6 November 2014

Empower Your Job Search with the AAS Career Center

By Array Array

Posted by Debbie Kovalsky (AAS) on behalf of herself, Rodolfo Montez Jr. (Vanderbilt), and Mario Perez (NASA):

Looking for an advantage on the job market? The AAS Career Center is at your service!

The Career Center is a feature of every winter meeting of the AAS, tucked into a corner of the exhibit hall where posters and exhibitor booths are on display. It is a simple operation whose main goal is to make potential employer-employee connections more fluid. This post highlights features of the Career Center that can help you land your next position.

Key Elements of the Career Center

There are three main components to the Career Center: the resume binder, the job boards, and interview rooms. Learning about these component is essential to maximize your benefit from the Career Center.

Resume Binder — The resume binder contains resumes and/or curriculum vitae (CVs) of job seekers.

  • Before the Meeting: The resume/CV submitted by every job seeker by the mid-December deadline is placed into the binder along with the cover sheet provided by the AAS. The cover sheet collects basic information about you, your work experience, and the types of job you are looking for. To ensure that your resume is included, visit the AAS Career Center page to download the required cover sheet and email it to jobs@aas.org by mid-December. (Here are some job-hunting links at Astrobetter to help you create the best possible resume/CV.)
  • At the Meeting: On your first visit to the Career Center you sign in, and then an AAS volunteer tracka down your resume number. This number is used to locate your resume within the binder. Once you have verified that your resume is complete, you can share this number with potential employers so they can request to see your resume. On interview sign-up sheets (see next section), a slot for your resume number is included.

Job Boards — The most recognizable feature of the Career Center is a set of large bulletin boards filled with job postings.

  • Job Varieties Included on the Job Boards: There are many varieties of job postings on the job boards. Many are taken from the AAS Job Register, but the job boards also include postings not yet distributed in the monthly Job Register mailing. Additionally, some jobs are only posted by employers during the meeting. There is also a location for non-academic job postings in industry, outreach, and non-university education.
  • Expression of Interest/Interview Sign-Up Sheets: On some job postings you may find a sign-up sheet. These sheets are placed on job postings at the request of employers and typically indicate that the employer is interviewing at the meeting. The sign-up sheets do not guarantee you will get an interview, but they do make the employer aware of your interest, your presence at the meeting, and your resume number so they can peruse your entry in the resume binder.
  • Job Boards Are Living Things: The job boards are updated daily as potential employers attending the meeting submit new job advertisements. It is highly recommended that you visit frequently. Anecdotally, as a former volunteer at the Career Center, Rodolfo can attest to the fact that some employers have visited their posts several times a day only to find no sign-ups on their expression-of-interest form. This is not for lack of interest — we all need jobs — this is simply due to job seekers not taking full advantage of the Career Center.

Interview Rooms — The Career Center makes available a few curtained booths with moderate privacy for the purpose of conducting interviews between job seekers and employers. These rooms are available free of charge and can be reserved by contacting the staff and volunteers.

Importance of Face-to-Face Communication Offered by the Career Center

In today’s job market, searching online has become the norm. As direct benefactors of the Career Center, we cannot stress the importance of face-to-face communication with hiring managers, scientists, and employees at the institutions you are considering. Both Mario and Debbie were hired after interviews that occurred at the Career Center. In one instance, the job was not previously advertised in the Job Register and was a new post during the meeting. Many employers post as the week goes on, so we encourage everyone attending the 225th AAS meeting to take full advantage of the multiple career and job opportunities being offered at this winter gathering.

The Career Center is free to all attendees of the meeting, regardless of employment status. The helpful staff and volunteers are there to answer any questions you may have. Even if you are not on the job market, come visit the Career Center to familiarize yourself with the process and to better prepare for when you do enter the job market.

Career Center Enhancements at the 225th AAS Meeting

Below are highlights of career-related programming at the 225th AAS meeting in Seattle, WA, in January 2015. Register soon to make the most of this meeting!

  • Career Discovery Networking Reception and Job Fair
  • Tech Industry Careers: AAS Employment Committee Panel Discussion
    • Tuesday, 6 January, 2:00 − 3:30 pm

  • Professional Development Workshops
    • Software Carpentry Bootcamp
    • Leadership and Teambuilding for Astronomers
    • SciCoder@AAS: Intro to Databases for Astronomers
    • Collaborating Online with Github and Other Tools
    • AAS/NRAO Science Communication Workshop
    • Sign up at http://aas.org/meetings/aas225/registration (fees required)

  • Career Hours with Alaina Levine
    • Careers 101: Career Planning Workshop and Panel for Graduate Students and Postdocs
      Monday, 5 January, 9:30 − 11:30 am
    • Career Hour 1: Accessing Hidden Career Opportunities Through Networking and Reputation Management
      Monday, 5 January, 12:30 − 1:30 pm
    • Career Hour 2: Leveraging Social Media for Networking and Career Advancement
      Monday, 5 January, 5:30 − 6:30 pm
    • Career Hour 3: Developing Your 30-Second Value Statement (aka Your Elevator Pitch)
      Tuesday, 6 January, 12:30 − 1:30 pm
    • Career Hour 4: Transitioning Your Career Beyond Academia
      Tuesday, 6 January, 5:30 − 6:30 pm
    • Career Hour 5: Interviewing: What You Need to Do Before, During, and After to Get the Job
      Wednesday, 7 January, 12:30 − 1:30 pm
    • Career Hour 6: Negotiation Strategy and Tactics
      Thursday, 8 January, 12:30 − 1:30 pm

For complete details on workshops and evening and weekend activities, check out the 225th AAS meeting event descriptions and the Astrobetter post on AAS 225 professional development workshops.

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