On Friday, January 16, Professors Karen Myers (Communication) and David Seibold (Technology Management Program) led a workshop on job interviews and negotiating a job offer. The workshop discussed the basics of negotiation with an emphasis on the importance of negotiating job offers in academia and elsewhere. Below, you will find links to resources distributed at the workshop, including PowerPoint slides and handouts.
UCSB Career Services is hosting its Winter Career Fair next Thursday, January 29, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Corwin Pavilion. This event is open to all students. There will be 53 organizations on hand in areas including engineering, technology, marketing, human resources, business management, sciences, finance, education, government, social services, and sales. Of this group, 33 have specific interest in talking to graduate students (see the above link).
If you haven’t been to a career fair, or aren’t sure what is involved, it is an event bringing together a variety of employers interested in meeting Gauchos to talk about potential job opportunities. Especially if you have interest in the industries being represented – and you come prepared – career fairs can be a great way to connect with professionals in your area, learn about organizations and their hiring opportunities, and possibly even land an interview.
So what’s the best way to prepare? Here are some proven tips:
- Research the employers you are interested in connecting with – website, products/services, company divisions, current events, competitors, etc.
- Find out what specific opportunities the organizations have available – website, GauchoLink, Indeed.com, Google, etc.
- Plan a strategy for which organizations you’d like to meet with
- Create a list of questions you’d like to ask them
Put Together 30- to 60-Second Intro or ”Elevator Speech”
- For use in answering the “tell me about yourself”-related questions
- It should include information about who you are, what you’re looking for, what you have to offer (education, skills, experience, etc.), and why you are interested in the company
- Write, edit, get feedback, and practice, practice, practice your speech
- A resume (as opposed to a CV) is appropriate for most industry positions
- Your resume should be distinctive, easy to read, error-free, and relevant to the research you did about the company
- If necessary, have different versions for different employers
- Get your resume critiqued by at least two knowledgeable people beforehand
- Bring several hard copies of your resume in a portfolio or something professional-looking
Make an Effort Towards Your Dress and Appearance
- Err on the side of over-dressing vs. under-dressing
- Wear a suit or business casual dress, depending on the industry
- Long lines often form and some employers leave early
- Note: If you get your resume/CV critiqued in drop-in counseling at Career Services (Career Resource Room, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday-Friday), you will receive a pass to enter the fair one hour early
- Ask for cards/contact information from employers you meet
- Send them an email within 24 hours, thanking them for their time and interest, reiterating your interest in their organization/opportunity (if applicable), and following up with any action steps or other pertinent discussion points
- Follow-up further, as appropriate
UCSB Career Services offers an effective array of resources, programming, coaching, and other services. For more details, visit the Career Services website.
John Coate is the Assistant Director and Coordinator of Graduate Student Services for UCSB's Career Services. He periodically writes post on career and professional development issues for The GradPost.
Versatile Ph.D. Online Panel Discussion Jan. 26-30: Careers in Technology for Humanities and Social Science Fields
Versatile Ph.D. will host a free web-based asynchronous panel discussion on Careers in Technology from January 26-30. All panelists are Ph.D.s or ABDs from humanities or social science fields employed in technology-centered roles in a wide variety of organizations, including:
- Web Developer for a major business publication
- Director of User Experience at a health care communications agency
- Software Programmer/Analyst in an insurance company
- Director of Technology at an urban newspaper
- Director of Digital Experience at an art museum
You can interact with panelists throughout the week on the site or follow the discussion via email. All questions welcome, from the most general to the very specific. Click here for more information on the panel discussion.
Do you have an intriguing idea, unusual side project, crazy travel story, or anything else you'd like to share in a bite-sized presentation? Spatial@UCSB is looking for intrepid presenters – students, faculty, staff, and friends – to give inspirational, educational, or just plain entertaining talks related to geography or space (i.e., just about anything). The talks can be serious or funny, as long as presenteres follow the mantra: "Enlighten us, but make it quick." For inspiration, watch videos of past years' talks. Participants from all departments and disciplines are welcome.
To present in the 2015 Spatial Lightning Talks, contact Kitty Currier by February 18 (preferably sooner).
What: 4th Annual Lightning Talks presented by spatial@ucsb
When: Wednesday, February 25 (lunch provided starting at 11:45 a.m., presentations begin at noon)
Where: Mosher Alumni House
More Information: View the call for presentations
Check out this 2014 Lightning Talk from graduate student Crystal Bae, who bicycled cross-country from Washington, D.C., to UCSB last year:
The University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) invites proposals from humanities graduate students interested in participating in a new UC-wide initiative regarding careers alongside/outside the academy. UCHRI is seeking 3-5 humanities graduate students to serve as the Humanists@Work advisory committee for its annual workshop series.
The term for the advisory committee is one year, from Summer 2015 to Spring 2016. Working alongside UCHRI’s Assistant Director, advisory committee members will be expected to attend workshops and participate in virtual meetings, including the collective development and production of two to four webinars on alt-ac topics each year. This is an opportunity for graduate students interested in professional development to shape the future of alt-ac programs across the UC system while gaining valuable logistical work experience.
Who Can Apply: Currently enrolled UC Humanities graduate students
Level of Award: $1,000 stipend, plus travel and lodging for twice-yearly professional development workshops and a convening meeting at UCHRI
Application Deadline: March 18, 2015 (11:59 pm PST).
How to Apply: Online via FastApps
Funding Decision: It is expected that awards will be announced in Spring quarter
More Information: Visit UCHRI's call for applications
The UCSB Resource Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity (RCSGD) is seeking a Graduate Assistant for the 2014-2015 academic year. The RCSGD Graduate Assistant will support the Center, gain practical/hands-on experience, and collaborate with a diverse population of students, faculty, and staff. The Graduate Assistant will aim to increase student involvement and to enhance students’ collegiate experience by supporting the initiatives of the RCSGD and is expected to work 15-20 hours a week, which may include some evenings and weekend hours. Click here to download a full job description as well as information on qualifications and compensation.
To apply, send an electronic letter of interest, current resume or CV, and the names and contact information of three references to David Whitman, RCSGD Director of LGBT Services. The application deadline is Friday, January 30, by 5 p.m.
Apply now for ComSciCon 15, the Communication Science workshop for STEM graduate students.
This unique professional development experience will bring students together in Cambridge, MA. Attendees will meet young leaders in the field and interact with a remarkable group of invited experts. Participants will also produce an original work focused on communicating complex technical concepts from science and engineering to a new audience.
ComSciCon applications are competitive and applicants are encouraged to prepare their responses carefully.
Deadline: Mar. 1.
Eligibility: Graduate students from all fields of science and engineering at all US institutions.
Cost: Application, registration, and attendance to the workshop are free of charge for accepted applicants.
More Information: See website description.
Application: Apply now.
The Dissertation Writer's Room is back! Starting Tuesday, January 13, the Graduate Division's Dissertation Writer's Room will reopen for the winter quarter. This resource is open to all graduate students. Whether you are completing the final round of revisions to your dissertation, or writing your first graduate seminar paper, you don't have to write in isolation. Schedule some time to work alongside your fellow graduate students in the Dissertation Writer's Room.
Where: Student Resource Building, Room 1103
When: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to noon; Wednesdays, 1 to 4 p.m.
The Graduate Division's Dissertation Writer's Room comfortably seats 18 writers and includes amenities such as ergonomic furniture, wifi, coffee, tea, water, and snacks. One of the Graduate Division Peers will host the room each day and help everyone stay on course. Peers will also be available to provide support or encouragement as needed.
We are also delighted to announce that UCSB Campus Learning Assistance Services (CLAS) will once again offer an evening session of the writer's room. Jay Stemmle of CLAS will facilitate this session and provide feedback (if needed) on writing and the writing process.
Where: CLAS Writing Lab, Room 3231 of the Student Resource Building
When: Thursdays from 6 to 10 p.m.
If you have any questions about the Dissertation Writer's Room, or suggestions for other professional development resources, please email Robert Hamm.
The job market is a fickle mistress, and often brings incalculable angst and misery to the graduate students who enter it. Even those who do land tenure-track positions do so only after many rejections, making the process a difficult experience for just about everyone.
Luckily, however, UCSB’s Graduate Division and the Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships has stepped in to alleviate as much of this misery as possible in the form of an Academic Job Search Panel on Wednesday, November 19, for STEM students and postdocs.
Bruce Kendall, Associate Dean of the Graduate Division, led the panel, which consisted of three sciences faculty members: Omer Blaes (Physics), Aaron Ettenberg (Psychological and Brain Sciences), and Megan Valentine (Mechanical Engineering). In an engaging, witty series of exchanges among both one another and the audience, these four faculty detailed the process of the job search from interview to job offer.
The members of the panel, led by Dean Kendall, decided to take it from the top, opening with an explanation of how search committees get from the stack of applications on their desks to a bottom 20 or so. The committee, very early on, pointed out that the more detailed elements of the application, such as the research and teaching statements, may not even be read in the first pass. Those documents, Dr. Ettenberg noted, only come into use after the pile has been winnowed down into a manageable size. Early on, the CV, cover letter, amount of publications on the CV, and letters of recommendation get people into the top twenty.
The letters of recommendation were particularly important to the panel, as was the process of networking and getting your name out there in the field. As one of the panelists pointed out, “The Good Old Boy or Girl network is in full operation...you must be known to your community.” While being known in the field is important, a letter of recommendation - particularly, from your advisor - is a crucial document for moving your application beyond the initial stages of the search.
The Phone or Skype Interview
Interviewing with the search committee, either by phone or via Skype, is the next step for candidates who make it into “the twenty.” The panel recommended that students prepare for this part of the process intensively, since they only have a short time to impress the audience. One member noted that a phone interview does beat a Skype interview in terms of effort, since it doesn’t matter how you are dressed.
The Job Talk
The campus visit is, of course, the major event for a job candidate, and the job talk is sort of the crown jewel of the entire visit. Candidates generally have about a week or two to prepare for a campus visit. Because of the quick turnaround time, the panel recommended planning your job talk in advance of the invite. Because the core of the job talk is your dissertation research (or current project, if you are a post-doc), much of what you prepare won’t change from one job talk to another.
A campus interview differs from the phone or Skype interview because there are more opportunities to tell a compelling story about your research, to speak to a wider audience, and to excite that audience about your intellect and imagination. The job talk itself runs about 45-50 minutes, with extra time afterward (10-15 minutes) for discussion. The panel suggested using 40-45 minutes to talk about your research, and using the final five minutes to look forward into future projects and ideas. As Dr. Blaes noted, “The challenge of the job talk is to reach everyone in the department and convince someone who knows nothing that what you do is exciting and the one expert in your department that you’re good at what you do.” Time management is particularly important: “When they say it’s fifty minutes, it’s really fifty minutes!” Failure to manage time properly is a sign of being unprepared, something that does not go over well with the audience.
One of the big challenges with the job talk is using technical language. Used accurately, technical language shows that you know what you are talking about, although, of course, it can leave an audience not specialized in your sub-discipline a little bit lost. The panel recommended starting wide, showing a broad vision, and then getting into “some meat” in terms of your detailed study - in other words, tying the technical detail back into the big picture, showing the audience that you can see the bigger picture into which your study fits. A good job talk, they noted, tells a story with a beginning, middle, and end, with the end pointing out the result of the story: what do we know now that we didn’t know before?
The job talk is the single, shared experience that everyone in the department will have about you and your research, so it’s important to do it right. The best way to prepare is to practice it - there is no greater aide than repetition and regular feedback from peers.
Some schools ask for more than a single job talk. Several panelists pointed out that a general colloquium and a separate talk with field-specific faculty sometimes occurs. Furthermore, a separate, sample teaching lesson is sometimes asked for at different positions.
General Advice for the Campus Visit
You are being evaluated from the moment you step off the plane to the moment you get back on the plane. The plane is probably a pretty safe place.
If you are offered a drink at dinner, you can feel free to take it. But take only one, and nurse that drink. If you don’t drink, try to find a polite way of refusing the drink.
You often don’t get time to chew your food at whatever restaurant they take you to, so choose your meal accordingly.
Never show up without a schedule of the events - you should have one emailed to you ahead of time.
Be prepared to hit the highlights of your research quickly - have your elevator talk ready.
Show an interest in what they are doing and their research areas. Be prepared to ask questions of them.
Try to find the latest papers by the faculty at the campus and read them on the flight over.
There is no break during the campus visit. Ever.
During one-on-one interviews with faculty members throughout your campus visit, you will need coffee, or some other way to consume caffeine.
Preparation: The Key Ingredient
From the entire discussion of the academic job search, the key takeaway that I found was preparation: prepare your CV, cover letter, and other application materials; secure letters of recommendation early; prepare for your interviews; prepare your job talks ahead of time; research the institution before the campus visit. If you are entering a postdoc position, prepare for the later job market by acquiring teaching experience while at the position. Use your conferencing during the job search process to make connections that will help you with the tenure and promotion process later on. Prepare, prepare, prepare. It’s a good mantra, and a good way to make sure you are ready for what the job market throws at you.
There is still time to apply for the 2015 ISEE (Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators) Professional Development Program, which is a flexible, multi-year program for scientists and engineers at the early stages of their careers, with a primary focus on graduate students. The program is also open to postdocs, faculty members, and other scientists and engineers.
Participants receive training through workshops, work on a design team before and after workshops, continue developing their skills through mini-workshops and expert consultation, and then put their new teaching skills into practice.
The priority application deadline is Monday, December 15.