Feb 3, 2016, by Jennifer Colegrove Ph.D.
Recently, several of my industry contacts and new graduate students had asked me for advice and to help with their job searching. Here I post part of a book I’m writing. Hope my experience can help you.
How to find your dream job
My career started since 1999 in California’s Silicon Valley, while I was an Intern at dpiX, a Xerox spin off in 1999. In 2000 I received my Ph.D. degree.
In the following six years, I worked as senior material engineer in Digilens, research and development engineer in Silicon Bandwidth, project manager at Crystal Research, and senior display engineer in Intel. I was doing OK at my jobs as a senior engineer, but I wasn’t excellent. I wasn’t promoted in those engineer jobs. It’s the opposite; I was laid off couple of times.
In 2006, I left Intel after worked there for over two years. I kept sending out resumes to look for a new engineer job.
Until one day, a friend told me about a book called “What color is your parachute”. (The book’s author is Richard N. Bolles). I went to a library and borrow the book and several other career books. In the following 3 days, I read the books and followed the book to analyze myself. After 3 days of self-analysis, I found out my top three strengths:
- My No.1 strength is that I’m good at analyzing complicated information and find out the trends.
- My No. 2 strength is that I’m good at finding information, I can read science journal, search the web, or talk to people and find the information.
- My No. 3 strength is that I like to give presentations; I like to show-off what I know. I’ve presented at many industry conferences and helped with hosting some conferences before.
As soon as I wrote down my top 3 strengths, it’s like a light bulb turned on. I immediately said, “I want to be a market research analyst!”.
I went to a market research company’s website, there was no job opening on the website. I found a general email address and send in my resume anyway.
The next day, the market research company’s human resources lady called me and said their Vice President wanted to interview me. One week later I went in their office in Santa Clara for a face-to-face interview.
Three days after the interview, I got the job offer. Five days later, I started working as a senior analyst.
The analyst job suited me very well. I led my division for a quick turn-around by introducing new products—the Touch Screen report. I was probably the first analyst to write a comprehensive Touch Screen report since 2006.
By 2008, my division’s revenue is record high.
We are all wired differently, each of us is unique. Even twins have different characters. You need to analyze yourself and find out your top three strengths, find out your passion. A study showed that 70% of Americans are living in the wrong job. “Each one should live his life with the gifts that the Lord has given him.” The Bible said.
When the job is your dream job, you are good at it, you work 50 hours per week willingly; your clients love your work; you’ll bring in large revenue for your company. If your company doesn’t give you a promotion after all you’ve contributed to them, then they’ll lose you and then they’ll regret that they didn’t give you a promotion.
When I recruit team member, I want my team member to have passion on the industry that they’ll be covering. I want them to enjoy their work.
However, be aware that to find your dream job is not easy or simple. In the early years of your career, you may not know what your strengths are, it may take several years to figure it out.
Sometimes, your strength may not pay well, you can’t make a living with it. You’ll have to take a not-so-satisfied job for several years and learn more skills and wait for the opportunity to mature.
Thanks for reading.
Jennifer Colegrove Ph.D.