You’re almost there! Only a few short months until you’re finally finished your degree. No more staying up until midnight to finish that paper, or waking up early to cram as much information as you can before your big test.
So… what now? You’re entering a world of endless possibilities, so knowing where to start can be difficult. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Aaron Percival, former Physics student and current Defence Scientist at Defence Research and Development Canada, about the steps he took to secure full time employment after graduation, and tips he would like to share with recent/upcoming grads.
Aaron grew up in Orillia, Ontario. He attended Queen’s University to pursue an undergrad in mathematics and physics and stayed there to complete his MSc in physics. However, this wasn’t always his plan. He had originally applied to a variety of programs such as engineering, political science and chemistry, with the intent of going to law school. After discovering a passion for mathematics and physics, Aaron chose to pursue a masters in physics.
Before graduating, Aaron applied for employment through the Public Service Commission of Canada’s website. On this website, you set up a profile as well as key word alerts that will inform you via email what job offerings have been posted that interest you. From this, he applied to some positions, was interviewed, and soon began working for the Federal Public Service as a Defence Scientist. As a Defence Scientist, Aaron has a number of different roles consisting of underwater acoustics and modeling, being a science advisor, leveraging industry and academia and more.
The first thing that Aaron suggests you do when searching for employment is to really focus on developing a good resume and knowing how to effectively construct a cover letter. It’s important to take advantage of the resources your school has for helping students with this. It is also important to work on your interview skills and be prepared for a variety of questions and topics, as interviews will vary depending on where you’re interviewing. With public sector job interviews, even if you do not get the position you applied for, they will provide you with a post-interview assessment so you can see what areas need improving.
Another thing to keep in mind is how important it is to build your personal network. No matter what field you’re going into, this is crucial. By developing his personal network, Aaron has been presented with many opportunities that would not have been available if he had not focussed on developing connections.
These are just a few tips from a recent grad on what you can do to secure that full time position after graduating. Don’t stress too hard, stay focused; the finish line is right around the corner!