Resume Writing Made Simple?

Posted in BioBusiness, BioJobBuzz, Career Advice

The first step in any job search is to ensure that your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) is ready for submission to prospective employers. For those of you who may still be struggling with the difference between a resume and a CV, a resume is usually a 1-2 page synopsis of who you are, where you have been and what you have done. In contrast, a CV is a much longer document that does the same thing as a resume but in much greater and granular detail. For most scientific positions a CV is the preferred document style. However, in some cases, employers may request a resume so pay attention before you submit your application.

While most people believe that a resume or CV is simply a list of your education, skillsets and experience, there is a preferred style, format and way to write a resume/CV that will enhance the possibility of securing a interview for the position. That said, it takes many years of resume/CV writing to perfect the process–something that many of you may not have time to do.  If you are unsure about how to write a resume/CV or have not updated your “paper” in many years, the quickest way to being applying for jobs is to hire a professional resume/CV writer to do it for you.  Generally speaking, this will cost anywhere from $200-$500.  Sadly, many graduate students and postdocs don’t have the money to invest in resume writing and in many cases are unable to craft a job winning resume/CV.

If you are unable to hire a resume writing professional, I came across a DIY solution called Scientific Resumes. Apparently this service company exclusively caters to graduate students and postdocs looking for resume/CV writing help.  In addition to their automated self-help products, they offer resume proofreading services and I suspect customized resume/CV writing too.  I have not used or carefully evaluated their products but it may be worth a visit to their website.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!

Employment Update: Some Biomanufacturers and Biotech Companies are Expanding!

Posted in BioBusiness

While big pharma companies continue to shed jobs, there are some indications that the biotechnology industry is beginning to pick up some steam. For example, Boehringer Ingelheim (both a drug development and biomanufacturing company) is planning a $383 million expansion of its facilities in Ridgefield, CT. Likewise, Cary, NC-based Biologics a biotech cancer treatment company expects to almost double it staff from 85 to about 150 employees by the end of 2012. Finally, Gilead Sciences is undertaking a massive expansion of its Foster City corporate headquarters and expects to increase its workforce there from 1,700 to as many as 3,400 workers.

Although these expansions are only a few in number, they may be a harbinger of things to come in the US life sciences industry. One can only hope!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!


Creating Better Bosses–The Google Way

Posted in Career Advice

A common complaint amongst many employees is how awful the boss is! Sure, this may result from a bit of employee envy; after all who wouldn’t want the power and salary afforded to most “bosses.” But, the bottom line is that most bosses don’t go to “boss school” and many are elevated or placed in those positions without much formal training. In other words, there clearly room for improvement for many bosses. Unfortunately, the qualities and attributes of a “good” boss remain unclear.

Google, the ultimate masters and purveyors of analytical data have attempted to make them more clear by creating an algorithm that it thinks can help to decipher and identify the often time intangible qualities and attributes that most good bosses possess. The program dubbed Project Oxygen analyzed years of performance reviews, feedback surveys and awards nomination correlating words and phrases to create a list of so-called good behaviors and possible pitfalls of managers and executive. Project Oxygen took over a year and resulted in the following list.

Reprinted from the NY Times

While some of the positive behaviors on Google’s list may appear to be obvious, the fact that they were created based on analytical rather than entirely anecdotal data suggests that may be instructive and helpful. Interestingly, I think that the list of managerial pitfalls that Google identified may be more useful; mainly because these behaviors they are quite destructive and frequently the cause of low employee morale and corporate productivity.

Hat tip to Google!

Until next time…

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



Why College "Ain't What It Used to Be!

Posted in BioEducation

There was an illuminating review today in the New York Times of a new book entitled “Higher Education? How Colleges are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids-and What We Can Do About it.” Its authors are two longtime faculty members Andrew Hacker (tenured professor) and Claudia Dreifus (a freelance writer and adjunct instructor).

While I haven’t read the book, some of the problems with higher education asserted by the authors (and mentioned in the review) are consistent with my observations and experience. For example the review mentions that:

“Mr. Hacker and Ms. Dreifus list a host of crimes, or at least flaws in the system, some in the control of universities and others built into the external political, cultural or economic environment, or indeed into human nature. These include the narrow self-interestedness of academic departments; the greed of faculty members and administrators alike; the near-universal hypertrophy of “the athletics incubus”; unfunded government mandates; lifetime employment for pampered professors (thanks to the combination of tenure and Congressional abolition of mandatory retirement); and the demands of students and their parents for frivolous extras (driving what the authors call “the amenities arms race”).

The authors raise interesting questions about tenure and its alternatives. Like many critics of tenure, though, they have a keen eye for abuses of power but are remarkably sanguine about the capacity of the First Amendment to shield scholars from pressure exerted by those with the power to fire them.

The authors’ deepest scorn is reserved for the claim that good teaching depends on research, and their most extreme proposal is that universities drastically reduce the amount of research they support, by “spinning off” medical schools and research centers, discontinuing paid sabbaticals and abolishing the current system of promotion and tenure, a system that tends to reward research productivity more than effective teaching.”

While I tend agree that the emphasis on research, the pressure to publish and obtain extramural funding has had a negative impact on teaching, I disagree that teaching isn’t positively impacted by faculty members who are actively involved in scholarly research-what a conundrum!

Nevertheless, this book written by two long-time academicians provides compelling arguments for abolition of tenure and the need to improve teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting (try teaching)!!!!!!!!!!


America's Competitive Edge in Science and Technology May be Waning

Posted in Career Advice

Over the past ten years or so, pundits have been warning that the US is losing its competitive edge and that it is no longer the world’s leading nation when it comes to innovation in science and technology. Measuring national competitiveness and innovation is very tricky business and until now, most of evidence to support these claims has been anecdotal. According to an article in today’s New York Times, a report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation suggests that the US ranked sixth among 40 countries and regions based on 16 indicators that measure innovation and competitiveness including venture capital investment, numbers of per capita researchers, research spending and educational achievement. 

While the results of Foundation study may be troubling (if you are a US citizen), another recent study conducted by the World Economic Forum found that America ranked first in innovation and global competition. However the forum’s report was based entirely on opinion survey data.  Like the forum report, a study conducted by the Rand Corporation last year, also found that “the US was not in any imminent danger of losing its competitive advantage in science and technology.” The use of the word “imminent” is perhaps the most telling aspect of the Rand Corporation’s conclusion about American competitiveness.

The US lost ground to much smaller countries like Sweden, Finland, Taiwan, Singapore and also to one of it’s main competitors, China.  Unlike the US, all of these countries are pursuing government-sponsored initiatives designed to promote innovation and global competitiveness. Some of the elements of these initiatives include education, workforce development training, intellectual property protection and immigration. Surprisingly, results from the foundation report (adjusted for population and size of each economy) showed that the US ranked sixth in venture capital investment (Sweden was first); fifth in corporate research and development spending (Japan was number one) and fourth in the number of science and technology researchers (again Sweden was first). Over all, Singapore ranked first in innovation and competitiveness. As some of you may know, Singapore–for the past 10 years–has heavily invested in the life sciences and has managed to induce some of world’s leading bioscientists to immigrate.

One of the main recommendations of the report suggests that the federal government ought to follow the lead of the individual states, many of which developed state government-sponsored programs designed to attract investment, talent and improve the work force skills of  local would be employees. Further, the report specifically recommends that the federal government offers tax breaks and incentives to induce American companies to innovate at home rather than outsource R&D activities abroad. Some of these incentives could include tax research tax credits  and increased federal funding or corporate tax breaks for workforce development programs.

Finally, one of the most shocking statistics that I heard in President Obama’s speech to Congress last evening was that 50% of American students drop out of high school and over 50% of college students never complete their education. This begs the question: How can America expect to remain competitive when a majority of its population is less educated than the rest of the developed world? 

A past commitment to education is what propelled the US to become a world leader in innovation and competitiveness.  To regain its past status as an innovator, the US must overhaul and vastly improve is primary, secondary and post secondary education system. This is something that cannot wait—the future of American depends on it!

Until next time…


Good Luck and Good Job Hunting ( give teaching a shot)


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