Career Advice: Why Social Media Can Make A Difference!

Posted in Articles, Career Advice, Social Media

Back in the old days, I scolded job candidates for having an active social media presence especially those persons who posted party pics or politically-charged comments on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc feeds.  However, the advent of fine-tuned privacy settings,Snapchat (where things go away without leaving much of a digital trace) and a broader understanding of the importance of social media for those entering job market or looking to transition to the next opportunity has changed the role that social media can affect a career.

While I can drone on about it here on my blog, I highly recommend an article that appeared this Sunday’s NY Times business section. The points that the author maker are valid and I recommend that new job candidates and experienced job seekers take a look at it.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!

Trump and Manufacturing Jobs

Posted in Articles, BioBusiness, BioJobBuzz, Career Advice

The big news today is that Donald Trump and Mike Pence negotiated a deal with United  Technologies (owner of the big air-conditioner company Carrier) to keep 1000 of the 2,000 Indiana-based jobs that were slated to be moved to Mexico.  Of course, the terms of the deal were not announced (and possibly will never be). That said, it is likely Trump promised Carrier management tax breaks and incentives and other perks to keep 50% of the announced jobs in the US (why not all of them?).

While Trump supporters may see this as fulfillment of a campaign promise made by the Donald, it is nothing more than a PR stunt to suggest that Trump is able to keep jobs in the US and not move jobs to lower cost manufacturing markets like Mexico, Vietnam, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and others. Notice that I did not mention China in the list of lower cost manufacturing destinations. That’s because, over the past 10 years, labor and manufacturing costs have skyrocketed in China and manufacturing there no longer makes fiscal or economic sense. Anyway, the Carrier story will be used to show that Trump unlike President Obama is able to stem or reverse the loss of US manufacturing jobs to foreign countries.

The reason for the post is twofold.  First,  most of the manufacturing jobs in the US have already been lost and they will not be coming back home anytime soon.This is because moving these jobs to lower cost markets has increased corporate profits and elevate public company stock prices. Nevertheless, it is important to note that over 200,000 US pharmaceutical manufacturing, marketing and sales jobs have been lost since 2001 because of outsourcing to lower cost foreign markets. Despite bleeding job losses, neither the Bush nor Obama administrations directly intervened to keep these jobs in the US. Both Bush and Obama likely believed that the US government ought not meddle with or tell private companies how to run their businesses.

Second, despite all of the hoopla, Trump/Pence were only able to save 50% of the 2000 jobs slated to be moved to Mexico. And, putting things in perspective saving 1,0000 “blue collar” jobs is peanuts as compared with the lost of over 200,000 pharmaceutical and life sciences jobs.  While saving 1,000 Indiana jobs may seem like a “win” for Trump supporters, I think the whole deal was really designed to distract said supports from other campaign promises that Trump has failed to live up to. For example, his decision to not investigate and possibly jail Hillary Clinton, his appointment of Washington lobbyists and Wall Street insiders to cabinet posts and advisory positions (whatever happened to “cleaning out the swamp?) and considering Mitt Romney for Secretary of State.

Finally, in my opinion, Trump’s personal involvement in negotiations with private companies sets a dangerous precedent because the Executive branch ought not be able to directly manipulate or negotiate private business transactions. To that point, I believe that oversight of US corporate transactions and business deals are best left to regulatory agencies like the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department rather than President of the US.  That said, President-elect Trump ought to be focused on running the US government; not negotiating business deals with private US corporations.

Until next time,

Good luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!

 

The State of the Job Market for Recent College Grads

Posted in Career Advice

The U.S economy has been steadily improving for college graduates since the Great Recession. Salaries appear to be rising and the demand for college-level skills is becoming increasingly competitive. These signs are good one for person who have graduated from college or who will be graduating this spring.

Donna Norton just recently published a blog post entitled “The Job Market for Recent Grads: 50+ Promising College Employment Statistics.   It is definitely worth a read for college graduates who are contemplating their next career choice or options.

Until next time….Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!!!

Preparing for Job Interviews

Posted in Articles, Career Advice

Much as been written about how to prepare for a job interview. I know that many of you are busy and don’t like to read long articles. To that point, the old adage: “one picture is worth a 1000 words” is especially apt for this post.  The following infographic came to me from Atiq Rehman of Acuity Training in the UK.

Until Next Time,
Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!

Struggling with Situational/Hypothetical Interview Questions? Check this out.

Posted in Articles, BioBusiness, Career Advice, Uncategorized

I typically do not recommend “how to” articles to job candidates unless I come across something that is novel and may be helpful to job seekers.  I found a FREE e-book on LinkedIn that may be useful for jobseekers who are not comfortable or may have trouble answering with behavioral or hypothetical questions during an interview.  

For those of you who may not know what I am talking about, a behavioral, situational or hypothetical question that a hiring manager may ask during a telephone or face-to-face job interview is something like “Tell me how you overcame adversity in your life” or “If you disagree with your supervisor on a work-related issue, how would you approach your supervisor with your concerns.”

While the job marketing appears to be tighten in the favor of job candidate and salaries are on the rise, questions such as the ones mentioned above, have become commonplace during job interviews. The goal of these questions is to determine how a job candidate thinks on his/her feet and whether or not you have the requisite problem solving skills required for a job offer.

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!

My Story: Taking the Path Less Traveled

Posted in Career Advice

I had always liked science but by age 10, I had already decided that I wanted to be a veterinarian. However, after seeing the film Ben Hur at age 11—during which two of the main characters who have leprosy are miraculously cured—I fantasized what it might be like to be able to discover cures for infectious diseases. As corny as it may sound, the movie convinced me that my true calling in life wasn’t veterinary medicine but microbiology. Nevertheless, I attended Cornell University as a pre-veterinary medicine undergraduate with a dual major in animal science and microbiology. During my senior year at Cornell, Dr. Brooks Naylor, my food microbiology professor at the time, invited me to do a senior research project in his laboratory. After several weeks in the laboratory I was hooked and knew that graduate school and not veterinary medicine was in my future.

I entered graduate school in 1974 and did my PhD work in Bob Deibel’s laboratory in the Department of Bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying the pathogenesis of Salmonella gastroenteritis. Because Bob was Chairman of the Department and a food microbiology consultant, he wasn’t around much. This forced me to become self reliant and an independent investigator very early in my scientific career. Interestingly, when I started graduate school, my goal was to earn a PhD degree and teach microbiology at a small liberal arts college.  However, after three years at Wisconsin, I decided to eschew a career as a science educator in favor of becoming a tenure track faculty member at a prestigious research institution.

I received my PhD degree in 1981 and chose to do a postdoctoral fellowship with Stephen Morse in the Department of Microbiology at Oregon Health Sciences University where I investigated the pathogenesis of Neisseria gonorrhoeae the causative agent of gonorrhea. After two years in Stephen’s lab, I realized that the field of molecular biology had finally taken off and I needed to develop molecular biological skills to compete for my coveted tenure track faculty position. In 1984, I joined Howard Shuman’s laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Microbiology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York City where I studied the molecular pathogenesis of Legionella pneumophila, the causative agent of Legionnaires Disease.

In 1987, after spending three more years as a postdoctoral fellow, my newly acquired molecular biology training coupled with a respectable publication record helped me to land a tenure track faculty position in the Department of Microbiology at the University Of Miami School Of Medicine. I spent the next seven years feverishly doing laboratory research, teaching medical and graduate students, publishing papers and mainly writing grants to establish an independent research program on the role of lipopolysaccharide in the molecular pathogenesis of Legionella pneumophila. While I was a productive researcher, who regularly published and was recognized on several occasions for teaching excellence, I failed to consistently win grant support to run my laboratory. Consequently, in 1994, I was denied tenure and forced to leave academia—an emotionally devastating event that that ended a life-long dream of becoming a world class research scientist.

Luckily, at that time, the American biotechnology industry had finally hit its stride and I landed a job as a scientist at a New Jersey-based biotechnology company where I managed an antibacterial drug discovery program. My time in industry—which lasted only two years—provided me with a firm understanding of the business side of science and perhaps, more importantly, convinced me that industrial research wasn’t for me. This, coupled with a yearning desire to teach again, prompted me to successfully apply for a job as Chairperson of Biology at a local community college. While a good idea at the time, I quickly realized that while I still loved to teach, administration wasn’t my strong suit and I left the community college job after a year.

Unfortunately, by 1998, I had effectively exhausted most traditional career options for scientists with PhD degrees and I desperately needed a job—mainly because I had a wife and three young children to support. Fortunately, while working at the community college, I successfully helped several professional recruiters place new hires into jobs at biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. This prompted me to seriously consider professional recruiting as a career option and in early 1999 I landed a job as a recruiter at a local recruiting firm.  As a new hire I had to attend recruiter school for six weeks. Surprisingly, this training would prove to play a pivotal role in many subsequent decisions that ultimately helped to shape my career.

After three successful years as professional recruiter, an Australian biotechnology company recruited and hired me as a science and business consultant to help guide their antibacterial drug discovery program. The new job led to an almost four year stint as an independent management consultant advising private and publicly-traded biotechnology companies on business, scientific and financial matters.  Also during this time, I decided to indulge my own entrepreneurial fantasies and in 2001 I founded BioInsights Inc (www.bioinsights.com), a bioscience education and training company. In 2003, Abe Abuchowski and I founded Prolong Pharmaceuticals (www.prolongpharmaceuticals.com) a drug delivery company with two drugs in early stage clinical development. Unfortunately, the rigorous demands of running BioInsights and starting Prolong ultimately led to the demise of my consulting practice and by 2004 I was forced to consider another career move.

Luckily, in 2002, I had begun to write for several biotechnology industry trade publications. Although I wasn’t getting paid to write, it enabled me to hone and polish my writing skills. In late 2004, a medical communications expert who I knew suggested that I take a stab at medical writing. At the time, I didn’t know much about medical writing but I quickly learned that it pays well and medical writers are always in demand. I took her advice and landed my first medical writing job in 2005. Since then, I have worked at a variety of medical communications agencies and pharmaceutical companies preparing manuscripts, posters, slide presentations and other work. Currently, I am freelance science and medical writer, blogger (www.biojobsblog.com) and social media enthusiast who, along with Dr. Vincent Racaniello started an online social network site for bioscientists called BioCrowd (www.biocrowd.com). Also, my colleague Mike Dudley and I recently launched a medical devices company called Artemes Technologies Inc. (www.artemestechnologies.com) that is developing a novel drug delivery device for lyophilized protein-based drugs.

Unlike most scientists, my career path has taken many unexpected twists and turns. I never intended it to be as convoluted as it has turned out to be. Nevertheless, I believe that my unusual career trajectory has transformed me into a more well-rounded scientist than I would have been if I had been able to pursue my intended academic career. In retrospect, I attribute my career successes to solid problem solving skills, an unrelenting desire to continue to learn and an unwavering choice to take risks. Finally, and perhaps most important, I learned that there is no right or wrong career path in the life sciences—only the one that you choose for yourself!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!

 

Problems with a Coworker? Don’t Go to Your Boss First

Posted in Career Advice

In a recent blog post career coach and workplace expert Alexandra Levit recommended that talking to a troublesome co-worker before going to your boss is proper workplace etiquette. Levit suggested that “In general, you should reserve complaining to someone’s boss for cases in which that someone is not giving you what you need, and has been repeatedly forewarned.”  And, even then, you should proceed with caution.  After all, running to the  boss to solve problems or deal with difficult office politics is not going to endear you to your colleagues and fellow employees.

Levit recommends that the “boss card” should only be played when it is absolutely necessary and you have no other choice i.e. the co-worker’s behavior is affecting your work product, making you look bad or damaging the possibility of your year end bonus! Understandably,it takes a lot of courage to talk to a troublesome employee and to explain to them why their behavior is inappropriate, irritating or unprofessional. Nevertheless, this is a requisite first step that cannot be avoided before you schedule a meeting with your boss to diss your colleague.

Nobody likes a “rat” but sometimes it is necessary to go over someone else’s “head” to protect yourself.  And, in many cases, it is likely that you are not the only person who has problems with a  particular co-worker (every office has one or two). That said, before going to the boss, it is wise to be very mindful of prevailing office politics and whether or not the troublesome co-worker is allied with persons who can have a direct impact on your future employment with your organization.

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!

Workplace Politics

Posted in Career Advice

Many years ago when I first started BioJobBlog I wrote a few posts about workplace politics warning job seekers to beware.  While workplace politics are still with us, they have been amplified by the growth of social media and willingness of employees to express their personal opinions all over the Internet.

In the old days before electronic communication it took a while for office politics, comments and the like to bubble their way to the top and cause problems. And,if you were astute at playing the so-called game, it was easy to talk privately and be reasonably assured that your “friends” and colleagues who heard you would likely keep the things you said under wraps and not share them with others; particularly those who may have some control over whether or not you are gainfully employed. Today, you not only have to know how to strategically play the game, you also need to keep your opinions to yourself– if you don’t want them immediately posted to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, You Tube etc.

I think Alexandra Levit a well known workplace author, consultant and speaker offered some great advice about office politics when she suggested:

 ”… to generally steer clear of talking about anything you wouldn’t discuss with your religious officiant or grandmother – namely, sex, drugs, and politics. Unless you have a very specific type of job, these subjects shouldn’t be relevant, and by bringing them up you have a better chance of hurting your reputation than helping it.”

I also recommend not publicly criticizing your boss, colleagues or even politicians. Finally, do not say anything critical, negative or pejorative about anybody you work with in e-mail or text conversations.because these things are immortal and will outlive you and your time at a company or organization!

Until next time…

Good luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!

 

Resume Writing: A Great Example

Posted in Career Advice, Uncategorized

I work with a lot of college graduates and graduate students who looking for their first real jobs.  I am frequently asked about the need for a resume vs. curriculum vitae (CV).  Generally speaking, persons in technical fields with advanced degrees ought to only be concerned with CVs (a resume is too short to adequately represent scholastic, research and  technical achievements).  That said, a resume will suffice for 2-and 4-year college grads seeking employment whether inside or outside of their chosen careers.

Over the course of my career, I have reviewed thousands of CVs and resumes.  While I will admit I have seen more CVs than resumes (I am a scientist after all), I recently came across a resume that was excellent and can serve as a resume template (see below) for recent college grads!.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The resume writer used action verbs, great descriptive adjectives and clearly demonstrated his/her qualifications an easy-to-understand and concise manner. Hiring managers love this because they can rapidly determine whether or not a job applicant is a good technical fit for an advertised position.

Resumes that are constructed like this one will likely get to the next level whether that is a phone interview or even an on site one-on-one opportunity.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

Telephone Interviews: A Guide to Success

Posted in Career Advice

Telephone interviews are an inexpensive and quick way for employers to screen prospective job candidates. Generally speaking, employers use phone interviews to verify that a candidate’s personal information, qualifications and skill sets in his/her curriculum vitae is correct, accurate and consistent with what employers may have learned about an applicant online. Another use of phone interviews is to determine whether or not a job candidate has the requisite oral communications skills required to perform the job that he/she applied for. Finally, and perhaps more nefariously, telephone interviews can allow employers to garner insight into a job candidate’s race, ethnicity or national origin (this can easily be discerned by accents speech patterns and colloquial use of English) and immigration status.

In today’s tight job market, an outstanding command of the English language and permanent residency or US citizenship are what many American employers prefer in permanent full time employees. However, this does not mean that well qualified, non-native English speakers will not be invited to participate in a face-to-face job interview To increase the possibility of a face-to-face, job candidates can do a variety of things to  prepare for and optimize his/her performance during phone interviews.

These include:

1. Use a landline. You don’t want to risk having problems with cell phone service. It is irritating for employers to conduct interviews if the call breaks up frequently or is dropped. If you don’t have a land line or access to one, make sure that the telephone interview is conducted in a location with as much cell phone service as possible.

2. Keep your resume and job qualifications readily available.  In fact, lay out all of your materials in front of you before the call. This includes your resume, notes about your career objective and skill sets/qualifications for the job and anything else you that think may be helpful during the interview.

3. Steer clear of distractions. Find a quiet place to interview and stay there! There shouldn’t be any noise in the background to distract you or the hiring manager. However, it is understandable that this can be tricky if you have young children at home who need your attention. When you set up your interview appointment, try to schedule it for as precise a time or window as possible. That way, you are able to avoid possible distractions.

4. Speak slowly and clearly. When you speak to people in face-to-face situations, you are better able to understand what they are saying or asking because you can see their mouth move and observe their body language. Of course, neither you nor the interviewer will be able to do this over the phone. Therefore, it is important to speak clearly and more slowly than you would if you were talking face-to-face to him/her. If you cannot hear the interviewer, politely ask him/her to repeat a question. If this doesn’t work, blame the poor sound quality on your phone and say “I’m really sorry, it’s hard to hear you, and the volume on my phone just won’t go up!”

5. Beware of jokes or sarcastic remarks. Jokes or sarcastic remarks that may be deemed harmless in face-to-face conversations can be misinterpreted during a phone interview because an interviewer cannot see your body language or facial expressions when a comment is made. Also, an employee who is sarcastic or prone to joke telling is may not be considered professional to some hiring manager. Therefore it is a good idea during a phone interview to maintain your professionalism; stay on target with the interview topics and focus on the key information about you that will get you hired.

6. No eating, drinking or chewing gum! While eating, drinking and chewing gum are typical things that people do, none of these activities should be performed during a phone interview. They can interfere with your ability to communicate and are considered to be unprofessional behaviors (unless of course you are working through a lunchtime meeting after you are hired).

7. Turn off all electronic devices.  The goal of a telephone interview is to let a prospective employer that you are serious, focused and keenly interested in the job that you are interviewing for. There is nothing more annoying, disruptive or rude then hearing an email alert or vibrating phone during a conversation.  If you want to get invited to face-to-face interview, then turn off all electronic devices (tablets, laptops, televisions etc) before the telephone interview begins. 

8. Prepare questions ahead of time. At the end of many telephone interviews, hiring managers typically ask whether or not there are any questions. Therefore, it is a good idea to have some. Asking questions signals to the interviewer that you did your “homework” about the company/organization and are seriously interested in the job opportunity.  Some examples of questions are: “What is the start date for the job?” “What software/equipment will I be using?”

Remember; do not ask about salary or benefits. These questions are best left for face-to-face interviews. However, if the interviewer asks about salary requirements then you should be prepared provide an answer. Typically, it is a good idea to provide a salary range and if you are reluctant to offer that information it is acceptable to say “a salary commensurate with persons with my qualifications and years of experience.

While these recommendations cannot eliminate employer bias or job discrimination, using them to prepare for an upcoming telephone interview will signal to prospective employers you are professional, serious and extremely interested in the job opportunity. And, hopefully, your performance will be sufficient to garner an invitation to participate in a face-to-face, onsite job interview.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!!!