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The Need for Speed in Today's Biotech Job Search and What This New Rush Means For You

8/10/2017 3:24:47 PM

The Need for Speed in Today's Biotech Job Search and How You Can Keep Up August 17, 2017
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Ever heard of just-in-time (JIT) supply chain management? It’s a simple idea —have products, parts and supplies where they need to be “just in time,” not late or languishing in a warehouse. It’s generally a core philosophy for any global company ranging from automobile manufacturing to drug manufacturing.
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Speed is a part of business—and life nowadays—and believe it or not, it’s also true for job searches.

David Jensen, writing for Science, says, “In academia, where things move at a turtle’s pace, it’s not uncommon for many months to pass between submitting an application, interviewing, accepting an offer, and finally starting a new position. This is definitely not the case in industry. Industry employers have no interest in candidates who can start in nine months or a year. Instead, a hiring manager begins with the idea that she wants the position filled ‘yesterday.’ I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that; filling the job ‘yesterday’ has become the standard to which everyone aspires. Realistically, companies want to take no more than a month or five weeks to identify and interview their prospective hires.”

So what does this mean for job hunters in the biopharma industry? It means you might want to pick up the pace. Certainly, if you see a job posting, don’t wait a week to apply. But aside from not waiting to apply, here are some tips:

1. Don’t obsess over your CV/resume. Does that mean you shouldn’t spend time writing your best resume, or having a professional write your CV or resume, making sure it puts your best self forward? Of course not. It also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t customize it for each position. What it does mean is, don’t waste time. Jensen writes, “The most important thing is to get your application in the mix sooner rather than later.”

2. Do you need a personal, professional website? It probably won’t hurt, but it shouldn’t be a top priority. After all, your LinkedIn page is basically an online resume and you won’t need to spend much time building that. Jensen says, “Don’t sink a lot of time into building a personal website to highlight your CV. It’s fine to do this in your ‘off’ time while you are also actively pursuing leads.”

3. Streamline your networking.What do you mean you’re not networking? Okay, okay, let’s step back a moment. You are networking, right? Reaching out to people you met in college working in the field. Touching base with people you met at conferences. Contacting people in online groups related to your areas of interest or at companies you’re interested in working at. If you’re not, you should. Meanwhile, remember, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can save introduction emails as a template and tweak them when you use them. Jensen writes, “But never write a ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ letter — take the time to find the right person and address them by name.”

4. Prioritize communication types. This is particularly important in the current environment of social media and online communications. Once upon a time, about the only way to communicate was telephone and letter. Now there’s email and IM’ing and Tweeting, etc. In career areas, there may be an impulse to use LinkedIn messages, but people tend to respond more quickly to direct and business emails than to LinkedIn messages.

5. Build networks. Jensen recommends using meeting attendance lists to build rosters for your network. He writes, “There is nothing more valuable to your job search than a meeting attendance list that includes job titles and email addresses, so make sure you get and save these throughout your search. Remember, industry professionals don’t mind getting your unsolicited email introductions, and they are often compensated for bringing you to the attention of hiring managers.”

But a word of caution! Beware of instant familiarity. Keep your initial contacts professional and introductory — not, “Hey Dude, can you help me get a job?”

6. Be available. In this fast-paced world, if a company calls you for an interview, make yourself available as soon as possible. Not only will this show your flexibility, but it will demonstrate your interest and even eagerness for the job.

If there’s one thing all scientists should be, whether by inclination or training, it’s organized. Jensen writes, “So, apply your scientific mindset to your job search and monitor your numbers. Keep track of how many cold contacts you are making per day, how many job applications you have in, how many follow-up calls you’ve made, and so on.”

But keep in mind, employers want you “yesterday,” and in order to be the person they choose, you have to try and keep up.

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