How do I find career opportunities?

Your school's career center can help you find a job in your area of interest. At the very least, services such as career assessments can help you narrow your search to suit your personality and interests. There are many resources available through a career services venue such as résumé help, interview preparation, and job opening announcements.

Arnie Kohen is a career counselor at Drexel University's Steinbright Career Development Center, which provides an interesting set of services for students – services that are not always utilized. "I help students with a career assessment through the administration of personality and interest inventories,” said Kohen. “Interpretations are individualized and are gratis to the student. These assessments and subsequent interpretation with a career counselor will enable a student to identify and clarify their career motivators and satisfiers, and compare them to the elements of an academic program, major, or potential employer. Students can also learn about other available career center and university services, which will help them determine their field of interest."

“The career center has several events throughout the year where students can make contacts and network with employers: they can receive résumé critiques; go to job and career fairs; participate in on-campus recruiting; and attend various networking functions and information sessions,” Kohen added. “If a student doesn't take advantage of these services, they are probably missing out on understanding the current job market."

Universities make up a small portion of the potential co-op and post-grad employers in the applied sciences. "Recently, we've seen increased recruiting efforts by government agencies and a variety of scientific positions available from pharmaceutical companies and larger national and multi-national employers," Kohen said.

“Remember, your university's career center is there to make sure its students are well-equipped when making the transition from school to career, and to make that transition as smooth as possible.”

Experiment with internships, summer jobs, and work-study
What better way to determine the range of opportunities and explore possible areas of interest than to actually be in the workplace? Internships and work-study opportunities are a great way to start on your career path by allowing you to get a realistic feel for the field in which you are interested. Most importantly, internships provide opportunities to network and forge connections for future job possibilities. Many internships turn into permanent positions, and even if they don’t, the experience will broaden your perspective and help narrow your career search. Check with your university’s career center and online job portals for internships in your area(s) of interest.

The National Science Foundation and other groups offer programs such as Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) that support active research participation by undergraduate students in many research areas. According to the NSF, these projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. A directory of active NSF REU sites and contact information can be found at http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/reu_search.cfm.

Do your research
There is an incredible amount of information available on the Internet, in libraries, and in bookstores. This may sound like simple advice, but while you are obtaining your degree, be aware of the career options that correspond to your studies. Too often, students emerge from college without a point of reference or direction. Check out the career and job resources on the SIAM website at www.siam.org/careers, especially the SIAM Job Board, internship opportunities, and career websites of SIAM corporate members and sponsors. Search for career opportunities, explore job descriptions for keywords to do more extensive searches, and get acquainted with the many types of opportunities available.

Network
Join a professional organization (see suggestions here). Attend conferences, symposia, lectures, and meetings to connect with other individuals in your field.

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