CAREERS 101: How to search a job board

7/18/2014 3:18:15 PM

Every week, I put together posts full of jobs and encourage you, the readers, to go and try your hand at searching for additional jobs yourselves. Some of you may be wondering, "How exactly do I search for the job I want?" A fair question, to be sure. Many of the resources are ones that I found through trial and error during my own job search, and others (like this ASBMB careers site) exist to serve the science-oriented job seeker specifically. This week, I'll give a rundown of some resources and some strategies for finding the cream of the job-posting crop.

Define your search

It helps, in the course of a job search, to have an idea of what kind of job you'd like to find. This sounds easier than the reality, because different companies have different titles or ways of posting jobs. I think a solid strategy is to isolate some keywords to use in your search, typically ones that reflect your skill set.

For example, last week I did a post on molecular biology, so I searched for "molecular biology." When I did a post on science communication, I used the phrase "science AND communication" to capture job descriptions that combined the two. When using any search engine, putting quotations around a phrase will ensure you get that specific phrase, and using "AND" in caps will ensure that your results have both keywords, not just one or the other. Once you identify your keywords to represent your skill set, you're ready to head to the job boards.

General job boards

There are almost as many job boards as there are jobs! How do you know which ones to use? There's not really a right or wrong answer, but there's a few that I have found to have a decent smattering of science jobs despite not being explicitly science-focused. These boards are good for all education levels, from B.S. (even internships) to Ph.D. I'll use the search term "microbiology" to demonstrate some of the boards I use.

First up: You can geographically restrict your search, and make sure to use the keywords you developed!

Once you get the results of your search, you have the option to do some filtering (job title, company, salary, etc.), or you can simply comb through the listings, clicking on whatever piques your interest.

Perhaps you have a B.S. in microbiology and are looking to get into a nonacademic environment. In my search, the third post, for a microbiologist from Element Materials Technology (Fort Wayne, Ind.), seems pretty relevant. If you have experience with EPA-testing methods for drinking and waste water and the ability to read, analyze and interpret scientific and professional journals, you may want to save and apply for this job.

Simply Hired is another board that I like to use. It is similar to, although the two almost never have the same jobs.

In my search for "microbiology," I retrieved a lot of clinical laboratory sciences techniques, so I searched for "microbiology AND research," which turned up many more relevant results. For example, this director position at Bacterioscan (St. Louis, Mo.) is for an experienced (10-plus years) microbiologist who will provide leadership for the company's scientific, regulatory and business functions.

CareerBuilder can be helpful during a job search. This job board has a more sophisticated filtering function and has the added bonus of being able to post and save resumes. This job for a microbiology quality-control technician with Kelly Scientific Resources (Research Triangle Park, N.C.) came up when searching for "microbiology" and then filtering for "research."

LinkedIn also provides job postings, and you sometimes can apply directly from the post! The recruiters using LinkedIn are generally more responsive to these submissions, so I recommend checking out this feature if you have a LinkedIn account. (And, if you don't have one, what are you waiting for?)

Science-specific job boards

Other than our own careers site, there are many sites for academic or scientific jobs. The Chronicle of Higher Education has a job board called Vitae. Here, you'll find postings like this tenure-track assistant professor of biology job at Fort Lewis College (Durango, Colo.).

For nonacademic science jobs, consider registering for free at It sends out regular e-newsletters with job listings and has a careers section on its site.

The Association of Science and Technology Centers curates the ATSC job bank, which is not searchable but has a ton of great resources. You can filter by categories, such as development, education and management. This organization's membership is made up mostly of museums, science centers and other informal science-education institutions, so the job bank has a lot of gigs at those kinds of places.

Women in Biology posts a great collection of jobs and has an awesome advanced search function. This job for a senior scientist or associate scientist with GlaxoSmithKline (King of Prussia, Pa.) is for someone with a B.S. or M.S. in chemical engineering, biochemistry, microbiology, cell biology or a related field.

I hope these resources help you in your own job search! Want more tips and tricks? Feel free to contact me with questions or leave a comment on this post. What are your favorite job boards to search?

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