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Professional Development Guidebook

Connecting with Opportunity

Job Boards

Many job seekers begin the job search process by going to online job boards and career websites. These tend to fall into the following broad categories:

  • Individual company/institution websites
  • Professional society job boards (e.g. APS Job Board, Physics Today, AAAS, IEEE)
  • Large-scale, commercial job boards geared towards a broad audience (e.g. Monster, Indeed)
  • Niche sites geared toward smaller audiences with more specialized backgrounds (e.g. USAJobs, Academic Jobs Online),
  • And of course, LinkedIn

APS hosts a Job Board specifically for physicists. We partner with Physics Today, IEEE Computing, AVS, AAPT and SPS. When you search for a job on the APS Job Board, you will see postings from employers on all of the partner sites as well. The APS Job Board is completely free for job seekers and does not require an APS membership.

When searching for jobs, it is important to search for keywords that align with your skills, e.g. data science, engineering, analysis, research and development, etc, rather than searching for your specific field of research or subdiscipline. This way, you will more easily find postings for which you are qualified. You can also search for roles of the Physicist Profiles or Common Career Paths of interest you identified earlier in the Guidebook.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Job Boards

As mentioned before, about 80% of job seekers find employment through Networking; however, for that remaining 20%, applying through an online site with a compelling resume and cover letter will be their ticket to success.

The best way to use online searches is to discover opportunities where, which you can then connect to using many of the strategies described in the Networking section. Success relies on doing the following:

  1. Understanding what skills are required for a particular job,
  2. Actually having most* of those skills or experience in your background,
  3. Drawing a very clear, straight line between the skills you have and the skills they seek.

We will cover techniques for step 3 in the next section of the Guidebook.

Job Fairs

job fair image cropped

When it comes to making connections, nothing beats face to face interaction, even if it’s through a Zoom meeting/computer screen. Job Fairs give attendees an opportunity to meet employers or hiring managers, and in many cases, interview for positions on the spot.

APS hosts an annual Virtual Career Fair in September, as well as a Job Fair at the annual March Meeting, and also at the Division of Plasma Physics (DPP) Annual Meeting. Job Fair registration is always FREE for job seekers.

Connecting with Opportunity

In this webinette, Meghan Anzelc describes all of her strategies for connecting with opportunity: through job boards, career fairs, networking, and recruiters in her webinar.

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Workbook ActivityWorkbook Activity

Browse through one of the job boards listed above and read some of the job descriptions. Did you find any that match your skills and expertise? Conduct a quick LinkedIn search to determine if you have any connections at the company/organization. If you are interested, follow the company page on LinkedIn.

Workbook ActivityWorkbook Activity

If you’re planning to attend a career fair, look up some organizations or companies that will be present. Note the types of job postings and the skills and experiences required. Use the next section to create some tailored resumes to bring with you to share with the employers.

*Often, students from underrepresented groups will not apply to a job unless they meet 100% of the requirements. While it is a good idea to assess yourself honestly, a “perfect” candidate does not exist; often someone with ~70% of the skills and experiences is considered to be an excellent candidate. It’s ok if you don’t have all the skills asked for—just make sure you’re genuinely interested in learning what you need in order to fill the gaps once you’re hired.

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