Have you been sold a bill of good?

A bill of goods is an expression that says that the seller is not delivering what the payer thought. Are you being “had”?

I think that the “online job boards” are just such a “bill of goods”.  They are obviously making money – TV and radio ads are not free.  But only 20% of jobs are filled that way and only about 2% of applicants even get to talk to a live human (probably in HR, not the hiring manager).  So is it worth your time?  Even more, is it worth the depression you are exposing yourself to, by sending in 100s of applications/resumes and never hearing back?

What works better is to be known, remembered, liked and trusted by the people in the departments in the companies you know you want to work in.  Don’t leave your career up to chance!  Don’t wait for the Fairy Job Mother!  Get out there and meet people!  Have conversations with people in the company you want to join!  Find out if they have a problem that you want to solve!  Don’t waste your time applying to companies that are laying off, have problems you never want to see again, or are about to go under!  Find out first from the people!

Make friends with your potential co-workers so they can recommend you to the hiring manager – 75% of jobs get filled that way!  And 100% of the applicants have talked to someone in the department!

Don't wait for chance

What is Targeted Networking?


Networking at a gathering

Most jobs are found through networking.  But you need to be strategic and targeted!

So what is targeted networking?  Check out this short video or listen to the podcast on Targeted Networking and Your Career Portfolio

And Don’t do these things

Most open positions are filled through personal networking

Personal Networking works the best for finding jobs.

Personal Networking works the best for finding jobs.

#1:  Most open positions are filled through personal networking.


Only 20% (at the most, quite possibly closer to 10%) of jobs are filled through postings on job sites or company websites.

And … HR really doesn’t have the time to sort through all the resumes of people who just want a job, any job.  Please do NOT send your resume to a company just because you want to work there when you don’t have the right skills for the job they have posted.  There simply is not enough time in the day for an HR person to really read resumes and put yours aside for a role that has not opened.

More than 50% of jobs (and perhaps as much as 85%) are filled through a direct connection with someone in the company that eventually hires you.  Employee referrals and offline (face to face) networking fill at least 45%.

So where does that leave you? 

You have to be the one to initiate the contacts.  And you need to be strategic about it.

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know – NOT

Also … just like you can’t eat an elephant in one bite, so you need to divide up and prioritize your search, target your networking in a way that makes sense to you to be hired for the position you want.

targeted networking

revised 4/18/17

What to expect in your first networking meeting at that new company

friendly networking


Your first networking meeting is a lot like a blind date. 

The first time you meet someone there are certain things you know you need to do. First, of course, is to ask about them, what they’re all about, and don’t hog the conversation talking about yourself. Secondly, you need to give them something which is of interest to them. Your attention is a big one. But you also might have information they’d be interested in, connections they might want to make, knowledge that they might need.


Networking is where you give something that doesn’t cost you very much in order to get something that you would like to have. The other person is doing exactly the same thing.


When this is the first time you’ve talk to somebody in a company you’re interested in, you want to show them that you are not out to get something from them that they can’t afford (or don’t want) to give you. So no begging for a job! What they can give you, if they like you, is their opinions and insider information. But you have to give them a reason to do that.


Think about what you would want if a new person invited you out to coffee because they told you that they were interested in your company. You’d want it to be worth your time. And you would expect them to pay for the coffee. You would expect them to have questions that you could answer easily that would not be too prying or ask for more than what you could easily tell them.


Some questions might be:

How do you like working for this company? What’s the best part of working here?


You know how company cultures vary from company to company or even department to department? What’s it like at XYZ company? Do they encourage you to socialize with people outside of work? Do you have things like knitting clubs and ham radio operator clubs, that sort of thing, inside the company?


You then might segue into: Is the company growing? Are they hiring or laying off? You might even want to ask: does the FDA like this company?


You also want to know more about the person: Married? Kids? Animals? Dogs? Cats? Sports? What do they like doing out the office? What kind of music do they like? Do stay away from the forbidden three: sex, religion, and politics!


You want to know how you might be able to help them! What are they interested in finding out from you? You can tell them you’re doing a lot of this kind of networking and ask if they would like to hear about the other companies. After all, you’re both in the same niche.


If this is not the first person at the first company that you’ve asked to do this kind of networking, you can say things like: Do you know so-and-so over at ABC company? I think the two of you might really have a lot in common.


The main thing here is to make a new friend. Some when you can help out in the future and who will be willing to help you out but make sure you don’t go in with too big an ask.


Do you want to talk more about this? Join me for open office hours on Friday at 8:30 AM Pacific time. Register here so I know who’s coming.

How Job Search REALLY Works

Many people don’t know how job search really works and simply stop managing their career once they get a job.Rinse and Repeat

Most people don’t think about how job search really works until the need for it is staring them in the face.  

But it is only the rarest of people who work at a single job for their entire career, especially in the biosciences.

Not only do jobs rarely last more than 5 years, many bioscience companies don’t last that long (they may be acquired or simply fail).  A study showed that “C” suite professionals may change jobs every 18 months.  

Use the security of your current job to plan for your next one and keep on networking!  

Yes, this is work.  And it takes time.  But YOU will be in control of your career and able to choose what you do next.

If you need any help with this, contact me!

A story of holiday parties

after thanksgiving

So sit back and let me tell you a story:

You are facing the Holiday parties, but you still have so much work to do, including hiring a new team member by the 1st of the year.  You agree to meet your spouse at their company’s party, but you are a bit late (traffic, parking, and weather) and drenched.  On your way up in the elevator you are trapped with someone who asks if you are headed to the party and asks, “What do you do?”  After hearing that you work in a bioscience company, he immediately launches into his “elevator speech”.  Well, at least you are in an elevator.  He thrusts his resume into your hand just as the doors open and then he rushes off, presumably to do it to everyone else at the party.  You fold the paper and stuff it in your pocket since you can’t find a trash can.

Your spouse greets you and leads you to the bar for a drink.  As you stand there, sipping and looking over the crowd, someone else is too.  He nods and smiles and asks if you were able to find parking before the rain washed you away.  You and he have a pleasant conversation, discover some common interests in hiking and mountain biking, and he offers to send you some info about the hiking trails you discussed.  You agree and the two of you exchange business cards.  He leaves.  As you look at his card you realize that he has just the skills your team needs.

Who do you follow up with?  Whose emails do you open?

Are You Still Leaving Your Bioscience Job Search Up To Chance?

Are you gambling on Lady Luck and leaving your bioscience job search up to chance?

Tweet: Sending your resume to an online job posting is about the same as shoving it in a bottle and setting it adrift in the ocean.

message in a bottle

The chances of getting a phone screen call about 2% according to UC-Berkeley and that is if you have actually read and used the keywords in the posted job position.

The chance that any single recruiter has your job when you need it (not six months ago or two years from now) AND that you are connected to or link in with that recruiter right now is even less.

Job postings fill 20% of open positions and recruiters fill about 5%.

[Tweet “Chance is a fickle mistress and not someone to depend on for your livelihood. “]

Of course the other option will require much more work on your part (and you thought that updating your generic resume was hard!)

You need to be visible online so that recruiters you are not connected with can find you by using the keywords that they are looking for. How do you know what keywords they are looking for? You don’t. You can only know what keywords describe your skills, your expertise, your experience. When you use these top 10 words or phrases, and not fluff or buzzwords, they will allow the recruiter who does have your job to find you. But even better is to demonstrate the kind of problem solver you can be. No company hires unless they have a problem they cannot solve with the people they are already paying.

When the hiring manager, HR person, or recruiter searches online for someone to solve their problem they use the keywords that they use in-house. These keywords can be very specific to that particular company. You need to know what they are.

Since the company is hiring to solve the problem, and you have solved many problems, you need to know what the problem is, whether you want to solve it, and how to become known to the people trying to solve it before they can hire you.

You have many skills and many solutions to problems some of which never want to be paid to do or to solve. What problems do you want to solve? Can you sit down right now and list three interesting problems you would like to look at? Are they problems that companies are likely to have? What are the characteristics of those companies? Do you know anyone who is trying to solve these problems?


These are career questions job questions. Very few people think of being a barista as anything more than a job. In that industry the career path leads to manager or owner of a coffee shop and not to making the espresso machine work all day every day for eight hours. How do you think of your current job? Is it a career step? Or just a job you have so you can eat?

If you’ve been in the biosciences industries for any length of time at all you know that there are problems that be solved for every new drug target or lead. Which ones do you want to see again?

If you’ve just completed a postdoc, you have also solved problems, but some of them are not likely to be interesting to industry. Pure science simply doesn’t pay off in the market. Still you have skills that can be applied to industrial problems. Which ones do you want to use?

Once you have figured out what your keywords are, you need to use them in your LinkedIn profile Click here for a checklist on how and where to use them.

If you need more help with this I can do a quick LinkedIn Profile Review Click here for more information

if you need even more information and training about how to figure out what your next job should be and how to talk about it click here for more information

I Am NOT The Fairy Job Mother

But, oh, how I wish I were!

no such thing as a fairy job mother


I get emails and resumes, requests for connections and phone calls every day from smart, unique, creative people with excellent skills.  And I don’t have a job for them. 

Why?  Because a recruiter is not a fairy job mother and we don’t “have jobs”.  We have searches.  Contingency recruiters are willing to work for free and shop around the best of the resumes that come to them in the hopes that there will be a big payoff eventually.  Retained recruiters only work on the searches their contracted clients want them to work on.  Both have to choose to use their time wisely because, in truth, only 5% of all jobs are filled by recruiters.

Job seekers want a job, a good job that suits their talents and expertise.  You will try anything if you are faced with unemployment.  But frequently not until you are faced with it.  The truth is that 75% of jobs are filled by personal networking.  And by that I mean who knows what you do and remembers before they hire someone else. 

I offer 2 kinds of “scientific and executive search services”.  One is retained, a la carte, recruiting for bioscience companies.  The other is job search strategy training and coaching.  I can teach you how to do targeted networking that keeps you from spinning your wheels or getting stuck.  But I can’t just wave a magic wand and grant you a job, no matter how hard I try!

If you are bioscience professional and want to manage and create your own career, never waiting for the job fairy, sign up for this blog (see the pop-up), get on the newsletter list, follow me on YouTube and Facebook, register for the free weekly workshops.  Or call to discuss personal coaching for your career.

Related articles

Most open positions are filled through…

Are You Still Leaving Your Bioscience Job Search Up To Chance?

A recruiter works, by definition, for the hiring company

Job Search Tip #40 – Your Ideal Companies

Job Search Tip #40

Job Search Tip #40

Do you have a criteria list for your ideal companies?

Having a criteria list for your next company will make your search much easier.

Many people who call me say that they don’t want to restrict their search to just one job title or one area. But that is like saying “I’m going to go fish in the ocean with my network cable and some robe hooks and I’ll eat what I catch.”  Really a complete non sequitur.

You have skills and expertise that really only fits or is useful in certain industries, niches and companies. You also have goals, desires, preferences, and even, needs which can only be met by certain situations.  And those people who tell me that they “don’t want to restrict” their job search are really just telling me that they are scared, even desperate.  They want someone else (The Fairy Job Mother??) to do the hard work of discovering what they really want and need.

So start with the list above:

  • Location
  • Commute
  • Product
  • Industry
  • Size
  • Finances
  • Culture
    and add the things that matter to you

I can help you make this list. Book a time here

Or DIY At A Glance