PA's official career advice thread

Discussion in 'School Work Help' started by Dan, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. Seeing that this is job hunting season, I am sure that many would find a benefit in a thread that focuses on tips and advices on resume/interview/skills improvement.

    This is a free-for-all thread, so post a question, post an answer. Or even if it's not a question, post a scenario and get some opinions on it.

    Remember that many of us aren't career counsellors or HR experts. Responses can stem from experiences (as a prospect, as an employee, and as an employer).
  2. Knoctur_nal

    Knoctur_nal |Force 10 from Navarone|

    right on.
    throw some guidelines when requesting etc. to keep it structured
    schooling, experience, field etc
  3. person

    person Well-Known Member

    I've always had trouble with questions to ask after an interview. Of course it'll be different for every job you're applying for. But I still always draw a blank. I end up asking the generic 'What's the uniform required' or 'What's a day in the life of ______' or even 'What's the pay' even though that's a huge no no.
  4. I have 3 go-to questions that I keep in store in the case that I can't come up with questions:

    1) What are the 3 biggest challenges for this particular position?
    2) What do you think are the 3 top qualities for the success of this particular position?
    3) What is the work culture like?

    The reason for these questions is that the first two demonstrate your ability to prepare, to plan, and also demonstrate your desire to learn and improve yourself. The third question, in my opinion, demonstrate that you want to learn more about the environment, more than the scope of your job description. You want to be a part of the organization, you want to be a part of the brand, the family. You want to demonstrate that you want this job not because of the pay (no no no), but rather, you want to contribute to the success of the company, by being part of its identity (the culture).

    You were on the right track with the "What's a day in the life of ____", but I would rephrase it as "What are the primary responsibilities of this position?" because the former is too broad a question and fairly casual (in my opinion anyway), and you kind of want to instil a bit of professionalism.

    Anyway, remember to always put the needs of the employer prior to your own needs. You're a saleswoman, you're selling yourself (not in that way lol). Unless the employer asks, the employer cares more about finding a candidate that meets his/her needs/requirements, not how much a candidate wants to get paid, or w/e that benefits the candidate. The client's needs are always the top priority item (in this case, the employer). This is the nature of business.

    Good luck!
  5. For someone with a technical background (engineering, software programming etc), what's the best and most efficient way to learn project management? If possible, a crash course in project management?

    I've got a few business projects that are going all over the place because the people involved in the projects are going all over the place, without caring about finding a structured process for the project's development, nor care/are aware of the components involved in the development of a product/service.
  6. person

    person Well-Known Member

    This was very helpful, thank you! The interview went well. Unfortunately, I have to reapply because at the time they were looking for permanent full-time workers.
  7. Dav

    Dav Well-Known Member

    love this thread dan. i might drop a line or two later.
  8. reno

    reno Well-Known Member

    I'd probably say, take a step back and if you can (on that specific project) move to a "lesser" technical role. Even consider doing some BA type work
    Reason for this is usually is, the technical roles are just focused on their own tasks/side of the project. Whereas if you look at it in the admin/higher level - you'll get to see the whole picture more and plan out timelines/processes etc

    I haven't done any PM crash courses, but I guess there's always the generic reading material on how to best manage projects?
    Until you get thrown into one - it's never really the same. Also depends if you're the project manager? And then it's also how you get along with each of the team members
  9. Thanks! I suppose you're right about being thrown into one. That's the most effective way to learn for some.
  10. Curious, has anyone felt as though they've lost the passion for their job/career path? What did you do to re-ignite it?
  11. reno

    reno Well-Known Member

    think everyone goes through that every now and then (especially around review time too lol)
    take a break, get a new perspective, start again?

    hence y i've moved back home - better chance of focusing after taking a break

    i guess the other things in life also affect career (eg relationships, partying, family)
    just a matter of what u feel is more important?
  12. Getting a new perspective.. That's a good idea. Thanks!
  13. wilsonli

    wilsonli Well-Known Member

    If you are already good in the technical part, there are a lot of project management courses online, that will be a start. Although IMO i think if you get a chance to be part of a project, either being an assistant or trainee of the Project Manager that will be the best way to learn. And then also pray that the Project Manager is a good one also, I've seen a lot of people who have clue at what they are doing.

    Besides the technical background that you already have, you have to learn how to plan carefully each stages of the project, manage the people that will work for you (people skill is very important and some PMs tend to forget about this point), look for the whole image of the project, not only the tech part.
  14. iiimj4everiii

    iiimj4everiii Well-Known Member

    M.S.E.E. in RF/Microwave and grad certificate in power?
    Hi guys and gals, I wonder if you know if it's a good idea to get a graduate certificate. I am doing my masters in EE at NYU-POLY. My main focus is on RF/Microwave, electromagnetic and antenna stuff. However, I'm thinking about getting a graduate certificate in power electronics/power systems as well. The certificate program requires 4 classes (12 credits) in the that field. 10 classes (30 credits) are required to get a masters. I've wasted 1 class (3 credits) on my core class and took 2 classes (6 credits) in RF/Microwave. So I am thinking 2 options here.

    1) Take all the available RF/Microwave, EM, and antenna classes. Then fill in the rest with electives.

    2) Take 3 more RF/Microwave, EM, and antenna classes (by skipping some). Then take 4 classes in power and obtain graduate certificate in power electronics/systems.

    The question is how much difference will a certificate in power make? I'm worried that I might not be able to get a job as an RF Engineer because companies tend to hire those with experiences. So I am thinking graduate certificate as a plan B if worst should happen. Comments anyone?

  15. Today is your lucky day, I happen to work in the field of Power Systems; mostly distribution, but have done work on substations as well. I have completed my Power System certificate course and it's not all that amazing really. It really hasn't change much for me, it's all about personal growth.

    All I can say is study for the FE aka EIT exam and take it. Pass it and you will have a much easier job hunt.

    I also wanted to get into that field of engineering you are pursuing but have changed since then to where I am now. It's a tough place to get in as most company's that work in that particular field do work on military level tech, which requires all types of clearances. Connections to someone working within the company is your best bet at landing a position within a company.

    Any other question?
  16. iiimj4everiii

    iiimj4everiii Well-Known Member

    Thanks Akki. It's been suggested by my adviser that if the certificate is out of the way, then forget it. Do you personally think if I should do certificate in power or go full in RF. As far as grades are concerned, my record is still pretty flawless. So I can definitely-ish handle the material. The reason why I'm thinking about certificate is I'm afraid of not able to land a job afterwards. As far as getting interviews are concerned, I got interviewed by MITRE, Qualcomm and Dept of Commerce - Institute of Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) this semester. Qualcomm disappeared after telling me I'm getting a second interview. Both MITRE and ITS told me they're having budget issues after the interview. Does that mean that I am able to land a job or "not enough budget" is a code for something else?
  17. budget talks could very well mean they aren't looking to hire anyone full time... if you can handle the material i would say go for the certificate. Having some knowledge of power systems will only help you in your professional career.
  18. iiimj4everiii

    iiimj4everiii Well-Known Member

    Sorry Akki, I was being a little ambiguous. I meant to say I can handle the RF stuff (prolly because I'm interested in it). I agree with the FE stuff. I am going to take it this October. But I think I should go RF all the way. I think if I can get interviews and nail them, I should be able to land a job eventually right? But I'm definitely going to take the FE exam
  19. iiimj4everiii

    iiimj4everiii Well-Known Member

    Nevermind, I nailed the second interview with Qualcomm. They're offering me a temp position as engineer 1. Dept of Commerce also offer me a 3-9 months internship position. But I think I'm gonna go with Qualcomm. The job function is a lot closer to what I'm doing. Now I gotta find a way to turn the DOC offer down. I hate having to turn ppl down.

    But anyway, thanks for the insight on power. I think I'm in a fairly good situation now. ^ ^
  20. I hope that temp turns into a full-time job. Good Luck!