All About That First Job | Summary and Q&A

January 13, 2020
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All About That First Job


The content highlights the speaker's experience and lessons from their first job after completing their PhD in the field of physics.

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Key Insights

  • 🏑 The speaker targeted companies in their field by focusing on those that manufactured instruments related to their expertise.
  • 👍 Trade journals proved to be valuable resources for learning about new developments and potential job opportunities.
  • 🔇 In addition to technical skills, non-technical skills like independence and confidence were highly valued in the speaker's first job.
  • 💦 The transition from lab work to product development required collaboration with various stakeholders and a shift in focus.
  • 🖐️ The size and culture of the company played a significant role in shaping the speaker's experience, with a small size and a culture of independence contributing to a positive environment.
  • 🥺 The first job had a significant impact on the speaker's career path, leading to opportunities for leadership, customer-focused roles, and professional growth.
  • ❓ Personal connections and networking were crucial in securing the first job and in subsequent career progression.


so when I travel and speak I get a lot of questions around my very first job after I got my PhD some of my best experiences some of my best lessons come from that very first job so today in today's video I'm going to answer some common questions around my very first job after my PhD hey right Dave Gilda returning science today I am answering some q... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How did the speaker target companies for their first job after their PhD?

The speaker focused on companies that manufactured scientific instruments related to their field of expertise and utilized trade journals to learn about new developments in those companies.

Q: What were the skills that proved to be most valuable in the speaker's first job?

While technical skills in laser technology and instrumentation were essential, the speaker also highlights the importance of independence, the ability to learn on their own, and confidence in tackling new projects.

Q: What was a typical day like in the speaker's first job?

Initially, the speaker spent most of their time in the lab, working on a government contract to deliver a laser system. However, after completing the contract, their focus shifted to working with people and specifying different aspects of product development, such as design and electronics.

Q: How did the size of the company impact the speaker's first job experience?

The speaker found their experience to be influenced by both the size and culture of the company. The relatively small size allowed for more flexibility and the opportunity to tackle new challenges, and the company culture encouraged independence and problem-solving.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The speaker shares their journey of landing their first job after completing a PhD and their decision to work in industry rather than pursuing a postdoc.

  • They discuss the process of targeting companies, utilizing trade journals, and leveraging personal connections to secure job opportunities.

  • The speaker emphasizes the importance of both technical skills, such as laser technology and instrumentation, and non-technical skills, such as independence and problem-solving, in their first job.

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