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

How Can I Customize My Bioscience Online Job Search

Hi I’m Connie Hampton of Hampton and Associates, Scientific and Executive Search Services.  One of our services is Bioscience Job Kit.

Today’s topic is how to customize online job search.

I don’t recommend an entirely online job search but there are some things you can do to customize it and make it better. You can get a little closer to what it is you want.

Know your bioscience industry:
identify which bioscience industry or function fits you best.  When people come to me and say “I want a job, any job” you really need to know that there are no any jobs. Jobs are specific; companies are specific; industries are specific. So get started with the easy one: which industry or function fits you best? If you’re a microbiology scientist, that will tell you not to look at Macy’s.

You need to know what it is you’re selling. We all have many skills we don’t want to get paid for: cleaning refrigerators is mine. So make a list of your key skills and all the ways that those particular skills are described in your industry.

Be sure to be visible with these keywords. Use them in all of your online profiles: LinkedIn, of course, but also anything where you have a username and password will probably have a profile. Using them there! You might as well come up more frequently on Google and the search engines! Also, use them as hashtags. LinkedIn has decided to participate in the hashtag world. Use them on your twitter accounts! Go find people that use these hashtags. Go find groups that use them and join those groups.

Know your company criteria. This is one that most people already do know how to do, but let’s get really granular. Make a list of what you actually need in your next company. It could be location; it could be therapeutic area; it could be size of company; it could be funding; it could be their current relationship with the FDA. What’s your list of company criteria? I have a free downloadable initial list about bioscience company criteria, but make your own list!

Know which companies actually meet those criteria. Go online to Google or LinkedIn to find these companies. If you’ve decided you don’t want to move there is absolutely no point in including companies in Australia, in less you live in Australia. Start making your list of all those companies that seem to meet most of your criteria.

You are not going to be able to get down intimately into the companies with your online search, so that’s why the next question is who do you know who works in each of these companies. Using LinkedIn, your other groups, or just your friends identify one person in each of your companies. This person cannot give you a job. The only person who can really is the hiring manager. You don’t want to go there yet because you still need the inside scoop on the rest of your company criteria to help you narrow down that list of companies (probably 30 or more) down to the 10 that are most attractive, meet more of your criteria and that you can identify.

Do you have a friend there already? Take them out to coffee and pick their brains! Is it really a good company to work for? Or are they thinking about jumping ship? If you don’t currently have a friend there yet, get introduced! Find the person who is linked to your friend as well is your friend is linked to you. Take them both the coffee. LinkedIn helps with this. They’ll tell you who your first-degree connection is and who is their 1st degree connection (your second). You can get introduced!

Then network: provide these people, that you’re having coffee with, something they need and find out if it’s good to work for their company. Ask about the other pieces on your criteria list that you could not find online.

Working with my bioscience job search coach on my bioscience online job search

Working with my bioscience job search coach on my bioscience online job search

Ask your new networking partner at that particular company to introduce you to someone in the department you want to join. Because you can’t just expect HR to be able to identify where you would fit best. It’s not their job and you need to know which departments would be most effective for you, where you would be most effective.

When you meet with this second person, get the inside scoop on what problem they’re working on and the language they use to describe it. They may be working on a problem you have no desire to work on or one that excites you. The words they use will become very important when you write up your resume.

Your next task is to be remembered, liked, and trusted. So you need to follow up regularly to be remembered, liked, and trusted. You can do it on LinkedIn; you can do it on email; you can do it with paper and a stamp but follow-up! Send them links to things they might be interested in, “saw this and thought of you” kinds of emails, “I was looking up your problem the other day at in PubMed and found this paper. It is it out of date. Does it have anything useful for you?” Those kinds of things.

Check the companies career page daily to see if they are looking for you now. If you don’t match at least 85% of the online position description, don’t apply. It’s not your job. When you do apply online you need to use the words that are in the position description, as well as the words that you’ve discovered they used to talk about their problem because there is frequently a drop of information between the hiring manager, the HR person, and the job post. So use both so that you can get through the applicant tracking system program as well as catch the eye of the hiring manager.

Now you want to write a resume, possibly before you apply online, but definitely after you have found out what words they’re using. You want to write a resume for this company, this problem, this position.

What you do with it: only send it to that one bioscience company. It’s not applicable to other companies. Do not spam 30 companies with a resume that is generic. They’re not going to look at it. You want your information to fall off the top half of the first page of your two-page resume using the words they used to talk about their problem and showing that you can in fact solve it.

For more information check out biosciencejobkit.com or for schedule a free 15 minute coaching session or email me Connie@biosciencejobkit.com

Of course these steps work for other industries as well.

Thanks so much and have a great day!

Other links:

Where are you in your job search?

Why is it so hard to find a job?

Which is better? A recruiter or applying online?

How to Fail at Job Search

Do you fail at job search?

When you fail at job search can be depressing.  Waiting for the Fairy Job Mother doesn’t work and sending your resume to 200 jobs online is a recipe for clinical depression!

Join Judson Walsh, of Lee Hecht Harrison and I, Connie Hampton, for a 30 minute podcast on how to take control of your job search and not be dependent on the uncontrolled or uncontrollable parts of your job search. 

Most jobs (50-75% of them) never make it to the internet or to a recruiter.  

The chances of making it through the online application process are about 2 in 100.  And recruiters don’t know every job out there or what it is you really want.

So what is a job seeker to do?

  1. Know what you want and what companies are most likely to employ people to do that.
  2. Be known to the people in the departments you want to work in and the hiring managers.
  3. Be Top of Mind (otherwise known as a regular program of follow up!)
  4. Be Liked and Trusted to solve their problem.

Do your homework!  Outsourcing your job search to anyone else will slow down the process, cost you more in time and money and not guarantee a thing!!

Want to discuss it?


Book a call now!



How NOT to approach a recruiter – a rant

 Ask Rant

How NOT to approch a recruiter – What you should NOT say.

This is how NOT to approach a recruiter: every so often I get an email that says “Dear Recruiter, Here is the link to my Profile/resume.  Find me a job. From (name)”* (from a construction person from India as I discovered when I looked him up)  or “I am back on the market. Let me know if you have a search going on that matches my background”* from a programmer.

How rude!  No please or thank you, even. And no notion of what sort of jobs I fill. 

How lazy!  No introduction, nothing about even what industry they are in, nothing about what they really want, nothing about what their next job possibly would be titled.

But even the polite ones within the industries I work in can be off-putting, “thanks for accepting my linked in connection request and I am desperately looking for a suitable position in California area in Biotech & Pharmaceutical field. Please let me know if can expect some help from you in my job search.”*  And spelling counts.

How arrogant!  What makes them the gods’ gift to me or my clients? 

I am a person, not an online catalog of jobs; I don’t have a connection to every job in every industry and company in the world.   Please treat me as a person and use the manners your mother taught you.  Please and thank you really are the “magic words”; no one is too good to use them.

I cannot read your mind and I am very busy. 

Make it easy for me.  Introduce yourself: your name, your last title or “what you do”, your industry, your preferred “niche” and geography, but briefly.  How would you introduce yourself to me at a party at your cousin’s?  Ask about what sort of jobs I fill – for instance, I never fill programmer roles, but I do fill biologist jobs.  I don’t usually fill construction roles (although I have in the past).  I do fill roles for scientists, managers, clinical trials, marketing, translational medicine, etc. Very specific roles with very specific skill sets.

If all of these things match (your industry, skills, etc. and my industries and niche), then we can move to the next step, developing a connection and relationship.

Some recruiters with a very specific niche keep a “stable” of candidates and move them from job to job.  These are the people with whom they have established a good, solid, relationship.  Most of us have a broader niche and don’t expect to place you more than once or perhaps twice.

Some (perhaps most) recruiters rarely have the same search twice

Really great people with whom they have established a relationship will not likely be needed for the particular job that the recruiter is currently working on.  However, such a search may start tomorrow. 

You see, recruiters don’t actually have the jobs or the pain of an unfilled job. Recruiters have “job orders” or “searches”.  The hiring managers and their teams are the ones who are hurting because the job is unfilled, no one has the specific skills needed and someone is missing from the team. Recruiters get a job order about the time that the job is posted but after the hiring manager has asked his staff if they know anyone to fill it.

So what are recruiters to you? If you would like to begin a relationship with me, please do email me at connie@hamptonexecutivesearch.com or connie@biosciencejobkit.com?

To learn what works best for a bioscience job search, click here

*actually received email and LinkedIn messages.

A recruiter works, by definition, for the hiring company

Job search  A recruiter works, by definition, for the hiring company as that is who pays them

Most recruiters don’t have time to work with candidates and a candidate really can’t “hire a recruiter”.  You can hire a coach and you can work with an agency.  But it has been illegal for an agency to charge you for “finding you a job”, especially if they don’t fulfill that promise. 

I cannot bring myself to simply ignore really great people with excellent skill sets for whom I don’t currently have a potential role, nor those who “came in second” for jobs I do have.  So I have been “giving advice” or casually coaching these people for years.  I started writing this blog and sending out a free newsletter.  Now I’m teaching classes in how to manage your own career, find jobs through your network and really maintain your career network.  I’d love to have you join me.  

You can get more information about the free class and sign up here

I’ll post more about the paid classes if I get enough interest.  Tell me you are interested by signing up for the free class or emailing me at connie@biosciencejobkit.com

For a free initial job search strategy coaching call, please do schedule a call here.

How Recruiters use Your LinkedIn Profile to Screen People Out or In

LinkedIn Headlines 600x250

LinkedIn Profiles are the “low hanging fruit” of internet recruiting search.  


I use LinkedIn’s advanced people search to find people who have the keywords I’m looking for in their profile.  This starts with title and department but also includes education, keywords specific to this job, etc.

  • Be sure that your keywords are “optimized”
  • Spelling and grammar count

I search for these people and others on the LinkedIn Groups that high achievers in this field might post in.  I read their comments and postings to see if they can present information in a cogent and clear way.

If I feel that I have a good list of all the people whom I’m looking for, then and only then, will I contact each one to ask for a fresh resume – I send or tell them what we are looking for, see if they might be interested and ask for that résumé.  It needs to be a fresh resume, highlighting the things that my client needs to have done, not a generic one sent to the world, and certainly not “did you see my LinkedIn Profile? That’s it.”

This is pretty simple, but the implications for the job seeker are:

Have a picture – most professionals do and it needs to be professional, not you and your sweetie (especially if you have one of those names that could be either male or female) or you on that mountain in the distance, or you in your swimming suit on the beach.  A “head shot”!  Even if it is a selfie.

Use the Headline space to highlight what you do – most use it for their current title (although you would be surprised at how many people don’t change that when they move to a different job!)  There are places for your current and previous titles further down, so use this to tell us what makes you attractive for the job you want. Complete this sentence: “Oh, s/he is the one who…..”

Use the Summary to tell people more about what you are interested in.  Many people just plop in a résumé.  This is a different space where you can tell potential employers (and co-workers, current employer, various business friends, your old college pals, etc.) what you like about your current job and what you do, what you are passionate about and how that shows up in your job.  You can demystify your title, speak in plain language or use the jargon of your specialty.   Don’t waste the space by just duplicating your résumé!  You can also put your email address here  (or in Advice to Contact) so that recruiters and hiring managers you are not currently connected with can get in touch with you.

Fill out Specialties, Skills and Experience – These are those very important key words and using them will allow recruiters to find you faster.  You should ask your connections to endorse your Skills and Experience – thus providing social proof that you actually have these. Remember to endorse them for the Skills they want.

Give and get some narrative Recommendations as well.  This should be people you have worked with: former bosses, former co-workers, former employees as well as vendors and clients.

Did you know that the sections of the Profile can be moved around? 

Drag the sections that are most pertinent to the places that you want them.

Did you know that you can add all kinds of things to each section?

You can post documents that you want to publicize – perhaps a report that shows what you can do?  Your publications list? Etc. You can connect your Blog if you have one,  SlideShare PowerPoint presentations,  your website,  a poll you want to run, events you are attending or hosting.

Whom do you want to attract?  Don’t just be a blank – fill it in!

And let me know so I can look at it!


May you find your next career step soon!





Is Your LinkedIn Profile a Dud?

Looking for work? Get a strategy!

Do you have a work strategy when you see the writing on the wall?

Are you about to be downsized?

Is that expensive PhD not insulating you from the economy?

Now is the time to develop your Job Search Strategy using Targeted Networking so that you are not dependent on job postings, job fairs or recruiters to find the next step in your career, but you can use each to your advantage.

Do you know what the next step should be?  What your title should be? Which companies employ people with that title? Which ones are the best fit for you?  How to network your way into those companies?

If you are not ready with that, then I have a simple (although perhaps not easy) program to polish your network and manage your career.

5 secrets to steer your career to greater heights

Get “5 Networking Secrets to Steer Your Career to Greater Heights” Subscribe to our mailing list.

I will not share your contact information with anyone unless you give me your explicit permission (for a specific job).

Where are you in your job search?

Where are you in your job search?

Typically people think:
I need to start looking for a job.

I need to update my resume’.

I need to write my elevator speech.

I need to apply for all the jobs I can find online that appeal to me.

I need to  talk with and network with recruiters.

I need to go to group functions and tell people my elevator speech.

I need to apply online to every job I think I can do.

I need to find a way to get someone to call me for interviews.

I need to prepare for interviews.

I need to ace the interviews.

What to do instead:

How job search really works

I know what my next job should be.

I know what skills I want to use in my next job.

I know which challenges I want to handle in my next job.

I know how to present myself online.

I know what I need in a company.

I know exactly which companies would suit me.

I know at least two people who work at those companies.

I know when I met and will meet with each of them.

I know what challenges each company is facing.

I know who is trying to handle the challenge at each company.

I know what to say to them.

I know when to follow up.

I know how to write a tailored resume for each job I want.

I know how to prepare for each interview.

I know what to say in each interview.

I know how to ask for the job.

I know what to do next.

I know how to keep up my network.

Need more help?

Click here for more information

How to get a CRA job, when you don’t have the experience called for

The full video can be seen here

Are you looking for a job that seems to be just one step ahead of you?

Wondering how to get a CRA job that requires experience you don’t yet have?

Ask yourself who has the information you need.

Who knows how to do it?  Well, it would be the people who have gotten that job!  So check them out on LinkedIn by looking up the job title you want and reviewing the people who currently have it.  What did they do before they had this job?  Check out that job on Indeed.com and look at the job description.  Could you do that one?  Do you have what they are asking for?  If so, harvest the keywords and use them in your profiles and applications.  If not, go back to LinkedIn and look at people who hold the job title you found in Indeed and see what they did before that.  “Rinse and repeat”.

Don’t lie to yourself about your skill set.

What skills do you actually have? What are they called in the industry you hope to join.  Do you really “own” them?  These are YOUR keywords.  Use them where ever you can.

Go after a job that uses your skills.

Go after a job that can lead you, through promotion or simply experience, to the job you really want.  There are plenty of jobs out there.  Your aim is what will determine what you can do!

get cra job

Join us for open office hours Wednesdays or Fridays or email me your questions to connie@biosciencejobkit.com

Which resume template?

resumeThere are over 13 million sites with resume format templates, so obviously there is no one right way to present your skills. 

Some of these sites want you to build your resume on their site so they can sell the product to recruiters in a resume database.  Some are built into MS Office or Google Docs. 

Since your resume is not really about you and is not your whole life on two pieces of paper, what is it for? 

A resume is a lure to get the hiring manager to want to speak with you, first on the phone or a video call and then in person.  It is a piece of marketing with an “invite me to speak to you” call to action. 

So what does your perfect hiring manager need to know to want to talk to you?  Of course it depends…

It depends on what industry you are in, what job you are applying for, what problem the hiring manager is trying to solve and what format works best for him/her. 

Graphics industry jobs need to have a very graphic resume, not a template, so that you can prove your graphics abilities.  A sales position needs numbers.  A professor needs a CV with all publications, books, chapters, etc.  A marketing person for a life science company needs to demonstrate real understanding of the industry as well as marketing acumen. 

But all of them will stand out much better if you know what problem the hiring manager needs to solve and the language, jargon or technical terms he prefers to use to describe it. 

As a recruiter, I prefer to receive resumes that include the name and contact information in the body of the document, not in the header or footer.  However, if you think that the resume will be printed out, putting your name and contact info in the footer of the 2nd page is not a bad idea.

You want the most powerful reasons for the hiring manager to want to talk with you to be on the top half of the first page of your resume, whether or not you use a cover letter. 

So ask yourself what the hiring manager really wants and needs to know.  What can you do for him?  What problem does he have that you have solved and want to solve again?  He doesn’t care what your career objectives are; those are your dreams.  He wants to know if you can help him reach his own dreams. 

After “hooking” him with 3-5 ways you can solve his problem(s), you need to prove it by showing (in reverse chronological order – latest one first) what you have done for your previous employers (that have to do with the hiring manager’s problem(s).  This also serves as social proof – someone else has benefited from your expertise and you learned even more there.  Show career progression and how you are now the master of solving his problem.

Some HR people want to see that you have all the requirements posted in the job description on the top half.  You do need to get past the applicant tracking system and HR to get your resume to the hiring manager’s desk if you apply through their website, however, it will be the hiring manager who decides who gets an interview.  If you get asked by the hiring manager or someone on his team for your resume, then having the right keywords is even more important.

The second page of a resume gets even less attention than the first page, usually just a glance to see if you have the degree required.

It is not until your resume is being compared, side by side with someone else’s that it is looked at carefully.  The first review is to eliminate the “off-target” ones.  

“Functional” resumes and other forms used to disguise your age or your unemployment time will not actually accomplish those tasks. They will make the first reviewer have to work harder to see if you are a fit for the job.  If you make the reviewer work hard, the resume will go to the bottom of the stack.  It is better to simply focus on your PAR Statements and “dragon-slaying stories” and be able to address the unemployment or “experience”.  Confidence is very attractive. 

While you must absolutely include only the truth about your experience, you do not have to include all of it. 

Ten years is usually the most you need.  If the job you are applying for is most related to what you did more than ten years ago, it may not actually be the right job for you.  You may need to look at the position again to see what problems you can solve that you have solved more recently. 

Once you do get to the interview, your resume will be used as a notepad by the interviewer.  So do leave enough white space and margins for note-taking.  Remember that most hiring managers are over 40 so don’t use tiny, hard-to-read fonts.  Do take a spare resume (printed on nice paper) to the interview with you.

Other than these points, it really doesn’t matter if you use one format over another as long as they are clearly laid out and easy to read.  

Remember that your resume is the last step before the interview.  Don’t forget the previous three steps!

Need a quick review of your resume?  Click Here!