Cornell University Ergonomics Web
| 16 Tips for Finding an Ergonomics
- Join the professional society - become a member of the Human
Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES)? If not, I suggest that you become
a student member ($30 - http://www.hfes.org).
They run a job opportunities service. Also, jobs are advertised in the
monthly bulletin. They published a directory of all members, so you can
browse this for your area and contact folks in companies that seem interesting
- Write a resume- put together a resume that says exactly what
your skills are, what you've done and what you want to do. Resume help...
Employers have been really impressed with a formal education in human factors.
Make sure to specify useful skills like stats programs, software knowledge
and proficiency, and tools you learned in HF classes. Your experiences
with real clients makes the difference. Teamwork is big too. Pass your
resume around to professors and other established members of the HFES.
Just ask them to give you feedback. That is a great way to get the word
out that you are available for employment. It usually takes a few attempts
to prepare a resume that works for your potential employers.
- Create a personal web site. Everyone at Cornell gets server
space on http://www.people.cornell.edu.
Design the page(s) to present your best side. Post your work and resume,
and affiliation with professional societies. Put links to all your on-line
class/project work. Remember, employers are busy, only post materials you
think they should see (skip the party shots or your road trip to CA). If
you don't want to explain it in an interview, don't post it. Now put your
web site address on your resume. Employers like having access to it and
being able to easily pass the link to colleagues. I have had head hunters
call me just because they found my resume on-line while surfing around
- Create a project portfolio - put together a portfolio that includes
all of the project work that you've been involved in at Cornell. You can
show this to prospective employers. It helps you organize your thoughts
and show off your experiences. You can also make an electronic version
of this and link it to your web site.
- Get the word out - Use the Internet as well instead of mailing
out your resume. Pointing employers to a web site that is properly done
is more impressive. Then hit the phones, with the receiver in one hand
and the HFES membership directory in the other! Companies love on-line
resumes that link to web sites because they can quickly get to know you
and your work. Mail/email your resume to the interesting firms in
the area where you would like to work and follow up with phone calls. If
companies don't have full-time jobs, they may have paid internships or
contract work. You can find a list of contact names for companies by area
in the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Membership Directory.
- Post frequent updates - When posting to HFES, update you resume
frequently. The HFES sent out an email to us job seekers mentioning that
some employers skip over resumes that haven't been updated in a few weeks.
- Post your resume - use the internet to put your resume on career
sites such as Monster.com (http://www.monster.com/.)
Note: when giving your resume a title, include those words that describe
the work you are looking for (i.e. human factors, usability, design, research,
product evaluation, etc.) Monster.com even sends you an email everyday
to let you know how many jobs were posted in the fields you are interested
- Network by attending professional meetings - attend the annual
HFES conference, regional meetings, student chapter meetings etc. They
have many sessions headed by leading members dedicated to answering student
questions about careers in human factors and they provide great guidance
on resume building and networking. The contacts you make at these meetings
are priceless. All week long, employers with present job openings, are
interviewing at the career center. Just sign up for an interview. Those
students that are there at the conference meeting people face to face are
in a much better position over someone who just mails in a resume. Get
in the game.
- Scan job vacancies - look through the job vacancies for a job
that you think you'd like. Remember that job adverts are always an ideal
wish list, and few people ever fit the complete bill. If you think you
can do the job, even if you don't meet all of the requirements. The worst
they can say is "No", which has the same consequence as not applying
at all. Go for it!
- Don't over price yourself - if you really want the job! Let
them make you an offer. Employers offer what they can afford. With no experience,
fresh out of school, there isn't too much room for negotiation. That comes
later in your career, so be patient. Chances are your first job will not
be your last!
- What's hot today and tomorrow - look at where the demand for
jobs is today and try to anticipate what will still be needed in the future.
Software jobs are hot now and probably will be for a long time. You should
have no trouble turning heads with and education from CU in a software
firm. If you know WWW design and evaluation skills, you are in the best
position to market yourself.
- Timing....don't wait until you need a job to look for one. Make
contacts all thru your schooling and by the time you are ready, you will
already have a few options to choose from. Decide which firms are your
first choice and mail/email/apply to those places all at once. You want
to have all of your best choices in front of you at the same time so you
don't miss your perfect position because you just agreed to take a job
because it came first. If no success, make a list of all of your second
- Alumni - Cornell alumni are a great resource. Look through the DEA
department alumni list on the Human Ecology college server (http://www.human.cornell.edu)
and see who is in the area where you want to work, then contact them for
- Colleagues - talk with other students who have taken internships,
talk with faculty about their experiences. Attend the student chapter HFES
talks and chat with real-world Ergonomists. from outside of academia.
- Use the web - Visit on-line job/career sites, such as EmploymentSpot.com
it's a good site for career information.
- Cornell Career Services
- check out the extensive information on the Cornell web site.
Don't be off put by negative replies - self-confidence and persistence
will pay off!
This page was compiled by Alan Hedge and Tim Muss. If
you find any other successful strategies, please let me know (email
Alan Hedge) and I'll include them on this page.