. your personal contacts may end up giving you an earful about what the
    company is really like on the inside. Anecdotes from the people you speak with can provide a
    valuable window into the organization. you can find out the common elements for success in
    the company, and things like their turnover ratio.
    If you don’t know a friend of a friend in the company, then set up an informational interview.
    Informational interviews are a great way to get inside information about an organization,
    see the work environment first-hand and meet some employees. Companies design their
    headquarters to convey an image to the world. The moment you enter a building, you begin to
    learn how the company conceives of itself. Is the space open? Who gets the private offices?
    Is the environment pleasant? Are people running around frantically? Are people too busy to
    talk? Such indicators all say something about the environment.
    “I have worked in environments where trust and integrity was low, and they were the absolute
    worst professional experiences of my career. Working in an environment where you can trust
    others makes going home from a long day much easier,” said David butcher, a senior systems
    engineer with Axway Corporation.




    CHAPTER 3: FIND A GREAT COMPANY TO WORK FOR
3.3 Check out the Company Benefits and Perks                                                             9
The most common benefit packages include health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance,
disability insurance, paid vacation time, paid holidays, paid sick leave and retirement plans.
As you begin your job search, you need to know what you should be looking for in a benefits
package. It is important to keep in mind not only benefits you will utilize now, but also those
you will use in the future. you may need to plan for a future family, or for your retirement.
In addition to the benefits listed above, employers may provide fringe benefits. Fringe benefits
can include, but are not limited to:
•	 Tuition assistance/reimbursement
•	 Continuing education/professional development courses
•	 On-site daycare/off-site daycare discounts
•	 On-site fitness center/off-site fitness center membership discounts
•	 On-site medical facility
•	 Wellness programs
•	 Company car
•	 Employer-provided or employer-paid housing
•	 Transportation allowances
•	 Free parking/parking reimbursement
•	 Relocation expenses
•	 Profit sharing
•	 Stock options
•	 yearly bonuses
•	 Flexible work schedule/ability to work from home
•	 Enhanced vacation time
•	 Sick/personal leave
•	 Short- and long-term disability plans
•	 Maternity leave
•	 Employee assistance program
•	 Rewards for “going green”
•	 Country club or social club membership
•	 Tickets to sporting events or other entertainment




                                                THE GOLD SERIES: BOOK 1 — HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT JOB
10
     “The little extras do weigh in,” said David butcher, also an IEEE Senior Member. “A $100/
     month gym membership is just that. It is worth $100. These are good things, and if all other
     things are equal, they could be tie breakers. I think in general they also indicate that the
     employer is somewhat interested in taking care of the employee. In other words, beyond
     the specific value of the benefit, it may be an indication of corporate culture.”

     3.4 Find a Great Boss and Colleagues
     It does you no good to find an ideal job, if your boss is a jerk, or your co-workers are morons.
     Most job seekers think that such factors are unknowable before you accept a job, but that’s not
     true. There are many ways that you can find out whether your boss and colleagues are a good
     match for you.
     Russell Lefevre, currently a radar systems consultant, has used networking to find out about
     potential bosses and colleagues. “In my field, the people — bosses and other employees —
     are known to many, and it is easy to find out a lot of information, including anecdotes and other
     sources of useful,” said Lefevre, also the 2008 IEEE-USA President, and an IEEE Fellow.
     As you advance through your career, you’ll find that whenever issues develop between you and
     your boss, you will often be the one who will take the burden of the blame. As unfair as this
     might be, it is the reality of the job seeker.
     “bosses and co-workers can either assist in career development or derail an individual’s dreams
     and goals,” said Larson.
     bad managers can be spotted easily — they have no vision, have poor communication and
     organization skills, and lack enthusiasm for the mission of the organization. Figure out who
     they are. And avoid them!
     The best bosses tend to be those who hire smart, motivated people, rather than people
     who simply have all the requisite skills. They are natural leaders, enjoy mentoring and are
     committed to success. Unfortunately, such people are rare, and they tend to advance rapidly.
     Nevertheless, these people are out there — and you only have to talk with a few of their
     employees to find out who they are.
     In Chapter 2.3, you assessed your own work style, so you need to be sure that meshes
     with your prospective boss. you might consider asking a prospective bosses about their
     management styles, and how they like to be updated by employees on their progress.
     “your boss’ management style and your personality must be compatible to have a satisfying
     and productive workplace experience,” advises Mitch Thornton, a professor of computer
     science and engineering at Southern Methodist University, and an independent consultant.
     being a good personality match doesn’t mean you have to have the same hobbies or sense of
     humor as your boss. What you do have to have is mutual respect and an agreement about the
     goals of the organization and how to get there.
     Uri Moszkowicz, a software engineer at Mentor Graphics, agrees. “you need to make sure that
     you will get along with your boss and that he will be sincerely interested in helping you develop
     your career rather than simply getting the job done. your growth potential is tied to selecting a
     good boss. It will also help you determine what your potential boss will be expecting of you and
     lets you know if the job is a good fit for your skills,” IEEE Member Moszkowiz said.



     CHAPTER 3: FIND A GREAT COMPANY TO WORK FOR
                                                                                                          11
As far as colleagues go, if you visit an organization and come away feeling that you would be
the smartest person there — beware! Take the skills you learned in college while working in
teams to develop a sense for people.
David butcher points out that you should not rely completely on your feelings for your
prospective boss and colleagues because “bosses and co-workers change, and sometimes
quicker than one might think. but it does make going to work a lot easier, if you and your
team have the same set of values. I have been to a few interviews where questionable tactics
were used. I did not accept any offers from these organizations. Personally, I felt like if an
organization resorted to messing with your interview styles, they were likely to continue
with that in employment,” butcher explained.
During an interview, you can ask many questions that will help you find out if your boss and
colleagues might be a good fit. Some include:
•	 What questions do you use to assess talent before a candidate is hired?
•	 If I’m hired, in a year from now, how will you know if I’ve been successful?
•	 Why is the position open? If the last person in the job didn’t work out, why?
•	 How employee-centric is the company?
•	 What tools are managers given to perform their jobs?
•	 Why do employees stay? Why do they leave?
•	 What is your turnover rate? How does that compare to five years ago?
   W
•	 	 hat core competencies do employees have — i.e., teamwork, creativity, innovation —
   and how do you make them actionable? Are they part of regular evaluations?
   G
•	 	 ive me an example of a difficult employee relations situation. How was it handled, and
   what was the outcome?
you may want to think twice about a job opportunity if during your visits to the company
you notice that potential co-workers seem stoic and unexcited, as opposed to positive and
passionate about what they are doing; if the potential employer asks few questions and
answers your questions vaguely; or when interviewing with various people, you hear very
different responses from each person, which could mean there is no cohesive vision and/or
the leadership is lacking. It’s so tempting to dismiss “gut feelings.” If you are leery about the
boss or co-workers, it’s probably for a reason.
Hopefully you’ll luck out and find a boss or co-workers like David butcher who said, “I like
leaving my team members — peers, reports and managers — with something more than
they had before working with me. Most of the time, it is really about helping people grow
professionally. In my personal career, this type of situation is where I learned soft skills. being
able to mentor others has shown itself to be one of the most rewarding parts of my career.”
In reality, though, you might not get multiple offers to choose from. However, even if you have
a single job offer to consider, and you are weighing it against the anguish of three more months
of job seeking, consider the boss-subordinate and co-worker relationships seriously before you
make your decision.




                                                 THE GOLD SERIES: BOOK 1 — HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT JOB
12   3.5 Complete an Internship
     Completing an internship can help you realize what type of company you want to work for
     (large or small, private vs. public, etc.) and what type of work environment you most enjoy.
     but don’t take any internship — look for real job experiences that will prepare you for your
     career.
     IEEE Senior Member Mitch Thornton interned at a research laboratory and discovered that
     was the environment he ultimately wanted to work within. Similarly, Richard Larson went to
     a university with a co-operative education experience program. “The program gave me insight
     to different industry areas within my degree, different companies and their practices, and the
     treatment of employees,” recalls Larson. “I recommend students do internships, or as they
     start their career, select a company that has a rotational program during the first couple of
     years, to experience different organizations/technical areas to better find where they will excel
     in something they will be happy doing.”
     Internships can help you gain valuable skills that might contribute to your ability to land
     your ideal job right out of college. “I think internships are critical now, because companies
     want quick productivity, and it becomes a competitive advantage for students,” said IEEE
     Senior Member Ed Perkins.
     IEEE Member Kevin O’brien had two internships and a co-op in college. “I think that students
     benefit from working in a real setting during college. It helps you understand why you’re putting
     in so much time studying engineering, and it helps you focus on what you want to do when
     you leave college. It’s the “try and buy” of the job world. I think all students should pursue
     internships every summer they can.”




     CHAPTER 3: FIND A GREAT COMPANY TO WORK FOR
   Chapter 4                                                                                               13




Choose the Best Position for You
4.1 The Job
No matter how good the package is, you will become frustrated if you dislike the day-to-day
work. Consider exactly what the job involves, what your responsibilities will be and what
you will need to do to constitute superior performance. Is the management and the work
environment supportive? Will the job utilize your skills and knowledge? Is the job sufficiently
challenging? What do you like and dislike about the job? What sort of training or mentoring will
be provided? Is this the sort of job you set out to get when you first began your job search?
It is often hard to tell from a job description which jobs will give you opportunities to learn
a lot. Jobs with fixed assignments that involve little interaction with others in an organization
may not give you nearly as many opportunities to learn compared to new positions in
growing organizations. Even in an established organization you should look for where the
growth is. you will often find new job opportunities that will be defined by the job holder
as much as by the management. It is possible to turn a so-so job into a great job, if the
organization gives you some flexibility in defining the job for yourself.
you need to know that the position is a long-term one. Does the position fits into the company’s
overall strategy and long-term growth objectives? Is the job a new position? How successful is
the department?
you should also ask about the resources provided to do the job well, which can include
having the necessary equipment, knowledge, technology, management and training.
A lack of necessary resources results in stress and poor performance.
“The people make a big difference, but your role has to be enough that you can really sink your
teeth into it. Also, you have to have a clear advancement path from that initial role,” said IEEE
Member Kevin O’brien.

4.2 Location, Location, Location
The location of a job, even if it’s your ideal job, can be an important factor to consider.
“I think that living where you want to will have a great deal to do with how satisfied you are in
general. No matter how much job satisfaction you have; home satisfaction is more important,”
said Kevin O’brien, who decided where he wanted to live about three years after he graduated
from college.
The decision was tougher for Richard Larson, who has found his ideal job, but it has some
drawbacks in the location department. “My wife is currently in the United States, and
I’m in Canada. And after two years, we are not really happy with this situation,” he said.




                                                  THE GOLD SERIES: BOOK 1 — HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT JOB
     If you are going to accept a job in a new location, make a list of the effects of accepting a post
14
     there. It might mean having to live away from a partner or your family, moving your children out
     of their schools, giving up commitments to local societies, or simply leaving a place where you
     are happy. At some point during your career search you may be tempted by opportunities that
     require relocation, and this list will help you keep things in perspective.
     Paul Kostek prefers living on the West Coast and has turned down positions in the Midwest.
     “While I liked the companies and the work, quality of life was a more important issue. There’s
     a whole lot of life other than the 40-50 hours a week at work,” he said.
     If you’re going to relocate, ask yourself if the new location has what you and your family
     needs. Companies will generally offer you an opportunity to preview the area by extending
     an interview trip a day or two, perhaps over a long weekend. Make certain that these visits
     produce more information about the region than the cost of homes. Go to the grocery
     store to see if the prices are higher than what you are used to, or the selection is smaller.
     If you’re serious about eating organic, make sure organic foods are available. How are the
     local restaurants? If you’re a parent or intend to be, check out the local school system. Call the
     local insurance companies and find out what auto insurance, and home or renter’s insurance
     premiums will cost you. Look in the phone book for suitable churches, temples or synagogues.
     you should be aware, though, that you might not have much choice in location, due to the
     type of company you want to work for. For example, if you want to work on automobiles, you’ll
     probably have to live in Detroit, Michigan. Mitch Thornton is tied to certain locations. “Location
     is very important to me and I have been offered several jobs in other areas of the United
     States, but because I am interested in research and interacting with high-tech companies,
     it is important for me to live and work in an area in close proximity of such companies,” he
     explained. Larger companies may have multiple offices in different cities or states. be sure
     to ask if there is a possibility you could be transferred to another office.
     If you don’t want to be concerned about location, choose a job that allows you to work at
     home. David butcher can live anywhere in the United States. “My wife and I had decided we
     wanted to relocate to the West Coast. My current job works anywhere there is high speed
     internet and a major airport,” butcher explained.

     4.3 Salary, Work/Life Balance and Travel
     For many people, money is the most important factor in choosing a job — or at least a very
     powerful incentive. Salary is important, but doesn’t have to be the most important part about
     a job offer. Revisit the values you determined in Chapter 2.1. Is salary one of them? If it is,
     then look closely at the salary, but remember that most recent graduates start around the same
     salary. Do you picture yourself driving a sports car or a midsize sedan? Make sure that you are
     getting paid what you’re worth, and you are happy with the compensation. Nobody wants to
     be in a position where they realize that the salary isn’t enough — after they have accepted the
     job offer.
     Visit IEEE-USA’s Salary Survey to keep track of how your salary tracks your career progress,
     how it measures up to your peers’, and what effect contemplated job or career moves can
     have on your compensation [7].




     CHAPTER 5: CHOOSE THE BEST POSITION FOR YOU
Also, make sure you consider the entire compensation package. Make sure you investigate all
                                                                                                          15
of the benefits and perks described in Chapter 3.3. Think through what your expenses are, and
keep in mind intangibles, such as cost of living and the need for a new wardrobe. Will you be
able to get ahead enough to afford a down payment on a home? Do you need a flexible work
schedule, so that you can take classes during the day or in the evening?
before accepting a job, be sure you are clear on the hours and schedule you need to work. If
the position requires 45 hours of work a week and you’re used to working 35 hours, consider
whether you will have difficulty committing to the schedule. If the job interferes with your
personal life, you may not be happy. Do you plan to have a significant other, or have children? If
you do, how much time you want to spend with them? Do you want to go to the school plays?
Do you want to tuck the kids in at night? Are you OK with being away from home 14 hours per
day? Many people feel guilty about not being with their families when they’re at work late, or
on the weekend. Conversely, they also feel guilty about not being at work and dealing with
the pile on their desk, when they leave early to catch a soccer game. Then again, some people
thrive on the long hours and a more frenetic pace in life.
Richard Larson accepted a job that involves working a lot of extra hours, but doesn’t mind. “I
have worked an average of 65-hour weeks for the past 22 months, because as the engineering
design manager, I can’t let the job fail. I have always had the attitude that unpaid overtime is
something we need to do to ensure the job gets done. I am currently being compensated for
my hours, but that has not always been the case,” he said.
It’s not that working long hours is bad. It’s that you need to make sure your lifestyle is amenable
to that work style before jumping into it. Also consider travel time to and from work. Is the com-
mute going to take an extra hour or will there be parking fees you’re not paying now?
Also, confirm what, if any, travel is involved. If the nature of the job requires that you will need
to be on the road three days a week, be sure that you can commit to that, as well. If your job
requires you to travel and you have kids, do you have a partner on board with taking care of the
kids alone, 24/7? Does the thought of having to travel — dealing with airports, car rentals and
unfamiliar cities — make you cringe? Or do you want to see the world, and welcome any oppor-
tunity to travel? Either way, ask about the travel required for a position up front.




                                                 THE GOLD SERIES: BOOK 1 — HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT JOB
16      Chapter 5


     Build Your Network

     N    etworking continues to be one of the top ways to find the perfect job — whether it’s
          talking to people to find out about the culture and work environment at companies you’re
     considering working for, or to find out about job openings. Though networking can sound
     intimidating and sometimes seems a little bit scary, it doesn’t have to be. you just have to
     develop contacts — friends, family, neighbors, college alumni and people in associations —
     anyone who might help generate information and job leads.

     5.1 Networking Web Sites
     Social networking has become a popular way to stay in touch, and to reach out to those
     who might be able to help you with your job search. Sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and
     MySpace offer opportunities to contact and connect with professionals all over the world.
     Using discussion forums in professional organizations is also a great way to discover openings
     or find advice from others.

     5.2 Professional Societies
     you can also join a professional society, such as IEEE, so that you meet colleagues in your field.
     Try going to an IEEE meeting or event and make sure you always have a business card handy.
     The key is to keep going back to those same events and follow-up with the people you meet.
     After meeting someone new, send them a “nice-to-meet-you” note and invite them to attend
     another event with you, or make a date for lunch or coffee. Find out what the two of you have
     in common, and see if there is an activity you could share.
     building relationships likes this takes time and effort, but relationships are the core of network-
     ing. The people in your network should be people you truly enjoy interacting with, because if
     you’re doing it right, you’ll be spending a lot of time with them.
     “I’ve targeted a company, and then used my IEEE and other professional association member-
     ships to meet with people and learn who I should be talking to about opportunities,” said Paul
     Kostek.
     you can also talk to former classmates, colleagues and friends to just keep abreast of job
     opportunities.
     “During my career, in which I only held two jobs, I typically had at least two — and sometimes
     four — companies that I knew would offer me positions that would be very good, if I wanted
     to change jobs,” said Lefevre, who added that networking is key.
     Networking can be a great way to identify opportunities through a common acquaintance. And
     with LinkedIn and other social networking sites, you can network without leaving your home
     office.




       THE GOLD SERIES: BOOK 1 — HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT JOB
    Chapter 6                                                                                             17




Final Thoughts

E  veryone has a different set of personal circumstances. What might be the perfect job for
   you could be an awful job for someone else. Take the time to make a list of the pros and
cons of each job.
Uri Moszkowicz chose his job because of its “growth potential, talented team, exciting
project, high responsibility and respect, convenience, pay, flexibility in work hours, good
working conditions, and an emphasis on productivity as opposed to business as usual.”
but his reasons might not be the same as yours.
Listen to your gut. If it’s telling you not to take the job, there just might be something there.
Keep in mind, that if this isn’t the right job for you, it’s not the end of the world. The next
offer might just be that perfect match.
It’s much easier to turn down an offer than it is to leave a job that you have already started. The
employer would prefer that you decline, rather than having to start over the hiring process a
couple of weeks down the road because you quit. So, take the time to thoroughly evaluate the
company and job. Ask questions and take the time you need to make an educated, informed
decision — so you feel as sure as possible that you and the company are an excellent match.
“be willing to say no to a position that is not an ideal fit, but realize there are always trade-
offs, and sometimes you can’t take the ideal because of salary, geographic location or family
considerations,” said Paul Kostek.
Finding a job is harder in today’s world and competition is very stiff. So, don’t become
discouraged if you don’t get the first dream job you want. Like the old saying, “If at first
you don’t succeed — try, try again.” And at some point, you’ll find your perfect job, like
Kevin O’brien recently did.
“The small company atmosphere works for me, and I work with people who have grown to
be close friends. The amount of fun I have at work somehow makes up for the ridiculous hours
I put in. I like people knowing who I am, knowing my work ethic, and being able to pull aside
business leaders to get advice on how to impact the company with changes that will improve
our systems and processes,” O’brien said.
David butcher says his previous role as a program manager at Ford was very close to his ideal
job. “It allowed me to bring together a large team, produce results that made the organization
happy, help grow many of my team members on personal and career levels, and even with a
lot of political strife, I felt like something real had been accomplished,” he said.
This e-book aims to help you do your best to make the right decisions that will ultimately result
in finding your perfect job. but above all, once you’ve made the decision to accept a position,
move forward bravely and confidently — and without regrets.


    Chapter 7



                                                 THE GOLD SERIES: BOOK 1 — HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT JOB
18       Chapter 7


     References
     1. Career Values Scale,
        www.testingroom.com/b2cfiles/tests.html.
     2. Values Inventory,
        www.careerperfect.com/content/career-planning-career-assessment-tests/.
     3. Soul Survival Exercise
        www.career-intelligence.com/assessment/career_values.html.
     4. Value Questionnaire,
        www.mrs.umn.edu/services/career/career_planning/valquestion.php.
     5. Clarifying your Work Values: Knowing What’s Most Important to you,
        www.stanford.edu/dept/CDC/graphics/pdfs/values.pdf.
     6. Online Career Assessment Tools Review,
        www.quintcareers.com/online_assessment_review.html.
     7. IEEE-USA Salary Survey,
        www.ieeeusa.org/careers/salary




     THE GOLD SERIES: BOOK 1 — HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT JOB
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 1202 • Washington, D.C. 20036-5104
+1 202 785 0017 • www.ieeeusa.org
www.ieeeusa.org/communications/ebooks

								
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