12.1 Where do scientists work?
- Some examples of non-traditional jobs for scientists include:
- Law: patent work relies on the ability to work with technical, specific information.
- Public policy: Modern life is dominated by technology, often bringing it to the fore in parliament. Scientists are involved in keeping politicians informed and abreast of the latest discoveries and their implications.
- Actuarial work: Physics and maths graduates have advanced numerical skills and often computer modelling abilities which make them very attractive employees for the financial sector.
- Blogger/podcaster: Scientists with excellent communication skills can find work communicating science to the public, either on their own sites, or for companies such as museums or media outlets.
- The armed forces: The armed forces are often keen for scientists to work in specialist positions, as are a number of charities that work in remote areas.
12.2 Improving your employability
- Employability can be defined as the achievements, knowledge and personal attributes which make individuals more likely to gain employment in a specific occupation.
- Based on factors:
- Ability to identify suitable job opportunities: The more you look, the more you will know about what is out there.
- Knowledge and abilities relating to a specific job: This comes from your studies and work experience.
- Self presentation: How you look both on paper and at interviews.
- External factors: These include the current job market and personal circumstances.
12.3 Finding a job
- 1. identify what you are looking for in your employment, and also what potential employers are looking for in you.
- look closely at a range of job applications and see where you fit in.
- Most job advertisements include similar information:
- The employer’s name, and some background (some ads are listed by recruiting companies, and will only state ‘a major multi-national corporation’ or similar)A job title
- A brief background to the job
- The type of job (fixed-term contract, permanent; full time or part time etc.)
- Lists of required and desired attributes (sometimes in the ad itself, sometimes separate) – these are usually called the ‘selection criteria’)
- A position description for the job (sometimes this has to be downloaded separately);
- Contact details for any enquiries
- Details of how to apply
- A closing date.
many people find jobs in other ways, such as careers fairs, networking, volunteer, part time jobs.
12.4 Applying for a job
- To express your interest for a particular role, you need to prepare an application. This will usually consist of:
- Curriculum vitae (or CV, sometimes called a resume)
- Cover letter
- Statement addressing the selection criteria
Curriculum vitae (or CV, sometimes called a resume)
- Your contact details
- Your education history
- Your skill set
- Some background information about you
This introduces you to the employer (or job agency) and provides a brief summary of why you should be considered for the position
Statement addressing the selection criteria
- This is sometimes part of your cover letter, and sometimes separate (depending on the employer’s specifications)
- It should address all the criteria, even if you don’t have specific skills on their wish list, for example by providing information about other related attributes.
- It is a good idea for this statement to mirror the style of the advertisement, i.e. if the ad lists criteria in a numbered list, address them in a numbered list; if it is written in paragraphs, write your responses in the same way.
12.5 Transferrable skills
- transferrable skills: which are often used to some extent every day
- examples of specific transferrable skills and what they involve:
- Problem solving
- Self Management
- Listening and understanding
- Speaking clearlyIdentifying the audience and preparing accordingly
- Negotiating responsively
- Being assertive
- Write or speak clearly and concisely, with good use of grammar (and spelling in writing).
- Analysing problems for underlying causes and proposing appropriate solutions
- Develop and create innovative solutionsApplying a range of strategies to a problem
- Ability to critique information and synthesise new knowledge
- Articulate own ideas and vision
- Operate independently
- Takes responsibility for own actions
- Self awareness of own strengths and challenges
- Working with others to achieve a common goal
- Working with people from different backgroundsSharing information
- Supporting other team members
- Resolving conflict
- Identifying the strengths of other team members
- Coaching, mentoring and giving feedback
- Managing time and priorities
- Coordinating tasks for self and others
- Plan ahead, anticipate needs, foresee difficulties
- Manage stress
- Maximise effective time usage
12.6 Self presentation
Instead of just writing “I work well in teams” it is a better idea to expand the statement to show that you understand how teams function, e.g. “Last year Monash held an international conference. I was part of the ‘guest liaison’ team, which was made up of students from several different faculties. I organised a dinner so we could all meet each other before the conference, which was useful as the meeting itself was very busy. All the volunteers were then able to find each other quickly during the event and achieve our aim of making sure the visiting speakers were comfortable and well looked after.”
S: situation – What happened? What was the background to the story? Provide a context.
T: task – What were you specifically required to do? Why?
A: action – How did you go about doing it? What tools or skills did you use?
R: result – What was the outcome? Quantify the result if possible.
12.7 Plan your career
- Preparation is the key.
- Free workshops and courses, such as those run by the Learning Skills Unit which can help you develop a whole range of different skills to improve your employability;
- Access to world-class researchers and teachers;
- Summer scholarships, internships and work experience – many industries run short placements (some paid, some not) to allow students to experience aspects of their work. Often those who complete these placements are first to hear of opportunities for employment in the company;
- Career counselling – Monash students receive a free appointment with the Career Counselling service on campus, which can help you clarify your career ideas, offer new perspectives on decisions and identify steps you can take towards achieving your goal.