Wanted: Applicants with Problem Solving Skills

Posted in Career Advice

There was a very interesting article in today’s NY Times Business Section  entitled “Want to Work for Jaguar Land Rover: Start Playing Phone Games that caught my eye. The article stated that the carmaker would be recruiting 5,000 people people this year. To be considered for employment, prospective employees must download an app with a series of puzzles that they must solve.  Those who score well on the app will be able to progress to the interview stage.  While this may be somewhat unique to companies that are looking for engineers and computer personnel, I think the point here is that the ability to solve problems or puzzles is the single most important attribute that any employee must possess if they want to be hire.  To that point, companies like Marriott Hotels, Axa Group, Deloitte, Xerox, The BBC and Daimler Trucks all use playing games and virtual reality to identify potentially-qualified job applicants.

Companies once relied on job fairs and advertising to court prospective applicants but they have been forced to become much more creative in order to identify the technical skills and business savvy they need.  I will use my son, who graduated from college last month as a case in point.

He applied for a job with a non-profit venture firm. The first thing they asked him to supply was a picture of himself that encapsulated him as a person. After submitting a picture of him and his Cross Country college team after a big meet (and making it to the next round) he was sent a hypothetical and given several days to respond.  He spent an entire day on the hypothetical, submitted it and was subsequently told he would not be considered for a face-to-face interview.

What does this all mean?  Based on my years as a career development consultant, these exercises suggest that while college graduates and advanced degree professionals may have met their academic requirements, there is no guarantee that those degrees qualified  them for jobs in “real life”. Although unemployment is at historic lows in the US, it does not mean that employers are not being selective about who they hire. That said, starting an app company that uses artificial intelligence and virtual reality to assess a candidate’s problem solving ability may be a great idea!

Until next time… 

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

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!!!!!!

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!!!!!!!!!

 

Blizzards and the American Work Ethic

Posted in Career Advice

It’s been a while since my last blog post but the hysteria over the would-be blizzard of the century got me thinking again.  The Great Recession that began in 2008 (which appears to be over) has forced the American workforce to work harder (without commensurate increases in salary and vacation time) than ever before. Consequently, those who were lucky enough to retain their jobs are frequently stressed, fatigued and pushed to the breaking point. Therefore, it is not surprising (to me at least) for any excuse –like an exaggerated, overhyped blizzard–to not go to work!  Put simply, looking for cataclysmic climatic events to get the vacation time that employees so desperately need is not in the best interest of the American workforce!  Perhaps employers ought to allow employees to take more time off and guarantee them paid sick time rather than rely on blizzards to give their workers a much needed break.

The US economy seems to be in good shape as compared with the rest of the world.  Although American productivity is at a historical high, I do not think US workers will be able to maintain it into perpetuity. That said, the US greatest advantage over other countries in the world is ingenuity and innovation.  And, to innovate, people need time to think and identify the next “big thing”   And, while a snow day here or there may be restful, the time off is certainly not sufficient for workers to garner enough time to think about the next world-changing technology or innovation.

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Digging Out (if you got any snow)

 

FDA Announces Social Media Guidelines–Yawn!

Posted in Social Media

After a very long blogging absence, I decided that it was time for me to begin to write posts on things that continue to pique my interest.  The recent announcement that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally released its long awaited guidance on the use of social media in the life sciences industry including pharma, biotech and med. devices.

While words like long awaited have been used to describe this monumental announcement, I think nobody really cares anymore about what the agency thinks about social media!  Put simply, despite some interested starts and stops, social media is not an integral part of the life sciences industry and likely will never be.  In the beginning (about a decade ago) social media transformed a number of industries by introducing transparency and engaging stakeholders to improve their bottom lines. Unfortunately, the modus operandi in the life sciences industry, by virtue of it business model, is opaqueness not transparency. Further, life scientists and life science employees are not the most social individuals and their use of social media for business purposes is almost non-existent. Consequently, social media and the life science industry are not a good fit!!!! Finally, early players in the life science social media space including Novo Nordisk and J&J have already leveraged what they could using social media and have moved on.

In summary, while it may be a banner day at FDA because the agency finally released its social media guidelines, I do not think anybody really cares anymore. The trajectory of social media is on its downward slope and it is no longer fresh or new (except maybe in the minds of pharma/biotech executives).  In fact, social media is no longer new media and is now considered a standard staple of all communication platforms. While many industries benefited from social media it was never a priority for the life sciences industry and industry executives (and US regulators) did everything in their collective power to ensure that social media did not interfere with the secrecy and intentional opaqueness that dominates the industry.

Until next time,

Good luck and Good Job Hunting

Healthcare and Social Media

Posted in Social Media

I received this infographic from an organization that is promoting a Masters of Public Health program.  It is interesting and I thought I would share it with BioJobBlog readers.
Healthcare and Social Media
Source: Healthcare and Social Media

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.

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!!!!!!

FDA and Social Media: Much Ado About Nothing

Posted in Social Media, Uncategorized

Since the inception of blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms, many life sciences companies, mainly big pharma, have been anxiously awaiting regulatory guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration on how to use them. Interestingly, FDA did issue some guidance in 2012 on it use last year but many drugmakers felt that it was insufficient and not detailed enough.  Despite the lack of clearly defined regulatory guidance, many companies took the social media plunge anyway. And according to a recent survey of regulatory actions and letters conducted by Mark Senak author of the fabulous EyeonFDA Blog the agency has done very little to thwart the social media strategies implemented by drug companies. In fact, there has been no obvious increase in the number of warning letters or violation letters regarding the use of digital or social media as compared with traditional media violations.

Senak drew this conclusion after analyzing 173 warning and notice of violation letters (advertising and media related) that were issued by the agency from 2008 to 2012.  Of the 173 regulatory letters that were issued, 675 violations were cited and only 43% involved digital media.  And, for the most part, most of the cited violation had little to do with the digital or social media vehicle used but more to do with the message being delivered. For the full report click here.

What does this all mean? While it is difficult to draw any firm conclusion, I believe that the bottom line is that the importance and significant of the long awaited FDA guidance on the use of social media has been overstated. Put simply, if you follow the existing rules guiding advertising and print media, companies ought to be able to craft a regulatory-compliant social media communication strategy without the fear of running afoul of the agency.  Those who violate the existing rules will likely be caught and have to clean up their acts.

The bottom line. Many drug companies have been able to mount very effective social media campaigns without getting into trouble with FDA.  The key to success is following the rules and implementing a digital/social media campaign that has passed internal regulatory muster to insure that everything is in order and regulatory compliant. Companies that have made the investment into digital/social media will be successful whereas others that jump into the game without taking the time to understand the rules of engagement will fail.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!

 

 

Jobseekers: When Creating a LinkedIn Profile and Twitter Account May Simply Not Be Enough!

Posted in BioJobBuzz

The advent of social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter have spawned a plethora of articles, blog posts and even white papers on how important these communication networks may be for jobseekers. In fact, many recruiters and career development counselors that I have talked with believe (and publicly espouse) that finding a job without using these platforms will be extremely difficult. While I believe that social media—when used correctly—can be a powerful job hunting tool, many job seekers believe that simply creating a LinkedIn profile and Twitter account will magically result in gainful employment.  Sadly, these job seekers are mistaken and they are setting themselves up for a “rude awakening.”

The key word in the phrase “social media” is social. Being social means interacting and actively communicating with others in the networks that you have built on LinkedIn or Twitter; not creating a profile, remaining silent and then expecting prospective employers to find you!  Networking, whether online or in real life (IRL) is a social not a solitary endeavor!

The main point of a LinkedIn profile or Twitter account is provide users with a mechanism to help them to “stand out” from the rest of the competition and ultimately convince prospective employers that they, not their colleagues, are the right persons to hire into their organizations. People who create a LinkedIn profile or a Twitter account and never use them are kidding themselves if they think that their behavior will result in job leads or possible interviews. To wit, there are currently over 200 million registered LinkedIn users; expecting prospective employers or to spend their time searching LinkedIn databases to identify inactive users as possible job candidates is sheer lunacy in today’s fiercely competitive global job market.  It is tantamount to searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack; who has the time to do that?

I spend a fair amount of time on LinkedIn (because it is a strictly professional network) looking for writing assignments and other business opportunities.  I frequently come upon job posts in the many groups that I belong to.  Invariably I see individual group members interested who are interested in the posted jobs publicly leave messages that read (and I am not kidding): “I am interested in the job opportunity. Please contact me.”

I am shocked that the persons who leave these messages actually believe that most  recruiters or hiring manager are actually going  to look at their LinkedIn profiles to see whether or not they may be qualified for the advertised job!  For the record, the appropriate response to a job posting on LinkedIn is to send a private message to the recruiter or hiring manager and inquire about the job specifics. This ought to provide enough information for a job seeker and recruiter/hiring manager to determine whether or not to proceed further.

The point that I am trying to make is in today’s fiercely competitive job market, jobseekers must be aggressive, interactive and tenacious when networking both online and in real life.  Simply creating profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and exclusively applying for online jobs is likely not going to be enough to land a job these days.  As most recruiters and job counselors will tell you “Finding a new job is really a full time job that requires the same amount of time and commitment” And, like it or not, they’re right!

Until next time….

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