Find a job (or a new career) with online tools

Feb. 1, 2005
When the telecommunications bubble burst, some of you may have experienced a direct hit-indeed, the ­optical and optoelectronic industry at large was affected by this unfortunate event with many experienced scientists and managers finding themselves in the unemployment "telephone cue" (ironically, no longer an unemployment line, thanks to advances in telephony).

When the telecommunications bubble burst, some of you may have experienced a direct hit-indeed, the ­optical and optoelectronic industry at large was affected by this unfortunate event with many experienced scientists and managers finding themselves in the unemployment “telephone cue” (ironically, no longer an unemployment line, thanks to advances in telephony).

Fortunately, there are several useful job-search Web sites that offer employment opportunities targeted to individuals with talent in the semiconductor, optoelectronic, and related industries. And remember, there is rarely a fee involved for the potential employee. Here are a few of my favorites, ranked in descending order based on the results of a recent survey on the Laser Focus World Web site asking our readers to identify their favorite job-search resources.

Hosted by Tate Associates (Murrieta, CA), a public-­relations and advertising firm and a corporate member of the Optical Society of America (OSA), is one of the few job sites that links an applicant directly to the company posting the job; employers are not charged a fee to list job openings on the site and have private access to resumes posted by potential employees in the United States and Canada (recruiters are excluded). The site is personally managed by Don Tate, who has been active in the optoelectronics industry for more than 30 years.

Started less than a year ago by Jason Davis, a former ­recruiter who initiated the Davis Search Group in 1997, is more than just a job-search site. With an active database of 70,000 talented engineers, Jason and his team bring employees and employers together in a proactive approach to “headhunting” that includes specialized research for new companies and for his retained list of employers that pay a fee to locate the best industry talent available. Jason also manages, a non-industry-specific Web site, that like his “BLOG” or Web log on the site, encourages individuals to continually question their work-related happiness, even while employed.

This site is a service of SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering, and was created to serve the needs of members and nonmembers. The majority of job listings come directly from employers, and employers know that the resumes they view on are from active job seekers because resumes posted to the site expire after 90 days unless renewed by the potential employee. SPIE has a 50-year history of solutions-oriented service to working ­engineers, scientists, and companies large and small, and never charges a fee for employers to link to their Web site from their job posting.

A service of the Optical Society of America (OSA), provides a state-of-the-art platform to efficiently connect employers and job seekers from all ­areas of optics and photonics. Candidates can search from more than 50 new jobs per month by keyword, location, company, industry, salary, education, and more. Angela Bradford from OSA’s Career Services emphasizes the quality of the job listings on the site and encourages users to take advantage of its innovative career tools, including the ability to customize and store multiple resumes and to create job alerts to notify users of a matching opportunity.

While most of these Web sites focus on the United States, sites with a larger international presence include and

Specialized recruiters

If you have exhausted the best job-search Web sites available, another way to find a position is to work with a specialized recruiter. Because many recruiters are retained by large and small companies to find the best talent, they may have opportunities that are not publicly listed. Over the years, I have worked with several good recruiters who are always eager to work in your best interest and never charge you a fee for their services-fees are usually paid by the employer.

Bruce Rafey Associates is in its 38th year of recruitment in the microelectronics and semiconductor industries. Its Web site is purposefully lacking in links to career resources because the company wants job seekers to contact one of its highly professional placement “counselors” for an old-fashioned career discussion. President Bruce Rafey is adamant that anyone can have a Web site with job listings, but few agencies are talented and experienced enough to offer personal ­career guidance that considers the “human element” of the job search process.

Since 1980, Christie Associates has ­offered recruitment and candidate placement exclusively within the ­fiberoptics industry. Director Cynthia Christie explains that listed positions cover the range from junior-level individual contributors to senior management and executive roles in engineering, manufacturing, marketing, and sales. Her firm primarily represents corporations that manufacture a wide variety of products from passive components to active devices and systems, with applications particularly for the telecom/datacom and industrial markets. After 24 years, Christie Associates boasts numerous repeat clients, as well as many candidates that have been placed two or three times.

Louis Rudzinsky Associates (LRA) has used the Web as part of its strategy for almost 10 years. Candidates can look at a variety of open positions with LRA’s clients and apply, submitting their resume and information directly to them online. It offers candidates access to opportunities in all geographic areas of the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia via membership in National Personnel Associates (NPA), a member-owned network of 400 professional and ethical recruitment firms. LRA is in the process of moving its database from an in-house server to an Application Server Provider (ASP) Web-based system that offers greater flexibility to client ­organizations and candidates.

When a new job isn’t enough

The reality for many is that a continuing career in photonics may not be possible-many startups are now history, and the larger companies are consolidating and eliminating many positions. For the brave, there is always the option of a new career path. If you have been unemployed for more than six months, you may want to reevaluate your options.

One of the best tools to help you identify a new career path is, the companion Web site to the popular book What Color is Your Parachute? You have probably heard of the book, but you may not be aware that a staggering 20,000 copies are sold each month and in 1995, the Library of Congress classified it as one of the “25 Books That Have Shaped Readers’ Lives.” You may also not be aware that the book is updated every year by the author, Richard Nelson Bolles, to include advice and suggestions that are pertinent to today’s economic picture rather than to the outlook in 1970, it’s original publication date. If you cannot wait for the book to arrive, the resources available on the companion Web site may surprise you.

Dick Bolles has compiled an extensive online resource for the individual looking to change careers. His “Tests & Advice” section will help you get started with a number of free personality and career tests that can let your likes and dislikes guide your career decisions. The site even allows you to e-mail a ­career counselor for free advice, and links you to several employment resources and “networking” venues.

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