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By Leah Poffenberger
Searching for a job—be it a first job or the next step in a career—can feel daunting and time consuming. For physicists looking for their next opportunity, the APS Career Fairs are here to help: Both the Division of Plasma Physics (DPP) meeting and the APS March Meeting offer job fairs or expos, open to members and non-members alike.
A number of recruiters from different sectors, from academia to national labs to industry attend DPP’s job fair and March Meeting’s job expo searching for qualified candidates from within in the physics community. Before each job fair, job seekers are given a chance to see what employers will be represented and what jobs have been posted in order to prioritize which companies to pursue for an interview.
The DPP meeting in 2018 had a record 102 job postings on offer. The most recent job fair, which took place at the 2019 DPP meeting in October in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, saw 95 jobs posted by 18 companies with 65 job seekers participating. These job seekers were also able to take advantage of a resume help desk to ensure their best chance of landing an interview.
“The job fair at the DPP meeting offers job seekers the opportunity to get advice on their resumes and CVs at Resume Help Desks that are staffed by DPP members from various sectors such as industries, universities, and labs,” says Lesley-Ann Rennie, Career and Industrial Physics Coordinator at APS, who is largely responsible for organizing job fairs. “Job seekers can make appointments to meet with a volunteer for about 30 minutes to seek advice on their resume. This service has been proven to be very successful and we will continue to offer it in the future.”
APS Career Fairs connect meeting attendees and recruiters from industry, academia, and national laboratories.
At this year's APS March Meeting in Denver, the Job Expo will be a 3-day event, likely drawing in an even wider variety of employers eager to hire quality candidates from among the huge pool of conference attendees. Before the event, participants can create a job seeker account, search for open positions, and even request an interview.
“At the DPP Job Fair, most of the companies recruiting are laboratories and universities. At the March Meeting’s Job Expo there is a wider range of companies recruiting,” says Rennie. “There are indeed many universities, but at March Meeting [recruiters] come from as far as China and Saudi Arabia. There are [national labs] participating, but the majority of the recruiters are from industry, such as Zurich Instruments, Microsoft, Intel Corporation, and Advanced Research Systems, to name a few.”
Last year, a record 246 job seekers participated in the 2019 March Meeting Job Expo in Boston, and Rennie shared advice for this year’s job seekers looking to stand out.
“Have an updated resume and bring enough copies to pass around. Do your research, find out which companies have posted jobs and will be at the job fair and find out as much as you can about the companies you would like to visit,” says Rennie. “Be assertive and show initiative as you move around to the various employers, and lastly, network with as many companies as possible and also network with your peers—try to find out their approach to building their own careers.”
APS has been running job fairs at DPP and March Meeting for the past eight years, taking over for the American Institute of Physics in 2012. However, the past few years have shown a marked increase in both recruiters and job seekers attending these events. Crystal Bailey, Head of Career Programs at APS, attributes much of this success to having Rennie as an APS representative dedicated to marketing the event and building relationships with employers who continue to come back year after year.
“What tends to happen is if an employer comes once, they build a relationship with us and if they come once and they have a good experience, they come back. And I feel like we've just been gaining a lot of momentum in recent years by having new companies come and have a good experience. We've managed to successfully build some relationships with companies who frequently will use us as a recruitment opportunity,” says Bailey.
In the future, job fairs might expand and be present at more APS meetings besides the DPP and March meetings, and Bailey hopes to even further increase the diversity of recruiters.
“We're trying to build relationships with other communities and other divisions [besides DPP] that might eventually lead to a formal job fair,” says Bailey. “But then we also are very much interested in continuing to increase the industry participation in the existing job fairs, both DPP and March. We really want to see companies strongly represented at these events.”
To sign up for the 2020 March Meeting Job Expo, visit the Job Expo page. Job seekers do not have to be meeting attendees or APS members.
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Editor: David Voss
Staff Science Writer: Leah Poffenberger
Contributing Correspondent: Alaina G. Levine
Publication Designer and Production: Nancy Bennett-Karasik