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I Need A Job Now

Do you find yourself saying you need a job now? If so here are some tips to help you find a job!

Your Career Opportunities

This book is not designed to list every single career opportunity you can consider as a result of your STEM education. Its mission is to demonstrate the power that networking has to elucidate career paths and opportunities that you may not have known existed and identify clear channels to access and pursue them. But I wanted to give you a taste of what is in store for you as you start your own career explorations via networking. Many of the following career paths I was unaware of until I networked myself. In fact, I have one of my current freelance jobs, as a columnist for APS News, the international publication of the American Physical Society (APS), as a direct result of networking. It was a hidden opportunity that I essentially fashioned myself over the course of a single phone call. This gig serves as a terrific example of accessing the Hidden Platter of Opportunities, but more to the point at hand, it afforded me the opportunity to learn about many other career opportunities for scientists and engineers. Allow me to explain.

In 2007, I was working for the UA as Director of Special Projects for the College of Science when a physicist became the university’s president. I was excited about this, because having worked in physics and with physicists whom I had observed to have great leadership ability I expected that this professor would have similar leadership strengths. As I pondered his new position, I began to realize that a profile of him would make a great article. I had dabbled in freelance writing for years while I worked full-time for the UA, and I saw the physicist’s presidency as an opportunity for me to pen a potentially fascinating piece (or so I thought).

But before I pitched it to any editor, I wanted to learn some more about this gentleman as well as related issues of hiring presidents in higher education. After doing a little research, I discovered that there were several physics professors across the United States who had gone on to become university presidents. Now I had a solid story pitch. I called my mentor, Alan Chodos, who at the time was the editor of APS News, with the intention of suggesting this one article. But as our conversation unfolded, another idea spontaneously popped into my head which rapidly tumbled out of my mouth: How about a column profiling physicists in non-traditional careers across the universe of industries and organizations? Alan liked it immediately and by the time I hung up from that call, I was a columnist. He named the feature “Profiles in Versatility” and published anywhere from 4–6 columns each year, with each one focusing on a different physics-educated professional who had gone on to a unique career outside of academia.

TIP: If you see an opportunity, seize it. Seize it now, because it might not last!

I have learned a lot and gained so much from writing this column for the last eight years. I have enhanced my network, improved my interviewing and writing skills, and solidified

my niche brand in the field of STEM career consulting, all of which have opened more doors to hidden opportunities and networks that I did not know existed. But if I had to encapsulate the greatest benefit that I personally received from pursuing this opportunity and writing this column, it is to make me aware of the almost dizzying array of careers that one could pursue with specifically a bachelor’s degree in physics and, more generally, any degree in a STEM field. The following list gives a glimpse into the mind-blowing diversity of careers, sectors, and employment environments that potentially await you as you begin to expand your networking. And keep in mind this is only a list of careers that I have so far discovered and interviewed people in who have physics degrees. When you expand your search parameters (or decrease them to make your search much more specific) you’ll be surprised by what amazing, creative opportunities lie ahead.

  • Politics (elected offices), policy, and political speechwriting.
  • Patent law (as a lawyer, patent agent or technology transfer professional for a university or research laboratory).
  • Forensic science.
  • Consumer goods: For example, a physicist who works for Proctor and Gamble as a shaving scientist and helps design blades and razors.
  • Entertainment: For example, a physicist works for Pixar (which constantly hires professionals with physical science and engineering backgrounds), the creator of Futurama and co-creator of The Simpsons, and several physicists who serve as science consultants for programming such as Star Trek and The Big Bang Theory.
  • Video game design.
  • Global consulting, for firms like McKinsey, Booz Allen Hamilton and Boston Consulting Group.

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Need A Job Now

Need a job now? Well, you’re in the right place to get some great tips to help out.

More Networking Tips

Speak up: If the other party can’t hear you, whether it is because it is a noisy room or because you speak softly, you are losing a potentially precious opportunity. This doesn’t mean you should shout it out, but make sure your voice is heard. And there’s another advantage to literally being heard: It denotes confidence, poise, and professionalism. The more you practice this, the more natural it will feel and the better you will become at delivering your brand statement in such a way that the words and the way you speak show the other party you are ready to assist them in solving their problems.

Be prepared for follow up: Any comment that you make as part of your brand statement is fair game for someone to ask follow up questions. In fact, if you craft it correctly, you’ll find that it logically elicits questions, which is a great thing to have in networking – it means that you have enticed the other party to learn more. So be nimble and flexible in your delivery to allow for people to interrupt you. Go with the flow.

Stand by your brand: Don’t say anything in your brand statement that you can’t completely back up – in other words, don’t embellish the truth, lie, or mention something that you knew how to do years ago but have since forgotten. I found this out when I wrote my very first CV as I was graduating college. I didn’t know what was supposed to be on a CV, so I listed every club that I had attended at least one meeting of. When I won a math award, my CV found its way into the hands of the chair of the math department who invited me to his office for a chat. When we met for the first time, his initial words were “how many hours do you have?” I was clueless as to what he was referring, so I responded “Do you mean credits? I have probably about 130 or so credits.” And he shot back “No! How many hours do you have?” He was alluding to what I considered to be a very minor entry on my CV, a listing about how I had been a member of the scuba diving club at the American University in Cairo. And in fact not only was I not a member (I had only gone to a handful of meetings), but I wasn’t even a scuba diver. I tried it at the deep end of the pool and quickly realized it was not for me. But by listing it there I had opened the door for him to discuss it with me. Needless to say I was embarrassed, but fortunately I learned the lesson. I want to ensure that you always feel confident in communicating your value, so you can periodically do a “brand assessment” to determine if you still have mastery of the skills you mention in your statement. For example, after my semester abroad in Egypt, I took many classes in Arabic and became fairly fluent. But that was more than 10 years ago. So although at one point I did mention I was fluent in Arabic in my brand statement and on my résumé, I don’t any more. You always want to make sure when you communicate your brand that it is completely factual and that you have evidence to support it.

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How To Find A Job Online

Using your brand to get a job.

Here are some thoughts to keep in mind when building your brand statement.

Practice, practice, practice: The more you practice, the better you will get at delivery and also adaptation for new audiences. And the best place to practice is in low-stake networking situations like on an airplane or a grocery store where you also have the added task of ensuring that the party, who is not a subject expert, truly understands and recognizes your value. One of my favorite places to practice my brand statement is at a career fair. The career fair is great for networking. Most universities and many conferences hold career fairs. And even if the fair is not devoted to STEM fields, it is still a fabulous opportunity for you to get used to delivering your brand statement in such a way that causes others to take action. It encourages you to become adaptable and nimble in your delivery since each company is looking for a different set of skills. Furthermore, the career fair ecosystem fosters a system of a conversation, so it also gives you a chance to follow up and expand upon your brand as you listen to the other party talk about their needs for an employee. I have attended many, many career fairs and have found them to be extremely helpful. And here’s a tip – just like with networking at an event, start with a low-stake booth to bolster your confidence. If you have no intention of ever working for an insurance company, but want to work for Intel, start your career fair experience at the insurance booth. This is exactly what I did when I was getting ready to graduate from college. By the time I got to my goal booth, which was in fact Intel, I had given my brand statement five times to five different companies for which I had no inclination for working. My Intel delivery was smooth, to the point, clear, concise, and it automatically welcomed the other party to ask more questions, which made the engagement more enriching for both of us.

TIP: Career fairs are excellent for networking, both with potential employers and other job-seekers.

It should feel as it comes naturally: for both you and the audience, it shouldn’t sound or feel like you are delivering a prepared speech that requires cue cards. It should be a natural expression of your value and your passion for your enterprise. People really appreciate others’ excitement and enthusiasm for a subject and they take note of it. I was recently at an event where astronomers were giving lectures for a lay audience made up of donors for a certain observatory. The last speaker was a young woman who was so engaging and happy to be up there discussing her scientific pursuits and discoveries, and she did it in such a way that the audience truly understood the relevance to her and to them. As she concluded and asked if there were any questions, someone raised their hand and stated “I can see how much passion you have for this subject. Thank you for sharing it with us!” Even though she was not delivering a brand statement per se, her entire presentation was in essence her brand statement, and she articulated it so naturally and with such enthusiasm that the audience couldn’t help but become more intrigued about her research. She probably even helped the observatory raise more funds that day!

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Looking For Work

Are you looking for work? If so I have some tips for you with networking to help you get a job fast!

Reputation

The final piece of The Networking Trifecta of Triumph is your reputation. In a nutshell:

Your reputation is your most important asset.

This is almost contrary to what we are taught in academia, where for the most part people attest that it’s what you know that will get you the job. But truth be told, it is not what you know, it is what people know about you and your knowledge, abilities, brand, and attitude that will get you the job and other game-changing career opportunities.

Your reputation is what people know about your brand and your attitude. It is an extremely important piece of networking because it is the carrier across time, space, and extra dimensions of what value you can provide other parties, teams, and institutions.

TIP: Decision-makers want to hire “known quantities,” because it reduces the risk associated with bringing in talent.

The reason surrounding this makes sense; people want to engage or hire “known quantities” – people whose brands and attitudes are already known in the community. Your reputation is how others confirm that you are a known quantity. The more you are seen and the more positive bits of information people know about your brand and attitude, the lower the risk they have in engaging or hiring you. Given a choice, I would rather hire someone whom I either know personally or by reputation, or who others in my networks know and can vouch for by either personal knowledge or reputation. I would prefer not to engage someone who is a stranger to me and whose reputation is either unknown to others I trust or is negative in some form.

About 10 years ago, I was attending the monthly meeting of the Southern Arizona article of the Public Relations Society of America. This was a regular event for me – to meet new people, to exchange information, to learn new ways of solving PR problems I might find in my job. Each meeting incorporated an invited speaker as well as time before and after the meeting to freely chat and network with those in attendance. At this particular session, the presentation consisted of a panel of editors from local publications offering tips on how to pitch them stories. One of the speakers was in a new job – he had just taken over as the editor of the regional business newspaper, to which I subscribed and read regularly.

TIP: When there’s new blood in an organization, this is often the best time to pitch new, or even create, opportunities.

When the formal part of the meeting concluded, I practically jumped from my chair and pushed my way across the room to introduce myself to him. I thanked him for his speech, congratulated him on his new position, and offered him my business card. I then blurted out that I had an idea for a column that I would like to write for him and inquired whether he would be interested in meeting with me to discuss it. Perhaps because he was so new on the job, and perhaps because he himself wanted to get to know other professionals in his sector, he granted me the appointment.

I approached the meeting as if I was going for a job interview – which of course, it really was. I took with me a portfolio that included an example of a potential column, previous writing samples, my résumé, and other projects that demonstrated my proficiency in public relations and my ability to solve his problems (relating to upping his readership and ad revenue) with finesse. What I specifically did not include was a list of references.

We had a very pleasant conversation and, of course, after I left I sent him a follow up email to thank him for meeting with me and to tell him I was looking forward to working with him. And then I waited. I waited in fact, several months. And then one day, I received an email from the gentleman stating that he wanted to move forward on the column idea, and that I have “an excellent reputation.”

Of course I was thrilled. Of course I was excited. But I was also completely perplexed. How did this guy, who although not new to the city was new to his job, know that I had an “excellent reputation”? How did he find out and then conclude that I would be an asset to his publication? The answer was obvious once I thought about it: He clearly spoke with people in his own networks, professionals he trusted, and they must have assured him that my brand and attitude were something that would bring him benefits. Our networks clearly intersected and my reputation was carried from one to the other to him. And since it represented me as someone who could be an advantage to his company, he made the decision to hire me.

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