If you have been following out Calendar for Career Success, you know that August is the time to put together your job packages. Whether it be for an academic positions, a postdoc or a transition to a new career field, you need to have a competitive application. We have provided some information below we feel will be helpful in this endeavor.
- What is a Job Package? – A job package almost always includes a CV OR resume and a cover letter. It is important to know whether you will want to include a CV versus a resume. However, regardless of which one the job calls for you will want to make sure you tailor it to the specific job you for which you are applying. The same is true of the cover letter. In many cases, academic job packages will also include specific materials such as a Research Statement or Statement of Teaching Philosophy.
- Jobs come up quickly, having a stock job package that you can change based on the job ad may be a good idea. Many jobs are posted for a short time—having your materials easy to adjust for job openings helps to ensure that you can get your package in for consideration. That said make sure you are very careful about how you use your own stock template, one OITE staffer once sent a job package saying, “I think I would be a terrific addition to organization A”, when the letter was actually going to organization B. She forgot to change the organization when re-using her stock letter, and obviously was not called in for an interview.
- This is your first impression! First impressions are hard to change, and most hiring managers and HR make a first impression very quickly. The job package you submit needs to be free of errors, especially spelling, grammatical, and formatting errors. We review many applications with silly things such as font changes in the document. It also needs to contain ALL the information and components asks for in the job posting. In your cover letter, talk about how you fit the job you are applying to. Do not recite your resume or highlight experiences that will not matter to that particular position. And follow directions! If they ask for a one document, make sure you combine all of you materials together.
- Perfection is your enemy. This may sound a bit contradictory to the previous point, but a lot of people get so bogged down trying to make their job package “perfect” that they never end up applying for the job. Double check that you have all of the information that is asked for in the job posting. Make sure you have someone (or multiple people) you trust look over your materials. Then, submit your application with confidence.
The OITE has a number of resources available to help you with preparing your job packet including having Career Counselors available to NIH Fellows (make an appointment here: https://www.training.nih.gov/career_services/appointments, Job Search Strategies Seminar (which will also go to most NIH campuses in 2012), upcoming workshop series on jobs in Industry, online resources and blog posts on CVs and Cover Letters