The bare bones truth about being a bioscience job seeker.
There are no Job Fairies.
Most open life science and bioindustry positions are filled through personal networking and referrals.
No company hires if they don’t have a problem that they can’t solve with the people they already have.
The person who is trying to solve the problem and do his/her regular job knows about the need before the VP, CEO or hiring manager does.
When the boss realizes that they really do need to hire someone, the first thing he/she says is, “Dang, we have to hire someone! Who do we know?” Most open positions are filled through this avenue.
If they don’t know the right person, then either it is walked down to HR and HR posts it (about 19% are filled through postings) or a recruiter is hired.
So you, as an interested potential candidate, need to be known by the person trying to solve the problem. And you need to know if they have a problem that you want to solve!
How do you go about this?
Decide what, exactly, you want in your next job – down to the color of the carpet. You won’t get everything, but at least you will know how close you are to the right spot.
Then decide what companies could offer this. Who uses your skills? Where are they? Are you willing to move? If not, then get out the map and draw your preferred commute distance. Who are the companies within your commute distance? Which ones do you like? Do your homework!
The next step is to network with someone at each of your top ten companies who is NOT the person with the problem and is NOT the person you want to work for. The reason for this is that you need to get the inside scoop on the company to see if that company should stay on your top ten list. Does the FDA like them? Are they about to go bankrupt? or lay off? Have they just hired the person to solve that problem? If they meet your criteria, your next step is to ask the person you are networking with to introduce you to the person with the problem so that you can do two important things:
Find out what the problem is and if it is one that you would be interested in solving. You, as an experienced professional, have solved many problems and there is at least one or two that you hope never to see again. If this company has that problem, sympathize and move on!
Position yourself as an expert in that problem. Offer a “free sample” of advice. Say things like: “When I was at X company, we had a similar problem and they tried this and that did not work, so I suggested this (other thing) and it did.”
At the end of the meeting say, “It would be really fun to work on this!”
No Oliver Twist! No “Please sir, may I have a job”!
Then go home and put the company, the people you networked with and the person you want for a boss in you contact manager/CRM/Outlook. Every time something interesting comes across your desk, send it (or a congratulatory note and the link) to the people you spoke with. Stay on the surface of their minds so that when the boss says, “Dang ,we have to hire someone!” it will be your name that comes up.
These people will be your career network. You will find them jobs and they will find you jobs. Keep it shiny! If you send Christmas cards, these are the people you send them to. If you are on Plaxo or BlueMountain, these are the people you send birthday cards to (or even a snail mail card!) You are Friends on Facebook and you are most certainly LinkedIn!
Good Luck! And if you are the boss and you and your people don’t know the right person to hire, please contact us email@example.com
Life science and bioindustry professionals, please do send your résumé to firstname.lastname@example.org