Archive for the 'Job Search' Category

Networking for Academics

Job Search, Networking, Resources No Comments »

Resources on Networking for Academics  Pew Report on Networking, 2013  Pew 2014 Millennials now 18-32 useful article on networking at a conference   article on improving networking among academics  an older article that reviews 5 social networking tools used specifically by academics   an article focused specifically on crowdsourcing for the benefit of scientific research
Career Distinction, by William Arruda and Kirsten Dixon
Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi

Interview by Skype

Interviews, Job Search, Resources No Comments »

Note that, while I use Skype often, this article is compiled also from the advice and experience in many articles listed in Google searches for “Skype interviews.” I also asked for (and got wonderful) help from colleagues in a LinkedIn discussion group.

Video interviews (Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.) are very different from traditional face-to-face interviews, and, if you’re new at this, be ready for considerable preparation. Trying to “wing it” in a video interview just makes it easier to be shot down.

In addition to the usual interview preparation research (on your strengths and skills, the organization and the job, and how well they match) plus practicing verbally, video interviews include the obvious technical differences. But more important and less obvious is your “on-screen presentation,” redundant backups, behind-the-scenes organization and advance preparation.

More organizations are becoming more comfortable with video interviews, and some of my colleagues are reporting more job offers coming after the video-only interview. For cross-country interviews, video interviews are far less expensive than airplane tickets.

Also, more organizations are adopting what almost amounts to video applications, when you may be sent to a website that will give you specific questions to answer, while you are being videoed in an interview format. It means that you can make the video any time of the day or night (within the deadline given) and interviewers can watch your “canned” video any time.

I see the main areas of preparation for a Skype falling into six areas: First Impressions/PresentationAppearanceLocation/LightingOrganizing for the InterviewPotential Technical Glitches and Practice, Practice, Practice

First Impressions and Presentation

Although the fears most interviewees have of Skype interviews revolve around an unfamiliar technology, the failures most interviewers mention relate to the so-called “soft” skills: etiquette, appearance, unconscious behaviors, and lack of preparation. Some of it is caused by nervousness, but most is easily cured by practice with friends.

The first impression you give fixes your image as a professional. It begins with your Skype name. If it is along the lines of stud4you or sweetiegal, change it or begin a new Skype account for the professional you. (You already know that your online other profiles should be consistent in projecting the same professional image, too, right?)

Be prepared to introduce yourself and be sure to know the interviewer’s name. If you have multiple interviewers and you haven’t “met” them before, write down their names. Address them individually when you have questions, and realize that you may find yourself carrying on several different conversations simultaneously.

If you don’t know already, ask how much time they have scheduled for the call. Most interviews won’t exceed an hour, but exceptions happen, especially with academics, and it will be useful for you to know their time limits.

Eye contact remains critically important in video interviews (although there may be cultural differences). Remember that “maintaining eye contact” means that you’ll be looking at the webcam lens, not the video image of the interviewer, which may be in a lower corner of your screen.

If you can drag the interviewer’s image to the top of the screen just below the webcam lens, it will be much easier to give the interviewer the impression of eye contact. If it doesn’t drag, you can make it easier for yourself to remember to look at the camera by taping a photo of a smiling friend near the webcam, perhaps even with a hole cut in it for the webcam lens to show through it. As you look at the photo of your friend (preferably smiling), you’ll find it much easier to feel that you’re speaking directly to another human (and the interviewer will feel that you are talking directly to him/her).

Smiling and focusing on the speaker (behind that lens) also will make you look much more confident and positive. Get a feel for the mood/energy of your interviewer and engage them – respond to an upbeat mood with your own, and slow down or speed up if you find yourself talking much faster or slower than your interviewer.

If you anticipate being nervous, spend a few minutes before the call smiling into a mirror, or watch a few cat videos to help you relax and actually laugh. The smile on your face will come through in your voice, too. To raise your nonverbal confidence (especially if you are female, watch this TED talk of Amy Cuddy ( and try the power pose before your interview.

Be especially aware of smiling occasionally during the interview because a solemn you may appear stiff and ultra-serious – or dull. Interviewers need to see your enthusiasm for them and the position. (If it’s your first interview by video, don’t be afraid to mention it. Most will be sympathetic, it will help break the ice, and you’ll be more comfortable.)

Respond verbally and nod occasionally as the interviewer speaks, to confirm to her/him that you are able to hear and are listening. Remember that they may have distractions in their office, and may not have as much interest in you as you in them. If you sense that you have lost their interest, ask a question and engage with the interviewer.

Relating to all the above points, be nice, be courteous, and show your interest in them as individuals. You want to like/respect them, and them to like/respect you, at least enough to want to work together. They will be looking at you, wondering if you will fit in, and be good for the team already in place. They’ll be wondering if your style is compatible with theirs. Finally, assume that the interviewer wants to hire you. It will keep your attitude positive and you will give off a more positive impression than if you respond defensively.

Your body language may be distracting or may reflect well on you. Sit up straight, but find a comfortable position, lest you look like you’re sitting on nails. If your hands are not visible to interviewers on the screen, and you gesture with your hands, interviewers will see them flitting in and out of the screen area and be distracted. (Some advisors recommend that you position yourself so your hands are visible at all times, and others recommend that you lean in to the webcam so that you become a talking head, so your facial expressions are more visible. Choose one format, practice, and stick with it.)

While a transmission delay may be caused by technical issues (discussed later in this article), it may cause you or interviewers to speak over one another. You may need to slow down and be sure their sentence has ended before you speak. Simply adjust your speaking speed and don’t let it make you nervous.

If technical issues keep you from hearing or being heard, suggest stopping the call and call back to try for a better connection. If so, you’ll appear confident, technically competent and you’ll give the impression that you know what you’re doing. (Plus, it might work.)



Dressing for an interview to look the part of an employee of the organization is important in face-to-face interviews, but video introduces a few complications. Because non-verbal communication is a huge percentage of our total communication, your “appearance” becomes more important when “on camera.”

Be aware that some colors and assertive patterns, especially stripes, don’t show up well on screen, and some become overly bright and “clash” electronically. Beyond noting that blues usually show up well, I’ll suggest that you experiment if you like bright colors.

What you wear also may depend on what you know about the organization and the job you want. Your earlier research on company culture should give you clues for preparation, but this is more difficult to do at a distance. One young woman did well in a screening telephone interview (for a position as a worldwide tour guide). For the next interview which, which was by video, she took special care with her hair, make up and attire. She did not get the job, and found out later that the interviewer couldn’t imagine her guiding tourists through jungles wearing makeup, a suit and heels.

In any case, you’ll want to appear well-groomed – and comfortable with yourself. Record some trial runs with video and revise to improve your appearance. A male student recorded a test interview and discovered that one piece of flyaway hair stuck straight up on the top of his head like a unicorn. (He changed his hairstyle.)

Too many interviewees have been caught on camera, looking fine above the waist, but wearing pajama bottoms (or less) below that. Don’t take the chance. Dress completely and professionally, to fit the organization’s style. Recruiters have reported video interviewees wearing sweats, looking like they had just rolled out of bed. Pretend you’re dressing for a 9am weekday, even if the interview is 5am or 9pm in your time zone.



If you have quiet office space at home, this is probably your best choice of location. Clean/declutter the space and prepare for the visit as if the interviewer were actually coming to you. Your surroundings should reflect your professionalism. Your background gives an unconscious view of you, and can be a distraction if it is “busy” – full of small objects (stuffed bookshelves, wall hangings, etc.).

You can choose the view they have of you, so look at what is behind you as you sit at the webcam, and consider the impression your space will give of your organizational abilities and your personal life. (If it’s a dorm room, remove the teddy bears and beer bottles.) One woman who was a candidate for a retail position in a home décor store was asked in the interview to pick up the webcam and pan the room, which happened to be her dorm room. She did not get the position.

Also, be aware of the angle of the screen if you’re using a laptop. If the angle is too great, the webcam lens will give the interviewer a great view up your nostrils, with the ceiling behind your head. To avoid that, prop the laptop on something so the lens is roughly level with your eyes.

If you have a roommate or family in the vicinity, be sure they understand how important it is to you to have no noise or distraction during the interview. You should be the only living being in the room (no pets, children or other distractions). Put a note on the door to fend off unexpected visitors and deliveries. If you can, disable the ringer on a land line phone and silence the cell phone and computer notification sounds.

Lighting is critical, so the interviewer can see the expressions on your face. You might place your computer/webcam in front of a window so you are in natural light (but not full, bright sunlight, or you may be blinded yourself). A very bright light behind you will cause your face to be shadowed. It may help to position two desk lamps on either side of the webcam, or one above it, focused on your face.

Because this isn’t a friendly chat, avoid having a cup of coffee with you, but you may want a glass of water (not a bottle) at arm’s length, in case your mouth gets dry, or you begin to cough. (Consider the interviewer watching your Adam’s apple slide up and down when you chug a bottle of water on screen. Don’t try to turn away – you’ll just give them a side or back view.) Dry mouth and coughing are actually common until you’re comfortable with video interviews, similar to making presentations to large audiences.


Organize for the Interview

Logistics are your responsibility – be sure you translate their time zone correctly into yours, and be aware that your own geographic zone may not correlate with national time zones. (Even if a miscommunication is their fault, you’ll be the loser.)

Keep paper and pens handy to take notes. You may want to record the conversation, too. If you can avoid beating yourself too much for any small missteps, you can learn from the recording and improve your next Skype interview.

It is perfectly ok to have notes in front of you. You’d even take a resume to a face-to-face interview, perhaps along with questions to ask and points you want to mention. While you can put sticky notes around the screen, which the interviewer can’t see, the interviewer can see your furtive eye movements, when you look away from the lens to focus on the notes, so be sure your notes are easy to read (using an extra-large font), perhaps even within your peripheral vision. Or, you may want to spread your notes on the desk in front of you, and actually be seen picking up the page, as you say something like, “I do have a couple of questions relating to this. Would now be a good time to ask?”

Even though you can be comfortable having notes in front of you, be so familiar with what you want to get across that the notes are merely reminders. If you’re too dependent on the notes, or have to read them, you’ll introduce awkward pauses while the interviewer waits for you to find what you want to say.


Potental Technical Glitches

Skype (and other systems of video interviews) are still fraught with potential technical problems. Even if “everything always works” for you in the system you use, it may not at interview time. So, get used to the idea that “something” may happen, and be prepared for the worst. Most important, don’t sweat it – and don’t let it rattle you if it happens. Most interviewers have experienced all of the technical glitches that can happen, so they won’t be angry with you because of it – unless you are clearly unprepared to deal with it.

In fact, if a technical glitch does happen, and you show that you are prepared and help them overcome the situation, you will create a positive impression with the interviewer, who will see you as a competent problem-solver.

Be sure to contact the interviewer well before the interview and know exactly how the video connection is going to be made (which system you’ll be using and who initiates the connection). Also, get a phone number where you could reach them in case the video connection drops. Be sure that they have a phone number for you at the location you’re interviewing (cell and/or land line). If it’s a cell phone, be sure the reception is good there, and be sure your cell phone and/or cordless phone batteries are fully charged. (At my building, some cell phones don’t get reception in the basement offices.) If the video were to fail irretrievably, and you end up on the phone with the interviewer, offer to connect again, or to continue the interview by phone. Treat it as a problem-solving exercise and rise to the occasion.

Use the highest-speed Internet connection you can get, but try to avoid WIFI, especially on your computer’s battery power. As wonderful as it is when it works, WIFI is still a little quirky, and there are many connections that could fail (the router, the receiver, your ISP, and traffic overloads could slow it). If possible, use a cable connection and use the WIFI as the backup, or less desirable, reverse that. Keep your computer plugged in to electricity. Slow connections can cause audio/video lag or drop the video.

If you’ve had tech problems in practice sessions, tell the interviewer and explain what you’ll do (phone back, try a different connection, etc.). Or, if you’ve were previously unable to get a phone number where you can reach the interviewer during the interview, get it before you begin the interview. Even if the session is technically perfect, you’ll gain points for preparation and competence.

Test your internet connection and computer more than once, using the video system you’ll be using. Take care in learning how the audio, microphone and volume settings have to be set for Skype, especially if you’ve had to change any of those items recently. Headphones give better sound than laptop speakers, but note that the internal settings for audio may be different for headphones vs speakers, and having both turned on can cause electronic feedback. If you plan to get headphones, try to find a set with a mute button and USB connection. Don’t worry that you may look dorky if you’re wearing headphones; you’re just being professional.

Close the other programs in your computer, to give all its resources to the video process, especially if it has limited memory.

When the unexpected happens, you have a chance to shine – if you are prepared, as was the woman who told me this story. “I dropped a glass of wine on my laptop the night before. I thought I had it dried out and I tested it thoroughly. As the computer heated up during my interview, the wine must have gotten wet and sticky and computer completely died forever. Luckily, I had my iPad ready to go as back up and my phone to back up that so I barely missed a beat. It actually launched a great discussion about how people in our field always have to have a back-up. (I didn’t tell them I spilled wine on my laptop, though.)”


Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice makes you comfortable with the whole process. Practice includes doing your research on the organization and having the questions you want to ask or discuss

Your first few video Skype calls are likely to feel awkward, especially if you have to retrain yourself to watch the camera and not the screen. Play around with everything beforehand so that when it’s interview time, you can shine without being distracted by the process or the technology.

On occasion, you’ll have more than one interviewer at the other end. Because the situation can be daunting, try to do at least one trial interview with multiple interviewers to see what that feels like and to get a chance to practice dealing with more than one interviewer at a time. Remaining calm with multiple interviewers is a skill and practice will perfect it.

Doing multiple trial interviews with friends before your interview is even scheduled is critical. Ask for their honest feedback and record the calls. You need to know their impression of you, your appearance and behavior. Ask them about the quality of the video and the elements I’ve mentioned above – the lighting, the sound, any distractions or noise. Be sure to have a list of questions for them to ask you and get feedback on your manner and your facial expressions. Do you appear enthusiastic, yet professional? Is your voice clear and easily understood? Are you smiling enough? Too much? Ask them to pay particular attention to your facial expression and general appearance, and analyze the recording yourself to fine-tune your appearance and behavior.

Here is a wonderful example that shows the importance of feedback, practice, and planning. The result was a great story of a learning curve in action.

“My daughter saw that Skype was on my office computer so she called me from her dorm room. Thankfully, when I answered the call there was no one in the office with me because there she was sitting in a towel calling from her dorm room. We talked about the inappropriateness of her attire even when calling mom. Later that semester she had an opportunity to study abroad with a genetics lab and her interview was through Skype. She made these adjustments:

1. She confirmed the time and date of the call because it was being held from Australia.
2. She checked her computer system and audio to make sure she would have the best chance of being received clearly. She also made sure she had alternative phone numbers and emails in case they should be cut off.
3. She positioned her computer facing a blank wall so there would be no distractions behind her.
4. She spoke with her roommate about the call, the importance of the call, and hung a sign on the door to alert any unscheduled visitors.
5. She dressed as if she were going to a face to face interview from head to toe.
6. She made sure she had a pad and pen handy to take notes, copy of her resume, and study abroad material.
7. She made notes ahead of time and hung those notes out of Skype view, but in her view so that she could continue to maintain eye contact while speaking and be informative with important dates.
She did get the job. She was later told how impressed they were with her professional presence and how prepared she was during the interview.”

Before you end the call, it is a good idea to ask about the next step in the hiring process, and when can you expect to hear back from them? If you’ve had more than one interviewer, be sure you’re clear on the person you should contact if you have questions.

Don’t forget to thank your interviewers, first at the end of the call, and again, by email very soon after the interview. (If you’ve had multiple interviewers, send a note to each one of them. Yes, it may take some effort if you have to go find their emails, but you’re creative and energetic, so you can do it.)

In most cases, this interview will lead to face-to-face interviews, although one counselor has been seeing some job offers arrive after the video interview, and she expects the trend will continue. Another suggests that there can be danger in accepting an offer without having seen the environment ( or meeting the people) where you would be working.


Best Careers for Historians – Resources

Big Picture Thoughts, Job Search, Resources No Comments »

More important than the title on your degree…

Ask yourself  “What skills have I gained?” and then focus on the skills you most want to use.

Historians have a wide range of transferable skills, 99% of which are marketable. The skills gained in the study of history are almost always more useful to non-academic employers than the disciplinary knowledge gained within the discipline.

If you can articulate the skills that most motivate you (often called your Strengths), you’ll be able to demonstrate your value to many employers (including those beyond traditional academe). Here are some examples, and following that list are some other resources that may open new avenues of career potential.

  • Capacity for solving problems and thinking objectively, yet creatively
  • Ability to grasp and explain various factors that may be affecting the actions of groups and/or individuals in complex social organizations
  • Research skills of many kinds, at multiple levels of detail, including the ability to find, investigate and asses the value of the material found, and also including the generation of ideas and formal argument, based on the evidence found and conclusions drawn
  • Organizational skills, supported by logic and internal coherence
  • Intellectual rigor in research, critical reasoning and analysis, extending into the ability to understand and analyze issues and events, and to explain how succeeding events have been affected
  • Communication, particularly the ability to explain complex ideas clearly, in both verbal and written format, also including the ability to communicate research findings clearly and persuasively
  • Ability to approach problems and issues with an open mind
  • Ability to work independently, to manage one’s time and projects, based on frequently changing priorities
  • Ability to work in groups, to engage in discussion of ideas, to negotiate, question and summarize the elements of emerging issues

Other resources and ideas

The Many Careers of History PhDs: A Study of Job Outcomes, Spring 2013 – A report to the American Historical Association (by Maren Wood and Robert B. Townsend)  Careers in and beyond the Professoriate   Evidence of Change in the Job Market   Field Specializations Mark Significant Differences   Key Differences between Programs   Patterns by Gender and by Mobility   Conclusion

Susan Basalla May interviews Abby Markoe, who left grad school to pursue a  career that began as a hobby/sport. (Note that Susan Basalla May is the author, with Maggie Debelius, of “‘So What Are You Going to Do With That?’: Finding Careers Outside Academia,” now in a revised and updated edition, University of Chicago Press.)

Fascinating article describes how a doctoral candidate’s research edges into the “digital humanities,” and how it can open up the traditional avenues of historical research. Kristina Neumann, a doctoral candidate in the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Classics, says, “I’m trying to help historians think outside the box.” (She had created her own database from published excavation reports and lists of coin hoards, and imported it to Google Earth. The visual results are intellectually stunning.)

Dr. Robert F Pace, Prof of History, McMurry Univerisity, answers the ultimate question of “what can I do with a degree in history?” with the answer,” Anything you want.” He describes a sampling of possible opportunities and mentions some of the traits those employers want in their employees. Dr. Pace’s homepage

Extensive list of organizations that have indicated a general interest in recruiting students majoring in history. Also offers a list of job titles held by history grads, useful for generating ideas, and offers various other websites and lists of career-related information.

Includes some useful description of ways to relate history to other occupations and find combinations that might be of interest to individuals.

While aimed at undergrads, article has a listing of basic skills gained by studying history, and lists common career paths, as well as offering a list of famous Americans who have history degrees.

Here’s a series of articles, based on John Holland’s well-known Theory of Career Choice, which links Personality and Workplace Environment. Be sure to continue your reading on this site, which helps you to identify your career skills and better articulate them.


Resources for Learning How to Use LinkedIn

Job Search, Networking, Resources No Comments »


The Start-Up of You, Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

I’m on LinkedIn – Now What?  Jason Alba

How to REALLY Use LinkedIn  Jan Vermeiren and Bert Verdonck
(free download at

LinkedIn Success  Wayne Breithbart

Job Searching With Social Media  Joshua Waldman

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Other Resources and Articles About LinkedIn – Online  member success stories using LI  information on webinars and videos about LI  info on Job Seeker Premium within LI  less-than-totally-flattering blog July 23, 2013 about LI letting applicants “pay” for top listing among candidates = controversy about LI Premium value   free download from Joshua Waldman’s website  for undergrads  infographic on LI usage (5-2013)  a wiki loaded with info on LI  to get a map of one’s network  good info on LI

Grim Job News for Academics

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It was so easy to find grim news on tenure-track jobs for academics in general (not just historians and anthropologists), that I’m going to include links to a few of the best and yet the most depressing articles, just for your night-time reading enjoyment.  (Note that not all are from the immediately recent past; the problems have been building for more than a few days.)

Academics Receiving Government Aid, (2012)
Four Academics on Food Stamps, (2012)
The PhD Now Comes With Food Stamps, (2012)  These three articles in the Chronicle of Higher Ed in May, 2012, spawned a series of articles in other publications, including the Huffington Post, Number of PhD Recipients Using Food Stamps Surged During Recession: Report, (2012) and Adjunct Nation,  When Faculty Can No Longer Teach: PhDs on Foodstamps Center Stage in Academe, (2012)

State Budgeters’ View of Higher Education, (2013) A report from the National Association of State Budget Officers, described in Inside Higher Ed, unsurprisingly finds that many states have cut funding for higher education – more than for prisons and Medicaid, and warns that tuition raises will not be enough to save the institutions.

Is Your College Going Out of Business? (2013)  Mark Cuban’s startling article generated a storm of comment (760 within just a few months), most of whom agreed with him, and while the article spotlights undergrad education, if public research institutions should “go out of business,” grad schools will go with…

A Grim Year on the Academic Job Market for Historians, (2012) from AHA, Perspectives on History (The title of this article, and the sad facts, could be repeated with any number of academic disciplines, mostly humanities and social sciences, but the “harder” sciences are not immune to the threat.)

Here are two more, earlier articles full of devastating statistics, which generated a storm of comments. But not much changed.
The Disappearing Tenure Track Job, (2009), Inside Higher Ed
The Disposable Academic, (2010)  from The Economist

The Chronicle Launches the Adjunct Project, (2013)   The Chronicle of Higher Education recently launched an interesting “Project,” which it terms a “tool.” They began collecting salary data from individuals teaching as adjuncts, and the site now allows a search of adjunct salary data from individual institutions. It also offers advice on working as an adjunct (and teaching).  It may be a little too scary for good bedtime reading.

Actually, most of these articles are a bit too scary for good bedtime reading…


Networking Success Stories

Job Search, Networking No Comments »

I’ve just discovered LinkedIn’s new blog of networking success stories (only 5 so far), written by members of LinkedIn, who have achieved something desirable while using LinkedIn. Interestingly, only one is a job-getting success.

You can find them all linked above, but in case you don’t have time at the moment…

  • One is how a mother (and television producer) was able to find and connect patients and parents of patients with rare diseases and doctors who treat them, and she was able to bring media attention to the problem.
  • Another is how an author got a book contract with a major publisher, by connecting with the publsher’s rep.
  • Another is how an unemployed undergrad landed several job offers, including her dream job.
  • Another is how the Board of a non-prof filled its membership by searching LinkedIn for the kind of people (qualified and local) they wanted to participate with them on the Board.
  • The last one is how it happened that an American science writer was invited to Rome to report on a little-known-in-America award for the sciences and humanities (because the awards committee searched for an American to offer the expense-paid trip).

The authors tell their stories here, and how they did it, or how it happened for them. I encourage you to read these stories and take heart. In the spirit of  “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus….” –  Yes, you can do this too.

Some Tips:

Recognize that you have a much greater chance of being found if you have completed your profile, and if you demonstrate that you are worth being found (and contacted).  I don’t mean that you have to be a super-guru in your field, but you do have to show that you’re involved in your work, that you have a genuine interest/knowledge in it, and that you are “approachable.”

Have contact information on your profile.

Remember that networking can include giving as well as getting. Only some of the authors above were searching for success, or trying to make something happen for themselves.  Some of them were found because someone else was searching for them, and some of them were doing something altruistic.

It seems most fitting to end with a quote, the last sentences in the first story —-

“You can find almost anyone on LinkedIn. A great question to ask when you get connected with someone on LinkedIn is: What can I do to help you?” – quote by Cari Levy

How Long Does It Take To Get a Government Job?

Job Search, The Economy No Comments »

I recently got this question and am sorry to tell you that the only possible answer is, “It depends.”

I have seen both extremes in the government hiring process (when I was a career counselor at a major university). The stereotype we hear is “about six months….” and it’s as good an answer as any – in general.

One extreme case I remember was a grad student in International Affairs, who was focusing on Eastern European Studies. He waited nearly three years for his state department job to come through. (That is, he was on the list of approved hires for that long, before a position actually came open!)  This was the longest waiting period I have heard of.

I also remember getting a call from a government agency hiring manager who was about to attend a campus career fair the next day, who wanted to me to alert the students in a particular discipline that her local agency office had just received a budget increase and they had to be able to hire three people within the next ten days, or they would lose the money.  That was the shortest government hiring period I ever heard of.

Here’s another situation I heard of occasionally (which is more common for entry-level jobs, especially those at bachelor degree levels). You can recognize these when you see a job listed as open, but there’s no application deadline. It usually means that an agency is simply collecting applications in anticipation of hiring a large number of people at the same time, with the same job title, but at different locations across the country. (I’ve seen them for the Forest Service and National Park Service, but many other agencies have multiple openings, too.)  Again, the actual date of hiring may depend on that agency’s budget, and they want to have a number of applicants in reserve when the budget increases, or in case the money comes through at the last minute. (Think congressional approval …..)

In some ways, you can look at the patience you may need while waiting for a government job as part of the criteria for being able to work happily in government – it is a bureaucracy, after all, with all the pros and cons that come along with it.

International Students Studying in the US Need to Know Early About H-1B Visas

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Especially if you are in grad school in the US, it is in your best interest to know about how H-1B visas work, if you hope to work in the US for 1-2 years after you attain your degree. The number is capped and all the slots may be filled early in the year. Even if you plan to graduate in June, your job search should begin by January or earlier, to have a better chance for one of those visas.

If you are applying to a large business organization, check to see if they have H-1B visas available before you spend great effort applying. If not, go find another employer who will have or has H-1B visas for the year when you expect to graduate.

Note that few small U.S. businesses know about the H-1B visa process. If you find a small business that wants to hire you, you may have to help them get you through the process. (The more you know about it very early in your student career, the more you’ll be able to move through the process to get the outcome you want.)

Two important points to be aware of:

  • A limited number of H-1B visas are given annually – 85,000 this year, and only 20,000 are reserved for graduates of US universities
  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting H-1B applications in early April this year (for new employees to begin October 1), and all visas were gone by early June.

According to attorney Carl Shusterman, who specializes in recruiting issues, in an article in Recruiting Trends, “Of these 85,000 visas, 20,000 are reserved for persons in possession of an advanced degree from a university in the U.S. Last year, the 20,000 cap was reached on October 28, while the 65,000 cap was reached less than one month later on November 22. This year, all 85,000 visas were already exhausted in early June.”

Note that there are some exceptions to the H-1B rule, in that some kinds of organizations are exempt and can hire without the H-1B. This includes accredited public higher education institutions and their affiliated nonprofits, as well as research organizations (nonprofits and governmental).

However, in all cases, to get details that apply specifically to you, see your campus office that serves international students, and/or find an immigration attorney for clarification.

for PSCDA, 4-7-2012

Job Search, Networking, Resumes No Comments »


“Assessment” Tools for Discovering and Articulating Strengths   360 Reach Personal Branding assessment tool (Basic tool is free)   Dependable Strengths (self-assessments)  Clifton StrengthsFinder  (1.0 and 2.0)  Code accessed through several books by  Marcus Buckingham, Douglas Clifton and/or Tom Rath (Gallup organization)  Realise2 (Marketed as a strengths assessment AND development tool)  VIA Classification and Inventory of Strengths (Billed as the scientific study of character, and the “backbone” of the science of positive psychology”


Articles on (and Definitions of) Social Media and Job Search Techniques   (a search on Mashable for job search and social media 2012)  (pretty current)  Social Media and Job Search   Social recruiting and your job search,  by Alison Doyle  How to use social media in your job search,  by Alison Doyle


Top Social Networking Sites (and Articles, Reviews and Comparisons)    (April 2012)  2012 Social networking Website Comparisons article by Don Peppers


For more current, and very lively, discussions of job search, resume techniques, cover letters and anything job-search related, look at LinkedIn’s  Career Central Group – managed by Phil Rosenberg (an uber-connector, recruiter and prolific writer of inflammatory articles on related topics)   company has developed an ATS-look-alike computer process (called Resumeter) to “grade” resumes for “Fit” with a job description – claims that ATS determines the keywords and phrases used (for Resumeter™, sign up for 7 days free – normally $25/month after that)
…Articles of particular interest on the resources part of the site  “Technology: Foe or Friend?”
Information cited:
…At most companies, computers read your resume, not humans.
…About 75% of resumes are discarded for low word match..
…More than 20% of resumes have formatting issues (per machines).
…Only 1% of total applicants get an interview.
…worthy of a news flash: Today, most employers no longer share your résumé with hiring managers. Hiring managers receive a summary report generated by Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software that removes bias-causing problems, tracks EEOC compliance and performance, and supposedly levels the playing field across the applicant pool. Regardless of how your clients are getting into the company – friend, job board, recruiter, or online application – everyone goes through these ATS systems
….A survey of more than 300 biotech and health care job seekers showed only 20% knew the importance of keywords and the correct way to use them strategically in a résumé. About 80% knew the importance of doing pre-interview company research, but none of them thought about using that research to devise and derive keywords to use in their résumé.
— Quotes above from   by Jon Ciampi


Also see   Word Cloud tool


For continuing information on the topic later, see Seattle Career Trainer   ( )


Basics of Job Search, Resumes&CVs, Interviewing&Negotiating

Big Picture Thoughts, Interviews, Job Search, Networking, Resumes 1 Comment »

Outline of talk to the grad students of the UW School of Pharmacy PORPP, May 6, 2011.  (Note: two additional pages of good information sources have been added, and if you were there and have further questions, please do feel free to call.)

Basics of Job Search, Resumes&CVs, Interviewing&Negotiating