Manage the bioscience interview

tip 49 - manage the bioscience interview

You got a bioscience interview! Congratulate yourself!  You have passed so many hurdles.

Now don’t blow it by being too eager! Be professional and take control of each bioscience interview from the beginning.

  • Choose a time to interview that will allow you to be completely up to speed.
  • See if they will give you the name of the person who will be interviewing you on the phone.  
  • Review what you are bringing to the table, but more important, what problem the company is trying to solve.  
  • Which of your dragon-slaying stories fits this job?  
  • Which words do you want on the tip of your tongue so you sound like a member of the tribe?  

Want to talk about it first?  Schedule a time here

Ten Secrets of a Successful Résumé

resumesGuest Blog by Pam Condie


The most important thing to keep in mind when building a résumé is its purpose:  answering the employer’s need for you to solve a problem he/she has that can’t be solved with his/her current staff.  That is the employer’s only interest in you.  Focus your résumé to answer his/her question.  That is what will get your foot in the door for a job interview.

  1.  Make your résumé long enough to tell your story but tell it succinctly.  There is a myth out in the ether that a résumé will not be read if it is longer than one page.  Wrong!  I have seen many résumés that had the life edited out of them because they were squeezed into a single page of small print – not appealing to the hiring manager.
  2.  When I worked in human resources I often found that hiring was a messy, frequently changing process.  Cover letters and résumés could get separated, particularly if we had received many responses to a job opening.  Be certain that all pages of your résumé as well as your cover letter have your name and contact information in the footer of each page.  At the bottom of your first page write “continued on next page” if you have a second page.   Otherwise the reader will not know if you have finished writing or if he/she should look around for a missing second page.
  3.  As they teach in accounting classes, “Check your work, check it and check it again.” Check for spelling and English errors.  A careless error can turn a reader off and damage your credibility as someone who pays attention to details.  Don’t depend on a software spelling feature to catch all mistakes.  The engineer who wrote the program was most likely not an English major.
  4.  Most human beings are lazy readers.  Be kind to them.  Make your font 11 or 12 point.  Smaller fonts are harder on the eyes.  Larger looks amateurish.
  5.  Times Roman is the most popular font in the US and allows more information per square inch than most others.  Pick it or one that is neither unusual nor fussy looking.  Keep things simple.
  6.  Since most people resist reading, especially reading long sentences and paragraphs, divide your résumé into smaller batches of information to invite the reader in.
  7.  The objective is the first piece of information at the top of the first page. A clear objective helps the human resources department track your document more easily.  It answers the employer’s question, “What do you want from me?”  Keep the objective brief, to the point and possibly slightly broad, i.e., “Director of Sales.” Keep in mind that you have an electronic copy of your résumé and can tweak the objective if you need to for other job openings.   (Connie disagrees with the use of objectives and feels you should have 3-5 bullet points that show the things that you can do, and like to do, that the employer needs for this job. Louise Goeckel, Let’s Go, suggests a headline like “Director of Sales known for _________ with talent in ________.”)
  8.  The first third of your first page is the most valuable real estate on your résumé.  The latest study shows that recruiters spend a maximum of six seconds screening your résumé for further review. State your case there in a career summary, the snapshot of your career.
  9.  Unless you are in the field of education, medicine or diplomacy or you are a new graduate, your education goes near the end of your résumé. If you had a college minor subject or a scholarship or an academic honor, do include it.
  10.  Community activities are nice to include at the end of the résumé. They demonstrate industry and the physical and mental energy for a balanced life. Be careful of mentioning activities with controversial groups here.  You never know where people’s prejudices lie in spite of what they say. (Connie disagrees.  Only include if you KNOW that the hiring manager does the same thing.)


Pam Condie is a former HR person and a Certified Professional Resume Writer who works with people from all industries to clarify and write their next resume.  She can be reached at

Objectives on Resumes

Resume with no objectivesResumes are advertisements designed to get you an interview, not your personal mission statement.

Having an objectives on your resume still has quite a bit of noise on the internet. I think that it is a waste of space.  The company, the hiring manager and the HR person want to know if you can solve the problem they are hiring someone to solve.  Only your mother cares about your future personal development at this moment.

I used to say that if you must have an objective let it be the title of the job you are applying for so I can use it as a tag.

But even this is a waste of space.  You only get 10 seconds of viewing by the first few people who actually look at it (click here for what happens before that). If they have to think about what it is you do and where you might fit in the company, they will put you on the bottom of the pile.  Your resume is really not about you.  It is about their problem and what you can do to solve it.

Hiring managers and HR people are NOT career coaches, especially for people who are not yet contributing to the bottom line.

Here is some more advice on this issue.

Do you have an objective on your résumé?  Why?

Resumes Profiles Keywords – did you miss it?

Re-recording of Resumes Profiles Keywords

We had a great time talking about Resumes Profiles Keywords, but I mangled the tech.  So this is a re-recording, unfortunately without the delightful conversation.  

We had questions about LinkedIn Headlines and how personal to make your LI Profile, about how to move from academia to industry, and more.  Please put yours questions here and I will get them answered asap!

Do you make these 3 mistakes in your job search?

mistakes in job search

sitting on the couch, alone, looking for a job

Without a plan it is possible to make way too many mistakes in your job search!

Mistake 1:

Do you work like a dog on creating the “perfect” resume, formatting, spell-checked, every job you have ever had? How many hours do you sweat over it?

What to do instead:

Fill out your LinkedIn Profile completely – add files, docs, slideshows, links where ever reasonable.  Use your industry’s keywords and write in first person.  Be yourself – you want a job that fits you, not that generic person described in a generic resume.  Use parts of this Profile on all of your online properties: G+, Twitter, Facebook, etc.  Be sure that there is a way for people you don’t already know or are not already connected with you can reach you.

Mistake 2:

Mail a generic resume (that you wrote in mistake 1) to every one you can think of.  Or hire a service to write a cover letter and send it (without an email address) on fancy paper to every recruiter they can find.   I call this the “message in a bottle” method.  It won’t get you rescued.

What to do instead:

Target, target, target!  Know what, exactly, you want and can do next.  Know who has that job.  Ignore the job postings that don’t fit.  Don’t spam your relatives or friends with a generic resume. 

Mistake 3:

Spend all your job search time online applying to any job that looks even vaguely appropriate.

What to do instead:

Do review the jobs at the companies you think have your job and see what their keywords are.  If, and only if, you have at least 85% of the requirements, do apply online and send a tailored resume for that particular job.  AND spend most of your job search time networking with the people in that company and in that department.


Join us for more about this topic on Wednesdays at 11:30 am Pacific

Parts of a resume



The format of a resume is really a marketing technique.  You want it to be clear and legible, to lead the eye to the most striking thing about how you fit the bill, but don’t make it hard to read your name and contact info.  Don’t put these in the Header.  You can put name and contact info in the footer of the 2nd page.  Also, don’t make the hiring manager attack a “wall of text”.  Make it easy to read.  There are many, many resume formats available online.  There are even infographic ones.  But bear in mind that a resume is not a piece of art.  It is a practical business document.

Here is what you need on a resume:

  • Your name (and degree if appropriate – PhD, MD, SPHR, etc.)  
  • Your location (you don’t really need a street address at this point)
  • Contact information – phone number (mobile is fine if you answer it professionally) and email (also professional, not silly or flirty)
  • Then 3 – 5 bullet points of how you can solve that hiring manager’s problem, using his language and jargon and keywords.  Only list the things you “own” and like to do – there is no point in advertising for a job you don’t want.  If you feel the need to title this, call it “Summary”.
  • Then reverse chronological order (latest one at the top, oldest at the bottom) of the jobs you have done with their dragon slaying stories
  • Put your education at the bottom. 

You don’t need to list more than 10 years of job history unless this hiring manager’s problem was one you totally slayed more than 10 years ago and the skills have not decayed.  You don’t need to list jobs of less than a year, but be prepared to explain the time gaps, or list them and the problem that you learned from. 

You get 2 pages only. 

And 6 seconds on the top half of the first page to grab the hiring manager’s interest. 

A resume is a summary, a sketch, not your curriculum vitae or your whole life on two pieces of paper. 

Some HR people say that the format should be different if you are applying online and through the Applicant Tracking System.

In this case you want:

  • Name and degree
  • Location
  • Contact info
  • The requirements that you own (this may be your education) that are listed in the job posting.
  • Skills (software programs, tools, etc.) relevant to the job
  • Then the reverse chronological order of the jobs you have done. 

This makes it easier for the computer or the HR person to eliminate those who don’t have the skills required.  Always use the keywords you found in the job posting.  Neither the computer nor the HR person is an expert in your field and will not recognize synonyms. 

Remember that a resume is designed to get you the first interview, not the job.  It will be used as a notepad for the interviewer, so give them the white space to write the answers to the questions they will ask.  And the interviewer will probably be older than 40 so use at least a 12 point typeface.

Don’t include:

  • A picture (that goes on your LinkedIn Profile)
  • Your marital status or how many children you have
  • Your nationality, gender or sexual preference
  • Your age

Resumes that include these things will be trashed before you even get an interview as you could take legal action if you don’t get the job, saying it was based on these protected classes.

Also, don’t include:

  • “You can get all you need on my online profile”.  Don’t make it hard on the interviewer!
  • Your hobbies and extracurricular activities – they really only want to know that you can solve their problem, unless you know for a fact that the hiring manager does it too.

Do include:

  • Languages you speak professionally
  • The fact that you are authorized to work in the US (green card) if you are, or your visa status.
  • Your military background, if any

And remember, you are so much more than your resume!

If you need some help with this, click here 

Related Articles

What is a resume?

Your Resume is NOT About You

3 Myths About a Great Biotech Resume


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

In fact it is not even who you know, it is who knows you! And your skills and experience.

How can you be known?  How do you want to be known?  Who do you want to know you? 

No one can hire you if they don’t know who you are.  There are an estimated 7+Billion people in the world today.  Neither you nor the manager at the company you want to work for can know all of them.  Neither of you want to. 

We all have our “tribe”, our inner and outer circles.

As you move through your life, many people know you and you have met even more.  It is unlikely that your closest circle has a job for you.  If someone did, you would have it already.  The next circle of who you know also probably doesn’t have a job for you although these are the ones we usually think of when we talk about networking to get a job.  It is the people you don’t know who have the jobs.  And even when you do your research and figure out who they are, they don’t know you (yet).

How can you be known?  It used to be that a generic resume was all it took.  Or perhaps having your name dropped by someone in the company.  Or being the hiring manager’s neighbor or his son’s friend. Now we have to be sharper. who you know who knows you? what is your calling card?

LinkedIn is your new “generic resume” and your G+ hover card is your new “calling card”, those 1700’s precursors of business cards that people left at the door when they went visiting.  People will look you up.  You have to have these profiles. 

How are you presenting yourself on all of your social media profiles? 

But that is not enough.  How many of those 7 Billion people also want the job you want?  How can you move from the hiring managers’ ocean of “complete strangers” to their circle of “I’ve heard of him/her”? 

Just sending a generic resume is not good enough. How can you expect them to find you (when they don’t know your name) out there in the social media ocean is like putting a note in a bottle to get rescued from that island Tom Hanks was shipwrecked on. 

Need help writing your profile? Book a short coaching session!

Check out the Free LinkedIn Bioscience Checklist or book a review of your Profile

revised 4/20/17


Before you start your job search

Are you currently looking for your next job?

Or will you be looking in 2019?

Before you start your job search

Before you start your job search, what can you do now?  Most people start with writing a resume, not realizing that a resume is really a piece of advertising and a scratch pad for the interviewer.  This is really starting at the end.

Since finding a job is really a sales job where you only have to make one sale (at least right now!).  But you can take a page from the sales and marketing training book – you need to know who your potential “customers” are and, even more importantly, what your “product” is and what the “features and benefits” of that “product” are.

What are you “selling”?

So you need to take out a piece of paper/open a document and start a list of all your skills

  • What can you do?
  • What are your experiences? 
  • What problems have you solved? 
  • And, sure, what are your credentials? 

This list is NOT a resume.  Keep this list/spreadsheet in your computer so you can select from it when you write your profiles and resumes.  There may be some skills on your list that you don’t want to be doing in your next job.  You may see some gaps that you need to fill before looking for the next step on your career path.

Speaking of your career path, where are you going?

What is the ultimate goal for your career?  What job to you ultimately want to retire from?  Are you now a research scientist and you dream of running your own company?  Or would you prefer to be safely ensconced in a large, profitable pharmaceutical company with your own team working on a particular therapeutic area?  How many steps and titles are you away from your dream?  What would be your next step?  You can always change directions if you take that step and find that it just is not a fit.

Only you can answer these questions and they really are the questions that really need to be answered before you begin looking for the companies you might want or networking.

For more help, click here

4 Things You NEED to know to get a good job

Do you have a complete list of your skills and expertise?