Through my interdisciplinary graduate work, I have attended conferences organized by various professional societies such as the Materials Research Society (MRS), American Physical Society (APS), Optical Society of America (OSA), and American Chemical Society (ACS). I have also participated in some of their employment workshops and have searched their websites for employment resources. This article elaborates on information and services that professional societies and organizations can provide to ease employment search for their student membership.
Career Workshops. These workshops provide excellent guidance, especially for students initiating their employment search. Obviously, the best ones are conducted by people who recruit PhD graduates. I attended an employment workshop organized by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) during the 1995 MRS Fall Meeting. An extremely dynamic hightechnology industrial recruiter conducted the workshop. The mock interviews, mininetworking groups, and resume and cover letter critique involved audience participation and were highly effective. I strongly recommend such a workshop. On the other hand, I have also been frustrated with workshops in which speakers did not have a technical PhD background since I often found their suggestions unsuitable.
Employment Database. A website with current job postings mainly for PhD graduates is extremely useful. The National Academy of Science (http://www2.nas.edu) is among the few sources for this. The critical issue in this case is to have a well-maintained site with frequent updates and a search engine. Another alternative, which we have been using at the University of Rochester, is to circulate job postings via electronic mail. Again, timeliness is the key issue.