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231st AAS Meeting Career Services and Professional Development

Some workshops and events require registration and payment of fees. Please see the individual write-ups for details.

Career Services

Career Center

The AAS hosts a Career Center in the AAS Booth at each winter AAS meeting. The Career Center is a place for job seekers to get career advice and to find out who at the meeting is interviewing (informationally or formally) for open positions. Job seekers can also submit their CV or résumé for the AAS CV Collection.

For employers, the Career Center is where they can advertise their jobs and meet with interested candidates, either formally, in a reserved interview room, or informally, in the AAS Booth or exhibit hall. Recruiters are welcome to scan the AAS CV Collection for top candidates.

There is no cost to employers or job seekers to participate in the Career Center.

Employers: Contact Diane Frendak to reserve a formal interview space or to ask questions. Bring your job postings to the AAS Booth and indicate whether you're willing to host informational interviews with attendees.

Job Seekers: To participate in the Career Center, please upload your CV or résumé to the AAS CV Collection by 3 January 2018.

Career Networking & Job Fair

Tuesday, 9 January | 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm, Maryland Ballroom A&B
Are you in the market for a career in astronomy? Thinking about making a change? Would you like to mentor an early career astronomer? Will your company be hiring in the near future? Then the Career Networking & Job Fair is the place to be. Network with employers and potential employees. Learn about the many career services offered by the AAS, especially those offered onsite at the 231st meeting. Employers will have a special opportunity to set up a table to meet and greet with attendees. Sign up to sponsor. (Open event, but registration requested for attendees; the cost for sponsorship is $300.)
Current Employers:
  • Chicago Trading Company
  • Illumination Works, LLC
  • Institute for Research on Exoplanets - IREx
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • SETI Institute
  • Space Telescope Science Institute
  • Universities Space Research Association - USRA

Career Development

One-on-One Career Consultations
Throughout the meeting in 20 minutes sessions; check in at the AAS Resource and Career Center
($20 per session)
Alaina Levine of Quantum Success Solutions, a science careers consultant, science writer, professional speaker, and comedian, will meet individually with attendees to provide confidential, customized career advice for people from student through mid-career. Attendees are encouraged to bring CV/résumé, cover letter, or any other item you wish to have evaluated. Register for a Session.
Careers 101: Career Planning Workshop and Panel for Graduate Students and Postdocs
Tuesday, 9 January | 9:30 am to 11:30 am (registration requested)
This FREE workshop and panel discussion will center on the current and expanding crisis in the job and career market for astronomers. Specifically targeted towards graduate students and postdocs, this workshop will identify and investigate the shortage of traditional astronomy jobs, and how early-career scientists can best prepare for this challenge. Our focus will be on career planning for traditional astronomy positions. We will demonstrate how to orchestrate a personal career plan and develop a Plan B and Plan C for contingencies. Q&A between panelists and workshop participants will be highly encouraged.
Career Hour 1: Leveraging Social Media for Networking and Career Advancement
Tuesday, 9 January | 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm (registration requested)
More and more recruiters, job decision-makers, and hiring managers are using the web to find and research potential candidates. How can you make sure that you are not only found, but are ahead of the pack? In this session, we will discuss how decision-makers use LinkedIn and Facebook, and how you can use LinkedIn to establish yourself as a leader in your field, enhance your research reputation, and seek out and take advantage of innovative opportunities.
Beyond the Academy: Securing a Non-Academic Career
Wednesday, 10 January | 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
In this session, astronomer alumni and recruiters from a wide spectrum of fields join in for an engaging panel discussion on how to start a career outside of academia. Topics will cover advice on marketing your existing skills for a position beyond the academy; what highly-sought skills will increase your competitiveness; how the job-hunting process works; what to expect in the interview process; what the initial transition will really like, and more. Expect lots of Q&A from the audience and time to network with individual panelists during this session. Presented in partnership with the American Institute of Physics (AIP).
Career Hour 2: Showcasing Astronomy Alumni in Non-Academic Careers
Wednesday, 10 January | noon to 1:30 pm (registration requested)
More of our astronomy colleagues are choosing meaningful careers in industry, and yet very little information trickles back into academia about what those careers are like, what skills transferred from astronomy training, or even how to make a career transition. The lack of solid information and mentoring can make any career path beyond the academy seem daunting. For this sequel to the Beyond the Academy Panel Discussion, our invited speakers from the first session will be joined by recruiters and other astronomers from a wide spectrum of fields for an engaging breakout session on careers outside academia. We will have the speakers introduce themselves and take questions from the audience for 30 minutes. The final 30 minutes will allow the audience to network with individual panelists and recruiters in small groups.
Career Hour 3: Interviewing: What You Need to do Before, During, and After to Get the Job
Thursday, 11 January | 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm (registration requested)
What you need to know and do to get the job from the first moment of contact to the moment you leave the interview.

Professional Development Workshops

As has become a regular feature of the AAS winter meeting, there is again an excellent lineup of professional development workshops before the main meeting begins. These workshops are organized by members of the AAS Employment Committee as well as by individual AAS members. Several workshops have a limited number of spots available so be sure to register early!

Introduction to Software Carpentry
Sunday and Monday, 7 and 8 January | 8:00 am to 5:30 pm, RiverView Ballroom 2
This two-day course is aimed at astronomers at all stages of their education and careers who wish to learn computational tools to increase the reproducibility and efficiency of their work. Participants should have some knowledge of programming and be familiar with the shell command line. Attendees should bring their own laptop. Registration opens soon.
AAS Astronomy Ambassadors
Sunday and Monday, 7 and 8 January | 8:30 am to 5:30 pm
($0; application required)
This sixth annual Astronomy Ambassador workshop is for early career astronomers (graduate students, post docs, young faculty) eager to put a new face on astronomy through active engagement in outreach to their communities. During the two days of active learning, you can build skills to help engage your audience in your presentations, gain insights into how people learn, and discover tested outreach resources. The workshop is free, but is limited to 30 participants by application only. Apply now.

See our Workshops & Events for full details.