Posted on 04/23/2013 at 11:54:22 AM by Suzanne PriceBy Sarah Gold
One of the best parts of attending conferences like Experimental Biology is being surrounded by so many like-minded scientists, health professionals, and nutrition experts. Whether you're a student or a seasoned professional, conferences can be a networking Mecca -- a place to learn about the wide variety of career tracks available. But sometimes us students are looking for a little more specific guidance --- how is it that we snag our dream job, or maybe just our first job? Lucky for the students and young professionals attending EB, the American Society for Nutrition hosted a career symposium to answer just that.
For two hours on Sunday, professionals from universities, medical centers, corporate America, and start-up businesses shared their secrets to finding and landing a job. While each industry is unique, it quickly became clear that there are 3 common things that every job seeker should keep top of mind.
Network, Network, Network
This could not be repeated enough. Your most important asset is your professional network-- start building it now. Talk to the people you know in your field about what you want to do, and let them know you're looking for a job. And remember that networking doesn't only happen in person these days. Social media is the new form of networking. Linked-in is great place to connect with classmates and colleagues, look for jobs, and learn more about companies you're interested in working for. Facebook and Twitter can be used to learn more about an organization, and connect with others in your field.
Develop a Story
Throughout all parts of your application – cover letter, resume, and interview-- you should build a story. Don't try to fit in every last detail about every piece of research you've conducted or project you worked on at every job you've had. Figure out what your story is, and how it fits into the job you're seeking. What can you bring to the table? Think about the problem(s) you can solve for an organization, not just how you will fill a job description. Don't embellish though; make sure you are truthful about your experience.
Do what you love
The happiest people are the people doing what they love. Figure out where your interests lie and what you're good at, and seek out the positions that allow you to foster these skills. This is where you will be most successful. However, remember that one job may not fulfill everything you are looking for, which is why many of the panelists recommend getting involved in things outside of work. Whether it's mentoring, speaking, or policy, think outside the box and seek out other opportunities to get involved.