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Out of state applicant for entry level industry

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Out of state applicant for entry level industry

Postby Rachel A » Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:15 am

Hello,

I am a postdoc, just about a year and a half in, and I have decided that research in industry is the path I want to take and am hoping to transition sooner rather than later. I am doing my best to get referrals wherever possible and reaching out to the contacts I have for any leads. I've been applying for a few months and so far have only had one formal interview and one phone screen interview despite applying for 20 or so jobs. I am applying for jobs out of state as there aren't many opportunities where I live. Could this be hurting my chances? Would it be worth relocating to a better biotech hub if my partner can get a job there first? Or is this just a long process and my location is not so important, just networking etc?

Thanks for any insight,

Rachel
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Re: Out of state applicant for entry level industry

Postby PG » Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:06 am

First, if the 20 positions that you have applied for are advertised positions and you are applying out of state you are probably getting a relatively OK result. You need to remember that typically for an advertised position there will be above a hundred applicants and that for certain positions and more well known companies several hundreds applications isnt impossible.

Second my experience is that applying out of state (or different city/country etc) is a negative especially for entry level positions. This is because at least it complicates the interview process and it adds complexity and potentially cost for arranging relocation, an increased risk that the applicant will leave again if his/her partner is unsuccessful in finding a position etc.

If the location in which you are looking for a job has a difficult housing market it is even more a negative since the company knows that finding a place to live might be a long complicated process.

The key to resolve this is networking. This eliminates some of the problems above by both potentially sending the message that you are already looking at moving to the location (at your own expense) and if the company is convinced that you are the person they want they are also willing to accept a lot more effort and complications in the process since they know that they are making a good hire.

When you advance in your career this will also become less of an issue since the candidate pool is decreasing with each career step meaning that the effort companies have to put in increases and also that there might not be any good local candidates.
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Re: Out of state applicant for entry level industry

Postby D.X. » Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:18 am

Hi,

In addition to what PG said, I recommend you not see being an out of state applicant as being a complete disadvantage, if you are applying for positions that are very well alinged to your profile (expertise and skill sets).

Some company's if you're the right talent, will consider you if they want you, even if you're applying from out of state. You just need to have what they want. PG already mentioned, networking works and Dave just posted on the power of LinkedIn. If you see a job you're super interested in, why not try using LinkedIn to find someone in the company who you think can be in a role close to the job you're targeting and send a message? Ahead of your application?

The decision to relocate in consideration of partner needs is not easy and my recommendation is what ever decision you take, it has to be fully agreed between you and your partner.

That is if one of you cannot find a job you need to agree on what your response is or if one finds a job what to do right? My partner found a job ahead of me as part of our greater plan to move to another country and we agreed she would go when she got the offer and I would follow when I found an opportunity. We also identifed a time that if I didn't find a job, I would quit and move over, luckily i found an opp an was there about 9 months later permanantly (I was back and forth as was she alot). But those are conversations you need to have with your partner and agree on the various scenario. Whereas the ambition to move is driven by your career needs, you should be aware of the risk that one of you may be a trailing spouse for some time.

Anyways, alot of food for thought for you, from an trailing spouse expat,

DX
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Re: Out of state applicant for entry level industry

Postby PG » Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:56 am

DX helped clarify what I tried to say in my post. For an entry level position applying out of state/country or sometimes even city is a negative. You can however influence how big this negative is and it is certainly something that it is possible to overcome.
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Re: Out of state applicant for entry level industry

Postby Dave Jensen » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:34 pm

Hi Rachel, thanks for posting. I'm hoping that you've read these responses -- they are good. What I'd recommend is that you give serious consideration to moving with your partner when he or she gets that new job in a biotech region. Areas like those have huge labor pools, and they sometimes don't even give a minute's consideration to someone outside the area who would have to be relocated. The posters here ahead of me are right -- networking can make a big difference. But one thing is for sure, you're going to naturally be lower on the list if you don't live nearby those employers in big regions.

Its always frustrating to see someone in a rural community in the Midwest or Southeast coming and commenting about how tough the life sciences job market is. You may need to rethink your strategy some. For example, if you are in one of these regions, perhaps there are animal sciences companies in the area, or Food R&D centers, etc. Can you shift your focus and apply to these non-biotech operations?

Dave
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Re: Out of state applicant for entry level industry

Postby Rachel A » Fri Oct 19, 2018 2:38 pm

Thank you all for your helpful and detailed/nuanced responses. This all makes sense, and I wish I had thought about this factor more prior to accepting a postdoc position in my current location; I really didn't realize this would end up being such a huge barrier. Luckily, I have the personal flexibility to move if it does come to that.

Thanks again!
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Re: Out of state applicant for entry level industry

Postby A.I.C. » Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:10 pm

I was an "out-of-state" candidate when I landed on an industry position in a biotech hub. I did my PhD in Florida, then got a job in Boston.

What I think made this possible is that the job post matched my skill set for the most part. The bigger reason, I think, is that it was an industry postdoc position. Those are not as common as regular positions but they are great for transitions, even if you've already done a postdoc. Some people who have done postdocs in academia think of this as "another postdoc", but a postdoc in industry is VERY different from one in academia.

I've been on the interviewer end of the search and I know, at least for my former company, what they looked for. It is less likely that they will get candidates through networking, because their networks usually are not too integrated with academia. So they really did cast a net and pulled whatever CVs they could find from places like linkedin, indeed... This may be different for other companies.

When they found people they liked that were not local, they still considered them if they came from good labs or had strong CVs. The fact that you got a phone call and a formal interview is already a good sign. If your CV wasn't strong and attractive to them, they wouldn't have bothered with even a phone call.

One thing my friend did is that she got a postdoc in academia in Boston, spent less than a year in that lab, then transitioned to an industry postdoc. Now she's a scientist in a big pharma company. So that's another option. It's a longer route but with step-wise improvements.

Good luck!
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Re: Out of state applicant for entry level industry

Postby Rachel A » Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:30 am

A.I.C. wrote:I was an "out-of-state" candidate when I landed on an industry position in a biotech hub. I did my PhD in Florida, then got a job in Boston.

What I think made this possible is that the job post matched my skill set for the most part. The bigger reason, I think, is that it was an industry postdoc position. Those are not as common as regular positions but they are great for transitions, even if you've already done a postdoc. Some people who have done postdocs in academia think of this as "another postdoc", but a postdoc in industry is VERY different from one in academia.

I've been on the interviewer end of the search and I know, at least for my former company, what they looked for. It is less likely that they will get candidates through networking, because their networks usually are not too integrated with academia. So they really did cast a net and pulled whatever CVs they could find from places like linkedin, indeed... This may be different for other companies.

When they found people they liked that were not local, they still considered them if they came from good labs or had strong CVs. The fact that you got a phone call and a formal interview is already a good sign. If your CV wasn't strong and attractive to them, they wouldn't have bothered with even a phone call.

One thing my friend did is that she got a postdoc in academia in Boston, spent less than a year in that lab, then transitioned to an industry postdoc. Now she's a scientist in a big pharma company. So that's another option. It's a longer route but with step-wise improvements.

Good luck!


Thanks, AIC! I will definitely consider the route of postdoc in industry if I keep hitting a wall. I'm sure it would bring different experience than my academic postdoc so it wouldn't be a totally lateral move.
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Re: Out of state applicant for entry level industry

Postby Caroline Ritchie » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:55 pm

Hi Rachel,

I think you've gotten great advice so far. I would also strongly recommend an industrial postdoc...it's a great segway into industry. Plus, a lot of people I know who did an industrial postdoc ended up graduating from an industrial postdoc into a scientist position within the same company.

I also applied for jobs in a different geographic region several years ago when I was looking for my first real job. Finding your first job is hard regardless, but applying in a different area makes it that much harder. It's just harder on the company to coordinate the interview, plus they may think you're less serious about that particular role. Make sure you are making it clear in your cover letter that you acknowledge the job is in City X and that you intend to move there. Some hiring managers see an applicant with an address in a different city and assume the applicant didn't even read the job details to realize where the position is located (I had a boss make this comment about an applicant in my past). If it is at all possible to move to the new city in advance, it's not a bad idea, but I realize it's not feasible for everyone (that certainly wasn't feasible for me at the time I was applying).

Best of luck!
Caroline M. Ritchie, PhD
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