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How to Land and Succeed in an Industry Postdoc

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How to Land and Succeed in an Industry Postdoc

Postby Pam Maynard » Mon May 02, 2005 2:05 pm

Hi Brandon,

While publications are important (and a 2nd author is Cell is commendable) certainly what we consider to be a "good track record", which I described in more detail earlier, can hold a lot more weight than you might think. The reputation of the lab you are in and the quality of work that your advisor is known for can be equally important in our opinion. If you are considering extending your postdoc so that you'll have more to show for it, please also keep in mind your ability to give a good coherent seminar and to be able to concisely explain your motivation and readiness for seeking a full-time independent research position at the company. Some candidates present and interview very well and are able to convince us to hire them.

~Pam
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How to Land and Succeed in an Industry Postdoc

Postby Brandon » Mon May 02, 2005 2:14 pm

Pam,

Thanks for the advice! I have one other quick question - What is the average length of a postdoc at Genentech? Is this consistent with industrial postdocs in general?

thanks,
brandon
Brandon
 

How to Land and Succeed in an Industry Postdoc

Postby Pam Maynard » Mon May 02, 2005 2:19 pm

In reponse to Kevin Foley's question about how many postdocs exist out there in industry, I can confirm for you that out of Genentech's approx. 8,000 employees, we have about 75 postdocs in Research, 2-3 in Development Sciences, and about 4-5 more in Process Sciences. Of course, due to turnover, not all of these positions are filled at one time.
~Pam
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How to Land and Succeed in an Industry Postdoc

Postby Emil Chuck » Tue May 03, 2005 7:23 am

DJ: "I know that other quality employers such as Merck and Amgen have postdoc programs as well. If there are scientists reading this site who have gone through a good industry postdoc in a location other than Genentech, please jump in."

At the most recent career fair here at Duke for Ph.D.'s and postdocs, the keynote speaker who was Senior VP at Regeneron mentioned that they created two tracks for postdoctoral appointments: one which is geared more towards bench science and another geared more towards clinical trials/pharmaceutical research skills. The former would be more reminiscient of academic postdocs while the other would be more focused on developing skills for industry positions.
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How to Land and Succeed in an Industry Postdoc

Postby R.R. » Tue May 03, 2005 9:43 am

How important are the following factors in getting a postdoc/ job in industry:
- Networking (knowing someone in industry) or being referred by an employee already working in the industry.
- Location (a candidate who lives in the same general area as opposed to a candidate who lives far away).
- The exact needs of the company at that exact moment (for example, would a candidate who had done only one research project ever in the focus area of that industry be chosen over someone who had worked on three different research projects but none on the exact project that industry is working on right now).
Thanks in advance.
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How to Land and Succeed in an Industry Postdoc

Postby Pam Maynard » Tue May 03, 2005 10:23 am

Brandon,

Postdoctoral fellowships at Genentech typically last 3 years - the maximum tenure is 4 years. I am not sure if this timeframe is consistent with other industry postdocs.

~Pam
Pam Maynard
 

How to Land and Succeed in an Industry Postdoc

Postby Pam Maynard » Tue May 03, 2005 1:46 pm

Hi Reena,

Thank you for your question. I'd first like to address the third part of your question about "the needs of the company" as I think it will also address the important question that Jan raised yesterday. The candidate's background is considered as well as his or her demonstrated accomplishments, but we don't look for exact "fits" for the project. A good postdoc should be able to move where the project goes. In other words, be as good as you can be in your field of interest with hopes that this will be anagolous or complimentary to the research/focus of the company and/or independent postdoc project.

In-house referrals are always helpful, however, we are still looking for a quality postdoc candidate who has demonstrated accomplishments. It is more important for a postdoc candidate to research the company, attend seminars and meetings where our scientists are presenting, and to understand the projects and pipelines. With this knowledge, one might be able to decipher who the mentors might be behind the postdoc project and can speak in your cover letter as to why he or she is interested in applying for that position and what he or she has to offer to the science.

Location is not a factor for Genentech. Our postdoc program is formally structured where postdocs are eligible for a cash stipend to assist with relocating the best and the brightest candidate whether they are from anywhere in the US to overseas.

~Pam
Pam Maynard
 

How to Land and Succeed in an Industry Postdoc

Postby Bill L. » Tue May 03, 2005 1:48 pm


Hi Pam,
Thank you for your helpful advice! Can you give forum members a better sense of what the interview process is like? For some, it's the first time they've applied for an industry position, and I find there are always a lot of questions about what a typical interview would be like.

You briefly mentioned in a previous post that strong applicants are able to, "give a good coherent seminar and concisely explain your motivation and readiness for seeking a full-time independent research position at the company. Some candidates present and interview very well and are able to convince us to hire them".

Can you give us some insight about how you contact attractive applicants and what their interview might be like?

Thanks!

Naledi S. & Bill L.
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How to Land and Succeed in an Industry Postdoc

Postby Pam Maynard » Tue May 03, 2005 4:01 pm

Hi Bill and Naledi,

Yes, I am be happy to share this information with the forum members.

Another very important criteria for appointment into Genentech (postdoc or Scientist/Group Leader) is the ability of the candidate to give a good seminar and for them to interact and collaborate productively with colleagues, including those from other disciplines and this criteria is evaluated in the interview process. Here is what you should be prepared for;

First, a phone interview is conducted with the most promising candidates (most often by the hiring manager but sometimes by a staffing consultant - depending on the hiring manager's preference) and letters of recommendation are requested (at least three outside letters of evaluation, if possible, from at least two different institutions). In a phone interview you'll want to be prepared to answer questions about your background (ie. interest level, scientific objectives, availability to begin a new position, salary/compensation requirements, etc.) Next, you will be contacted by whomever conducted the phone interview and informed
as to whether or not you have been chosen for a formal face-to-face interview. Each interviewee shall present a seminar on their research accomplishments. And, finally, after presenting his/her research, you will have a full day of interviews meeting individually with peer scientists, postdocs, the Dept Director and the Dept VP. Going into this final part of the process, you'll want to be prepared to give
specific examples of how you performed certain tasks or skills in the past.

~Pam
Pam Maynard
 

How to Land and Succeed in an Industry Postdoc

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed May 04, 2005 1:42 am

Hi Jan,

Please write me directly about the stem cell question, and if I can help you, I will,

Dave Jensen
"One of the most powerful networking practices is to provide immediate value to a new connection. This means the moment you identify a way to help someone, take action." - Lewis Howes
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