Top Eleven Rules for Job-Hunting in an Online World

We've been asked this a lot in the past few months: can a scientist "get by" in a job search using only the Internet?

The answer is no, of course. (There really must be more shy scientists than we imagined!)

To forestall any more Q&A sessions along the lines of "but I searched and I don't know what to do next?" we're posting our top 11 rules for job hunting in the 1990's.

11. Be persistent. Use those search engines and job databases. Search company Web sites.

10. Do intelligent research on companies and universities; most have Web sites. (It beats mailing away for annual reports!)

9. Have three versions of your resume or CV ready:

  • the paper version, complete with bold/italics/different font faces

  • the scannable version (no bold or italic type)

  • the electronic version (ASCII text, can be pasted into an e-mail or Web form)

8. Check your spelling and grammar before sending e-mail. Sure, e-mail isn't the same as a formal document, but you never know WHO will eventually read it.... A lot of companies now reward their employees with cash bonuses for referring good job candidates, so even a "casual" e-mail might be seen at some point by a hiring manager.

7. Informational interviewing is fairly to easy initiate using e-mail, so take advantage of it.

6. In the job-hunting process, who you know is usually more helpful than having a so-called perfect resume. Keep in contact with friends from college, grad school, former and current mentors, and former employers using e-mail as well as the phone.

5. Keep on top of potential employers' company activities by scanning the following Web sites 1-2 weeks before your interviews:

4. Follow up job interviews and informational interviews with e-mail. It's faster than a paper letter and shows that you are responsive.

3. Sometimes employers will ask you for work history-related information via e-mail before you show up for the "in-person" interview. Do not mistake the e-mail request for anything but part of the interview process!

2. Achieving the right tone in e-mail can be really difficult. Are you too casual? Too formal? Too wordy? Too terse? Practice on your friends and even your parents.

1. Despite the growing presence of the online world, nothing beats a great phone call or face-to-face meeting. Nothing. Even better is a face-to-face meeting that involves food. (It is not a coincidence that most great networking happens over food at most scientific and business conferences.)

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