If you’re just out of college or even if you have a science degree backed by a few years of work experience, finding a job (or moving up to a better one) can be a real challenge in this economy.
The key to success, as most people will tell you nowadays is to network, network, network. One way to do that is to join a science professional organization. These organizations offer valuable opportunities that can not only advance your professional education, but keep you up to speed on science industry trends. They can even alert you to unadvertised sciences jobs.
Check these associations for starters:
As an example, if you’re looking to land a job (or boost your career) in microbiology, there are two societies you should consider joining: the Society for Applied Microbiology and the Society for General Microbiology. Besides offering excellent networking opportunities at their conferences, their periodicals will keep you updated on current microbiology issues, job openings, research awards and grants.
Professional science organizations also accept technical article submissions, which is a great way to improve your scientific writing skills. Your published pieces can add that little something extra to your CV. You can also bring them to your job interviews. Face it, if you want to be a player in the field of science, you’ll have to hone your writing skills—for reports and papers, and for all those knowledgeable experts you’ll need to impress. Being able to communicate complex scientific subjects simply and clearly is a learned skill acquired through practice.
You can also get some mileage out of LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals. Use the LinkedIn Industry Groups feature to tap into a knowledge base that’s pertinent to science. To find the right LinkedIn industry groups for your field, establish a new connection and see if they’re a member of the group, or browse through the Groups Directory, or simply do a search for relevant keywords. To get the most out of LinkedIn, you’ll have to actively engage with fellow group members through online debate and discussion.
It’s also a good idea to connect with a staffing firm that specializes in science jobs. The companies understand the needs of science job seekers. They can introduce you to an employer that fits your career goals. Many of those staffing firms already have established relationships with employers, and will be able to provide access to jobs that may not be available on regular job boards.