Informational Interviews: Do They Really Work?

Posted in Career Advice

I first heard about informational interviews several years ago at the Annual Biomedical Research for Minority Students (ABRCMS) at which I was reviewing resumes and offering career advice. I asked the student who mentioned the interviews exactly what they are. And, much to my surprise, I learned that the process involved approaching a “professional” to set up a meeting to discuss possible career paths at a company that a jobseeker was interested in.

At first blush, it sounded like a terrific idea to me. Unfortunately, the concept presupposes that jobseekers have done their homework and identified prospective companies that seem “like a fit” for them.

Second, it also presupposes that job candidates have a clear understanding of the duties and responsibilities of career options available at prospective companies. For example, several years ago many scientists who wanted to get out of the laboratory frequently mentioned business development as a possible alternate career options. In response to the question, I always ask “Do you know what business development professionals do on a daily basis and what skill sets are required to be successful at that job? Not surprisingly, the most frequent response to the questions was no!

Further, while corralling a so-called profession at a meeting or conference to chat about possible career options at his/her company or institution is a possibility, asking the same person to take time out from their busy daily schedules to have the same discussion with you becomes increasingly difficult.

Finally, the notion that most professionals want to help others achieve career success is unrealistic and pretty much not the way things work.

As you may have guessed, I am not a big fan of informational interviews. And, I suspect that most professionals who are asked to participate are not either. Nevertheless, these types of interviews are growing in popularity and apparently are de rigueur. That said, the purpose of this post is help folks who participate in informational interviews to manage expectations. To that end; will an informational interview result in the possibility of getting hired at a particular company—probably not. Will it provide jobseekers with valuable new insights and information about possible career choices? Maybe; if you ask the right questions. Will the interview be worth the time that you took out of your day to participate? Possibly, but you don’t know until you try it.

For those of you who may still be interested in informational interviews, I found an article that provides readers with a step-by-step approach to informational interviews (see below)

Open a Door With an Informational Interview

What is an informational interview? An informational interview is a meeting between you and a professional. The purpose is to help define your career options or research a company where you want to work. It is NOT a job interview. Do not expect anyone to make you an offer.
What is my role? You are the interviewer. Prepare plenty of questions to keep the conversation moving.  Include questions about the occupation or business, but ask about other things too: Do they enjoy their work? How do they spend their day? Open-ended questions are best to avoid yes or no answers. See a list of sample informational interview questions.

How do I set one up?

  1. Find people ask everyone you know for potential contacts in a field, company or job that piques your interest.
  2. Make contact Pick up the phone and make contact. Possible phone script:

“Mrs. Smith, Brad Johnson suggested I speak with you. My name is Steven Olson and I am interested in the ________ field. I could use advice from someone who is in this field. Do you have any time this week when I could meet with you? I know you’re busy, so I only need about 15 minutes of your time. I would really like to learn more about your company and the ________ field from someone like you.”

What else should I remember?

  • If meeting in person, dress and act professionally.
  • Make a good impression. This person may provide additional leads or referrals that could lead to a job.
  • Keep it short. Limit your initial interview to 15 to 30 minutes based on how the conversation is going.
  • Feel free to schedule the interview with someone without hiring power. They often know more about day-to-day activities and have more specific information for you.
  • End the interview with an action plan. Ask the interviewee if you can contact him or her again.
  • Remember to send a thank-you note after your interview!

Until next time…

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

Conference Announcement: “The Future of Healthcare Communications Summit” in NYC on July 24, 2013

Posted in BioBusiness

Many of The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) provisions go into effect January 1, 2014. The ACA is the most significant piece of legislation that will impact the delivery of healthcare since Medicare and Medicaid. ACA’s focus on preventative care and early patient intervention will force patients to assume more responsibility for their own personal health management. Patients will need advice and information from trusted sources more than ever before. The time is now for pharmas, hospital groups, insurers, medical device companies and healthcare agencies to develop and implement strategies for communicating with patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals. Our summit will focus on how leading healthcare brands are planning for the future including integrating big data, digital, mobile and social for innovative communications that improve patient outcomes.  Paul Matsen, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Cleveland Clinic will deliver the keynote presentation and case study presenters will include:

  • David Blair, Head of Industry for Health, Google.
  • Ray Kerins, Senior Vice President, Head of Communications & Public Affairs, Bayer Corporation
  • Monique Levy, Vice President, Research, Manhattan Research
  • Sarah Stephens Winnay, Senior Vice PresidentEliza Corporation

New York City, 6/24/13, 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. 

Register on the event website by July 22nd to receive a discounted rate of $175 with promo code BC.

About BDI

Business Development Institute (BDI), founded in New York City by Steve Etzler in 2001 and managed by Maria Feola-Magro, produces conferences and educational programs for marketing, communications and media professionals. Over 13,000 attendees have participated in our programs. We specialize in how technology and the internet impacts marketing, communications and media. Our programs educate while providing valuable networking opportunities to our attendees. The quality of our speakers, program topics, 1/2 day format, network, and value are what differentiates BDI from its competitors. For more information, please visit our website at www.bdionline.com.

Big Data and Jobs for Life Scientists

Posted in BioBusiness

Many recent articles in various publications including the lay media suggest that persons with quantitative skills and a firm grasp of the scientific method will be in high demand in the near future. This is because there is a current data surge coming from “sophisticated tracking of shipments, sales, suppliers and customers, as well e-mail, Web traffic and social network comments.” And, the quantity of business data has been estimated to double every 1.2 years!

According to a 2011 report Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition and Productivity” put together by the McKinsey Global Institute, harvesting, managing, mining and analyzing “big new data sets” can lead to a new wave of innovation, accelerated productivity and economic growth. And, the place where this may be felt first is theUS healthcare system. The report asserts that better management of big data sets can lead to as much as $300 billion in savings. Also, American retail companies could possibly increase their operating profit margins by as much as 60 percent. However, one of the major hurdles to this paradigm shift is a talent and skills gap. TheUS alone will likely need 140,000 to 190,000 with expertise in statistical methods and data-analysis skills. McKinsey also notes that an additional 1.5 million data-literate manages will be required. Accordingly, “Every manager will really have to understand something about statistics and experimental design going forward,” noted one of the report’s authors.

As far as jobs for scientists in the healthcare realm are concerned, the report suggests that

“….the biggest slice of the $300 billion gain is expected to come from more effectively using data to inform treatment decisions. The tools include clinical decision support to assist doctors, and comparative effectiveness research to make more informed decisions on drug therapy.” That said, life scientists with backgrounds in statistical analyses, bioinformatics, genomics, public health, epidemiology and quantitative analysis will be ideal candidates for these new job opportunities.”

While these types of jobs (mainly health informatics) are certain to available in the future, it isn’t clear how soon. This is because the big-data trend has just begun and, according to economists, it may take years to recognize its financial advantages and benefits. In any event, it is something for life scientists who may be considering alternate career options, to think about. To that end, if you begin to train for these opportunities now, you may find yourself in the right place at the right time in the not-to-distant future.

Until next time….

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

QuestionsThat Interviewers Should Never (But Do) Ask

Posted in Career Advice

From time to time, I get asked by jobseekers about questions that interviewers are permitted to ask during a job interview. While almost everything is fair game, there are certain questions that interviewers are not legally permitted to ask.  And, while interviewers are not supposed to ask most of these questions, many do. That said, you need to be on the “look-out” for them and be prepared to judiciously answer them whether or not you think they may be legally acceptable or not. After all, challenging the legality of an interviewer’s question during a face-to-face is not likely to lead to a job offer!

In any event, the post list 13 questions on the forbidden list and how interviewers may be able to garner the information that they are seeking without necessarily violating any laws in doing so.

1. Age                 

Inappropriate:

  • How old are you?
  • What year were you born?
  • When did you graduate from high school?

Appropriate:

  • Before hiring, asking if you are over the minimum age for the hours or working conditions.
  • After hiring, verifying same with a birth certificate or other ID, and asking age on insurance forms.

2. Citizenship

Inappropriate: Are you aUS citizen?

Appropriate:

  • If you are not aUScitizen, do you have the legal right to remain permanently in theUS?
  • What is your visa status (if no to the previous question).
  • Are you able to provide proof of employment eligibility upon hire?

3. Criminal Record

Inappropriate:

  • Have you ever been arrested?
  • Have you ever spent a night in jail?

Appropriate:

  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

4. Disability

Inappropriate:

  • Do you have any disabilities?
  • What’s your medical history?
  • How does your condition affect your abilities?

Appropriate:

  • Can you perform the specific duties of the job.
  • After hiring, ask about medical history on insurance forms.

5. Family

Inappropriate:

  • Questions concerning spouse, or spouse’s employment, salary, arrangements, or dependents.
  • What kind of child care arrangements have you made?
  • How will your spouse feel about the amount of time you will be traveling if you get this job?

Appropriate:

  • Can you work overtime?
  • Is there any reason you can’t start at7:30am?
  • Whether an applicant can meet specified work schedules or has activities or commitments that may prevent him or her from meeting attendance requirements.

6. Marital Status

Inappropriate:

  • Are you married, divorced, separated, engaged, widowed, etc?
  • Is this your maiden or married name?
  • What is the name of your relative/spouse/children?
  • Do you live with your parents?

Appropriate:

  • After hiring, marital status on tax and insurance forms.

7. Military

Inappropriate:

  • What type or condition is your military discharge?
  • Can you supply your discharge papers?
  • What is your experience in other than US armed forces?

Appropriate:

  • Describe the relevant work experience as it relates to this position that you acquired from aUSarmed forces.

8. National Origin

Inappropriate:

  • What is your nationality?
  • Where were you born?
  • Where are your parents from?
  • What’s your heritage?
  • What is your mother tongue?
  • How did you acquire the ability to speak, read or write a foreign language?
  • How did you acquire familiarity with a foreign country?
  • What language is spoken in your home?

Appropriate:

  • Verifying legalU.S.residence or work visa status.
  • What languages do you speak, read or write fluently?

9. Parental Status

Inappropriate:

  • How many kids do you have?
  • Do you plan to have children?
  • How old are your children?
  • Are you pregnant?

Appropriate:

  • After hiring, asking for dependent information on tax and insurance forms.

10. Race or Skin Color

Inappropriate:

  • What race are you?
  • Are you a member of a minority group?

Appropriate:

  • None

11. Religion or Creed

Inappropriate:

  • What is your religious affiliation?
  • Which religious holidays will you be taking off from work?
  • Do you attend church regularly?

Appropriate:

  • Can you work on Saturdays and Sundays?

12. Residence

Inappropriate:

  • Do you own or rent your home?
  • Do you live in town?
  • With whom do you live?

Appropriate:

  • Inquiries about the address to facilitate contact with the applicant.
  • Will you be able to start work at8:00am?

13. Sex or Sexual Orientation

Inappropriate:

  • Do you wish to be addressed as Mr., Mrs., Miss, or Ms.?
  • What are your plans to have children in the future?
  • Are you gay?
  • What is your sexual preference?

Appropriate:

  • None

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!

Alternate Career Options: Working For CROs and Biotech Startups

Posted in Career Advice

In today’s tough economy, one of the more challenging things after graduating college or graduate school is finding a job. Many life sciences graduates are beginning to realize that skills and training that they received in college have not adequately prepared them for jobs in the real world. Furthering, “previous industrial experience” is almost always a requirement for most jobs at pharma and biotechnology companies. As many students ask me “How can we get previous industrial experience if nobody will hire us to get that experience?”

While this may appear to be a typical “Catch 22” situation, it is not an insurmountable one A convenient way to acquire the requisite previous industrial experience is to volunteer or land an internship (paid or otherwise) at a small, local life sciences company. Many of these companies can use the help and will gladly give you an opportunity as long as they don’t have to pay you much. These companies conduct research for their pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients and are frequently willing to hire relatively inexperienced but talented scientists into entry level jobs. This is because the demand for well-trained scientists continues to grow at CROs as more and more pharma and biotechnology companies outsource R&D activities and continue to shed jobs.

Another option is to look for entry-level jobs at local start up companies. Typically, most of these companies are venture-backed and have limited financial resources. Consequently, salaries offered by these companies to employees are generally lower than those at CROs, biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Nevertheless, while you may not get paid as much as you expected or like, working as a research scientist at a start up company definitely counts as industry experience and it may help to jump start your career in the life sciences industry.

If you cannot get a job at aCROor a local start up, you can always start your own company! However, while this may sound like an exciting idea, it is probably a good idea get some entrepreneurial training before you take the leap.

Finally, it you cannot land a job at aCRO, a local start up or you are not interested in starting your own company, you can always go back to graduate school (not science related) or professional school. However, if you choose this path, then I highly recommend that you do some research to determine which jobs are likely to be in high demand over the next 5 to 10 years! While going to graduate school may help to defer repaying your undergraduate students loans, you run the risk of incurring more debt and possibly not have a job after you graduate unless you choose your next career option wisely.

Until next time…

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

Alternate Careers: Patent Agents and Intellectual Property Attorneys

Posted in Career Advice

Times are tough for many in the legal profession these days. However, the demand for patent experts including attorneys and patent agents is skyrocketing. Openings for patent attorneys account for more than 15 percent of law firm job openings while only 3 percent of lawyers in the US specialize in this area. The bottom line: it is a great time to be a patent attorney or agent in today’s tough economy.

Not surprisingly, many patent attorneys (and agents) usually have a background in science or engineering. And, because of the scarcity of qualified applicants many law firms are doubling their recruiting spending to meet the growing demand for specialists in intellectual property (IP) and patents.

One of the reasons for the growing demand is passage of the America Invents Act, the largest overhaul in theUSpatent system in the past 60 years. The legislation which changes how patents are reviewed and process is spurring competition between firms to higher IP specialist to ease the transition pain. At present, there are over 230 IP openings among more than 1400 lawyer positions nationwide. Many of the openings have been unfilled for over 90 days and more are added daily.

Currently, there are about 40,000 patent attorneys and agents registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In order to register with the USPTO agents and lawyers are required to pass the patent bar examination. While registered patent agents have taken and passed the exam, they are not lawyers who are required to pass state bar examinations to become licensed attorneys. For those of you who may not know, you don’t have to go to law school to take the patent bar exam nor is a law degree required to take individual state bar exams (however, person who are not law school graduate are likely not to pass the state tests). Patent agents can prepare patents and prosecute cases with the USPTO but cannot litigate in court or draw up contracts. There are roughly 1.2 million licensed patent attorneys in theUSaccording to the American bar association.

The greatest demand for IP attorneys and agents is in information and computing technology and the life sciences. Persons with PhD degrees in the life sciences can sometimes find work at IP and patent law firms. Also, you may be able to find work at a patent examiner with the USPTO! PhD degree holders who have passed the patent bar are even more desirable. However a law degree plus a PhD degree will almost certainly guarantee you employment at most IP firms. That said, before you decide to go to law school, I high recommend that you talk with IP professionals or read a few dozen patent applications (they can all be found at www.uspto.org) in your spare time. If you find the reading interesting or manage to stay awake after reading the fifth application than patent law may be a good choice for you. If not, I suggest that you consider other alternate career options.

Until next time…

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

 

LinkedIn and Your Job Search

Posted in Career Advice

While LinkedIn is not considered by many to be a “true” social networking site (some consider it to be little more than a place to post an electronic resume), it is increasingly becoming the place to go to look for or find a job. Most recruiters and many hiring managers used LinkedIn to source qualified candidates for job open at their organizations. That said a well-thought-out and carefully written LinkedIn profile can make the difference between employment or not.

To that end, I came across a great article entitled “Five Minutes to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile”. Its author, Ian Levine, provide some excellent advice and tips about how to craft a LinkedIn profile so that you will be found by recruiters and prospective hiring managers. Not surprisingly, the key to success is peppering your profile with keywords that are contained in standard job ads in your industry. According to Levine, LinkedIn appears to scan only four categories: Professional Headline, Titles, Specialties and Industries. LinkedIn scans these categories for frequency of the keywords selected.

One way that Levine recommends to assess whether or not your profile is a good one is to enter specific keywords that are consistent with the type of job(s) that you are interested in landing. If your profile comes up at the top (or close to it) of these types of searches than your profile is a good one. A failure to appear in the search results suggests that your profile may need some additional work to land a job!

Until next time…

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

Some Alternate Career Suggestions

Posted in Career Advice, Uncategorized

Since 2001, 300,000 pharma employees have lost their jobs, primarily in R&D and sales. That’s according to Clifford Mintz, the founder of BioInsights, which develops and offers bioscience education and training. While the losses have been steep, they’re balanced by emerging, in-demand careers in the industry.

The industry’s struggles are well-known: Many companies are facing loss of exclusivity on their biggest sellers but have little in the pipeline to pick up the slack. Productivity is dropping as the cost of bringing a new drug to market soars. Government and payors want more effective drugs for less money. The list goes on.

Developers are looking to new markets and new technologies to address these issues. But how do these trends play out for the pharma job seeker? Many people, particularly Ph.D.s, may have to consider getting additional training if they want to land their dream job. “Companies used to be willing to just hire smart people. But with the economic downturn and global competition, companies can no longer afford to invest in people who have promise. They need to see proven skills,” Mintz explained. With the right blend of skills and experience, however, there still some pharma jobs that are in demand.

Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

“Clinical research is the lifeblood of the industry,” Mintz said. As developers expand in emerging markets, there’s a particular demand for people to manage and organize overseas clinical trials. “There’s a huge need for clinical research professionals worldwide,” he said, noting that most Phase I and II trials are conducted outside of theU.S.

Another one of the industry’s perennial needs is regulatory affairs professionals. “Regulatory affairs experience is a skill that all companies large and small would die to get their hands on,” explained Mintz. The increasingly complex and uncertain world of FDA regulation–particularly when it comes to new technology and science–means that companies are always on the prowl for individuals with solid regulatory knowledge and ability to interact with the FDA. You can read more about the demand for clinical research and regulatory affairs jobs here.

Biomanufacturing

The pharma industry’s interest in biologics remains strong–just look at Sanofi’s buyout of Genzyme, or Roche’s purchase of Genentech. They’re lured by disease-altering biologics that are less likely to face generic competition than traditional drugs. As a result, there’s been increased demand for professionals who can navigate the complex world of biomanufacturing. Those with a background in upstream and downstream processes, large-scale protein purification, fermentation technology and bioengineering can make the transition to biomanufacturing.

Healthcare Information Technology

The rise of bioinformatics and genomics coupled with the push for electronic medical records has created jobs in healthcare information technology. Health informatics–the intersection of healthcare and IT–is ideal for people with expertise in genomics, bioinformatics or software that understand how to work with and manipulate large data sets and databases. The Obama administration has made EHRs a priority, and there’s a need for software engineers and biologists who are comfortable working with medical information.

Medical Devices

“The medical devices industry has been experiencing explosive growth for the past decade,” Mintz said. Regulatory hurdles in the medical device industry are much lower than they are for biologics or small molecules, making the industry a more stable alternative to biotech and pharma. The demand for devices, which address problems that can’t be treated with medicine, will continue to grow as the population ages. Job seekers with strong backgrounds in bioinformatics, genomics, engineering and translational medicine are best suited to this field.

Medical Communications

Medical communications–which includes medical writing, editing, graphic design and science journalism–continues to boom. The demand for these jobs has risen because companies need a slew of communication materials to send to patients, physicians, researchers, investigators and the general public about their products and business.

Patent Law and Technology Transfer

Recent changes toU.S.patent laws have increased the demand for patent agents and patent attorneys in the life sciences field. Pharma’s growing reliance on basic research from learning institutions means that there’s a need for technology transfer experts. These experts manage the patent estate and intellectual property of universities and colleges that may engage in licensing deals with the industry. A law degree is a must to compete in this field.

Until next time…

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

The Beat Goes On: More Layoffs at Life Science Companies

Posted in BioBusiness

Despite assurances that the economy is improving, many life sciences companies are still continuing to downsize.  According to the Pharmalot Blog New Jersey-based Mylan (a generic drug manufacturer)  is laying off nearly 120 people from its specialty offices in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, as part of a reorganization that will consolidate the specialty operation near its Pittsburgh headquarters. The cuts were disclosed in a state filing. A spokeswoman says some employees may relocate. The company is also closing a specialty pharmaceutical plant in Napa, California, later this year which will result in the lost of 270 additional jobs.

Likewise, Massachusetts-based Alkermes  plans to eliminate up to 130 jobs from a plant in Ireland  and, last week, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) revealed that roughly 300 employees will lose their jobs as part of a plan to close the San Diego headquarters occupied by Amylin Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by BMS last year.

Today, another New Jersey company Unigene that is investigating delivery of proteins and peptide-based drugs announced that it would cut up to 40%of it workforce as it reorganizes and tries to stay in business.

Finally, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis said Tuesday it is consolidating its U.S.-based eye disease research projects in Cambridge, Mass., and closing the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research group on its Alcon Labs campus in Fort Worth. About 120 employees in Fort Worth were told Tuesday their jobs will end June 11, The employees will be allowed to apply for jobs in Cambridge as well as for other positions with Alcon. Novartis acquired Alcon, an ophthalmic drug company in 2011 and has been working for the past few years to consolidate all of Novartis’ eye research centers in one location in Fort Worth.  Alcon currently employees about 4,800 people.

While these layoffs are noteworthy, the size of these layoffs pale in comparison to the carnage that took place in the pharmaceutical industry over the past five years. According to Challenger Gray & Christmas, the recruiting and consulting firm more only 3,100 pharmaceutical employees lost their jobs this year. However, Ed Silverman, who writes the Pharmalot Blog mentioned in a post today that “there is industry speculation that Merck will undergo more job cuts.”

Although the industry is still shedding jobs, it is likely that the worst is over and that new job opportunities will emerge in the US and elsewhere over time.

Until next time…

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

Finding A Recruiter Who Is Right For You!

Posted in Career Advice

I am frequently asked by life sciences job seekers about the value of using a recruiter to aid in a job search.  Generally speaking, experienced life sciences job seekers (those with prior industrial experience) are the only individuals who may benefit from working with a recruiter on a job search.  In reality, recruiters tend not to work with more junior job seekers (e.g., graduate students or postdocs) because they lack prior industrial experience and a majority of the searches conducted on behalf of their clients specify that prior experience is an absolute requirement!

Before you begin the exercise of identifying a recruiter you may want to work with, it is important to understand a bit about the recruiting business works.  First, there are two kinds of recruiters–retained or contingency– and both are paid by the  hiring company not the job candidate.  Retained recruiters are paid an upfront fee (retainer) and a hiring fee whereas contingency recruiters are paid ONLY when their candidate is hired.  While hiring fees can vary widely, they are usually 15% to 30% of a candidates total compensation package.  However, in many cases, the hiring fee is a percentage of a candidates base salary rather than the total compensation package (which can include sign on bonuses and other cash incentives).

When searching for a recruiter, the best approach is to get a referral from a friend or colleague or to search Google or LinkedIn for recruitment firms or recruiters.  If you have heard a recruiter’s name mentioned before or read about them in industry publications that is a good sign that he/she is good at what they do and probably can yield positive results. Once you have identified several prospective recruiter candidates, it is a good idea to read their LinkedIn profile (they will all have one) or Google their names to see what has been written or said about them before making a final decision.

In my experience (as a recruiter and job candidate), it is best to work with only one or two recruiters at a time.  If you work with too many recruiters, your CV will be plastered all over the Internet and probably find its way (in duplicate, triplicate etc) onto the desks of every hiring manager in the life sciences industry. When different recruiters submit the CVs of the same candidate, it signals to prospective hiring managers that the job candidate is desperate for a job, over-exposed, under qualified and certainly not worth hiring.

After identifying a recruiter, send your CV along with an introductory note specifying the type of job that you are looking for, the reason(s) why you are looking for a job, whether or not you are willing to relocate and your compensation requirement.  If the recruiter is willing to work with you, he/she will get back in touch with you via the phone to conduct an interview to get to know you.  It is important to be as honest and as upfront with a recruiter as possible regarding your job requirements and professional and personal circumstances.  This information is confidential and it will enable the recruiter to identify job opportunities that may be right for you.  Withholding information will hinder a job search and also may interfere with job offers.

In many instances, recruiters will contact potential job candidates directly either through referrals from colleagues and friends or via your visibility in your field of study.  Ways to improve visibility include: 1) Articles in trade publications; 2)blogs;  3) activity on social media platforms including LInkedIn and Twitter; 4) Attending industry conferences and 5) Giving seminars and participating on panel discussions.

Finally, it is important to establish some ground rules with the recruiter you decide to work with. First, insist on confidentiality.  If a recruiter cannot guarantee this then it is not a good idea to work with them.  Second, demand that the recruiter contact you with each opportunity that he/she finds for you before they officially submit your name and CV to prospective hiring managers.  In other words, they must get you permission before they submit your name as a job candidate. Also, it is a good idea to tell the recruiter not to post your CV to job boards like Monster, Career Builder, SimplyHired etc. This allows you maintain control over your job search and to ensure that you are not over exposed.

Third, it is important to remember that most recruiters are contingency recruiters and because of this, there is a tendency to show your CV to as many hiring managers as possible so that the likelihood of successfully placing a candidate (and get paid for it) increases.

Fourth, good recruiters will initially ask for a copy of your CV to insure that it is properly formatted and constructed in the best way possible to showcase your talents and strengths. In many cases, recruiters will ask you to rewrite or modify the CV to maximize your candidacy for particular job opportunities. In my experience, recruiters who ask for you CV and provide little or no feedback are likely to be the type of recruiter that simply passes your CV  to as many hiring managers as possible with the hope that it may “stick” somewhere. I highly recommend not working with this type of recruiter.

Fifth, it is important to remember that recruiters are not miracle workers. It is true that they may have contacts at certain companies or have long standing relationships with others but at the end of the day it is really about what strengths, talents and skills that job candidates bring to the table.

Finally, working with recruiters is a good way to learn how to build relationships and it can help to expand your professional network and make connections. It is not uncommon for recruiters to contact persons that they have worked with in the past (successfully or unsuccessfully) for recommendations for a particular position that they are working on. And, if that job is one that you may be interested in, you can always tell them that you want to be considered for the opportunity!

Until next time…

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