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finding MS level industry jobs

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 2:36 pm
by Mila
I will be recieving my Biochemistry MS this April and I've started looking for an industry position in August. I have networked, posted my resume on Monster and you name it. Have not gotten one interview as of yet. So, I wanted to know is this typical, considering all I hear is how pseudo abundant is the job pool for MS/BS graduates (in comparison to PhD's i suppose)? Can someone point out the most typical mistakes recent grad students make when looking for industry jobs? Is it possible that I am not taken seriously due to the "expected graduation" in my resume? Thank you in advance!

New graduate industry jobs

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 3:21 pm
by Dave Jensen

Here are some things that BS/MS level graduates often make when looking for jobs. I am not saying that you make these mistakes, nothing personal. (My only comment to you is that WOW are you getting frustrated early! You haven't even graduated yet. If I were an employer, I wouldn't even consider you until you can come in here next week and start to work. If you sour now, Mila, you will not find a job easily . . . )

New grads make these common errors . . .

- Think that they need only to send resumes and people will hire them. (I sent out over 300 of them, thought my job search was done, and sat back to wait for the response. None came.)

- They latch onto one method of job seeking and use only that technique. (It used to be sending out zillions of resumes to "Attention: Human Resources" via mail, and now it is sitting in front of a computer filling out job applications online). You really need to go to local meetings, join associations, take local courses, conduct informational interviews, call strangers on the phone who are just a year or two ahead of you, go to job fairs, etc.

- They think that "networking" is calling their other four friends who they graduated with and having a gripe session about how hard it is to find work. (You need to have a networking database, a log, make calls religiously, asking people how THEY made the transition into their career choice, and NOT "do you have any jobs.")

- They start too early and get frustrated and then start to sour on the entire process. (Employers want to see your resume within 60 days or so of the job opening, and not much before that.)

- They mention that they are looking for a job in "management." (The kiss of death).

Requesting others to add to this brief list! It's tempting to be sarcastic (perhaps I was, and I apologize) so please provide suggestions along with the "mistake" . . .

Dave Jensen, Moderator
CareerTrax Inc.

finding MS level industry jobs

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 4:34 pm
by Rich Lemert
The "big mistake" I keep harping on is treating applications for industrial positions the same way as you do applications for academic positions. You probably aren't looking for an academic position, but it wouldn't surprise me to find out that you've been getting your advice from academics - and they generally don't know how to write an industrial resume. Generally, industry wants to know what you can do for them in the specific job that you're applying for, with your claims supported by evidence from your past experiences. Don't just give them your pedigree.

finding MS level industry jobs

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 4:54 pm
by Drew Parrish
For an MS/BS-level industry position, you need to look locally. Mila, you don't say where you are, but you'll have the best luck if you can target companies within a commutable region. Most companies (including mine) won't relocate someone for an MS/BS level position unless they're a proven commodity (e.g. someone worked with them for seven years at Pfizer and wants to hire them as their technician here).

Also, if you're local, the barrier is much lower to network and meet someone at the company, and then to ask if you can come in for an informational interview (as Dave keeps saying - this isn't to ask for a job, it's just to network and information-gather).

finding MS level industry jobs

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 7:58 pm
by Mila
Thanks Dave
You are right about networking, I haven't done nearly enough of that (your sarcasm was appropriate). How do you properly convey to the potential employers that you are all set to work when your theoretical graduation is months from now? 'Sour' is soon replaced by anxiety that you might not have the rent money! Thanks for concrete answers.

I've tried to address all the skills I acquired through various projects and jobs. I structured it in a way to show that I have extensive training and capable of troubleshooting/modifying techniques when project calls for it. Bad marketing strategy?
Probably a good idea to have somebody in the industry to take a look at it!

I am in Northern New Jersey, lots of research activity down here! The problem is when I visit job databases of various companies I find an array of positions...just not for my level of experience! Do they not bother advertising BS/MS level positions because they recruit those at career fairs/campuses and ect.??? Another question, do companies tend to hire more proactively during certain times of the year or is it a myth?

To all thanks for your patience and your help!

finding MS level industry jobs

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 8:52 pm
by Todd Graham
Well, as someone who works in North Jersey with a MA, I think I can give you a few pointers.

For one, with Big Pharma in North Jersey, there are two ways to get into the door: intern or temp. There are no other ways in the door. As Drew remarked, the big companies want someone with a proven track record. Horrible as it sounds, whatever you did in college doesn't count with them. The only chance is if you were productive in papers at a big name lab...and that's not much of one.

That being said, there are a lot of chances with smaller companies. They're usually more willing to take a chance on someone, if only because they can't really pluck people away from the bigger companies. The problem is they tend to advertise in obscure places...if at all. If you want a few pointers as to finding them, email me and I'll try to help. Also, networking can help find those also. Even if the situation isn't that great, or if you just have dreams of J&J or Merck, they'll be MUCH more receptive to you after a couple years with some small start-up.

Also, don't knock academia. It might mean a trip to NYC, but on the entry-level, it isn't the worst you can do. Also, it allows you more opportunities to network while the rent and student loans get paid.

finding MS level industry jobs

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 9:28 pm
by Dave Jensen

Todd brings up an important point. Those big co's in NJ have contracts with companies like Kelly Scientific and others who are used to "fill" temp slots, that can later become permanent jobs. But you won't get one of those, or much interest at all, until you graduate!

Thanks Todd, Drew, and Rich -- you folks are always on the ball,