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How Do Experimentalists Market Themselves?

  1. Jun 19, 2010 #1
    As the topic asks, I'm wondering how experimentalists (specifically in Physics) market themselves to potential employers. I can see some theory/computational people listing programming skills on their resume if they've worked with simulations or modeling, but I want to know what experimentalists would try to do.

    I ask this because I am doing an REU right now (at a company, not a univ.) and I have the option of switching projects from a fairly hands-on optics one to a project where I'll be able to learn UNIX and IDL (neither of which I know very well yet). I realize this REU won't decide my entire career path, but I'm curious about how would I talk about experimental skills on a resume.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 20, 2010 #2

    Andy Resnick

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    I parlayed my experience into employment by listing the specific experimental skills I had: surface tension measurements, optical spectroscopy and metrology, imaging, polarimetry, etc.
  4. Jun 20, 2010 #3
    Good question. I too would like to know other people's answers. Personally I'm an experimentalist in particle astrophysics. I do a lot of C++ programming (well ROOT, same thing), and I do a fair bit of electronics. I'm wondering what kind of industry jobs would be available to me with this sort of experience. I know I could work for Wall Street. But while I'll take any job I can get (burger flipping included, if necessary), I'd prefer a job that involves doing actual physics.

    Anyone have any suggestions?
  5. Jun 21, 2010 #4

    Andy Resnick

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    In order to work in industry, as a physicist, you *must* demonstrate that you can work with engineers. For example, you *must* demonstrate that you have some understanding of tolerancing (in its many forms), error analysis, designing test procedures, and can direct technicians in the manufacture of various components.

    Personally, my jobs in industry depended a lot on my ability to coordinate mech Es, EEs, thermal engineers, etc. Not to direct their work, but to ensure their work resulted in a product that met specifications.

    In industry- manufacturing industry- physicists must be able to convince management that they are like an 'engineer +'. That is, they can perform some engineering duties, PLUS other value-added tasks.
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