Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Helping Graduating Photonics Technicians Find the Right Job and Be Successful

Recent reports from our photonics colleges reveal that graduates are having no problem getting job offers, even in these slow economic times. The survey we conducted last year indicates that in 2010, employers will need an additional 1200 photonics techs; and the demand will continue at this level for at least several more years. We remain in a “seller’s market” for photonics techs.

But even with the many job opportunities available to them, graduating techs need to approach their job search armed with wise advice and guidance. They’ve worked hard for this opportunity and they deserve to get off to a good start. And there’s no one better to provide this advice to them than photonics techs that went through the process a few years ago. Last year, OP-TEC established the Photonics Alumni Council for Technicians (PACT). College faculty proposed alumni for membership and sixteen outstanding graduates were selected for the first council of PACT. But the selected alumni didn’t just want to be recognized for their success, they wanted to “give something back”; they wanted to help other techs that were just beginning their career; and they wanted them to benefit from their own experiences—good and bad. So they provided significant input to the preparation of a pamphlet entitled “How to Search for and Find Your First Job.” This four-page publication addresses the following topics:

  • “Money isn’t everything”, but it helps. (Explains other employer benefits that are also important.)
  • Where do you want to live? Where would you be willing to live?
  • What kind of work do you want to do?
  • Have you prepared a resume?
  • What do you hope will happen in the interview?

Shortly after the first pamphlet was published, the PACT set out to develop a second one entitled, “How to Make Your First Year on the Job a Success."

It included the following topics:

  • You haven’t learned everything when you graduate.
  • Your mother doesn’t work here, so learn how to survive on your own.
  • You’re personally responsible for the quality and timeliness of your work.
  • Your value as an employee will depend on your soft skills as much as your technical expertise.
  • When possible, volunteer to represent your employer in community or charitable events.

Employers who have reviewed the pamphlets have enthusiastically recommended that all future techs and new hires have copies of these materials. You can review them also, by clicking here.

OP-TEC is providing limited copies of these pamphlets to any college—or employer—that requests them. And we can provide a print-ready copy to colleges that want to customize the pamphlets with their institutional identification. We’re not trying to sell them; we just want them to be used.

This year the PACT is considering the preparation of additional pamphlet(s) that could be used to help high school students consider a career as a photonics technician.

What a great way for these recent grads to “give back” to the photonics field—and to help young people that could greatly benefit from their advice.