Do You Know Your Preferred Companies?

preferred companiesyour preferred companiesyour preferred companiesyour preferred companiesyour preferred companies

Do you know your preferred companies?

Your preferred companies are the ones you are most interested in working for?  Do you follow them?  Even if you are not currently looking for a job, this process is essential for your career.  

In the webcast, I show you a number of websites that you might want to check out to start developing your list.  This will help you at large networking event as well as finding your next role.

There are thousands of companies that might need your skills and thousands that don’t. But you have to be the one who chooses where to start. There are no Fairy Job Mothers who will take your bucket of skills and drop a job in your lap.  And, if you have spent time and money to get a specialized degree or years of your life learning your trade, you don’t want to work at Macy’s!

 3 things you need before you start your job search and none of them is a resume! 

Finding Your Industry and Companies

How do you prep for your interviews?

How do you prep for your interviews?

Interviews are NOT like being hauled into the principal’s office.  

Interviews are NOT like being hauled into the principal’s office.  

Don’t start out in a “one down” position.  Remember that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.  Go in with confidence because you have prepared well.

Nor are interviews like networking coffee dates.

Make sure that they have a job you actually want, as well as one you can do. 

You know how, when you are shopping for a new house or even just a couch, the places and details can really run together.  Do not let this happen in your job search!! Keep notes!  You do NOT want to call the hiring manager by the name of the one at the last interview!!

Do let me know if you need some help with any of this.  You can schedule a time to practice or I can help you with the details of the prep! If you have never talked with me before, schedule here.   If we have already had our first conversation then schedule here or here

Why is it so hard to find a job?

Why is it so hard to find a job? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics  shows us that the unemployment rate for people with a professional degree or a PhD is less than 3% which is statistically 0%. 

Why is it so hard to find a job


So why is it so hard to find a job, even though the economy is better than it was? Especially for fresh inexperienced graduates and well-experienced Boomers?  What is holding you back? Or tripping you up?

Many people think that you find a job like you order a book on Amazon – go online and find the one that looks interesting, click and attach your CV and wait for “the call”. Or they think that holding one of those degrees above is the “E” ticket to a good job and being chased by headhunters and HR people. It is really depressing to find out that it isn’t so.

So what is the way?  The above method is very broken.  But you can still find the right job.

You have learned hard topics, like neurobiology and brain surgery.  Job search skills are not nearly as difficult, but must still be respected, thought through and employed. 

What skills do you think you don’t have or are missing that should make it easier? Are they lab or bioscience skills?  Or are they job search skills? Can you list your job search skills the way you can your science skills?  

Bonus tip: Learning the skills of job search is easy but there is quite a bit of misinformation or outdated methods still being taught online.  


If you need some personal help, just book a time to talk here


Or How to Fail at Job Search

Bioscience Job Interview Tips

skype-interviewThere are lots of sites with general advice for job interviews but very few for bioscience job seekers.

What differences have you found in these very specific bioscience jobs vs. more general ones?  

Here are some of the best I’ve seen lately

Ace Every Interview: Job Interview Tips That Will Impress Any Recruiter


The Brazen Careerist’s new book

While this is general, I love the clarity of the Brazen Careerist.  Research the company, prep and knowing yourself are the top takeaways.

Executive Level Job Interview Tips [Podcast]

Brief (62 seconds) podcast about the essential pre-interview steps.

Takeaway: Research, Rehearse, Rapport and Results.  Whether you are a scientist or a manager, these are essential!

The After-Interview Trick You’re Not Using

And specifically from Biospace for people in the bioscience industries. 

Takeaway: Make notes, write a thank you note, analyze the questions you were asked and learn from every interview

The One Empty Word to Avoid in a Job Interview

Another one from Biospace, but still rather generic

Takeaway:  Use “I” not “we”.  The manager wants to know what YOU can do, not what your team did.  He is not hiring your team.  And use those PAR statements!

I have a few questions I recommend that puts the manager in the mood to hire you.

Join us for Open Office Hours
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Finding and being found

So how does finding your next job really work? Some people, when about to lose a job or just after finishing an assignment, think of themselves as “being available for reassignment” or “available”.  This may work for rock stars, star athletes and other people, famous for their particular skills and expertise, but it really does not for the majority of workers.  If it does work for you, stop reading.

For the rest of us, job search really is about finding and being found.  You have to do both.  Waiting to be found is like being the average-looking high school good girl who is “available” but still doesn’t get asked to the dance because the average high school boy just didn’t ask.  


message in a bottleSo how can you find the right next job and how can you be found? 

The first step is to know what skills and expertise you have and how to express those skills in the language of the people you want to know about them.  The internet has given us the expression “keywords”.  These are words and phrases used in your area of expertise that are searched for by recruiters, used in job postings, spoken by hiring managers when they ask HR to find someone and used over the cafeteria tables by the teams that work for them.  They are specific and technical.  They are rarely aspirational or even motivational.  Do you know what your keywords are?

You can find your keywords in your old resumes, your old performance reviews, your old profiles.  A better place to find them is in the profiles of people with titles you want, job descriptions of jobs you want, on the websites of the companies you are most interested in and in conversation with the people in the companies you want.

Some examples:

  • Actinobacteria
  • Bacillus
  • Bacteroides
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Drug Discovery
  • Escherichia coli
  • Gastrointestinal Tract
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Operon
  • Pseudomonas

Yes, it is very specific and won’t find you “Any job” (as in “I want a job, any job”).  It will enable you to manage a career you really want.  Remember that hiring managers don’t hire generically, they hire to solve a specific problem.  Yes, they do want more than that, but to get in the door, you have to speak their language.

How do you use these keywords to be found?

Use them, in natural language and in lists, in your online profiles, your introductions, your resumes, your conversation, your posts and comments on LinkedIn Groups and G+ Communities and BioWebSpin Public postings and wherever people look at you. (Well, not on a sign around your neck at the grocery store!)  Work them into your PAR statements and “dragon-slaying stories”.  And make it sound natural, not like you just plunked them in randomly.  You need to sound like you actually know what a “metabolic network” (or whatever your keyword is) is and why it is important. 

What doesn’t work:

Using “fluff” words or overused desperate phrases like:

  • Highly qualified
  • Results focused
  • Effectual leader
  • Has talent for
  • Energetic
  • Confident
  • Professional
  • Successfully
  • Proactive

You need to show that you are these things using your keywords in PAR statements. 

detective with magnifying glass 700x900Yesterday I received by US Post a well written letter on expensive paper from an experienced Executive Vice President of Operations for a medical group.  He is looking for a job. I’m not sure he is finding one. Never mind that I don’t work in that particular part of the industry.   I’m sure he hired someone to write the letter and send it for him.  I can pick out the keywords, but it isn’t easy.  I have no idea what his medical group specialized in (and medicine is very specialized).  I know he is a Vet, I know his phone number.  I can reach him only by US mail or by phone and no way to email him.  His lovely letter went in the recycle bin.  Do all recruiters do that?  Probably.  Some have “do not send a resume” notes on their websites, some take resumes but simply warehouse them until (if ever) they get a search.  Some few will connect with him, but what is the ROI on his investment in hiring a writer and sending these willy-nilly. 

If I were in his specific part of the “healthcare” industry, I would look him up on LinkedIn. So for this article I did.  Now that I have seen it, I’m a bit more interested.  He has some background in my industry –  Parexel, Pfizer and clinical trials operations.  These did not appear in his letter. Most of the letter is rather desperate, focused on why he is looking or rather generic “There is no such animal as a perfect candidate for a healthcare senior executive position”.  Yes, it does finally tell me what position he is interested in (CEO, COO of a medical group) , but I’m a pretty straight forward person with no time to waste. 

I would be happier if he had used the content of his letter (or some portion of it) to invite me to LinkIn with him.  If he had, I would have accepted his invitation (as would most recruiters – but don’t have more than 10% of your LinkedIn connections be recruiters) and let him know that, while I’m glad to be connected, I don’t have anything on my desk at this moment that would suit him.  I would have checked with him as soon as I did.

I would have liked a LinkedIn invitation like this:

Hi, Connie,
Do you recruit COOs and CEOs for medical groups and companies doing clinical trials in X?  I’d love to be connected with you if you do.
I have X years managing teams and a record I’m proud of.  Please take a look at my Profile here (link).
Thanks for your time,

Or if he had found me on LinkedIn, he could have invited me directly.

Remember that we are all very busy.  The harder you make it for someone to notice you, the harder you make it to be found. 

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