What job do you want next?

https://biosciencejobkit.com/my-jobAre you starting over or just out of school?  Do you want to get away from your major or your last job?  Or are you basically pretty happy with the general field, but need to move to a different company (or your first one)?

If you don’t know what you want to do for a career, then the career tests can be a real help in deciding what direction to go in.  After all, you can’t go in ALL directions, you have to pick one.  You can change later. 

But if you like being a scientist or in business development for therapeutics, or whatever, you still need to decide what you want for your next career step.   Staying in the same position at the same company (and salary) for your whole career just is not happening these days, especially in the biosciences industries.  Even the multinational pharmaceuticals have downsized, right-sized, refocused, spun-out, etc., etc.  And the smaller, more exciting biotechs may or may not grow into big companies. 

Every Job is Temporary

As JT O’Donnell  says, “Because every job is temporary”  you have to plan your own career.  Most jobs in our bioindustry last from 3-5 years.  If you start working in industry at 30 (after you have your PhD, say) and work until Social Security kicks in (now at age 72), you will have 42 years of a career or  8 to 14 different jobs.  You have to be on top of your career planning.  No one else will do it for you.

You don’t have to plan all of those jobs, but it really helps to have a direction in mind.  If, for now, you want to be in the biopharma/medical device/diagnostics/life science industries, then you need to know what you bring to the table and what that group of skills is typically called.  Also you need to know what people with those skills do, learn, produce, invent, etc. 

Once you have your list of skills, expertise and keywords in a spreadsheet in your computer, you can decide which ones you want to use in your next job, which ones you want to develop, and which ones you need to add and want to learn in your next job. 

Pull these out of your spreadsheet and think about what you would call the person who can do these things.  Use that for a working title – It might be “Scientist” or “Manager of QA” or “CEO of a 15 person company”. 

Now go look for that title on LinkedIn or Indeed.com or Biospace.com.  Compare the skills you have with the skills someone who has the title you thought would fit demonstrates and the jobs that a posted.  Are you missing any skills?  Can you step the title down a notch?  Or do you have more?  What would be the next step up? 
All companies put different emphasis on different skills in their job descriptions and expectations. 

Now think about what you want to do on a day to day basis.  What do you want to do, learn, produce, invent, etc.? What skills do you own that you want to use?

Have you already done these things?  Or is it a stretch?  Would you hire you with this title? 
Write out a job description for your next job.  And keep notes for the one after that.  Do these jobs lead you to where you want your career to go? 

If you don’t have any particular career ambitions or a long view, what is it that you want to accomplish in your lifetime?  Is this job a step towards or away from that?

“A job, any job” will not usually take you toward your goal, even as it puts food on the table.  And remember that companies don’t hire for your sparkling personality (or your desperation) but because they have a problem they need someone to solve.  What problems do you want to solve?

Only you can answer these questions.  Find a worksheet here. But if you need a hand, a questioner, a person to hold you accountable to yourself, let me know!

Please email your questions or comments today at connie@biosciencejobkit.com or sign up for your first free career step consultation if we have not yet spoken.

How Can I Customize My Bioscience Online Job Search


  1. Jim Barkley says

    At present Emeryville Chamber too expensive. I suppose itis possible to attend their functions as a visitor?

    • Connie Hampton says

      Joining groups is really about finding your “tribe”. Check out lots of groups, don’t join until you are sure that they need what you have to offer and that you need what they have to offer. Since I am so specialized in bioscience industries, I don’t belong to the Chambers as they tend to be more about retail or small business. I do attend the Berkeley/Emeryville bioscience events and BioScience Forum and Bio2Device (when I can get down to Sunnyvale). Which groups would be best for you? Have you checked out MeetUps? Where else can you find the calendars of the groups that would be for your tribe?

      • Jim Barkley says

        Meet Ups. yup.
        Mostly Marin.One other one that seems to have faded out.
        Rejoining Unitarian group here in San Rafael.
        Was a member in Santa Rosa until they brought in a minister who turned me off.
        Center for Volunteer Leadership here in Marin.
        Slated to lead volunteer project in Forrest Knolls tomorrow with a group that restores habitat for salmon and steel head. SPAWN part of Turtle Island.
        Joined a couple of hiking groups. Haven’t found time yet for those.
        I think most people think i am working at Macy’s to supplement retirement.
        The architect who helped me finish the house. We had lunch recently my turn.
        Said he would refer me to a man he built a building for his business for. Involves hops.
        We decided we’d wait until I had the right kind of resume to ask for suggestions on. Informational interview you know.

  2. Let’s just say that at 62 I now have for the first time a 15 year plan. I am trying to determine how best to make the next step to put myself in line for a Financial Planning & Analysis position with a, bricks and mortar primarily, consumer products or retail organization. I have what some people think is a too varied background. I prefer to see it as one that has done different things and would probably be best suited in a small to middle sized, entrepreneurial firm that is growing and adding locations.

    • Connie Hampton says

      Wonderful! Have you fully developed your skills list so that you know what you bring to the table? Do you have the criteria for a good “small to middle sized, entrepreneurial firm that is growing and adding locations”? Do you have the list of who they are and where they are?

      Go for it, Jim! It is never too late to network!


      • those are 2 things I need help with defining.

      • I need to find someone like you who specializes in the fields I would like to pursue. Possible energize and focus on what companies and who to talk to to determine where I am relative to their needs and what I need to improve.

        • Connie Hampton says

          Excellent! I’m in the biopharma space so probably not me. What connections on LinkedIn could help you find someone?

          • You are a more substantial contact than most of the rest of the people on my list. How would you go about enticing someone with you experience say in consumer goods and retail with knowledge of the region bounded by Emeryville, Oakland, Berkeley, Eastern & Western Marin, Eastern & Western Sonoma south of Healdsburg, Napa City and San Francisco. (Likely in that order) Answer this if you care to after you have looked at my LinkedIn Profile. Problem I have to overcome. The direction I want my career to head in is not one I have followed recently. World Savings and before (early 1990’s) The period since was mostly me following conventional wisdom, trying to be something I am not an Accountant. Three things are common to those things I am good at working with people(1) to make things happen(2) and solve problems(3). Like working with companies that either make something or sell something tangilke.

          • Connie Hampton says

            Do you belong to the Emeryville Chamber of Commerce? Attend the many events the city has? What consumer goods groups are there that meet in Emeryville or the other cities you list?

            Have you listed your skills? Do you know which ones you want to use in your next job? What companies use that complex of skills? What do they call it – what title? Where do the people at these companies hang out? What trade meetings do they go to? Do you go to those too?

            Networking takes time. Finding the needle in the haystack is time consuming, but will teach you so much that you can share with the people you are networking with.

      • The two things are:
        1. Who they are/where they are?
        2. What they need?

        • Connie Hampton says

          Start with your criteria for your ideal company – where they are, what they do, size, etc. Then, if you don’t want to relocate at this time (you can always do so later), draw a circle on the map of a reasonable commute. Look up the companies on Google maps, and/or LinkedIn (use the Advanced Search button on LI). Start a spreadsheet with the name of the company, address, website, what they do, etc.

          Finding out what they need is not likely to be online. For that you need to do some face to face networking with the people inside the company. First with someone you know or is known to someone you know. Take them out for coffee and ask how they like working there. Find out if the company should stay on your top ten list. If it does, then ask to be introduced to the person who is trying to do his job AND your job. Arrange a networking meeting with him – not an interview, not even an informational interview – NETWORKING! You want to find out what his problems are, if they are ones you can solve and If you want to – we all have solved problems we never want to see again!
          You want to present yourself as the expert in solving HIS problem: Listen very carefully, ask good questions using the language/jargon/geekspeak he is using and then offer some part of the solution “When I was at X company, we had a similar issue (all problems are unique to those who can’t solve them). They tried X, but that did not work. I suggested Y and it did”
          Then shake his hand and say “What an interesting problem! How fun to work on it!” And then:
          Follow up, follow up, follow up!!

          • How do you develop a network when your own network, of people you know face to face, has fizzled, Say as if you are moving to a new town. If by chance someone I connect with knows someone I know ok. But at this point I have a shortened timeline and prefer to plan for the worst. So as not to depend on something that may not be there?

          • Connie Hampton says

            Hi, Jim,
            Networking is more about making new friends than it is like interviewing. Like going to a high school dance, you don’t want to lurk at the entrance and grab someone and drag them to the dance floor. You need to be where the people you want to meet are, be interested in them as people and give at least 4 times before you ask for something. Be generous! Introduce yourself as new to the venue/group/city and ask how they like it. Focus on them more than on you. See the positive and comment on it.

          • Jim Barkley says

            I have no trouble diving in. Example the Unitarian work crew on Saturday. I do however have trouble at large events.My hearing is so bad that often such places are just big walls of noise. I have been trying to get people on my LinkedIn network who feel free to endorse me to sit down face to face for 15 minutes.For example a senior individual at Lawrence Berkeley. Just to talk, generally, about working at their place or to ask for suggestions on how to proceed beyond their place. No luck so far.

          • Jim Barkley says

            As for what job do I want next. I have example of a job posting. I didn’t get my stuff in soon enough. But it it from a bricks and mortar business that will be building more bricks and mortar and since I have experience in bricks and mortar – construction, and real estate analysis I am I think about 80% of the way to being that person right now. I may not be doing the bricks and mortar but I can talk to them and relate. Would be a blast. And I am usually better when I have to move and stretch.

          • Jim Barkley says

            I will go to the Emeryville Chamber this week and join. If the guy from France who runs that furniture restoration is a member. I will have at least on friend. He is a magician. He helped with some chairs I bought years ago at the Gardener in Berkeley. So people came to a party and stood up on the seats. Well I have a destination.