INFORMS Annual Conference  

INFORMS Annual Meeting 2012, Phoenix, AZ, October 14-17

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Job Search Tips from the JPS Breakfast

by Ryan J. O’Neil on October 14th, 2012

For any of you students who are graduating soon, JPS had a breakfast session about finding jobs in academia and industry. In case you didn’t get to attend, here are a few notes.

When looking for a job in academia:

  • The success of your research is to a certain extent your own issue, but the quality of your teaching can have a big impact on the rest of a department.
  • All the senior faculty members have already taught the core courses in their departments. Part of hiring a junior faculty member (you) is so they don’t have to anymore. This is the way of things.
  • The current faculty members probably won’t see you as a threat to their research work, but may be concerned if you have clear ideas about what you want to teach. Be willing and geniunely excited to teach anything the department needs.

When looking for a job in industry:

  • LinkedIn is your friend. A lot of employers search for and directly contact good candidates these days instead of the other way around.
  • But try and do all your LinkedIn updates at once as it has a tendency to spam your contacts.
  • One of the most important skills you can have is the ability to handle data. In school you have likely solved problems where the technological coefficients are given to you. But in industry, you’re going to have to get them yourself. Learn how to use a database, how to use Excel, etc.
  • Learn as much as you can about the company interviewing you. If they’re publicly traded, look at their earnings statements.

When looking for either:

  • Talk about why you want to work at the place you’re interviewing, not why you want to leave the place you’re at.
  • The only correct response to an interviewer asking a negative question about someone else’s work is, “I’m afraid I’m not familiar with it.”
  • Dress appropriately. A lot of how you’re initially perceived relates to appearance. The old cliche, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” has a lot of merit.
  • Remember, the hiring process is stressful for intervewers too! Sometimes they interview an enormous number of candidates over long periods of time, only to be rejected by their final picks.

Please add anything I might have missed, along with your own advice!

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