Be Sure Your Online Presence Is an Asset, Not a Liability

January 28, 2011

computerOver the past few years, I have seen my share of ridiculous—and even inappropriate—photos of friends and family members on Facebook. And I have read a few offensive Twitter feeds (Gordon Ramsey’s rants, anyone?) and skimmed through self-important, content-devoid blog posts of acquaintances. And unfortunately, I can’t get those minutes back.

While social media provides innovative outlets for communication, it also presents potential landmines for uninformed users.

By way of illustration, try this simple test: take a minute and Google yourself. What did you find? Would your current online presence help or hurt your chances of getting an interview for a particular job?

More and more, employers are turning to social media to screen candidates before inviting them for an interview. According to a recent article exit icon1 in the Wall Street Journal, some employers are even cutting back their participation on major job listing sites in favor of conducting more selective searches on social media sites.

What can you do to ensure that you put your best foot forward in this evolving, social media-driven job market? Louise Fletcher, an entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Blue Sky Resumes, suggests the following in one of her articles exit icon1:

  1. Be sure your online profiles are complete. Top links returned on a Google search of my name were my LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook profiles. Because an employer is likely to find you this way, it is essential that your profile be current, error-free—or private. Facebook provides an option for you to view your public profile (what strangers searching for you will see). Be sure that you are comfortable with an employer finding this same information.
  2. Once you are satisfied with the content of your profiles, include the links to these sites everywhere—in your email signature line, on business cards, in your résumé and cover letter—to make it easy for employers to find more information on you.
  3. Write more. Website editors are constantly in need of new content and often welcome pieces by novice authors. You may also decide to start your own blog. Using this platform, you can establish credibility as an expert on your particular area of research fairly quickly, and with short posts (i.e., without devoting an inordinate amount of time to the endeavor). You might even choose Twitter as a platform, which requires even less writing, but allows you to post useful tidbits for people in your field.

Take advantage of these technological and cultural shifts, and separate yourself from the crowd!


A Day in the Life of…A Science Educator

January 14, 2011

kidsLast fall, OITE launched “A Day in the Life of…,” a series of interactive, online chats exploring a variety of careers in science.

In September, we heard from David Kosub, a Public Health Analyst, about careers in science/public health policy, and chatted with Philip Mayer, an Assistant Vice President of Pfizer, in October to explore careers in big pharma. Last November, we featured careers in science writing through a discussion with Mariette DiChristina, Editor-in-Chief of Scientific American. (For more tips from Ms. DiChristina, click here.)

To kick off the series in 2011, we are pleased to introduce “A Day in the Life of…A Science Educator,” featuring Jayatri Das, Senior Exhibit Developer at The Franklin Institute exit icon1 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a dynamic science museum with interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages, live science shows, and more.

To read the transcript of the chat, click here exit icon1.

EVENT: “A Day in the Life of…A Science Educator”

DATE: Thursday, January 20, 2011

TIME: 12 pm – 1:00 pm EST

GUEST: Jayatri Das, Senior Exhibit Developer, The Franklin Institute

RELATED POST: How to Get a Job in Science Education and Outreach


Returning Home for Work: How to Find Jobs Abroad

January 11, 2011

Recent news stories have highlighted the drive of several growing, global economies to entice native scientists back to their home countries for work. Some governments, such as China’s, are offering incentives, including funding and resources, to scientific workers willing to bring knowledge and training gained abroad back to their home country for work.

Another benefit to returning home for work, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal exit icon1, is an existing understanding of one’s native culture and language. Whether you hail from Germany, China, India, or Argentina, it may be significantly easier for you than for a non-native speaker to navigate the job market in your country.

Still, you may be unsure of where to look for jobs, which steps to take for your job search, what your job search materials should look like, etc. Many of the same job search strategies used by job seekers in the U.S. may prove useful in your job search abroad. For starters:

1) Network, network, network!

This refrain is a popular one among career counselors in the U.S., but will still be essential for you as you seek work in your home country. Consider the following sources to establish contacts abroad:

  • NIH alumni – Take a look through the OITE Alumni Database to find a connection. Keep your search for contacts broad, looking not only at where someone is currently employed (the UK, India, etc.), but also considering former trainees who may be working in the U.S. but completed their studies in a different country.
  • Alumni from your undergraduate or graduate institution – whether you completed undergraduate and/or graduate training in the U.S. or abroad, you may find that your university keeps an alumni/ae database similar to the one above. Using such a resource will help you connect with people currently living or working in the region you would like to work in.
  • Faculty and staff from your undergraduate or graduate institution
  • Your professional association – Many professional associations grant members access to membership listings/databases that include countries where members are working. Check with your association, and if membership is required to view member listings, look for a graduate student/postdoc rate to join.
  • LinkedIn.com exit icon1 – I cannot stress enough the importance of being active on this professional networking site, and of ensuring that your own profile is up-to-date and polished. You can use LinkedIn to search for contacts in other countries just as easily as you can look for people in the U.S. (For example, I ran a quick search for 1st- and 2nd-level contacts in China and generated a list of 235 names!)

2) Use international job listing websites.

The following sites have an interesting array of opportunities for scientists in a variety of regions:

  • OverseasJobs.com exit icon1 – This site features a search engine designed to assist job seekers in finding current job listings abroad.
  • TransitionsAbroad.com exit icon1 – This site serves as a repository of job listing sites by country or region.
  • NIRA’s World Directory of Think Tanks exit icon1 – This site contains a listing of think tanks, or public policy research institutes. If impacting science policy in your home country appeals to you, take a look through the work of some of these organizations.
  • Foreign Policy Association exit icon1 – This non-profit organization, dedicated to increasing awareness about world issues, runs a job board with job listings both in the U.S. and abroad.

3) Use the correct materials.

Be aware that different countries have different norms when it comes to résumé, CV, and cover letter writing. Familiarize yourself with these different styles by reviewing jobERA.com exit icon1 and similar sites–and be sure to have your documents reviewed by a career counselor in OITE, a colleague, and others to ensure that it is error-free.

Finally, give yourself plenty of time to search abroad. While the typical job search in the U.S. can take anywhere from 6 months to a year, an international search may take even longer.

Good luck!


The Year in Review: Top 10 Posts of 2010

January 4, 2011

clockHappy New Year!

This month, the OITE Careers Blog celebrates its one year anniversary. Let’s take a look at the year in review according to you, our readers.

In terms of total hits, this blog received 20,555 by the end of 2010.

The top 10 posts, ranked by frequency of hits, are as follows. Take a look through any posts you may have missed, or revisit an old favorite:

Rank Post Title # of Hits
1 Resumes and CVs: Tailor Made 554
2 Link In or Miss Out: 10 Tips on Using LinkedIn Effectively for Your Job Search 406
3 Finding the Perfect Postdoc 309
4 Industry vs. Academia: Which is Right for You? 252
5 Manage Your Time with a Tomato 225
6 Who’s Hiring Now? Check Out Regulatory Science 203
7 Still Waiting for the Phone to Ring… 169
8 Tomorrow’s Professor: Preparing for the Academic Job Market 169
9 Online Chat: “A Day in the Life of…” Career Options for Scientists 156
10 The Postdoc Journey: A Developmental Approach to Independence 154

Finally, let’s kick off 2011 with YOUR ideas!  In the COMMENTS section below, send along topics you’d like to see addressed on this blog.

All the best for a healthy, safe, and productive New Year.