For managers, the new year is typically a mix of emotions. On the one hand, it’s an exciting time as people feel more energized after the holiday break and are enthusiastic about the year ahead. It can even bring a sense of relief–the prior year is rearview and there’s an opportunity for a fresh start.
On the other hand, the new year can be daunting with new initiatives and budgets, and the pressure to make it all happen quickly. On top of that, there’s the stress of reviews and hiring that typically come this time of year. In general, the new year brings a renewed sense of pressure to keep everyone above and below happy.
With some preparation, the New Year doesn’t have to be so overwhelming. You can harness that New Year optimism by making resolutions that will allow you to start on the right foot and stay there. Let us help you get started. We suggested a few resolutions for managers and pulled helpful links.
Give effective feedback during performance reviews. In 2020, think of ways you can give your employees more effective feedback on their performance. If there is something your employee needs to work on, remember to focus on changeable behaviors rather than personality traits and work together to brainstorm a clear action plan for improvement. Even if your review is positive, try to be as specific as possible so that the compliments feel genuine and personalized.
Show your team you appreciate their hard work. Research shows that people do more for people who appreciate them. Everybody gets busy with the fast pace of biotech, so try setting a monthly calendar reminder to bring in a treat for the team or add a final to-do list item after a presentation to thank the team members who contributed.
Update your job descriptions. In 2020, try adding a sentence or two to your job descriptions that give it some flair. Most job descriptions are fairly generic and don’t highlight much of what sets your company apart or give job seekers an idea of the company culture.
Plan the recruitment cycle for the year. Don’t get caught scrambling to fill a role during the busy season. Start the recruitment cycle ahead of time so you can give some thought to who you are looking to add to your team. You will be able to find better candidates by thinking about things like cultural fit ahead of time.
Make time to review the accomplishments and the goals of the department. In the fast-paced world of biotech, it can be easy to get caught in maintenance mode where you are constantly executing and not thinking about the bigger picture. The New Year is the perfect time to reflect on all that your team has done, and plan for the year ahead.
Do any of these resolutions resonate with you more than others? If so, why?
Whenever you ask someone how to best present yourself in a job application or interview they will often respond with ideas such as “dress for the job you want” or “perfect your elevator speech.” While these are important aspects of the job hunt, there are additional parts of this process that you should be aware of. Based on personal experience and advice directly from hiring managers, here are a few points to keep in mind during your job search.
With the rise of social media, it is very easy to do a quick Google search to find out more about a candidate’s background — professional and personal. Make sure there is no inappropriate content associated with your profiles before inviting hiring teams to delve into your digital life. You need to establish and grow your personal brand as much as possible to accurately reflect who you are and why employers should be interested in you. Hiring managers do not want to see a candidate who frequently posts offensive or vulgar content. Always make sure to put your best foot forward — on and offline.
Remember to always be as polite as possible and practice the rules of good etiquette when you are at a potential employer’s office. This might sound like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by how many people show up for in-person interviews and act cocky and disrespectful. While it is crucial to have confidence in yourself and your work, an inflated ego is a major deterrent for many employers.
Anyone you talk to at the company is a potential reference for you — good or bad. If you come into the office and are rude to the front desk, they will pass that information along to the hiring team. Also, people underestimate the importance of your behavior towards recruiters; but it is a recruiter’s job to be well connected. If you leave a negative impression, you will not only lose their interest, but you are also effectively burning bridges to all the people in that recruiter’s network.
When you find a job that looks like a good fit, try and track down someone on LinkedIn who you know from that company or someone who might be able to introduce you to a current team member. In doing so, you have the potential to receive an internal referral for the position as well as establish a rapport with the team.
Reaching out to current employees shows initiative and that you are willing to go the extra mile to get the job. That being said, do not email every single person from the company and do not email them too frequently. You want to maintain a healthy balance of correspondence, meaning that if you talked with someone on a Monday afternoon, don’t call them back Tuesday morning to see if there are any updates. Additionally, you don’t want to turn into a ‘stalker’ candidate. If you call the front desk, the hiring manager, and the recruiters every day about the same position, they probably won’t want to work with you in the future.
Passion and attitude can really sell hiring managers on a candidate. It is very evident when someone is truly excited about a position or the research a company is doing. If an interviewee comes in with a lukewarm attitude, that will be reflected in how the hiring team sees your potential at the company. At the end of the day, anyone can accomplish a task, but it takes a passionate person to become an integral part of a company.
Looking for more tips to help you find the perfect job faster? Check out the Sci.bio blog now!
Researching salary trends can give you a better understanding of the right number to shoot for when you are accepting a new job, as well as what increases you might expect as you’re advancing in your career. There are a handful of websites that can help you do your homework on your respective field. Many of these are free for job-seekers, including Salary.com, PayScale, CareerOneStop, Indeed, and Glassdoor. PayScale is a great resource for compensation information based on career field, industry and geographic location. Both hiring managers and job seekers can use it to better align their offers and expectations with others in the industry. Today, I’ve decided to dive into the salary data for research scientists in biotechnology and explore what it reveals about the current state of employment in this field.
The data is based on a survey of 2,349 scientists working in the field. While that sample size is not huge, it is large enough to be significant and revealing.
The median salary of the respondents was $83,341, with the lowest reported salary coming in at $52,000 and the highest at $114,000. Many of these scientists also received some sort of bonus, profit sharing, or commission, however, these did not have a huge impact on total compensation.
PayScale estimates that Cambridge, MA and San Francisco, CA are the highest paying cities in the United States. They offer average salaries 18% (Cambridge) and 21% (SF) higher than the national average.
The Payscale data also revealed some interesting and unexpected insights about the career trajectory for research scientists in the biotech industry.
For instance, the average salary for entry-level professionals with less than five years of experience was $80,000 (just slightly less than the national median) but for late career professionals with 20+ years of experience it rose to only $94,000. The number of respondents from each of the two groups also reveals a significant disparity. The data would suggest that most of these professionals move into other positions with different titles, and that companies aren’t always willing to pay a premium salary in exchange for years of experience.
That seems to also be the case when we look at salary data for related professions. Research scientists from inside and outside of biotechnology, and in both entry-level and senior-level positions, all have a similar salary range. It’s only when these professionals make the leap to director that salaries really climb to the next level.
Following the most common career path is also revealing. We already pointed out that few professionals remain in this role for more than a decade. A significant majority move into some kind of project management position, essentially trading in research for leadership responsibilities.
Based on this data, it would appear that research scientists in the biotech industry face a similar dilemma as many scientists in the broader field of science: Turning the skills that brought you into the field into the skills that will earn you more money and responsibility as your career progresses.
To make that difficult evolution takes careful and proactive career planning. If you are looking for your first job, a new job, or a promotion, there are resources that can help you accomplish your goals faster. Contact our team at Sci.bio Recruiting and learn how to take control of your future.
Your LinkedIn profile is often the first thing recruiters will look at to learn more about you and your experience. So polishing up your profile can make all the difference when trying to establish lasting impressions.
Much like resume preparation, you want your profile to pop! Recruiters and hiring managers go through droves of applicants each day. You need to ensure you do not get passed over because of a sloppy LinkedIn profile.
Here are some key aspects for enhancing your LinkedIn profile:
1. Quality Headshots
Your profile picture should be indicative of how you present yourself in the workplace. This doesn’t mean you have to run out and get professional headshots taken. Instead, you want to make sure you are using a photo with a purposeful setting. Position yourself in such a way that you have complementary lighting as well as a simple backdrop. Try to avoid grainy group pictures that need to be awkwardly cropped to include only you.
“Statistics show that LinkedIn members with a photo receive far more engagement: 21 times more profile views and 9 times more connection requests.” – LinkedIn.com
2. Brief yet Informative
Again, recruiters go through tons of profiles. Make sure to include key points at each position and leave it at that. You want to present the cliff notes of your background and not an autobiography. If your highlighted skills are of interest, they will reach out and ask for more in-depth information on your background.
3. Creative Summary
Your summary statement is at the very top of your profile and you can use this to quickly grab people’s attention. Do not only say things like “Research Scientist – Cell Biology.” This is uninformative, broad, and lacks personality. Viewers want to not only see your professional experience, but they are also looking to get to know you as a person.
“You get 2,000 characters total for your summary, but only the first three lines display by default. That means you either need to pack the most essential information in up front, or you need to create suspense This encourages profile viewers to click the Show more link… Customizing your headline also gets you to All-Star status (assuming you’ve completed all of the steps listed in the last section), which, according to LinkedIn, makes your profile 27 times more likely to appear in recruiter searches.” – Zapier.com
4. Banner Image
Most people do not change the banner portion of their profile. While the default LinkedIn banner image is appropriate, spicing it up is a great way to stand out from other profiles. You could include cover art from a paper you were on or your favorite fluorescent image of cells you work with. The key is to keep it professional.
5. Joining Societies and Groups
There are thousands of society and group pages on LinkedIn. Join pages that are applicable to your work, such as the American Chemical Society or local groups for networking. You’ll be surprised at how many connections you can make online through common groups.
“There are around 2 million groups on LinkedIn and nearly 90% of users are a member of at least one group. It’s like a field ready to harvest when you join groups where your perfect market is and with a small amount of engagement and adding value you can start generating clicks through to your profile. Don’t make groups all about you and what you’re currently doing but add value to its members and they will want to check you out!” – Linkedin.com
6. Link to Other Digital Work
You worked hard for your publications! They should be showcased. You can include publications and patents on your LinkedIn profile. You can also add in a link to your Google Scholar profile or e-portfolio. Make sure to cross-pollinate as much as possible so that it is very easy for viewers to find your publications.
7. Keep your Information Up to Date
This point cannot be stressed enough! If you have a new position, location, certification, etc., you need to update your profile with this information. Including all your updated information makes it much easier for recruiters to identify jobs that fit you best. It also makes it easy for them to contact you. Make sure things such as your email and phone number are updated so that you aren’t getting job listings sent to an email you never open anymore.
The Reward of Enhancing Your LinkedIn Profile:
Your online presence is a critical component to initial sourcing for positions. Setting up a professional LinkedIn profile with key information and easy-to-access links to your portfolio is imperative. Having a sloppy profile can give recruiters and employers the wrong first impression. Shoot for a blend of essential information and personality. This way viewers see you and your experience. Try and customize your profile as much as possible! Your goal is to entice viewers with your skills and expertise in such a way that you are memorable.
We’ve all heard variations of Thumper’s Rule, courtesy of Disney’s Bambi, from family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers: “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say nothing at all.”
Meant to caution against unsolicited incivility, the ‘moral’ principle has been accepted as a societal norm for not just personal relationships but professional ones, as well. We’ve even given the act a catchy name: ghosting. Rather than being direct, one party opts to just not say anything at all via any form of communication to the other person.
The transition from ambiguity to radio silence is meant to serve as a formal rejection. Therefore, the burden of discontinuing the personal or professional relationship falls not on the person who is providing the rejection, but rather on the person receiving it.
Why We Ghost
In 2013, CareerBuilder released the results of a nationwide survey concluding that 75 percent of job applicants did not receive responses regarding their candidacies from employers. Ironically, Randstad US released a 2019 report stating that 66 percent of managers have had workers either accept an offer and fail to show up or disappear without notice before their start date. Simply put, ghosting occurs because someone in the process feels that the other party is not a good technical and/or culture fit.
If an employer wants you as their final candidate, you have a lot more leniency: you do not need to send a thank you note, follow up regularly, or worry about being lost in a pile of resumes. It does, however, serve well to ask the Human Resources or Hiring Manager for a timeline. If they tell you to hang tight and wait two weeks, set a reminder to follow-up in three weeks with a courteous email. Even though it may not be common, a poor application (including small typos on your resume), passive or overzealous behavior, disengagement with follow-ups, and red flag responses to interview questions can streamline you into the “ghosted” category.
That’s not to say that ghosting is predetermined by application weakness, though this is a strong contributor. Candidates and hiring managers alike can exacerbate relationships and situations, turning a potential ‘yes’ into a certain ‘no.’
Employers’ reasons for ghosting hover around the following fears: telling someone that they are underqualified, getting sued for providing honest feedback, or losing a possible back-up candidate while moving their top candidate through the hiring process. Sometimes, employers accidentally ghost when their hiring process is littered with process or information gaps (for example, when they do not have an organized applicant tracking system, ATS).
On the other hand, candidates ghost mainly due to a poor pre-onboarding process (no communication between date of hire and start date) or fear of missing out when more enticing opportunities arise. Candidates not only have the power to choose due to the record low unemployment rate, but they can also take advantage of their plentiful opportunities, given the job market’s crucial emphasis on previous relevant experience.
What We Can Do About It
With that being said, it seems inevitable that ghosting is the new norm. But just because applicants and employers both engage in this practice does not mean that it’s acceptable. Ghosting deteriorates reputations.
Candidates develop opinions on a company from the minute they view a job posting, and they can share those perspectives with other potential hires.
Employers hold a network of other managers who value their take on a potential hire – sometimes more so than what the interview process reveals about that person.
In an age where branding strongly impacts candidate flow, social media strength, candidate or company competitiveness, and perception of culture or personality, it is ever so more pertinent to not derail a well-built personal or corporate persona.
As Bambi’s Owl wisely pointed out, “It could happen to anybody. So you’d better be careful. It can happen to you.” Today’s applicant can be tomorrow’s manager and today’s manager may be tomorrow’s applicant. If you would rather hear direct, honest feedback – as most polls indicate people would, personally and professionally – then, also consider being that change you want to see. At the end of the day, ghosting may be the easiest choice, but it’s not the one we want for ourselves.
So, you’ve decided that you want to be a scientist or maybe you’ve known this for a while. Either way, congratulations! Careers in science are intellectually stimulating, rewarding, and enjoyable. But, before you break out the champagne, you must decide between the dreaded occupational dichotomy: academia or industry?
Academia involves research-related work within the higher educational system including (but not limited to) applying for grants, publishing in peer-reviewed journals, mentoring students, running a laboratory, and teaching university courses. The science conducted in this environment can be basic, applied, or a combination of both.
Industry also includes conducting research, however, it is not associated with an academic institution. Instead, industry-related research, typically in an applied, clinical nature, is conducted at large corporations, organizations, and start-up companies.
As someone just starting out in your field of choice, potentially as an undergraduate student, this might be your first time hearing of the societal pressure to make such a “big,” “life-changing” decision. While the choice might be easy for some individuals, it is often difficult and strenuous for others. In order to help, we’ve outlined some points to consider when navigating your future as a scientist.
How do these Environments Compare to One Another?
Before you make any decisions about graduate school versus jobs, take the time to understand what type of position you might actually want. Often the best way to find a sense of direction in this situation is to read through job descriptions (JDs) for your chosen scientific field and write down a list of pros and cons. Rather than search through hundreds of positions online, we have compiled a list of essential pros and cons.
(1) You will often have the freedom and flexibility to create your office hours as you see fit. If you are a person who enjoys working independently, such an environment can be conducive to productivity.
(2) You will be encouraged to explore your specific scientific interests, especially since these intellectual passions are what you’re expected to research and publish!
(3) Job security is a coveted asset for anybody – and although it is difficult to achieve, securing tenure as an academic can guarantee your professorship at your institution for life.
(4) The culture of academia flows at a more steady, slowed pace due to its focus on long term goals associated with development one’s individual interests and research..
(1) Academics have numerous responsibilities outside of the lab that can be time consuming and detract from conducting research.
(2) The pressure to obtain funding and tenure can be brutal – which is why the phrase “publish or perish” was created. This often requires hours of writing numerous grants and peer-reviewed papers with no guarantee that they will be accepted.
(3) According to a study conducted by The Scientist, scientists in industry annually make 30% more than those in academia with an average annual income of $129,507 in comparison to $88,693.
(1) Because organizations in industry have large teams working towards a common goal on a quick timeline (i.e. drug development), there are often immediate, impactful results engendered. This can be a highly rewarding experience for employees knowing they have made such direct contributions to patients’ lives.
(2) Career trajectory in industry is infinite. If an individual yearns to move from one area of a company to another, wishes to climb up the corporate ladder, or become less involved in the science conducted and more involved in business affairs, there are always opportunities! This starkly contrasts academia, where individuals are expected to continue forward in sometimes a very niche area.
(3) Within industry there is strong emphasis placed on teamwork. In order for a company to succeed, all individuals need to work together to achieve the desired outcome. This leaves less room for competition and more for collaboration.
(1) You will work a standard eight hour day. With this comes a structured work day/week and numerous deadlines that need to be met.
(2) Because there is such a large emphasis on teamwork and successes are viewed as achievements by the company as a whole, individuals are usually not credited – no matter how much time and effort they have dedicated.
What is the Right Choice for My Career and My Happiness?
Regardless of what this blog, your friends, colleagues, professors, mentors, and/or parents say, the right choice for you can only be decided by you. And chances are that you probably don’t know the answer… yet. Rather than worry and ruminate over the unknown, focus on what you do know and consider the following three points:
(1) Take your Strengths and Weaknesses in Stride.
As the old adage goes, “you know yourself best.” Recognition and understanding of both your strengths and areas of improvement will aid you in choosing the environment best for you. If you know you don’t work well in groups, industry might not be the greatest option. On the other hand, if you want to see your work make an immediate impact in patients’ lives, industry could be the way to go.
(2) Follow Your Passions.
Money is always a HUGE motivating factor in deciding where and how we spend our lives, but money may not buy you happiness or fulfillment. Cliches aside, do not sacrifice your passions to do something you feel like you should be doing or making financially.
(3) Embrace Change.
If you have already selected a path, but now feel like you are in too deep to change your career, take a deep breath. Most people change their minds and there is no guarantee that what you choose to do at 25 is what you will be doing at 50! So if you do decide to switch from academia to industry or vice versa, hone in on your skills, accomplishments, and hardwork and market yourself appropriately and prepare for your desired job.
If have decided that industry is the best option for you, and you are actively looking for a job, Sci.bio is currently looking to fill many open positions at leading biotech companies in the greater Boston area. Check out our large list of biotech jobs.