The first and easiest place to look for a job is what are called “posted” jobs. A posted job is one that's advertised or somehow actively publicized by an employer to encourage applications - usually to fill the position as soon as possible.
Job postings can be direct or indirect:
- Direct postings are job descriptions that are made public, either broadly or narrowly. Announcements often are internal postings on traditional or electronic bulletin boards to inform current employees.
- Indirect postings occur when an employer provides information about job openings to a third party - temporary employment agencies, headhunters, or faculty.
Sometimes news of an available job will be intentionally leaked out to generate appropriate candidates.
There are several places where posted jobs are found:
- Company websites
Many companies have well-developed career/employment sections, including not only listings of current openings but also video clips featuring current employees, information on career paths, the specialties the company hires, even a statement of company philosophy.
- Professional societies
ACS, Eastern Analytical Symposium, and the Laboratory Science Equipment Conference and Exposition (Pittcon.org) offer career services to members and meeting attendees.
- Professional publications
Chemical and Engineering News, Science, and Nature, for example, feature classified and display job ads in print and online
- Electronic bulletin boards
ACS Careers database and Science Careers are examples of science-specific sites.
- Trade shows and technical meetings
Vendors in the exhibition hall often have information about job opportunities to discuss; many vendors are also small companies. Make sure to have résumés or business cards with you to hand out.
- Temporary agencies
Agencies like Kelly Scientific, Aerotek, Yoh Scientific and K-Force specialize in scientific contract staffing and offer competitive hourly rates and benefits.
- Campus interviews and career fairs
When you come across a job that seems to match your values, drivers, and skills, read the description carefully before you apply to make sure it's a job you would want. Follow instructions in the ad exactly when applying. A good rule of thumb is that if your background and qualifications match at least 75% of the qualifications in the ad, submit an application. Don't invest your time and energy by applying for a job for which you are unqualified.
The primary advantage of a posted job is that the job probably exists, you know where to find it, and you have a detailed list of requirements to use in tailoring your application documents. However, the disadvantage of posted jobs is that if you can find it, so can lots of other job seekers, which means there is a significant amount of competition for these positions.