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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 11:00 pm
by Leigh
What is the best way for an academic postdoc (who would like to move into biotech)but currently has no contacts in industry network? I am thinking my only option is to go to meetings and try talk to people at the meetings? Any other ideas suggestions?


PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:51 am
by Dave Jensen
Hi Leigh

THe process is exactly the same for you as it would be for someone with 20 years of contacts. You simply find the names of people who are just a few years max ahead of you, and call them to ask about how they made it into the position they have. Don't expect that everyone will have time or the inclination to help you. Of course, the hard part is finding names because they don't easily share them with you at the conmpany.

At meetings, walk around and talk to people at the poster session who come from industry.

Can anyone here post a note to Leigh and tell them about how the process works? Any networking success stories to share?

Dave Jensen


PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:21 pm
by Kevin Rogers
Go to every event for every organisation possible in your area, start going now even if you want a job in 1 years time, talk to people there, after a while you will meet the same ones more than once and will be in a position to get a card from them and get them to advise you with your job search when it comes to it.

Here are a few links to get you started:

- acs - check the local division in your area.
- awis
- biocom
- biotech calendar
- biospace

& probably a whole bunch of others - use google.


PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:42 pm
by Bob
I can suggest a networking resource that has recently been very successful for me (it may already be obvious to many though). Check out the alumni associations from your undergrad and grad schools. Many such organizations provide career mentors for other alumni or just simply have lists of alumni containing their title and where they work. If you went to a big school, it is worth the $20 to joing your alumni association for these resources. For some reason, people often get that old school spirit back and are willing to help a stranger if they went to the same school.


PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 5:12 pm
by Y.L.
I was recently recommended with a place called Biotech Tuesdays in Boston. You can try that if you are not far away from there. They meet every 2nd or 3rd Tuesday in a bar, usually from 7-10pm. You need to sign up on line ( I was tod that it is a terrific opportunity to network with people in industry, as you mingle with colleagues in companies, academia, hiring managers, consultants.
Have some ones gone there (I am 2 hours drive away)?


PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 5:27 pm
by Jim Gardner

Use your well-honed biomedical literature searching skills to turn up papers of interest authored by industry scientists. You will often find contact information and even e-mail addresses right on the papers. Asking one of the co-authors a scientific question about the research can be a good "ice breaker" to get some dialog going. (Of course I realize that industrial scientists do not always get to publish and it may depend on their company, field, and phase of research--so your mileage may vary.)

Good Luck!



PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 4:37 pm
by Nora
Thanks for the networking tips! I have been having a terrible time trying to transition from an academic postdoc into a scientist position in industry. I have recently been emailing all contacts and friends I can think of that have jobs in the industry but so far they haven't been able to help me find a job.

I have a lot of broad research skills but it seems like companies are only interested in hiring people who fit their profile exactly so I am having trouble finding job descriptions I feel comfortable applying for. For instance, I don't apply to cancer/oncology scientist positions because I haven't done any research in this particular field even though I know that a lot of the molecular biology, animal and tissue culture techniques I have expertise in would be the same. Is there someway to get around this?


PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 5:33 pm
by Rich Lemert

The only times I've ever seen someone who is an exact fit to a job description is when that description has been written with a specific individual in mind, or when the description has been written so broadly that almost no one is excluded - in which case it's next to worthless. At any other time the description represents the hiring manager's "wish list". Most hiring managers understand that they will probably not get what they want, and are trying to find someone with as many of the skills/experiences as they can.

One thing managers are notoriously poor about, though, is intuitively understanding how your skills can be put to use in their situation. It's not that they're incapable of understanding this, though, but rather the fact that they don't have time to try to understand your work (if they're not familiar with the topic) on top of all their other responsibilities. Thus, the burden of explaining how your experience is relevent falls upon your shoulders.

Let's say, for example, that you are really interested in applying for a cancer/oncology position. I'd skim through a few journals related to the topic, and look for work that was similar to what you've done. Maybe someone is using an animal model or tissue strain that you've used for a different purpose. You can highlight this fact in your cover letter. ("I've determined using strain xyz, a strain recently used by to
Also, take advantage of any informational interview opportunities to find out which of your skills would be valued by your target employers. When you're finding out how your contact as XYZ got into his current role, you can say something like "I've worked with xxx doing xyz; which skills that I picked up doing this would be of value in this type of position/for this company?"


PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 8:50 pm
by Dave Jensen

Just an FYI . . . sending emails to people is not networking, It is sitting at your computer. Not an activity that actively leads to a job.



PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 9:21 pm
by MPB
Dave wrote:

"the hard part is finding names because they don't easily share them with you at the conmpany."

"Can anyone here post a note to Leigh and tell them about how the process works?"

I've commented on this before, but a helpful and often-ignored resource is the science citation index. Most people are familiar with the SSI as a tool to find articles that have cited other articles. I haven't used it for awhile, but it used to have (and I imagine it still does) a "corporate index" that you can search by author affiliation. So for example, if you wanted to find publications by people from Pfizer, or from RAND, you could do that. The SSI is proprietary and you need a license to use it (not like pubmed, which is available to the public) but any university library has it.

Obviously, corporate labs are not always publishing everything that they are doing. But this is one tool that I have found that is pretty helpful for identifying people particular institutions, either academic or corporate.