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6 characters in search of an interview


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Dr. Richard Cook, former Vice President in Astra Zeneca and a Mentor/Organiser speaks about applying for a job in Life Sciences.

Published in: Recruiting & HR
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6 characters in search of an interview

  1. 1. Applying for a job in Life Sciences – from CV to Interview part 1 of 3 Part 1. Six characters in search of an interview – a CV for Life Science Why do you need a CV and what should it do for you? Our experienced speaker Richard Cook takes you through the basics of a successful CV, tailored for the Life Science indutry. Richard Cook holds a PhD in Parasite Immunology from Imperial College and has over thirty five years experience working in the Pharma-/Biopharmaceutical Industry in the UK, USA and Sweden. He has a background in Cellular Immunology with specialist knowledge of respiratory and allergic disease plus practical experience in all aspects of pharmaceutical drug discovery and development. Richard has extensive management experience leading multi- national project teams and facilitating industrial-academic collaborations. For over 25 years he has been mentoring scientific staff including PhD students and post-docs. He is currently an independent Consultant. MentLife seminar 8 December
  2. 2. Richard M Cook December 8, 2015 Six Characters in Search of an Interview A CV for Life Science
  3. 3. The Good News! • Unemployment level for PhD’s is low (approx 2%) • PhD’s consistently earn more than those with only a first degree, at all stages • Basic annual salary of PhD’s in industry is higher than that of full-time employees in academia and more than twice that of post- docs (US data, 2012)
  4. 4. 1970's 1990's 2010's 2015 Relative Change in Number of PhD’s graduating and Positions available in Industry over time new PhD's new positions Number of Science Doctorates increasing by 40% per decade (OECD countries) 300,000 people laid off in pharma industry between 2000 – 2010 (Forbes) Pharma industry 2nd ’ golden age’ driven by Bioscience revolution Consolidation and downsizing
  5. 5. Job Prospects for Newly Qualified PhD Scientists in the US Jordan Weissmann 2013
  6. 6. Why Do I Need a CV?
  7. 7. The Importance of First Impressions Why a CV for Academia is not the same as a CV for Industry Companies expect more than Scientific Excellence What are Transferable Skills and do you have them? What kind of Background Research have you done? The all-important Cover Letter
  8. 8. Your CV should be Consise, Focussed and Free from Errers First Impressions Count
  9. 9. Include the Basics • Contact details • Career objective statement (optional) • If included, should be short and precise –  To obtain a full-time position in a global pharma company that utilises my expertise in mass spectrometry –  To contribute to the alleviation of global suffering • Education and Academic Qualifications • Professional Experience (including teaching experience) • Publications & Presentations • Interests
  10. 10. Some Things you may wish to Avoid • First line of application: – Your search is over, I’m the man (sic) for the job • Under ’Interests’ – Drinking with my friends • Why do you want to work in Pharma?: – I’m interested in scientific research and I would like you to pay for it
  11. 11. Do’s and Don’ts Do – Use the CV as an opportunity to describe yourself and to distinguish yourself from others – Record things in reverse chronological order – Use active phrases – lots of ’I’ – Modify your CV to reflect the job you are applying for – Make sure your CV is easy to follow and ’tells a story’
  12. 12. Do’s and Don’ts Don’t – Use jargon, formulaic statements or obscure abbreviations
  13. 13. Do’s and Don’ts Don’t – Use jargon, formulaic statements or obscure abbreviations – Mislead – Have gaps in your history – Use someone else’s CV (or cover letter) as a template – Worry if you think your CV looks too thin
  14. 14. Know the Difference between a CV for Industry and a CV for Academia Are you applying for a job in Industry or University?
  15. 15. CV’s for Industry General Rules • CV should be short, sharp and to the point • Emphasize how your knowledge & achievements can be applied • Focus on skills necessary for the job you are applying for • Understand why companies often prefer Generalists to Specialists • Include non-scientific accomplishments • Emphasize transferable skills
  16. 16. Understand What Companies Expect and Why Are you worth investing in?
  17. 17. What do Companies Expect of New Applicants?  Very good degree and a PhD (or about to be awarded a PhD)  Track record of peer reviewed publications. A record of presenting at scientific meetings is expected  Candidates must be highly proficient in verbal and written English with outstanding communication skills  A basic understanding of drug discovery and development  Track record of pro-activity and creativity which has made an impact on the work of others  Ability to work effectively within a multidisciplinary team environment and mentor less experienced colleagues  Scientifically curious with a demonstrated ability to propose and explore new technologies
  18. 18. Ask yourself –Why should someone spend 2 years investing in me before any return on that investment?
  19. 19. Do You Have Transferable Skills? Skills for Life
  20. 20. • Teamwork • Decision-making • Communication • Working to deadlines • Leadership • Managing others • Resolving conflicts • Budgetary responsibilities • Problem solving • Clear thinking • Evidence of creativity, • Data management and interpretation Transferable Skills • Relevant to the job you are applying for • As applied as possible Scientific Skills Employers are often more interested in your ability to anticipate and solve problems than in your specialist knowledge
  21. 21. • Attributes You Should Possess – Hard-working – Reliable – Team player – Dedicated – Passionate – Strategic thinker – Results-driven – Dynamic • Words You Shouldn’t Use on a CV – Hard-working – Reliable – Team player – Dedicated – Passionate – Strategic thinker – Results-driven – Dynamic ?
  22. 22. Do Your Homework and Improve your Chances Importance of Background Research
  23. 23. • Send your CV to companies and ask to be put on their records • Talk with company scientists at national/international meetings • Utilise experience already gained and seek new skills outside of academia • Update LinkedIn etc. profile • Work with mentors from industry or academic mentors with industrial experience What To Do • The drug discovery and development process and where you fit into this • The company you want to work for – past, present and future • Differences in motivation between scientists in Industry versus Academia • Why broad-based skills are often preferred to specialist skills • Be aware of the current job market What To Know
  24. 24. To Post-Doc or not to Post-Doc? Consider a post-doc position if: • The career path you have chosen demands it • Having completed your PhD you still lack relevant knowledge and/or skills • You are having problems marketing yourself appropriately What kind of post-doc position should you consider? • Industry-sponsored preferred • Choose a different topic from your PhD • Different university from 1st or 2nd degree • Prestigious university and top-rated department • It won’t make getting a job any easier – you will just be competing with a different set of people! In the US <10% post-docs get tenure and many of the remaining 90% regard a job in industry as a second-best alternative. It isn’t!! In the UK only 7 out of 200 people completing a Science PhD will get a permanent academic post and only 1 will become a full professor (Royal Society 2010)
  25. 25. How Important is the Cover Letter? Starting to Get Personal
  26. 26. • Always include a cover letter along with your CV when applying for a specific job • This should be as personalised as your CV An application for a job to construct siege engines for Ludovico il Moro, Duke of Milan, 1482 Can you do better?
  27. 27. Is your Cover Letter as personalised as your CV? Have you done your Homework? What Transferable Skills can you demonstrate? Do you know what Companies expect of you? How and why do CV’s for Industry and Academia differ? What 1st impressions does your CV give? - Knowledge - Experience - Judgement
  28. 28. Adapted from: Ryan Raver, 2015 Skills Value Personality Customer & Team Focus What You Need To Demonstrate
  29. 29. End ‘I present myself to you in a form suitable to the relationship I wish to achieve with you’