How To Find A Job

Looking for a job can be daunting. Luckily for you we have some great tips to help you find a job fast. Take a look at the info below.

General rules:

  • When dining is involved, the meal is never about the food. When I was in college, every networking function centered on the cuisine. I used to organize my days around going to publicly-promoted mixers where I could get free meals of hors d’oeuvres and other finger foods. I was driven by it and was proud of my accomplishment of being able to go a week without buying a meal. But I am not in college anymore; and now I know that food, whether it is free or not, is not my motivation for attending receptions and other networking events. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat at a reception—they are supplying the food after all and you can enjoy it. But you should follow some tips to make sure that what you eat doesn’t get in the way of your talking, meeting new people, and making networking connections
  • Dress the part. Know what is appropriate clothing to wear to an interview, event, mixer or conference, and take it up a notch. An important part of establishing your professionalism and your dedication to your craft is wearing the garments associated with the vocation. However, at conferences and other high-impact networking situations you don’t want to appear as if you just came in from the field or lab. You need to appear a little more formal and polished when trying to make a great first impression. This is especially important if you are going to be “on stage”—giving a talk or a poster or leading a board or committee meeting. So where some might consider it appropriate to wear jeans and sneakers to a conference, if you are giving a talk or are looking for a job, especially in the early stages of your career, I would dress up just a little. You don’t have to wear a three piece black suit, but a nice pair of unwrinkled chinos combined with a button-downed shirt (tucked in) and a pair of dress shoes is completely suitable for many science and engineering conference settings and even some job interviews.
  • Every culture has its own rules—learn these before you travel or interact with someone from that region. How you interact with others, especially those who come from a different culture or region than you, can make or break your next encounter. And since science and engineering is a global enterprise and will only continue to be more so in the future, it is critically important for you to gain an understanding of cultural nuances and norms as they relate to professional interactions before you endeavor to join a team or work with someone from that culture.

I learned this the hard way when I was studying abroad in Cairo. When I first arrived in the Middle East, not yet even 21, I ventured to the souk, or marketplace, and started buying souvenirs. But having not done much research relating to the culture of the region and how business is done there, I went about it in all the wrong ways and as a result I not only paid higher prices for my objects of desire, but probably ended up insulting the shopkeepers in the process. But by the end of my semester stay, I knew exactly what I was doing, having observed people multiple times making transactions and from asking questions (the value continues!) of my classmates. So in December, I recall visiting a merchant and spending time with him at his booth: Chatting with him about the weather, school, family, culture, and the like, enjoying a fresh glass of carrot juice and tea, and then quite some time later, and only then, actually getting down to business and beginning our formal negotiation for the price of the product I wanted to buy. By learning, mastering, and ultimately employing appropriate etiquette for the culture in which I was a visitor, I was able to foster a fair exchange of both product and respect with this salesman.

I learned a lot about operating in unfamiliar cultures from that study abroad experience. For example, I learn in the Middle East to always shake hands with your right hand, as the left one is considered unclean, and to never point the soles of your shoes at someone, as it is considered an insult. I also learned never to assume anything about a person’s culture or background without inquiring about it first. I gained this bit of wisdom, also in Egypt, while participating in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with my new friends from the American University in Cairo. The guests at this affair were from myriad cultures and countries with which I had previously not had any interaction. So I was a little surprised when, while we were having a meal of turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and peas, one student ate the entire meal with his hands. Furthermore, he did not make use of his napkin until the very end of the meal, when he performed the following act: When the entire plate was wiped clean of all food particles, he poured his glass of water over his hands above the plate, and then and only then did he wipe his hands on the napkin.

I could have guessed that he was probably from India or Pakistan, where many meals are eaten without utensils. As it turned out, he was from Brunei. And following the meal, I asked him about what he did and he was happy to share the nuances of his culture with me and the other guests. The experience taught me a couple of critical things:

  • In a multi-cultural engagement, if you see someone do something that seems out of the ordinary for your culture, you can ask—people are often happy to share their culture with you.
  • Don’t assume that someone is being unprofessional because they are acting in a certain way that seems to be the opposite of what you are used to. They may just not be familiar with the cultural practices of that region or ecosystem.
  • Learn and respect other cultures—just because someone does it differently than you, doesn’t make it wrong.
  • People respond positively to others who seek to adopt appropriate cultural practices. If you ask about, learn, and then follow the nuances of a certain region, you will find that your networking ROI will immediately improve and you will gain access to the Hidden Platter of Opportunities!

And one final thought about interaction with people from other cultures: We all know that every discipline of science and engineering (and even subdisciplines) has its own “cultural” norms and standards. For example, what might be appropriate to wear while giving a talk at an ecology conference might not be appropriate when interviewing for a job at a government lab. So take note of what your own STEM culture dictates is appropriate and how professionalism is defined by that culture. You can use it as a guideline for your own behavior and even kick it up a notch

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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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