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Multiple Job Offers- Ask Me Anything & Thanks to the Forum

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Multiple Job Offers- Ask Me Anything & Thanks to the Forum

Postby H.L.F. » Thu Dec 17, 2015 6:53 am

Every now and then, I log on to this forum to read of the struggles and issues people in science face. As a PhD student, this forum has been very helpful to me, allowing me to tap into the collective experiences of a rather large number of people who are in the same boat as me or are somewhere further along the post PhD career ladder. The advice I gained here has directly and significantly contributed to my current career opportunities.
I will soon be graduating with my PhD and have now had the fortune of entertaining offers of a postdoc at a great lab in Cambridge, an offer for a scientist position in BigPharma and an offer from a top tier management consulting firm (MBB).
I don’t have any big names Universities on my CV, but do have a good number of pubs and come from a well respected lab. Hard work, dedication, talent, etc have all contributed to my current situation, but I would say that the biggest things have been 1. being at the right place at the right time 2. networking. As I mentioned above, the forum has been very helpful to me and I would be happy to answer any questions other members or lurkers might have.
Last edited by H.L.F. on Sat Dec 19, 2015 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Multiple Job Offers- Ask Me Anything & Thanks to the Forum

Postby PG » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:16 am

Congratulations and I am happy to hear that you think that the forum have been helpful
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Re: Multiple Job Offers- Ask Me Anything & Thanks to the Forum

Postby K.B.R. » Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:17 pm

Congratulations to you, it is quite the relief isn't it?

I was also fortunate to have multiple job offers at the end of my PhD (one came the day after my dissertation presentation).

I am curious what you think was the single most influencing aspect that led to you getting not one, but multiple offers?

For me, I would have to say it was the ability to sell myself. I incorporated that into my cover letters and resumes as well as in the interviews. You have to convince people you can solve their problems (i.e. do the job they need done). Learning how to write an effective resume and cover letter are incredibly important skills for everyone, but especially graduate students.
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Re: Multiple Job Offers- Ask Me Anything & Thanks to the Forum

Postby Dave Jensen » Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:29 pm

K.B.R. wrote:For me, I would have to say it was the ability to sell myself. I incorporated that into my cover letters and resumes as well as in the interviews. You have to convince people you can solve their problems (i.e. do the job they need done). Learning how to write an effective resume and cover letter are incredibly important skills for everyone, but especially graduate students.


Great advice, thanks KBR. I'm happy that people come back to the forum and say that it was helpful. I certainly agree with you that positioning yourself as a problem solver is very important. That can get your foot in the door 90% of the time.

One comment about your last line dealing with cv's and cover letters . . . It's funny, but for new grad students and/or postdocs, the "very good" CV and cover letter package is often far better than the "perfect" set of documents. That's because they can get a very good letter and CV written in a third of the time it takes to make it "perfect." People will fuss for many months to make something perfect, when the very good package is out there, getting things moving for that person's job search. That's something to think about -- when you reach the good to very good stage, get it out there and stop the writing process.

Dave
"Failure is a bruise -- not a tattoo." -- Jon Sinclair
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Re: Multiple Job Offers- Ask Me Anything & Thanks to the Forum

Postby Ana » Sun Jan 17, 2016 2:55 pm

Sounds great HLF!! congratulations!

Those three offers mean completely different careers and most likely ask for different personalities, so think carefully which one has the best fit with who you are and where you want to get.

I'm happy the forum helped you and I absolutely agree with what you flagged as the key finding jobs. At least that has been my personal experience as well when looking for jobs.
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Re: Multiple Job Offers- Ask Me Anything & Thanks to the Forum

Postby K.B » Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:55 am

Congrats HLF! It's good to see your post, especially to mention that the forum has helped you. With good publications, one needs to network and also the need to be there at the right place at the right time. Success stories do help others to stay motivated and optimistic.

I have been following the forum for a long time, mostly as a mute spectator. There are a lot to learn and to get to know the difficulties others faced and how they solved it. Let me join you in thanking the forum contributors. It is really helpful to get an insight.
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Re: Multiple Job Offers- Ask Me Anything & Thanks to the Forum

Postby H.L.F. » Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:51 pm

K.B.R. wrote:Congratulations to you, it is quite the relief isn't it?

I was also fortunate to have multiple job offers at the end of my PhD (one came the day after my dissertation presentation).

I am curious what you think was the single most influencing aspect that led to you getting not one, but multiple offers?

For me, I would have to say it was the ability to sell myself. I incorporated that into my cover letters and resumes as well as in the interviews. You have to convince people you can solve their problems (i.e. do the job they need done). Learning how to write an effective resume and cover letter are incredibly important skills for everyone, but especially graduate students.


In my case, I would also agree that developing the ability to sell myself was integral to getting my job offers. One other factor that I believe helped is that early in my scientific career, I identified qualities needed in positions that I was interested in and did my best to develop those. Specifically, early in my academic career I wanted to be a PI. I understood that this meant getting the prestigious postdoc had a good university and being very productive in it, so I identified potential postdoc labs and made a list of techniques they were using in there better papers and did my best to acquire some experience in those techniques. Later on in my studies, When I was more interested in going into the pharma industry, I looked through job postings identify techniques they were looking for and similarly tried getting those techniques.

In some cases this meant taking a course, and another's it meant initiating collaborations with people who use this technique, and finding ways to implement these techniques in my current research. This active search for new collaborators ended up greatly increasing the total number of techniques I have experience in and also increasing the total number of papers I have worked on.

My collaborators came from different groups in the same institution and also came from random people I met at conferences. I tried my best to meet two people per day per conference and ended up starting collaboration project with three of the people who I met at conferences. Honestly speaking, it was incredibly hard to approach and have a meaningful discussion with to strangers who I really knew nothing about, But in the end I think it turned out to be very fruitful.

I know it's unusual for a grad student to independently start collaborations and I also know that doing so has put me and my PI in awkward situations/discussions a few times but at the end of the day I had to remind myself that I'm getting the PhD for myself and my own career advancement and if this side project is not significantly distracting from my main projects and I have an obligation to myself to pursue it.

I also met potential postdoc PIs and Big Pharma scientists well before graduation. The reasoning behind this was that I wanted them to get to know me and my science well before I needed to look for job. Also, while meeting them I actively try thinking about areas of collaboration with me or somebody who I know. I was not able to start any real collaborations with any of these be eyes or Pharma people, but I was able to get them in touch with other acquaintances and collaborators who might have similar interests. I know three of these "connections" ended up turning into real collaboration projects between my "target person" and associate. Obviously from an altruistic point of view this helps out the parties directly impacted by this,But from a more selfish point of view I thought that I would also benefit because these P eyes and big Pharma scientist what been not only know my name but also be able to associate my name with some sort of productivity in their world.

When I decided I was going to transition to consulting, I used to LinkedIn to find at least two people from each of the big three consultancies and did my best to meet them in person. If that wasn't possible, I spoke to them over the phone. In at least two of the three consultancies that I applied for, I know for a fact that my networking played a significant role in getting to the interview stage.
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Re: Multiple Job Offers- Ask Me Anything & Thanks to the Forum

Postby H.L.F. » Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:52 pm

I should also add that I began reading this forum shortly before starting grad school. And the emphasis on networking combined with the general distress so many people were displaying after graduation really helped motivate me to excel during my PhD studies. The forum also helped me understand that certain topic are more "sexy" then others and certain topics are better for employment opportunities. These ideas definitely helped me choose the topic that I ended up getting my PhD in.
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