Searching for biotech...

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Searching for biotech...

Postby Polina » Fri Jan 07, 2005 6:40 pm

Hi there,
I recently encountered one big problem. My PI received a next level professor position in another state and he is moving entire lab there. Due to my family issues I can?t go. Besides I have already spent 4 productive and happy years as a postdoc in his lab and it is time for me to go further in my career. From all options, I have decided to pursue my career in biotech industry. And here comes the tricky thing. No matter how many career fairs I have attended, no matter how many resumes and cover letters I have submitted online- I still have no response. The unfortunate thing is that all people I know are from academia world, not from industry. And as funny as it sounds, to get to the industry world you have to have someone you know from this world. Otherwise you resume just ends up in the recycle bin in human resource office. Is my impression true or I just got wrong data? Does anybody encounter the same problem? Thank you so much for reply.

Searching for biotech...

Postby Dave Jensen » Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:19 pm

Polina, You'd do well to read Andy's posts and the entire thread called "Job Search PostMortem."

Let me throw some numbers at you, which are NOT scientific, to give you an idea why you are experiencing no "traction" in your search. If, for example, your chances to get a job in biotech are 1 in 600 for every job fair and 1 in 400 for every resume sent out to some company's HR department, than they are about 1 in 50 or so for every networking phone call made. This means that all your effort so far is in the "1 in 600" or "1 in 400" category.

It would take a lot of mail or a lot of job fairs to connect with a few leads on those terms. That's why, while you don't want to stop doing your job fairs and online applications, you've got to realize how important it is to get away from sending CVs.

You are right about industry. Think of it as a private club, and what would you do if you wanted to join a private club? You'd find a sponsor, right? That's all that networking is. Finding a sponsor. They are PAID for their referrals, so it doesn't really take up their time inappropriately. Don't go calling people and asking for jobs, Polina. What you need to do is call people and ask how they got THEIR job. Listen to stories of how others made the transition. Learn from them, develop relationships, and THEN send off the CV.

We've been beating the networking bush too hard on this site lately and this is the last time for awhile that I will mention it, I promise!

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Searching for biotech...

Postby Polina » Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:34 pm

Thank you, Dave for the valuable information.I\'ll go networking :)

Searching for biotech...

Postby Nels » Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:51 pm


Dave is correct. What I did was went to web sites of biotech companies, found names of key players, especially those that had published papers, used those names to generate personalized letters telling them about how I had been following their work, included a copy of my CV and asked them for contacts or advice about getting more information about their company or their field of study. It worked. They responded by email and phone calls. They told me about their technology and company structure. And one of them hired me into their company. I have now followed that executive scientist from company to company and have been very happy as a result. There are loads of ways to get addresses and contact information for top people in biotech. Try going to the website for your favorite biotech conference and make a list of speakers. Those that speak also publish and will have more input for a person that has been an academic in the past.

My best and good luck, Nels

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