(PDF) (Video) How to Start & Maintain an Awesome Career
The EM Professor gives career advice to students near graduation and beyond.
CV and Resume Writing
Writing Professional Letters
Career Development Advice and Resources
Tips for Phone Interviews
Common Interview Questions & Answers
Questions to Ask on an Interview
Wisdom from the EMProfessor
The most important skill you need to find success in science and engineering is — effective communication. I have seen many bad scientists and engineers climb the corporate ladder when they are good communicators, but I have rarely witnessed bad communicators rise the ladder regardless how strong their technical skills are. Perhaps it is unfortunate for the greater good of humanity, but I have to rank communication skills as more important for career success than anything else. Communicating effectively takes practice and much can be learned by observing good communicators. Good communicators put a lot of effort into organizing their information. They invent new ways to explain and visualize complicated concepts. Good communicators use simple language and simple but high-quality graphics. It is common for good communicators to spend more time on their graphics than they do on their words. To become a good communicator, sharpen your computer skills for desktop publishing and generating graphics. Practice public speaking. Strive to make everything you produce professional, polished, and consistent. Make your documents and presentations fun and memorable, while still being professional. [...] Read more...
Break it down After communication, the most important skill is the ability to break large problems into smaller, less complicated problems. If you can divide a big problem into a series of smaller problems that are more easily tested and verified, the task is easier to tackle, easier to troubleshoot and overall easier to solve. For example, it is a mistake to write every single line of computer program before ever trying to run it. Instead, write a small section of the program, run it, fix whatever bugs there are, before moving on to the next small section. This makes it easier to find the mistakes and verify that each individual step is running correctly. Always try to solve simple versions of your problem first and then add complexity in steps until you reach your final goal. Do not try to solve all of the problems at once, solve them one at a time, then tackle the next. In my experience, the smartest and most ambitious persons among us are the most likely to fail at this. Perhaps school does not sufficiently challenge these people and so they never develop the skills to solve large problems. [...] Read more...
Plan to make failure part of your success strategy Failure may be the most powerful tool we have in our arsenal to be successful in our careers, yet very few people know how to wield it. This is especially true of we want to do something that is truly extraordinary. Albert Einstein said, “I think that only daring speculation can lead us further and not accumulation of facts.” Regardless of how smart we are, our intelligence has a limit. Yet, it is possible for us to achieve great things well beyond those limits if we are willing to make wild guesses. The thought of failure is a very uncomfortable one for most people because they are worried about how they will look to their bosses and peers. But this is great news because it limits this competition dramatically. If failure is not managed correctly, it can hurt your reputation and your career. It can make you appear reckless and wasteful. The most successful people admit their limitations and have an honest and a good sense of humor about their guesswork. Plan your work so that if you think an idea is might fail, it fails as soon as possible and with the least amount of investment as possible. Successful people not only learn from their failures, but often discover things that take them in new directions. Learn to “Fail fast and fail forward” The only bad failure is when we fail because we simply did not try or when we refuse to learn from the experience. Make failure a critical part of your career strategy. [...] Read more...
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