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How do you start job-hunting when you don’t even know what kind of job you’re hunting for? You open a wanted-website, and? How can you screen the ads? There is no filter for “interesting jobs”, “some background in research” or “I want to do something fun”.

..  I came up with three fields that seemed interesting and could fit a so called “cognitive scientist”:

  1.  User interface- designing things in a way that will be comfortable or intuitive for users. Apparently, people who know how people think (which is what I was supposed to learn in my Masters) are an asset in this field.
  2. Strategic consulting- consulting agencies help companies facing business related dilemmas. These agencies are looking for people with background in research and good analytic skills.
  3. Human resources- again, a good field for “people who know people”.

Armed with these three directions, I continued to Phase Two: finding out more about these fields. I used three information sources: Interviewing friends and friends of friends, Googling and following related courses in Coursera (at this point I want to recommend these two: https://class.coursera.org/hci-2012-002/class/index for human computer interaction and https://class.coursera.org/organalysis-2012-001/class/index for organizational analysis).

Phase Three, started intermediately with phase two, was sending my resume to different companies. In most companies’ websites there is either a “career” section, or a general email you can write to. The problem with job-hunting not through wanted ads, is that you are contacting many companies that are not really looking to hire anybody. So many of them don’t even reply, and others say something like “you seem very awesome but we are not really looking, so if we ever will we will contact you”. At least now you know you seem awesome..

Phase four was going to some job interviews, finding out that some of these jobs are not really for me.

After all off that, I actually found my job through a regular wanted ad…

One of the websites I was looking at had a “social sciences graduates” bar, usually presenting very, very weird jobs (the weirdest one, I think, was something like “Looking for someone to take care of holocaust survivors and cats”). But one day, I saw an ad for my current job, in a consumer psychology research company. They were looking for someone with background in psychology research and good communication skills. So I sent my resume and ended up getting the job. The tools we use are quite similar to academic research- running surveys and experiments with participants. But the goals are very practical- answering specific questions for commercial companies or government entities. I stated working here very recently, so I don’t know a lot yet, but for now it’s nice to know that I can use my psychology-research experience in a non-academic environment.

I promise to tell more about my new job in the next post. Hopefully, by then I will know more. For now- all I want to say is that it turns out there are some interesting things to do outside the university, all you have to do is look :).