Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How to Prepare for an Informational Interview

Informational Interview

The informational interview is a low-key, informational experience that may be a valuable tool when making decisions about your career. You accomplish several things when you go out on informational interviews:

  • Obtain information about your career field and the skills needed to do that job effectively;
  • Increase your visibility and make personal contact with agency personnel;
  • Gain insight into the hidden job market;
  • Become aware of the needs of the employers and the realities of employment; and
  • Gain invaluable interviewing experience.

In short it prepares you for what’s in store and allows you the opportunity to network with others in your field of interest.

In order to acquaint yourself with the interviewing process, talk with family, friends or anyone with whom you feel comfortable. Consider practicing to minimize the anxiety you may feel about interviewing.

Guidelines for Informational Interviews

Identify an occupation

Identify an occupation you would like to investigate. Find out as much information as you can about it before setting up an interview. This can be done through telephone, library, the Chamber of Commerce, the Dreamfedjob.com careers page at  http://www.dreamfedjob.com/Careers_in_the_federal_government.html, or by word of mouth. Be sure the information you acquire is accurate.

Set up an informational interview prior to a job opening

It is usually a good idea to set up an informational interview with a resource person before there is an actual job opening in your area of interest. Managers and supervisors may feel uneasy or uncomfortable talking with a potential candidate when the agency is actively filling a position from an established candidate list.

Never ask for a job

The typical job searcher is going around asking for a job. In an informational interview, you should be asking questions to find out more about the job, the agency and how you may better prepare for openings. This will help set you apart from the many others who are asking for jobs and being turned down. Approach the unit or section of an agency with the attitude that you are seeking career advice.

Prepare your questions ahead of time

Ask questions that are appropriate and will provide you with important information. Convey your motivation and interest to the employer by acknowledging that the information they are giving you is important and that you put some thought into your questions.

Prepare answers to questions the manager or professional/technical person might ask of you during the interview.

To help you get your foot in the door, it will be helpful for you to have brainstormed some short, concise and informative answers to the following questions:

· Why are you interested in this type of work?

· Why do you feel you would be good at it?

· What interests you about this agency, department, division, unit or section?

· How would you quickly sum up your work history to make it fit with this agency?

· What do you truly want from this contact, and how will you use the information?

· In what stage are you with your career search?

Scheduling the informational interview

Contact the resource person, preferably by telephone, e-mail or letter. Try to schedule your interviews with managers and supervisors who have the authority to hire. Identify yourself and explain that you are researching careers in the contact’s field, and that you obtained their name from ____________________.

Persons who grant informational interviews are willing to share 20-30 minutes of their time to explain their field or experience. Be flexible in your scheduling, as these volunteer interviewees may have other commitments. If this should occur, ask a convenient time when you could call back to discuss scheduling an interview.

Although there are many techniques to setting up informational interviews, the following is a good approach.

  1. Hello, my name is ___________. I am conducting a career search in your occupational field. I would like to meet with you for 20-30 minutes, so that I can find out more about your field of expertise.
  2. Use your own creativity, but the most important thing is to emphasize that you are simply trying to get first-hand information, and would appreciate whatever time they could share with you.

If you prefer to arrange an appointment in person and cannot get past the front desk, treat receptionists as resources. They hold the key to getting inside the unit or section of that agency if you do not already have an inside contact or referral. Ask them some of your questions. You will usually get good information. Receptionists and other support staff often know a great deal about their agency or firm. They know how it works, the names of key people, job requirements, etc. It is important that they understand what you want. If you ask them something that they feel could be more fully answered by someone else, they will usually give you a referral.

Dress appropriately

Because a large percentage of openings are never advertised, you may uncover job opportunities that never make it to the newspaper or employment office. Be prepared to make a good impression and to be remembered favorably by the employer. Looking for a job means that you should always look your best in appearance and otherwise.

Come prepared to take notes

Pretend you are a reporter. You don’t need to write everything down, but there may be names, phone numbers or other information that you do want to remember.

Be enthusiastic and show interest. Use an informal dialogue during the interview. Be direct and concise with your questions and answers. Do not ramble. Have good eye contact and posture. Be positive with your remarks, and reflect a good sense of humor.

Bring your resume

Bring a copy of your resume. Try to find out about specific characteristics or qualifications that employers seek when hiring. You may ask the person you are interviewing to critique your resume. Ask if you may follow-up in two or three weeks.

Before the interview

The day before the interview, call to confirm your appointment with the contact person. If you have questions regarding the office location and direction, this is the time to ask. Plan to arrive 10 minutes early for your interview. Carry a small notebook and pen.

The interview

You have arrived and been greeted by the individual at the front desk. When the contact comes out to meet you, introduce yourself. Thank your contact for his or her willingness to meet with you and re-emphasize that you are there to learn and gather information about his or her career field. Use an informal dialogue during the interview.

The following are typical informational interview questions (please see last page, as well):

  1. What is your job like?

· How would you describe a typical day?

· What do you do?

· What kinds of problems do you deal with?

· What kinds of decisions do you make?

  1. What jobs and experience have led to your present employment?
  2. What are the greatest personal satisfactions and disappointments connected with your occupation?
  3. What professional obligations go along with your occupation?

· Are there organizations you are expected to join?

· Are there expectations outside work hours?

  1. What things did you do before entering this occupation?

· Which have been most helpful?

· What other jobs can you get with the same background?

  1. What sorts of changes are occurring in your occupation/industry?
  2. How does a person progress in your field?

· What is the best way to enter this occupation?

· What are the advancement opportunities?

· What are the key qualifications for success in this particular occupation?

  1. Can you tell me about others you know who do similar kinds of work or who use similar skills?
  2. What can you tell me about the employment outlook in your occupational field?

People are often happy to discuss their positions and willing to provide you with a wealth of information. Try to keep the conversation friendly, but brief and focused on the contract person’s job.

Share some information about yourself

Do not dominate the interview by talking about yourself. You are there to get information that will help you learn about the agency and the position, so you can be adequately prepared to compete for the job. Be aware, however, that many informational interviews have turned into actual employment interviews. If it seems that you are being interviewed for a specific job, ask so you can make sure you emphasize your talents and skills, and why you feel they relate to the job.

Be a good listener

Listening is an important component of effective communication. In addition to being able to ask questions and convey a message to employers, you need to develop the skill of really listening to what they tell you. Be receptive and paraphrase or restate information to show that you understand the key points.

Ask if you may stay in contact

You have spent 20-30 minutes with this person, asking questions, getting advice and sharing a little about yourself. Thus begins your contact network. They have taken time to share with you; in other words, they have invested time in you. Most people like their investment to pay off. The person you have just talked with wants you to find a job. Most people will feel good about your staying in contact with them. You do not have to call or write them every week. Just keep them posted on your research. They may not have a job for you, but they may know of other agencies or people to whom you may be referred. Ask for your contact’s business card and exchange one of your own, if you have one. Ask if you may leave a resume.

Always send a thank you note

Be sure to send a thank you note or letter within three days of the interview. This is an effective way to keep in touch, as well as to be remembered by people. Let them know they were helpful and thank them for their time. As a nice touch, quote something that the resource person said to you, word for word. Ask them to keep you in mind if they come across any other information that may be helpful to you in your career search. Include your address and phone number under your signature.

Make a Reference List

Keep a list of all the people you have interviewed or plan to interview for future reference. Keep a special notebook or cards with interview notes on your questions covered. Include the main things that you gained from each interview. This file will be a rich source of information as you conduct your occupational exploration.

Always get referrals

People who are in the same kinds of business usually know their competition. As if they could give you the names of others to talk to and if you may say that they referred you. Referrals open doors!

Capturing that dream

You have just taken the first important step in developing your career search strategy. You have shared information about yourself and gained a wealth of information from an individual who is employed in a career in which you are interested. You have built trust with someone in the field and taken responsibility for getting yourself a position that you will enjoy. You have also begun developing a network of potential employers. Although you are not asking for a job, there individuals are now aware of your interests.

Remember no to become discouraged. Establishing this network is vital if you are serious about making a new career change and finding the “good jobs.”

When the day of your “real” job interview arrives, the interviewing panel could contain someone with who conducted an informational interview. Chances are that you will stand out in his or her mind when the selection is made. You have developed the necessary confidence and expertise to make your dream job a reality.

Research questions to explore a job:

· What is your job like?

· What do you like best about your job?

· What kinds of problems do you deal with?

· What kinds of decisions do you make?

· What skills, abilities, aptitudes and/or temperaments are needed?

· How do people get most of their training?

· Does the work serve values which are important to you?

· What are the greatest personal satisfactions and disappointments connected with this occupation?

· What is the outlook for this type of work?

· How do you see your job changing over the next several years?

· Do you have any tips on how to get such a job?

Research questions to learn about a person:

· What jobs and educational experiences have led to your present job?

· Why did you choose the type of work you are doing?

· What has been your favorite job?

· What has given you your biggest sense of accomplishment?

· Do you have any tips for building a successful career?

· What type(s) of job(s) have you thought about doing next?

Research questions to learn about an agency:

· What are your major products or services?

· What type of jobs do you have here?

· What type of people are you looking for?

· What entry-level jobs exist?

· Do you provide training?

· What are the advancement opportunities?

· What is the approximate salary range?

· What is the benefit package?

· What is the long-and short-range outlook for the organization?

· What are the most important immediate and future concerns for the organization?

· What are the agency’s goals and objectives over the next six months? The next year? Two years?

· If you were hiring someone today, for what position would you hire?

· What is the hire procedure?

· Do you have any literature on the agency?

· How did most people here get their jobs?

· What kind of person do you have to be to fit in with the agency?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Now is the Time to Start Applying for Federal Jobs

Hiring into federal jobs has slowed to the lowest level in nine years, new government data shows, with just 76,735 new employees entering the federal workforce in fiscal 2013, a drop of more than 14.5 percent compared to the previous year.

The governmentwide budget cuts known as sequestration, along with growing fiscal pressures on executive-branch agencies, are responsible for the gradually shrinking workforce, and agencies are rethinking how they operate to minimize cuts to public services.

“Many agencies looked at furloughing employees last year,” said Tim McManus, vice president for education and outreach at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, which compiled employment data from the Office of Personnel Management for a second consecutive year. “It’s hard to hire new people in that situation.”

McManus is hosting a Twitter chat about the topic at 2 p.m. on Thursday.

The hiring decline comes as a wave of baby-boomers and others leave the government, many after long careers and with deep expertise in their fields. McManus said most of the newcomers are replacing departing employees, rather than filling newly created jobs. Roughly 110,000 people left federal jobs in fiscal 2013, leaving about 33,000 more employees who left than were replaced.

Fully one-third of the new hires are filling jobs at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is hiring doctors, nurses, mental health experts, data-entry workers and others to support a surge in returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, even though the agency is caught up in a scandal over long wait times for veterans seeking medical care.

Another 36.2 percent of new hires are filling jobs at Department of Defense agencies, which continue to fill vacancies, particularly in the area of cybersecurity.

Veterans, who jump the line in the hiring process under an Obama administration initiative, made up 45 percent of new employees last year, a larger percentage than they make up in the total federal workforce (31.7 percent).

Also, about two-thirds of new hires are coming in at entry levels, between GS-1 and GS-9. This may explain why about a quarter of the newcomers are under 30, roughly mirroring the percent of young workers’ in the broader American workforce.
Almost 77,000 new hires is a lot of new employees, but it’s still relatively small in a workforce of 2 million people, especially compared to the high-water mark of recent years: 143,168 new hires in 2009. Almost 90,000 people were hired to full-time, non-seasonal executive branch jobs in fiscal 2012.

The downward trend in recent years is bad news for job seekers hoping to land work with the federal government, but it’s good news for fiscal conservatives who believe government needs to shrink and become more efficient.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become a Psychologist

Although psychologists typically need a doctoral degree or specialist degree in psychology, a master’s degree is sufficient for some positions. Practicing psychologists also need a license or certification.

Most clinical, counseling, and research psychologists need a doctoral degree. Psychologists can complete a Ph.D. in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. A Ph.D. in psychology is a research degree that culminates in a comprehensive exam and a dissertation based on original research. In clinical, counseling, school, or health service settings, students usually complete a 1-year internship as part of the doctoral program. The Psy.D. is a clinical degree and is often based on practical work and examinations rather than a dissertation.

School psychologists need an advanced degree and certification or licensure to work. The advanced degree is most commonly the specialist degree (Ed.S. degree, which requires a minimum of 60 graduate semester hours and a 1,200-hour supervised internship), a doctoral degree in school psychology, or in some instances, a master’s degree. School psychologists’ training includes coursework in both education and psychology, because their work addresses education and mental health components of students’ development.

Graduates with a master’s degree in psychology can work as industrial-organizational psychologists. When working under the supervision of a doctoral psychologist, master’s graduates can also work as psychological assistants in clinical, counseling, or research settings. Master’s degree programs typically include courses in industrial-organizational psychology, statistics, and research design.

Most master’s degree programs do not require an undergraduate major in psychology, but do require coursework in introductory psychology, experimental psychology, and statistics. Some doctoral degree programs require applicants to have a master’s degree in psychology; others will accept applicants with a bachelor’s degree and a major in psychology.

Most graduates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology find work in other fields such as business administration, sales, or education.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
In most states, practicing psychology or using the title of “psychologist” requires licensure or certification. In all states and the District of Columbia, psychologists who practice independently must be licensed. Licensing laws vary by state and type of position. Most clinical and counseling psychologists need a doctorate in psychology, an internship, at least 1 to 2 years of professional experience, and to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. Information on specific requirements by state can be obtained from the Association of State and Provincial Licensing Boards. In many states, licensed psychologists must complete continuing education courses to keep their licenses.

The American Board of Professional Psychology awards specialty certification in 13 areas of psychology, such as clinical health, couple and family, psychoanalysis, or rehabilitation. Although board certification is not required for most psychologists, it can demonstrate professional expertise in a specialty area; however, some hospitals and clinics do require certification. In those cases, candidates must have a doctoral degree in psychology, state license or certification, and any additional criteria of the specialty field.

To become licensed, psychologists must have completed one or more of the following:
  • pre-doctoral or post-doctoral supervised experience
  • internship
  • residency program
Important Qualities
Analytical skills. Psychologists must be able to examine the information they collect and draw logical conclusions from them.
Communication skills. Psychologists must have strong communication skills because they spend much of their time listening to and speaking with patients.

Observational skills. Psychologists study attitude and behavior. They must be able to watch people and understand the possible meanings of people’s facial expressions, body positions, actions, and interactions.

Patience. Psychologists must be able to demonstrate patience, because research or treatment of patients may take a long time. They must also be patient when dealing with people who have mental or behavioral disorders.

People skills. Psychologists study people and help people. They must be able to work well with clients, patients, and other medical professionals.

Problem-solving skills. Psychologists need problem-solving skills to find treatments or solutions for mental and behavioral problems.

Trustworthiness. Psychologists must keep patients’ problems in confidence, and patients must be able to trust psychologists’ expertise in treating sensitive problems.

To learn more about what psychologists do click here!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become a Historian

Although most historian positions require a master’s degree, some research positions require a doctoral degree. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree may qualify for some entry-level positions, but most will not be traditional historian jobs.

Historians need a master’s degree or Ph.D. for most positions. Many historians have a master’s degree in history or public history. Others complete degrees in related fields, such as museum studies, historical preservation, or archival management. Many programs require an internship or other onsite work experience as a part of the degree program.

Research positions, including many jobs within the federal government, typically require a Ph.D. Students in history Ph.D. programs usually concentrate in a specific area of history. Possible specializations include a particular country or region, period, or field, such as social, political, or cultural history.

Candidates with a bachelor’s degree in history may qualify for entry-level positions at museums, historical associations, or other small organizations. However, most bachelor’s degree holders usually work outside of traditional historian jobs—for example, jobs in education, communications, law, business, publishing, or journalism.

Many people with an educational background in history become high school teachers or postsecondary teachers.

Other Experience
Many historians benefit from previous history work, internships, or field experience when they look for positions outside of colleges and universities. Most master’s programs in public history and similar fields require an internship as part of the curriculum. Internships offer an opportunity for students to learn practical skills, such as handling and preserving artifacts and creating exhibits. They also give students an opportunity to apply their academic knowledge in a hands-on setting.

Those without internship experience can benefit from volunteering or working in an entry-level position to gain similar practical experience. Positions are often available at local museums, historical societies, government agencies, or nonprofit and other organizations.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Historians must be able to examine the information and data in historical sources and draw logical conclusions from them, whether the sources are written documents, visual images, or material artifacts.

Communication skills. Communication skills are important for historians because many give presentations on their historical specialty to the public. Historians also need communication skills when they interview people to collect oral histories, consult with clients, or collaborate with colleagues in the workplace.

Problem-solving skills. Historians try to answer questions about the past. They may investigate something unknown about a past idea, event, or person; decipher historical information; or identify how the past has affected the present.

Research skills. Historians must be able to examine and process information from a large number of historical documents, texts, and other sources.

Writing skills. Writing skills are essential for historians as they often present their findings in reports, articles, and books.

Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become an Economist

Most economists need a master’s degree or Ph.D. However, some entry-level jobs—primarily in government—are available for workers with a bachelor’s degree.

A master’s degree or Ph.D. is required for most economist jobs. Positions in business, research, or international organizations often require a combination of graduate education and work experience.
Students can pursue an advanced degree in economics with a bachelor’s degree in a number of fields, but a strong background in math is essential. A Ph.D. in economics requires several years of study after earning a bachelor’s degree, including completion of detailed research in a specialty field.

Candidates with a bachelor’s degree qualify for some entry-level economist positions, including jobs with the federal government. An advanced degree is sometimes required for advancement to higher level positions.

Most who complete a bachelor’s degree in economics find jobs outside the economics profession as research assistants, financial analysts, market research analysts, and similar positions in business, finance, and consulting.

Other Experience
Aspiring economists can gain valuable experience from internships that involve gathering and analyzing data, researching economic issues and trends, and writing reports on their findings. In addition, related experience, such as working in business or finance, can be advantageous.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Economists must be able to review data, observe patterns, and draw logical conclusions. For example, some economists analyze historical employment trends to make future projections on jobs.

Communication skills. Economists must be able to explain their work to others. They may give presentations, explain reports, or advise clients on economic issues. They may collaborate with colleagues and sometimes must explain economic concepts to those without a background in economics.

Critical-thinking skills. Economists must be able to use logic and reasoning to solve complex problems. For instance, they might identify how economic trends may affect an organization.

Detail oriented. Economists must pay attention to details. Precise data analysis is necessary to ensure accuracy in their findings.

Math skills. Economists use the principles of statistics, calculus, and other advanced topics in mathematics in their economic analyses.

Writing skills. Economists must be able to present their findings clearly. Many economists prepare reports for colleagues or clients; others write for publication in journals or for news media.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become an Anthropologist or Archeologist

Anthropologists and archeologists need a master’s degree or Ph.D. in anthropology or archeology. Experience doing anthropological or archeological fieldwork is also important. Bachelor’s degree holders may find work as assistants or fieldworkers.

Anthropologists and archeologists may qualify for many positions with a master’s degree in anthropology or archeology. Most master’s degree programs are 2 years in duration and include field research.

Although a master’s degree is enough for many positions, a Ph.D. may be needed for jobs that require leadership skills and advanced technical knowledge. To direct projects outside the United States, anthropologists and archeologists typically need a Ph.D. to comply with the requirements of foreign governments. A Ph.D. takes several years of study beyond a master’s degree and completion of a doctoral dissertation. Ph.D. students typically spend between 12 and 30 months doing field research for their dissertation.

Those with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology or archeology and work experience gained through an internship or field school can work as field or laboratory technicians or assistants. However, anthropologists and archeologists need a master’s degree to advance beyond entry-level positions.

Many people with a Ph.D. in anthropology or archeology become professors or museum curators. For more information, see the profiles on postsecondary teachers and archivists, curators, and museum technicians.

Other Experience
In order to get a job, graduates of anthropology and archeology programs usually need work experience in these fields and training in a variety of research methods. Many candidates fulfill this requirement through field training or internships with museums, historical societies, or nonprofit organizations.

Anthropology and archeology students typically spend part of their graduate program conducting field research, often working abroad or in community-based research. Many students also attend archeological field schools, which teach students how to excavate historical and archeological sites and how to record and interpret their findings and data.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Anthropologists and archeologists need knowledge of scientific methods and data, which are often used in their research.

Critical-thinking skills. Anthropologists and archeologists must be able to draw logical conclusions from observations, laboratory experiments, and other methods of research.

Investigative skills. Anthropologists and archeologists must seek and explore all facts relevant to their research. They must be able to combine pieces of information to try to solve problems and to answer research questions.

Writing skills. Anthropologists and archeologists need strong writing skills because they often write reports detailing their research findings and publish results in scholarly journals and public interest publications.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become a Physicist or Astronomer

Physicists and astronomers need a Ph.D. for most jobs. After receiving a Ph.D. in physics or astronomy, many researchers seeking careers in academia begin in temporary postdoctoral research positions.

A Ph.D. in physics, astronomy, or a related field is needed for most jobs, especially jobs that do basic research or for independent research positions in industry.

Graduate students usually concentrate in a subfield of physics or astronomy, such as condensed matter physics or cosmology. In addition to taking courses in physics or astronomy, Ph.D. students need to take courses in mathematics, such as calculus, linear algebra, and statistics. Computer science classes are also essential, because physicists and astronomers often develop specialized computer programs that are used to gather, analyze, and model data. 

Those with a master’s degree in physics may qualify for jobs in applied research and development for manufacturing and healthcare companies. Many master’s degree programs specialize in preparing students for physics-related research-and-development positions that do not require a Ph.D.

Most physics and astronomy graduate students have bachelor’s degrees in physics or a related field. Because astronomers need a strong background in physics, a bachelor’s degree in physics is often considered good preparation for Ph.D. programs in astronomy, though an undergraduate degree in astronomy may be preferred by some universities. Undergraduate physics programs provide a broad background in the natural sciences and mathematics. Typical courses include classical and quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, optics, and electromagnetism.

Those with only a bachelor’s degree in physics or astronomy typically are not qualified to fill research positions. However, they may be qualified to work as technicians and research assistants in related fields, such as engineering and computer science. Those with a bachelor’s degree in astronomy may also qualify to work as an assistant at an observatory. Students who do not want to continue their studies to the doctorate level may want to take courses in instrument building and computer science.

Some master’s degree and bachelor’s degree holders may become science teachers in middle schools and high schools. For more information, see the profiles on middle school teachers and high school teachers.

Many physics and astronomy Ph.D. holders who seek employment as full-time researchers begin their careers in a temporary postdoctoral research position, which typically lasts 2 to 3 years. During their postdoctoral appointment, they work with experienced scientists as they continue to learn about their specialties or develop a broader understanding of related areas of research. Their initial work may be carefully supervised by senior scientists, but as they gain experience, they usually do more complex tasks and have greater independence in their work.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Physicists and astronomers need to be able to think logically to carry out scientific experiments and studies. They must be precise and accurate in their analysis because errors could invalidate their research. They must also be able to find and use funding effectively.

Communication skills. Physicists and astronomers present their research at scientific conferences, to the public, or to government and business leaders. Physicists and astronomers write technical reports that may be published in scientific journals. They also write proposals for research funding.

Critical-thinking skills. Physicists and astronomers must carefully evaluate their own work and the work of others. They must determine whether results and conclusions are based on sound science.

Curiosity. Physicists and astronomers work in fields that are always on the cutting edge of technology. They must be very keen to learn continuously for their career. In-depth knowledge must be gained on a wide range of technical subjects, from computer programming to particle colliders.

Interpersonal skills. Physicists and astronomers must collaborate extensively with others—in both academic and industrial research contexts. They need to be able to work well with others toward a common goal. Interpersonal skills should also help researchers secure funding for their projects.

Math skills. Physicists and astronomers perform complex calculations involving calculus, geometry, algebra, and other areas of mathematics. They must be able to express their research in mathematical terms.

Problem-solving skills. Physicists and astronomers use scientific observation and analysis to solve complex scientific questions. Creative thinking may be needed to solve these complex scientific problems.

Self-discipline. Physicists and astronomers spend a lot of time working alone and need to be able to stay motivated as well as accurate in their work.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Some positions with the federal government, such as those involving nuclear energy and other sensitive research areas, may require applicants to be U.S. citizens and hold a security clearance.