By Madeline McCurry-Schmidt
If I had to pick a secret talent, it would be my mad Googling skills. I’ve been in journalism for a while, and years of searching for sources made me Sherlock Holmes with a search engine. Give me a second and I can track it down. Want a picture of a crocheted great white shark toy?
I also spent a lot of time Googling when I was job searching earlier this year. I combed through job banks and researched freelancing gigs. I compiled lists of the phone numbers, addresses, and e-mails for research organizations I’d like to work with.
After all that, I’ve got some tips for you job hunters.
Tell your professors, advisors and counselors that you’re looking for a job. It helps to mention what kind of job you have in mind, and then politely ask if they would just keep you in mind if they hear anything. When making this request, always visit your advisors in person. Advisors are busy people and e-mail requests are easily ignored.
My past roommates could tell you that I tend to hoard business cards. Every time I went to a conference or a job fair, my stack of business cards grew. And when it came time to job search, I was happy I had them. I sent out quite a few e-mails to people I’d met, just letting them know I was on the market. Again, I kept the process personal by reminding people where we’d met. Keep these e-mails short and sweet.
Working for ASAS, I’ll admit I have a bias toward professional organizations. But groups like ASAS (or National Association of Science Writers, in my case) really do have good job-hunting resources. ASAS supports the FASS job bank and provides the E-Career Tool as a good place to post your resume. Attending society meetings is also a great place to network. At JAM this year, students met leaders in academia, as well as industry professionals. A meeting exhibit hall is a good place to hand out your resume/C.V. and get your name out there.
4. Check job banks. Daily.
As I’ve watched several friends job hunt, I’ve noticed a problem. They tend become obsessed with the one “ideal” job they find. With no guarentee of success, they send off an application for that job, and then wait, fingers crossed, for weeks. Finding a good job is great, but while you’re waiting, you need to keep looking. Besides the FASS job bank, here are some other good sources: AnimalScienceJobs, USAJOBS, Naturejobs.com, and The Chronicle.
5. See the World
I’m a California girl, born and bred. Yet when I started job hunting, I decided to be open to the idea of moving. With so many good research universities around the U.S., graduate students have got to be up for relocation. Of course, you should learn about a place before you commit to living there.
6. Snail Mail
It’s possible to apply for most jobs online these days, but it’s also worth it to invest in some postage stamps.
Like I said before, e-mail is easily ignored. By snail-mailing your resume/C.V. out, you can increase the chances that someone actually takes the time to look at it. Unlike an e-mail, hard-copy applications stick around, reminding that potential employer that you exist. To prove that you’re not a total troglodyte, send a follow-up e-mail to confirm they got your mail and asking if they have any questions.
Good luck with the job hunt!