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Frugal Job Search Ideas

October 7th, 2007 at 02:39 pm

Over the course of the next few weeks I'm going to have several interviews for post-doc positions. In addition, I have 2 poster presentations (a way of presenting your research at scientific conferences) between now and early November. I decided it might be a good idea to have some business cards printed so I could have a handy, clean method of getting my contact information to people.

I had thought about getting cards printed at Kinkos. Mr. Bean had done this, and although the price was reasonable, the quality of the graphic looked poor (probably because Kinkos doesn't have access to a legal, good quality University logo).

Had I done my research earlier, I would have known I could get 50 business cards printed by the University Stationary Shop for $20, but the turn around time takes 12 days-- time which I do not have.

I decided to give printing my own cards a try. I know there are web sites for this, but I wanted the card to look clean and professional, just like the faculty and staff business cards. Advertising on the card would be a big no-no.

For ~$8.00, I purchased a package of 120 Avery Clean Edge Business Cards at my local Big-Box store. I know from previous experience it's best to spend the $1 extra for the clean edge cards-- otherwise your cards will have a tacky perforation along the edge. I grabbed a University logo (albeit probably illegally), from a University web page and then set up my card to look like the other faculty / staff cards. I printed on my home Cannon i560 ink jet. The result is beautiful! The cards look like they were professionally printed. If I didn't mind sharing my identity with the internet, I'd post a photo to show them off.

Mind you, I spent about an hour perfecting the card. The process wasn't totally easy, but I'm happy with the end product. Also, I only need 50 cards, so I can use the leftover blank cards for a future position, or even making place cards for our upcoming Thanksgiving meal (we're hosting this year!)

Another thing I've done to prepare for interviews to to create an online professional portfolio. The University offers free web space to students, so I redeemed mine and created a professional web site with a statement of my research interests, a link to PDF of my CV and graduate coursework, professional references, and a statement of teaching philosophy as well as a downloadable Power Point of a sample lecture. I put the URL for the site on my cards.

The online portfolio was time consuming to create, but hopefully it will help me market myself and have all my materials in one central location. I used Dreamweaver software to create the site (also free in University computer labs), so very little coding skills were needed.

These two items are complete, but I still have a lot to do to get ready!

2 Responses to “Frugal Job Search Ideas”

  1. baselle Says:

    Good luck with the postdoc search. Pardon if my question is personal or touchy - are you aiming for a place near Mr. Bean, or is Mr. Bean following you?

  2. threebeansalad Says:

    I'm aiming for his area + the other 2 cities where his employer has offices. All 3 cities are fairly major (well, 2 major, 1 mid-sized), so it not unlikely that something will work out. If that search is unsuccessful, I'll look elsewhere and he'll follow me. I can do the long distance thing for one year, but not much longer than that. In actuality, being away from him has really upped my work ethic because I want to graduate ASAP. Plus, I don't have anything else to do, so I typically stay in my lab late without any second thoughts.

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