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Sep5-11, 09:51 PM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by jk View Post
2. Head hunters. They have a bad reputation (some deservedly so) but the good ones have contacts in their respective industries that keep them informed. The really good ones have top level contacts (There was one particular head hunter who was rumored to have been romantically involved with a married director of the financial firm I was working at. That is contacts!). Your job is to find such headhunters - which is much easier than finding those elusive jobs.
For physics Ph.D's, you can find headhunters at,,, Also *.jobs USENET is also useful.

3. Your school's career center. Depending on where you are located and what kind of jobs you are looking for, this may or may not be effective. For example, if you are in Arkansas and you want to work in Quantitative Finance, they probably won't be able to hook you up.
The problem with large schools like UT Austin is that physics Ph.D.'s can use the good career services. UT Austin has very good contacts in the financial industry, but those are in the McCombs Business School for MBA's, and I was told specifically that because I was natural sciences, that I would not be allowed to use MBA career services (I even offered to pay them).

Take their business cards. You will need it later when you call them up two weeks later, introduce yourself and ask if you can do an "informational interview".
For Ph.D.'s it is extremely useful to go to conferences. Even if you don't get a job, you can get information.

They were really nice ladies but their priorities are learning new rules and policy changes, dealing with things like sexual harrassment and discrimination, etc. and not learning the latest hot programming language). Trust me, HR is your enemy. Repeat this until it sinks in. Their job is to filter out resumes, not to find that rare gem.
One thing that I learned is don't consider people enemies. HR people have a job to do. Their job is to get rid of you. Also, one thing that helps a lot for Ph.D.'s is to write a resume that confuses HR. If an HR person sees that you have a Ph.D. and has no clue what you did, they might forward your resume to someone that has some clue, at which point you've gotten over the first hurdle.

Also, be *VERY* careful when you are interviewed by someone from HR. Their job in the interview is to make you feel warm and comfortable so that you say something about yourself that disqualifies you from the job. Also, be *VERY* careful at assuming roles. Some people that look like stereotypical HR people are actually computer geeks, and some people that look like stereotypical computer geeks are actually HR people.

One more thing. Read a book called "What Color is your Parachute?". I read it when I first left school and the advice the author gave in that book has been spot on. It is updated every couple of years so you should get the latest one. If there is one book you should read on job hunting, this is it.
I haven't read that book, so I don't know about it, but I've found that other books about resume writing and job searching often get it wrong. For example, a lot of books say that you should write your resume so that the reader will understand what you did, but if you are a Ph.D. looking for a Ph.D. position, you should write your resume so that the average person *doesn't* have much of a clue what you did.