Recruiter’s toolbox: steps for a strategic job search

Looking for a job can be a pretty daunting task, especially in early career. Here are some suggestions for organizing your search and submitting applications that will surely get recruiters’ attention!

Starting off from the ground up: define your career goals first

Before starting your job search, you should have clear and realistic career goals that take into account your skills, aspirations and the state of the job market at the time of the exercise. Here are some things that should absolutely be considered:

  1. What are your aspirations? Which sectors, which industries are you interested in?

  2. Which ones offer interesting job openings?

  3. What skills can you easily deploy on a daily basis? Which ones can you develop or are you developing?

You should think about your salary expectations at this stage

Don’t wait until you’re asked! This is true for PhDs, but also everyone, really! That said, PhDs transitioning to the private sector or non-research positions should take the time to carefully position themselves in terms of their salary expectations in the market they are targeting. It is a delicate operation; not to be overly ambitious and appear to lack humility, or to ask for an abnormally low wage and show a lack of confidence... asking for a salary significantly below the market may well question your skills or make the recruiter feel that you can't really take stock of what the workload really is...

Decoding job offers

This may seem like an obvious one, but take your time when reading job offers that interest you. They can provide some useful insights into what to emphasize in your CV (more on that later). Here are a few questions you can ask yourself: