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Industry searching at a distance

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Industry searching at a distance

Postby C.E. » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:00 pm

Hi everyone,

Certainly networking has been discussed and rehashed a lot in the forum, and I've done a detailed perusal of the archives. But if there is interest, I wanted to start a topic brainstorming ideas for a search for an entry-level Ph.D. industry position from a distance (in other words, I am looking to move back "home" from the area of the country I'm in now for my postdoc).

Here's what I've been working on so far:
(1). Using alumni network (went to college in "home" state) to identify contacts and make informational interviews
(2). Using services of alumni assn. and their career counselor
(3). Network via posters at big conferences in related fields
(4). "Cold" calls to industry researchers in my specific research field
(5). Online mini-courses
(6). A "mini-MBA" week with a case study competition in the area of interest
(7). Connecting with friends of friends who are in industry

This summer, I'm planning on adding to the mix a visit to the Bioprocessing Summit and a short course with an industry focus in protein science (in the location of interest)as my two new strategies.

I've had some glimmers of forward motion so far--a couple of CVs in the hands of hiring managers after 40 or 50 informational interviews, and an interest from a small biotech company in setting up a collaboration with my lab based on my networking call. However, no interviews yet, so I'm looking to brainstorm some creative strategies from others about how to accelerate the process (I'm asking my informational interviews about conferences, recommended contacts, etc. too of course....)

In return, I hope I can be helpful for some other forum topics!

Thanks in advance for any suggestions/insights.
C.E.
 
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Re: Industry searching at a distance

Postby Ana » Wed May 01, 2013 3:02 pm

Hi CE,

I went through a difficult job search similar to the one you are describing some years ago. I wanted to transition from my postdoc in Vancouver, Canada, to an industry job in Europe.... and that was quite a distance.

I tried many things during the 13 months that it took me to get the job, and most opportunities didn't materialize until the very last months of that job search. I was very active in the postdoc association at my institution and had my CV reviewed by many of our advisors from industry and other fields and had a lot of advise. I tried applying for jobs the regular way, I sent unsolicited applications, contacted everyone I could think of through my network, got introduction to pharma people through my advisor/friends network, flew myself to Europe to a biotech-focused conference to try and network like crazy.... it all looks like what you are describing.

I believe it was a matter of numbers. You are trying all the right things, sooner or later you'll have some interviews and then some offer/s. From my 13 months of being out there I got three interviews in biotech/pharma and they came through completely different strategies:

1) A regular job that was posted and that I applied to. Yes, sometimes it works too.

2) A company that advertised some positions for Biology that were too senior for me so I contacted a scientist that worked at that company and that I had met 2 years before at a conference and kept his card. I asked him if he could help me get in contact with the Head of Biology to see if they would also be interested in a more junior scientist. It turned out they were, they just hadn't advertised it yet.

3) A company with a very interesting technology not working in neuroscience. I contacted them out of the blue telling them in a cover letter that I though their technology could do wonders for neurology and that I would love to join them in that adventure.

As you can see they don't follow any trend. I believe getting a job is often a matter of luck, of being at the right place at the right time. The best way to maximize that luck is therefore to try to be in many places at many times. You seem to be doing that already. I feel I've gone through your story and I couldn't advise you what else to do or what to do better other than keep being in those many places at those many times. And good luck.

Ana
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Re: Industry searching at a distance

Postby C.E. » Sun May 05, 2013 11:46 pm

Hi Ana,
Thank you very much for taking the time to detail the story of your search. I really appreciate it and it helps give me energy for the next weekly round of connections and networking! I am trying a few new creative things and if I have success in the end I will let you know how it all turns out.
Sincerely,
CE
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Re: Industry searching at a distance

Postby C.E. » Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:48 pm

Just wanted to share a follow up and let everyone know that I spent a lot of time thinking about it, I completely changed gears, and I had a successful job search this fall for faculty positions. After receiving a couple of offers I decided to accept one at a public master's level comprehensive university, where I will put together and teach courses in my field, as well as do research with undergraduates and master's students, continue a formal collaboration on research projects with my postdoctoral advisors, and hopefully continue to stay connected with the biotech community as well to provide opportunities for students to move on to roles in industry (and maybe even find some opportunities for joint projects!). Thanks to those on the forum who provided support over the past 2.5 years. I am really happy with where I ended up, and while I'm not 100% sure what the "message" I learned is, I am glad that I kept going and stepped back to re-evaluate and find out who was interested in what I had to offer. The academic job search actually turned out to be FUN--which goes against conventional wisdom, but I enjoyed talking with the professors at the different schools and I met some really great people. The process really restored my confidence, which had been low after such a challenging search, and I feel optimistic about the future and where my background in science will take me. While my hundreds of networking events and informational interviews might not be directly related to the role I have accepted, I think that the network I developed will be useful as I move ahead in my career and help students develop their careers as well. Nothing would make me happier than to help my mentees avoid the challenges that I have come up against.

I wanted to share this positive note as we come into the holiday season to say that I ended the year with hope for the future and as a part of that, I am hopeful that each of you who is looking for a position will find something that will make you happy in the new year.
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Re: Industry searching at a distance

Postby Dave Jensen » Sat Dec 13, 2014 10:03 am

Great post CE, congrats. Happy holidays to you as well,


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Re: Industry searching at a distance

Postby Ana » Sun Dec 14, 2014 12:28 pm

Hi C.E., great news!

It is so unpredictable how a job search is going to turn up, when it is going to end, what opportunities will come your way... That uncertainty makes it very difficult. It is great how you managed to grow through that process and build your network and confidence. I could have said the very same thing about my long job search. Your story is great, thanks!
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Re: Industry searching at a distance

Postby WG » Mon Dec 15, 2014 6:59 pm

Congrats C.E. and all the best as you embark on the new adventure! This phrase stood out from your post

I am glad that I kept going and stepped back to re-evaluate and find out who was interested in what I had to offer.


If you don't mind sharing, were you getting alot more interest from academic institutions as opposed to industry? Just asking based on your initial post and your most recent follow up. I have also picked up some useful networking tips from this thread so thanks for sharing those too.
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Re: Industry searching at a distance

Postby C.E. » Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:46 pm

I'd be happy to share. The answer is yes--a couple of years of all-out searching in industry positions with only one interview, which came via a friend, as compared to multiple interviews and offers from academic positions within a month or so, and a really great job search experience with academia. Personally, I am thrilled with the outcome, since I hadn't applied before, thinking that with all of the people applying, I wouldn't be competitive. As I went through the process of completing my research proposal and teaching statement, I knew I was making the right choice--I found the process exciting as opposed to tiresome, planning out all of the things I could do in the near future as a faculty member.

I will say that I did find the academic application process to be more straightforward--with an institutional protocol for reviewing applications, knowledge of at least an approximate timeline, and more success submitting to institutions where I didn't know anyone. One challenge I found in my previous industry search was talking with people who said I was a good candidate, but that it wasn't clear when in the next year the next appropriate job would open up in their unit. For the academic jobs, I could clearly focus in on institutions that were advertising in the Chronicle.

I followed many of the same job search principles--tailored application materials, thoughtful preparation of CVs and cover letters, and detailed research of the institutions to prepare for the phone and then in-person interviews. All of the informational interviews and networking had given me a lot of practice meeting hundreds of new people, and I think it helped me in the actual job interviews. I felt personally prepared, but I am also thankful for all of the people who supported me, and for the element of a little bit of good fortune as well that got me onto the short lists. It was a nice feeling to email the people who had helped me with my informational interviews and who had worked closely with me in the biotech societies, and to tell them that thanks to their support, I had good news to share.

But, it is going to be different for everyone, and other jobs will be the right fit for other people. My experience provides a single data point. Also, I was very interested in master's level and primarily undergraduate institutions, which makes the academic job search different than one limited to Ph.D.-level universities (although not necessarily easier!). Maybe the main lesson for me--which has been shared on this forum in other places--is that there isn't one "easy" type of job and one "hard" type of job to get. They are all very competitive, especially so it seems nowadays, and the tricky part seems to me to be finding a match between jobs where there is currently a demand for Ph.D.s, jobs where your skill set is a match, and jobs you are interested in taking on.

If you have any questions, feel free to PM me, I am happy to try to help! Also, WG, I think there is another thread where we swapped informational interviewing tips. That might provide some additional networking tips beyond the Science Careers articles on the subject.
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Re: Industry searching at a distance

Postby Matt Ander » Sat Oct 17, 2015 2:11 pm

[quote="C.E."]I'd be happy to share. The answer is yes--a couple of years of all-out searching in industry positions with only one interview, which came via a friend, as compared to multiple interviews and offers from academic positions within a month or so, and a really great job search experience with academia. Personally, I am thrilled with the outcome, since I hadn't applied before, thinking that with all of the people applying, I wouldn't be competitive. As I went through the process of completing my research proposal and teaching statement, I knew I was making the right choice--I found the process exciting as opposed to tiresome, planning out all of the things I could do in the near future as a faculty member.

I will say that I did find the academic application process to be more straightforward--with an institutional protocol for reviewing applications, knowledge of at least an approximate timeline, and more success submitting to institutions where I didn't know anyone. One challenge I found in my previous industry search was talking with people who said I was a good candidate, but that it wasn't clear when in the next year the next appropriate job would open up in their unit. For the academic jobs, I could clearly focus in on institutions that were advertising in the Chronicle.

I followed many of the same job search principles--tailored application materials, thoughtful preparation of CVs and cover letters, and detailed research of the institutions to prepare for the phone and then in-person interviews. All of the informational interviews and networking had given me a lot of practice meeting hundreds of new people, and I think it helped me in the actual job interviews. I felt personally prepared, but I am also thankful for all of the people who supported me, and for the element of a little bit of good fortune as well that got me onto the short lists. It was a nice feeling to email the people who had helped me with my informational interviews and who had worked closely with me in the biotech societies, and to tell them that thanks to their support, I had good news to share.

But, it is going to be different for everyone, and other jobs will be the right fit for other people. My experience provides a single data point. Also, I was very interested in master's level and primarily undergraduate institutions, which makes the academic job search different than one limited to Ph.D.-level universities (although not necessarily easier!). Maybe the main lesson for me--which has been shared on this forum in other places--is that there isn't one "easy" type of job and one "hard" type of job to get. They are all very competitive, especially so it seems nowadays, and the tricky part seems to me to be finding a match between jobs where there is currently a demand for Ph.D.s, jobs where your skill set is a match, and jobs you are interested in taking on.

If you have any questions, feel free to PM me, I am happy to try to help! Also, WG, I think there is another thread where we swapped informational interviewing tips. That might provide some additional networking tips beyond the Science Careers articles on the subject.[/quote]

I hear that Toronto is nice city to move into but along with the move comes the need to look for another job. Are there any opportunities there for accountants like me? I have working experience in Europe and Malaysia, which I hope might help in my plans of moving.
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