Regifting! Giving You the Best Job Search Advice We Ever Received

It is the holiday season and we here at OITE are in a giving mood!  To show our appreciation to our readers, we have compiled some of the best job search advice we have been given.  We have wrapped them up neatly below and are regifting them to you!  Yes, we are proud regifters!  So, grab your holiday drink of choice (unless you are in the lab…no food or drink allowed), settle down in a cozy chair (or lab stool) and prepare to unwrap your gifts from us this holiday season!  Enjoy and see you in 2012!    

Your job search begins before you start looking for a job:

“The best advice I ever received is related to networking.  Think of your network as a bank.  When it is time to search for a job, you will need to make a withdrawal from your network. You need your network to work for you.  The key questions will be:  Have you invested enough in your network so you can make a withdrawal?  Did you invest in a network that will provide a good return on your investment?  

Investments can be as simple as attending someone’s seminar and asking an insightful question to volunteering to lead a project that will assist their career yet provide you invaluable experience.  So next time you hear the phrase network, network, network; think invest, invest, invest!”

“The bottom line:  A timely volunteer effort can significantly improve your professional network, while also providing relevant experience and sometimes leading directly to a job.”

Be prepared for an interview:

“Research, research, research.  Do your homework on any company to which you are applying.  This will enable to you be ready for that “what do you know about our company?” question.  Do not think that it’s unimportant.  Your answer will show initiative and solid interest.”

“Regarding interviews, someone once told me not to worry about thinking for a few moments before answering a question. Just say, ‘Great question.  Do you mind if I take a moment to think about it?’  Then genuinely think about it (probably for no more than 30 seconds) and respond. I did this once and I think it went over very well.”

Ready or not, do it anyway:

“There is never a good time to make life changes, so now is as perfect a time as later.  This piece of advice sticks with me to this day, and was a present from a faculty member during my graduate work.  He said it as I was exploring the pros/cons of getting married during grad school, but it became a mantra during my job searches later on.  As I was deciding on positions after postdoc this advice helped me to put in perspective that the transition is tough, but the goal is to keep moving forward to make my life what I want it to be.”

“The best advice I received was from the provost at University of North Carolina.  We met for an informational interview and to talk about my long-term goals. I said I was thinking of making a move in a few years and he said to apply now, even if I didn’t feel ready.  You never really feel ready or qualified enough. I took the advice and applied for two jobs. I got one and withdrew from the other search.  And, here I am.”

If you have received the gift of great advice, please “regift” it to all of us in our comment sections!  Happy Holidays!