Job Search Tips
Three Tips on What NOT to Say in a Job Letter
At the January 2017 Non-academic Job Search Mechanics workshop, speaker Anne Krook, a former academic and former Cornell graduate student who transitioned successfully to the corporate and nonprofit workplaces, offered advice on how to find and land a non-academic job, and tips on what to say and what NOT to say.
What not to say:
- Tip 1: “In my thesis, [title], I argue that…”
- Tip 2: “As a Ph.D., I…”
- Tip 3: “My publication, [title], shows…”
Evaluating Your First Job Offer
In December 2016, Rebecca Sparrow, director of Career Services, presented a CA$HCOUR$E on job offers.
- Tip 1: Employers determine benefit packages. Each employer will be different. Some employers will include generous time off or retirement plans; others may have family friendly policies like flexible workplace arrangements. Some companies have one of a kind perks, like tuition reimbursement.
- Tip 2: Ask about benefit packages after you get the job offer. Typical benefits include: paid time off, health insurance, flexible benefits plans, retirement plans, and life insurance. Less typical benefits include family friendly policies, like telecommuting or paid family maternity/paternity leave. Some benefits are negotiable; others are not. (For example, health insurance plans are not usually negotiable, but flexible workplace arrangements are.)
- Tip 3: Employment in the U.S. is at-will. This means that either the employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time for any reason. The exception is a reason prohibited by law, for example, gender, age, or other protected class status. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time and for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.
Five Tips on How to Nail an Interview and Negotiate an Offer
At the February 2017 Academic Job Search Series workshop, Interviewing and Negotiating for Academic Positions, speaker Christine Holmes, director of the Office of Postdoctoral Studies, offered advice on how to prepare for an interview and negotiate a job offer.
- Tip 1: Practice, practice, practice. Look at sample questions and prepare answers so you are comfortable with anything an interviewer might ask; practice your talk with your lab and others.
- Tip 2: Do your research and come prepared. Use Google, talk to contacts, surf the websites, and learn as much as you can about the potential employer.
- Tip 3: Expect to eat. Many interviews include informal opportunities to get to know the interviewers and for you to get to know them. Even informal meals are part of the interview experience for many employers.
- Tip 4: Choose to negotiate. When you get a job offer, this is your best, and maybe only, opportunity to negotiate the terms and conditions of your employment.
- Tip 5: Understand what is negotiable. Understand then benefits and salary structure and what is possible to negotiate. Not everything is negotiable. It’s up to you to understand what is commonly offered, and where there is give. For example, benefits are usually non-negotiable. Salary and starting package usually are negotiable.
Read more tips from the Office of Postdoctoral Studies.
CV to Resume, from the Academic Job Search Series
Presenter: Christine Holmes, director of postdoctoral studies, Cornell University Graduate School; and Gaeun Seo, graduate and international career advisor.
- Target your documents (resume, CV, cover letter) for each job application.
- Opinions vary; everyone who looks at your resume is looking for something specific.
- Put the most important information on the first page.
- Use clear, easy-to-understand language.
- Use at least 11 point font size.
- Do not make your resume longer than two pages.
- Make sure it is error-free and uses correct grammar.
Presenting Your Key Skills to Employers
Compiled by Gaeun Seo, graduate and international career advisor
If you’ve browsed job listings outside academia recently, you may have noticed that few require advanced degrees or academic skills (e.g. research or teaching skills) in the job description. This does not necessarily mean you are not qualified. Employers outside academia look for a core set of competencies, abilities, experiences, and values that a candidate can bring to their organization.
So, what should you do?
The short of it is that YOU DO have valuable transferable skills that build upon and extend beyond teaching or research! You help employers see the unique set of transferable skills that might make you the perfect candidate for a position.
More on transferable skills:
- Transferable Skills from Cornell Career Services
- Doing vs. Thinking: Valuable Ph.D. Transferable Skills
- 10 Transferable Skills All Ph.D. Graduates Have
See our Prepare for Your Career page for more tips.
Mastering Your Elevator Pitch and Networking Skills
At the inaugural Pathways to Success Symposium on January 23, 2018, consultant Judith A. Rowe discussed how to develop and effectively present your own elevator pitch.
Tips to keep in mind when communicating your elevator pitch:
- Make eye contact
- Offer a firm handshake
- Speak clearly
- Exude confidence
Types of audiences for an elevator pitch:
- Potential clients
- Prospective donors
- Potential employers
- General professional connections
The ideal elevator pitch is:
- Succinct—20-30 seconds long maximum!
Three-step process of developing your pitch:
- Think about your unique capabilities, what you want to accomplish, and how networking can help
- Write your pitch down on index cards
- Practice it with friends and continue to edit and hone it over time
Navigating Employment as an International Candidate
Tips from the Pathways to Success June Symposium panel.
- Be aware of basic work authorization requirements based on your visa status. It helps you understand the process of hiring as an international candidate in the U.S. and better plan your U.S. job search. To learn more about these regulations, contact a career advisor at Cornell Career Services and International Services advisor. You are not alone in this process!
- Remember to consider what is a life that you want to have beyond finding a job in the U.S. because it indeed impacts your career choice about whether or not to stay in the U.S.
- International candidates shouldn’t be afraid of telling an employer that you need a sponsorship because you have unique skills and values that you can bring. Be confident about what you have and present them to employers!
Read more Tips and Takeaways: career tips, entrepreneurship tips, finance tips, tips from the GPWomeN-PCCW speaker series, health and wellness tips, mentoring and leadership tips, research and writing tips