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About twenty years ago, I started my studies in electrical engineering. In parallel, I did all kinds of projects to broaden my knowledge. The largest of these side activities was developing the electronics and software for a fuel cell racing car. Following my graduation, I became a hardware developer at the company where I did my internship.
After a short period of providing customer support, I worked on reference designs for years – the development kits I created are still being used today and even the packaging is still exactly my design. I supported the test lab with the development of all kinds of hardware and software. I also supervised more complex projects to realize a working product.
Unfortunately, there were some significant changes at my employer. Partly due to this, several colleagues quit at the beginning of the Corona pandemic, leaving the lab seriously understaffed. This, in combination with frequently working from home, caused my role to get stripped down to a lot of simple and trivial work. I got really frustrated and despite many promises from management, no extra staff was hired.
For these reasons, I moved to a new employer about two years ago. They assured me that I could work on some very innovative projects. However, although the need for innovation is immense, management is extremely reluctant to invest. The rest of the team is too small and insufficiently knowledgeable and experienced to realize the innovation. Continuing to work for this employer feels like a dead end. This switch has surely been one of my biggest mistakes. At least I learned what happens when you throw out all the best practices.
I’ve therefore decided to look for a new challenge, preferably again in the semiconductor industry. I’ve found a couple of interesting companies in the Netherlands, but I wonder whether my CV is good enough for their open vacancies. How do you rate my chances? Another option is to approach my old employer, but they currently have no suitable vacancies. I did leave without conflict and have been told by several team leaders that I can always contact them. Do you think this is a good idea? Or is it better to avoid former employers?
The headhunter answers:
I know many examples of people who are very happy with their return to an old employer. If I understand you correctly, however, you have good reasons to only do that if things are structurally handled differently there. As I believe this is an illusion, I advise you to move on.
Because of your frustration about the situation at this old employer, you were probably a little too eager to sign a new contract. An important lesson to learn from this is that you should take a closer look at your potential employers before signing.
When I read your CV and see the technical work you did, you’re suited for many solid hardware and software development positions. From our conversation, I’ve concluded that you have good communication skills. This has led me to believe that technical sales functions and application engineering roles with many customer contacts are also within your reach. I can’t say beforehand whether a specific open position is a fit. To find out, you’ll have to talk to the company and ask the right questions.