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From Engineer to Career: How to Become a Successful Professional

By Volker Sorger, George Washington University | Posted: 7 November 2016



Every student is concerned with one and the same detail: to get a good job and be a successful professional. The Arizona chapter invited me to not talk about my groups nanophotonic research which focuses on novel opto-electronic device physics, emerging material such as TMDs and TCOs, and plasmonics. Here, I was asked to talk about what it takes to be successful after graduation. I broke this question down into thee aspects:

  1. Knowing the Rules
  2. Knowing Yourself
  3. Starting your Path
We learn the details of physics, optics, and electronics in school. But we seldom learn rules of how-to-get-the-job, or what the other side looks for. Graduating from a top university essentially guarantees an interview, but it does not guarantee the job offer. Hence the question arises, how to get the offer? First of all, we need to recognize that all decision on hiring (after an interview) and promotions are made by humans, and not machines. In fact, 75% of hiring decisions are made based on ‘finding-a-good-match’, rather than technical skills. Interestingly, the situation is rather similar to dating; both sides find each other interesting, but are unsure whether they want to be proceed together. The job interview is therefore more likely like dating, and knowing the rules is key. 

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