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

 before your job search

Do you ever feel like this
when you start a job search? 

Most people who find that they need to do a job search start at the end with a resumes and wonder why it is not working.  Yes, you will eventually need a resume but before you even begin to write a resume, you need:

1: A spreadsheet where you keep your skill set and what you know

2: A spreadsheet of the companies that use those skills

3: A spreadsheet of your career network

Notice that I say spread sheet and not just a list.  There are lots of details that will steer your job search and allow you to control the course of your career.

The first list should have all of the skills you have that you want to be paid for.  We can all wash a dish and tie a shoelace, but perhaps you want to use your Southern Blot skills more than your dish-washing ones.  So the content of this list should be as complete as you can make it.  These are like the LinkedIn “Skills and Experiences” list that you can be “endorsed” for.  It will also become the source list for your resumes.  Note where and when you learned each skill and where you used it last.  Include a column for any metrics you can for each.


Skill Learned Date Learned where Last used date Last used where Metrics
tie shoes I was 6 at home this morning at home 100’s of broken shoe lace

Can you think of any other fields?

 The second spreadsheet needs to summarize the companies that you like:

Company City/State What they do Why I like them Contact info Website Priority
Hampton & Associates Oakland/CA Recruiting for biotech small company, great people 510-601-1343 www.hamptonexecutivesearch.com  


The third one is the real gold.  Who do you know who either works at each of the above companies or knows someone who works there:

Name Relationship Contact info Where they work When I last spoke with them details contacted for my search
Connie Hampton friend 510-601-1343 connie@hamptonexecutivesearch.com Or to schedule a time to discuss this list: Click here
Hampton & Assoc.


We talked about her need for web and social media help and a possible barter  X

 Want to discuss this?
Click Here

Related articles

Where is my Bioscience Job? How can I find it?

What you need at a bioscience networking event

Your bioscience networking kit:

Do you carry these bioscience networking tools in your pocket?

Your Business Cards

business card image

(Vistaprint.com or Moo.com)

  • It should have your name, with letters if you have them (PhD, MD, MBA, etc.)
  • Your Headline/tagline (from your LinkedIn or G+ Profiles)
  • How to contact you:
    • Mobile or Google phone number
    • Email address (dignified or just for job search – @gmail.com or even @yahoo.com or @hotmail.com)
    • Your LinkedIn URL:  www.linkedin.com/in/yourname

(How to get your very own LinkedIn URL)

A business card holder

Your phone

– to capture info – get their mobile number and text to them immediately:

I don’t answer calls from people I don’t know.  Perhaps you don’t either.  I really enjoyed talking with you  today at (insert meeting name here) – Your name


Nice name tag

on your right shoulder or lapel, near your face:

Pocket for the cards you collect

with a pen to make a note on the card about the person, the topic of conversation, the event and


perhaps a calendar

or your phone to actually schedule a 1 on 1 coffee meeting

Breath mints

Hand sanitizer


But most of all : A plan for that event

Want to discuss your plan?  Schedule a call here


Business Cards – the more the better: Myth #4

4 Networking Meeting Don’ts

Problem of not having tools for your job search


sitting on the couch, alone, looking for a job

When you begin to think about starting a job search, do you look first at the tools you have to accomplish this project?

What tools do you use?  I’d love your comments.

I recommend a number of spreadsheets, your address books, Google and your calendar, among other tools.

There are also free websites with tools: 

What do you use?  Please add a comment!

If all of this seems just too overwhelming, book a call with me and let’s talk about what will work for you!


Job Search Tip #24

Slide24 600x450

What is a keyword?

and what does it have to do with me?

Do you have trouble writing your resume or your online profiles? Do you sit down and simply get overwhelmed?  There are thousands of words in English, which ones express what you do in a way that will attract the right employer?  Do you even know what employer you want to attract? 

First, what words and synonyms are used for your skills and expertise?  These are your “keywords”.  Since the internet and Google have been indexing the world in terms of keywords, we have all had to learn how to use them.  When you type “Divergence” into the Google search bar, you will get only those pages that have to do with Divergence and the top ones will be about the new movie.  Divergence has become a keyword.  But this is also true of “jobs AND (HR OR “Human Resources”)” – the Boolean string for looking for HR jobs. 



Knowing what your keywords are means that you will not waste your time looking at jobs that don’t use your skills and expertise.  Knowing what the synonyms for each one means that you won’t miss any. 

These are the words you need to use in your online profiles (LinkedIn, G+, etc.) and in your resumes and cover letters.  You may also need to use them in your follow up emails and thank you notes.  Of course, you need to use them in good, clear, well-thought out English sentences that demonstrate that you know what they mean and that you are well familiar with their usage and context.  You will use them in your PAR statements and when you talk with people in your career network.  But you probably will NOT use them when you talk with people who are not in your industry as they can sound like Geek or jargon. 

Can you list your top ten keywords?

How to use a highlighter pen

highlighterFor your job search

More and more companies, recruiters and savvy job seekers are using keywords to be a net in the ocean of data on the internet.  Where do you get these keywords? 

The best way to identify your particular keywords is to look in your resume, your CV, your performance reviews and in job postings that are right for you in detail but not in location.  You can either print them out and use a highlighter pen to mark all the important words or cut and paste the text into wordcounter.net. These are the non-fluff words, like protein, expression, purification. Try out the wordcounter.net site by going to Indeed.com and putting in your next job title and a location that you are sure you DON’T want (for this exercise).  Copy and paste to the wordcounter.net site and see what comes up. Put your resume and then your LinkedIn Profile into the site.  The top ten most common words will come up.

Are these your preferred keywords? 

Are they the same as the ones in the job posting you have reviewed?  Why or why not?  Remember that job postings can be as well or poorly written as your LI profile or resume. 

If you don’t have at least 85% of the keywords in a job posting, think very hard about submitting your resume for that job.  Is it because your resume needs work or because the job posting does not include obviously needed skills?   

Remember that companies hire to solve a problem. 

Technical or scientific jobs will use technical and scientific terms.  Yes, soft skills like “adaptable” or “crisis management” are needed but are overused and don’t show the candidate what the job is actually about or the recruiter what the candidate has actually done.  Try not to use them, at least in your resume.  Make these earn their place in your public profiles and resumes.

Once you have your list of “hard” skills, you can craft sentences in your profiles, resumes and cover letters that speak directly to the job you want to do. Why Dragon-Slaying Stories? This will allow recruiters (both in-house and third-party) to connect with you the most likely candidate and you to not waste time applying for jobs that you are not qualified for. 

Remember that “a job, any job” does not exist. 

Companies don’t have “any job” available.  They have very specific ones which need very specific skills as identified by very specific keywords.  What are yours?

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

The Right Tools for the Job

tools 3My Dad was a woodworker.  He built furniture. My Mom was a homemaker and baker.  Both of them would always get out the tools and materials needed before they started a project. 

Job search, if nothing else, is a project.  It is not simply a wish.  What tools and materials do you gather to accomplish this project?

The materials you will use are your skills, expertise, desires, career goals, etc.  These will always be unique to each person. 

The tools you use will be used over and over again.  Jobs may only last 3-5 years these days, so you will be doing job search projects at least 6 times in your working life.

The most useful tool is your professional network and the means you use to keep track of it and maintain it. 

I use:

  • Outlook to track my scheduled meetings, calls and coffee dates
  • Access to keep my lists and data (I have all the people I’ve ever talked with about jobs, their contact info, where they work and what their title is, sometimes who their boss is)
  • Excel (as the way to put the info into Access or instead of Access)
  • MailChimp  and AceOfSales to manage my regular emails and newsletter,
  • LinkedIn to keep up with some of my network (not all use it!),
  • Facebook mostly for my non-career network (grandson pictures! And politics!),
  • Google+ to explore this amazing platform and as a supplement to LI and FB
  • Twitter to join the conversations,
  • Pinterest to stay informed visually
  • YouTube to connect with people who prefer this media
  • and some specialized sites like Biowebspin. 

I also use the US Postal Service and cards that my sister makes by hand (such art!). 

But these are general tools, useful for many things.

For a job search, you may want specialized tools like JibberJobber or SuccessHawk.  Although these may be the “mini doughnut maker” or the “120 piece diamond tip carving burr set”, those tools you lust after but never actually use. 

You will also want some lists, checklists and templates.

  • Lists of your skills, the tasks you are competent in and like doing, your expertise, your keywords
  • PAR statements for each problem you have solved
  • Checklists of the process of job search
  • Resume templates
  • Follow up content templates

If you are starting a job search this year, what tools do you already have?  What tools do you need to acquire?  Have you gathered your materials before you start?

Tell me what you prefer!

Looking for work – Prep 2

Microsoft Excel spreadsheet

Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take the “ideal next job” description that you wrote and look for the companies in your chosen geography, industry, etc. that would employ or do employ such a person.

Make a list in a spreadsheet with phone number, address, website  and rank it.

Which are your top ten?  Why?  Write that in your spreadsheet.

Click here for a sample:  My Companies Spreadsheet

This is actually a time-consuming task, but it will be most useful.  Check each website and see what the company is doing.  Read their press releases.  This is your industry and you already know quite a bit, but brush up.

Then decide which ones look best to you.

Have at least 20 companies on this list.  You may never get to #20 but you may need to promote some companies and demote others.

Careers in Biotech and Drug Development


Careers in Biotechnology and Drug Development

Hi, I’m Connie Hampton here at Hampton and Associates Scientific and Executive
Search Services.  Today I’m reviewing a book by my friend Toby Freedman called Career Opportunities in Biotechnology and Drug Development.

She describes each of over 100 positions, talks about what each one entails and describes career tracks, typical days, pros and cons, salary and challenges and what you need to excel in each.  She talks about how they all fit together in a company.

I highly recommend this book for both job seekers and for HR people who need to write position descriptions for hiring – especially if a particular role is new to you.

You can get this book from Cold Spring Harbor Lab Press or through Amazon.

7 Essential Actions at Every Networking Event

Do you go to networking events and wonder what to do?

Make a plan!

1.  Get the attendee list early, if you can, and look up the people you are most interested in.

If you can get the list of attendees before the meeting, you can look them and their companies up online and have even more to ask about.  And you can approach the people you have already decided you want in your network.

2.  Get there early and look over the room, the venue and the crowd. 

Get there early enough to find the bathroom (you never know when someone else will need that bit of information) and look over the room.  You may find that you are a bit overdressed and could remove your jacket or otherwise change your appearance.

3. Speak to every person standing by themselves.

They are probably a bit nervous and will be glad to have someone approach them or, if it is early, they will not yet be in a large group.

4. Build their network too

Remember that you are building both your own network and theirs, so see if you know anyone who might be of interest to them.

5. Give and gather at least 3 cards. 

Aim for at least 3 cards from every event, but raise that as you get more comfortable.  There is a limit – you don’t want to simply rush from person to person, grabbing cards.  You will need to respond to each one of them within a few days so don’t get more than you can reply to. (more on this in another post)  Take enough cards for when people approach you!

6.  Ask them what they do and what is happening at their company.

People love to talk about themselves and what they do.  Let them start first – some people will never ask what you do, putting you ahead of the game by getting information from them. You may not even need that “elevator speech” you sweated over.  It could go, “I see that you are from X company – what do you do there?”  What you are giving at this point is attention and interest – and we all need both of those!  Don’t approach someone and beg or deliver your sales pitch – they don’t know yet if they care about you at all.  Remember that equal exchange – no one hires because you need a job.

7.  Approach and speak with the speaker

Comment on something that they said, ask a question for further clarification and get their card.  Make notes on the back of the card and send an email the next day.

What do you usually do?