Are you working hard at a job search but making very little headway? Do you feel as though you’re stuck in one place, struggling to advance your career further? Although it’s not easy to admit, it’s possible that your progress towards these goals is being hindered by the very people you call your friends.
While we like to consider our friends advocates and allies in everything we do, it’s important to consider whether those you choose to surround yourself with truly have your best interests at heart. Whether because of jealousy, insecurity, or because they are simply not a true friend, there are some for whom your successes might be unpleasant, who may relish in your failure as it comforts them about their own shortcomings.
This concept is often called ‘Schadenfreude’, a German term combining the words “harm” and “joy”, and refers to the delight one might feel in another’s misfortune. The phenomenon is a natural human instinct, and even the most well-meaning of us experience it, sometimes in response to the news of the failure of a friend. This is often subconscious, a feeling that arises involuntarily, especially when one is feeling insecure or struggling through a difficult patch, when it can be comforting to feel as if someone else is struggling as well. The important distinction, however, is whether one feeds this kind of thought, or strives to root for a friends’ successes with what they can control.
Even generally benevolent friends, though, can occasionally drag you down through no conscious effort of their own. Humans are inherently social creatures, and are acutely aware of hierarchy and social status, which influences our perspective and our decisions even when we are not aware of it. Though many of us like to think we do not make snap judgments about people until we get to know them, people tend to judge, at least initially, by what we can easily perceive: for example, by one’s social clique. You should of course, surround yourself and associate with those you enjoy being with, who enrich your life beyond your work, but it’s important to balance personal and professional benefits carefully if you are trying to advance in your career.
Most of us have had the unfortunate experience of discovering someone is not who we had initially thought them to be. When choosing the people with which you spend your time, don’t leave anything to chance. By taking the time to properly assess friends and colleagues, you can strive to minimize any detrimental impact.
Identifying those who might not truly enrich your life, who might not have your best interest at heart, is not easy. Here are some signs to look out for:
They make promises but don’t come through. There is a reason it is so often said that “actions speak louder than words”.
Chronic complainers or naysayers. Those who often like to complain but without an attempt at a solution. At the very least, their negative thought patterns could drag you down with them.
They lack empathy. Simply put, if they don’t have the ability, or choose not, to show empathy in important situations, this is a signal to distance yourself.
Exaggerators, fibbers, or outright liars. Those who make a habit of stretching, or avoiding, the truth, are prominent in toxic work environments.
Self Aggrandizers. People who have the habit of inflating themselves may have the tendency to minimize others, you included.
Gossipers. If they’re constantly talking badly about other people to you, think about what they might be saying behind your back.
They always take, but never offer anything in return. A person who more often than not takes from you without giving is not a true friend, but someone who may simply be using you.
Chronically angry people. People prone to perpetual anger are dangerous, and have the potential to similarly affect your outlook on life over time.
They don’t take ownership or never seem to be at fault. If one is unable or unwilling to take responsibility for their actions, it’s impossible to talk through difficult moments with them. This tendency will eventually backfire on you.
The jealous. With a fake smile, relishing the opportunity to take you down, these can be the most damaging of the bunch.
Time to move on.
Do you recognize any of these traits in those you surround yourself with? In that case, perhaps not all of your friends truly have your best interest in mind, and it may be time to make some changes.
Of course, it can be extremely hard to let go of familiar faces, and those you’ve known for a long time. However, if your friends are holding you back, or bringing you down, in these ways, they aren’t true friends, they are eventual liabilities. Cut ties with those who don’t have your back.
At the very least, while you are at critical career junctures, you’ll want to limit your exposure to anyone who doesn’t have your best interest in mind. Surrounding yourself with positive people, especially those from which you can learn, is key – not only in successful career advancement, but in your overall happiness.
Here at Sci.bio, we work with a variety of candidates from new graduates to experienced executives, and have myriad open roles. We pride ourselves on connecting our highly discerning clients with candidates who fit their specific needs. Check out our job search page to see current openings and follow us on LinkedIn for more information.
Big-picture ideas to help recruiters—and those who use them—play their A game
INTRODUCTION to BEST PRACTICES IN RECRUITING
In an era of rapid growth for biotech and life science companies, STEM-savvy talent experts play an especially important role in the ecosystem. Becoming a life science recruiter takes knowledge of the industry, a wide social network, and business acumen. Working with one takes a keen sense of what you’re looking for, and the ability to put it into words.
Whether you’re considering becoming a recruiter, in the midst of a recruiting career, or interested in using recruiting services, this survey article will give you the insights and confidence to do it right.
BECOMING A RECRUITER
Before you walk the recruiter’s walk, you need to know who you are and where you’re heading.
Recruiting: who knew? Most life science grads don’t immediately think of recruiting as a career option – but they should. Variety, flexibility, and mobility into a variety of other career paths are just some of the perks it offers. And let’s not forget about the money: if working on commission, recruiters can enjoy an uncapped earning potential.
Working as a recruiter, you’ll also get the chance to draw on your own previous work experience. As an example, perhaps you’ve spent your most recent working years in a lab, dealing with regulations and assisting with complex processes. In such a case, you can start out by billing yourself as a recruiter specializing in lab operations, and build out your services from there.
Another reason to consider recruiting: getting a head start on future career ideas for yourself. This holds especially true if you’re still looking to map out a long-term career trajectory, but it can apply to anyone. There’s nothing like being a matchmaker to show you what makes a great partnership – workplace or otherwise. As you learn the qualities most important for different roles, you’ll naturally gain insights about the positions that would suit you best.
But skills are just one piece of the pie: personality also comes into play. According to a survey of nearly 9,000 talent experts, recruiters tend to be enterprising, outgoing, and have a strong sense of social responsibility. The through-line: they fundamentally enjoy being with people. If you’re a natural networker and enjoy leveraging your contacts to help out friends in need, recruiting ticks all the important boxes. This doesn’t mean the profession is off-limits to quieter types, though. If recruiting appeals to you, start exploring the possibilities.
What to expect
As of April 2022, the life sciences had the second-lowest unemployment rate of all U.S. industries. It’s a job-seeker’s market, with companies often scrambling to find talent they urgently need. Business is booming for recruiters, too: 86% of life science talent acquisition professionals say they expect their teams to either grow or remain stable in 2023.
In many ways, the life sciences are a dream come true for recruiters. The industry features a higher-than-average percentage of highly skilled positions, and turnover is high. Career possibilities in the field continue to diversify, with burgeoning niches in personalized medicine, data analytics, and digital health, among others. As a life science recruiter, you’ll participate in the excitement of matching these novel skills with organizations who desperately need them.
If you want to attract candidates who are up-to-date and in-the-know, you’ll have to get on their level. As of 2023, top trends in recruiting include:
Remote interviewing: This facilitates collaborative hiring.
Emphasis on candidate experience: Companies that prioritize employee well-being are more successful than those that don’t.
Diversity, equity and inclusion: Statistics show that a culturally rich workplace is good for business.
Contingent workers. Businesses and workers alike have realized how profitable contract work can be.
Niching and branding
As a new recruiter, you may feel torn. Do you take on as many projects as possible, or niche up early to establish a specialized reputation and client base? The short answer: a bit of both. While you don’t need to specialize too quickly or narrowly, it’s worth honing in on some areas of specialty as you develop your business.
Let’s say you’ve established some connections with microbiologists and feel confident you can quickly place top-quality talent in the field. If you promote yourself accordingly, your clients and network associates will pick up on your specialized knowledge and experience in this area. Should they ever need a microbiologist, they’ll remember your name.
Examples of recruitment specialties in the life sciences include gene therapy, immuno-oncology, clinical development, medical devices, medical writing, and many more. To narrow it down, ask yourself the following:
What kinds of positions do you find most interesting?
Does your previous recruiting experience point you in an obvious direction?
Do you have especially large networks in certain areas?
Use your answers to guide your decision process. Next step: spread the word. To create a compelling personal brand, keep a few fundamental W’s in mind: who do you recruit for, and what do you offer them? Why does recruiting mean so much to you? Answer these questions honestly and specifically, and you’ll attract a customer base that wants to buy what you’re selling.
As far as possible, keep your brand visuals consistent across all marketing tools, from your website to your business cards. Decide as soon as possible which font types, color scheme, design style, and logo you’re going to use for all your content. That’s not to say you can never change your style – just remember that consistency builds brand recognition and “brand memory,” leading clients and candidates to think of you first.
Like most professions, effective recruiting is more about working smart than about putting in long hours and hoping something sticks. A skilled recruiter understands the value of a network, and the synergy between professionalism and personal connections.
Nuts and bolts
Keep your expectations realistic. A biotech start-up, no matter how promising, won’t have the same gravitational pull that a large pharma company does. That said, the way you present a company to candidates carries a lot of power. Don’t misrepresent the organization, but feel free to talk about organizational goals, backstory, or employee mobility to pique their interest.
Second in your toolbox: face-to-face networking events. Where possible, add all new connections on LinkedIn and exchange social media identifiers. And as you forge new connections, remember: just because you don’t need a candidate now doesn’t mean they won’t be a great match for a future project. Relationship-building forms the core of recruiting, so you’ll want to cast a wide net to maximize your success.
To maximize social media engagement, make sure your social content is – you guessed it – engaging. Think images, graphics, and open-ended questions that stimulate discussion. On LinkedIn, posts that include photo content receive 98 percent more comments than those that feature text only. Keep this in mind as you build an online presence.
Another digital trend: today’s social media users are looking to see the “human” side of a brand or organization. As you optimize your social media for recruitment, don’t only post about projects and accomplishments. Mix things up a bit by posting about networking events, what led you to this career choice, and/or the difference you hope to make in the world as a recruiter.
Every strategy must have an evaluation component, and social media is no exception. Here’s how to make sure you’re packing a punch with your digital outreach.
Set goals and priorities: Create a ranked list of your social media goals.
Audit your audience: Find out the type of content your audience likes best – or just ask them – and give them more of the same.
Monitor the competition: Find out how the successful competition is engaging their audience and consider pulling a few tricks from their book.
Set up a monitoring program: The popular Google Analytics reporting system, for example, can help you segment and identify the sources of your social traffic.
Keep it personal
Treat your candidates like people so they don’t fall through the cracks. When they don’t get the job, let them know why. This makes for a better end-to-end experience for them – and as a result, increases the likelihood that they’ll take your feedback, skill up, and come back even better prepared when the next opportunity arises.
To forge and maintain a connection with your candidate pool, advertise all new openings on social media, making sure your job postings are readable on mobile, and invite people to send you referrals. And don’t discount previous candidates who impressed you, but weren’t quite right at the time. Reconnecting with previous applicants can save you time, dollars, and a whole lot of stress. When you reach out, make sure to remind these former candidates who you are, how you know them, and what impressed you about their application the first time around.
Skill up during down times
When the hiring market is down, take the opportunity to hone your skills, strategize, and connect (or reconnect). The circumstances may have you feeling uncertain or anxious, but consider the bright side: less time spent on the daily grind means more time to work on your long-term goals. During a slower season, you can still reach out to employers and candidates and start building relationships for when you really need them.
A slower season also affords you the time to review your process. In particular, hone in on four key metrics: time to hire, cost per hire, usual sources of hire, and employment acceptance rates. Are these stats stacking up as you’d like them to? Maybe you could cut out a few formalities to streamline your process, or maybe you’re still subscribed to web recruitment services you no longer need. What feels like an endless lull in work will soon become a distant memory –and your current efforts will pay off when business picks up again.
Specialized roles require a specialized search process. If you’re looking for an entry-level data analyst, you may be able to conduct the search on your own. But if you’re looking for, say, an experienced immunology consultant, a recruiter becomes a strategic asset. Sure, it costs more than doing it yourself – but considering the talent you find could stick around for years, the ROI will likely work in your favor.
Recruiters can also help you zero in on “cross-functional” candidates—people who bring unusual combinations of skills to the table. You’re more likely to find that microbiologist with management skills through a recruiter than on your own. And don’t underestimate the value of referrals from existing employees – especially when working with recruiters. A full 88 percent of businesses view referrals as their best hires, so it’s worth considering the value of this hiring pipeline. To maximize efficiency and avoid misunderstandings, you and your recruiter should establish a process for them to obtain employee referrals and follow up on the best ones.
Choose with care
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. When selecting a talent scout, the biggest red flag is dishonesty. If a recruiter displays “toxic positivity,” makes claims that sound unrealistic, or has an overly pushy sales pitch, they’re most likely trying to cover up a gap in their abilities.
Along with honesty and professionalism, experience in STEM fields should top your list of criteria. This doesn’t have to be a degree or a long-term job – courses, workshops, and previous recruitment experience in the industry can all give you a sense of their scientific background. If their LinkedIn profile doesn’t offer proof either way, but you still have a good feeling about working with them, reach out to them with questions to fill in the blanks.
To suss out a recruiter’s aptitude for your particular project, get very specific with your questions. If you’re considering someone who offers special expertise in science/biotech, be sure to ask how they tailor their services to the industry. This goes especially for niche, highly skilled positions: before you sign any contracts, they’ll need to prove they have a tried-and-true method of sourcing the best.
What is your search process, including for difficult-to-fill positions?
Have you placed candidates in X or Y roles before?
How do you handle clients with changing hiring needs?
How do you manage referrals from internal employees?
What is your approach to difficult-to-fill positions?
A model for all seasons
Selecting the right recruitment model is an art unto itself. If you’re hiring consistently and have the budget for it, an in-house recruiter may make the most sense. At the other end of the spectrum, a contingency recruiter can “pinch hit” for you if a hard-to-fill position calls for recruitment expertise beyond your usual requirements. As a further alternative, you can build a long-term partnership with the same external recruiter. With each new hire, they will gain a better and better sense of how your company works and how to best meet your talent needs.
When you need help finding a short-term candidate, consider the “temporary” and “temp-to-hire” recruitment models, which fulfill distinct strategic objectives. Temporary recruitment focuses on meeting short-term business demands. The temp-to-hire (a.k.a. temp-to-permanent) approach also seeks to meet a current need, but with the expectation that the temporary position will segue into a permanent one. Compared to the standard approach of giving new hires a probationary period, temp-to-hire saves costs and incurs less liability.
Whichever recruiting model you choose, a recruiter with an intelligent sourcing process puts you a step ahead. An essential precursor to recruiting, sourcing ensures that candidates meet a minimum qualification standard before being considered for a position. Find a recruiter you trust with sourcing, and you can rest easy knowing that every candidate you interview has met a suitable bar of skills and ambition.
Headhunters find a “head” to fill a specific job, while recruiters work to fill many different job openings. Headhunters are typically called in to fill senior positions that require a unique blend of experience and skills. Recruiters often have an industry specialty and tend to establish longer-term relationships with both clients and candidates.
A LEG UP ON THE COMPETITION
The right recruiter will help you attract and retain the best, while saving time and resources.
Diving into the talent pool
In a competitive hiring market, a recruiter can help you hire quickly and efficiently. With demand for candidates outstripping supply, your usual hiring strategies may fall short. That’s where recruiters come in: between their existing network, referrals, and specialized outreach services, they can connect with candidates you would never know about on your own.
This includes people who need to wear more than one hat. The smartest talent experts understand that scientific skills come in many shades, and each role will call for a slightly different mix. Sure, one of your candidates might be an expert at clinical trial regulations – but that doesn’t mean they’re going to excel at long-term product strategy planning. With the help of a talent-optimization expert, you can ensure you’re not wasting all your efforts on square pegs.
The dreaded slowdown
If you experience a lag in company growth, financial concerns may cause you to hesitate to use recruiting services. While an understandable concern, working a recruiter into your budget could help revive your business. And when job candidates are scarce, you and the recruiter can work together to identify promising late-stage interviewees from previous hiring processes as well as passive candidates who may be interested in switching teams.
Hiring slowdowns often happen in the summer — incidentally, the time when thousands of college students become job-hungry graduates. Though these candidates may require a little extra TLC to train, they can easily make up for their lack of experience in energy and attitude. Working with a recruiter can help you identify the most reliable and ambitious of the bunch.
Talent acquisition refers to the process of finding and attracting top-quality candidates, which involves relationship building, branding, and business smarts. Talent management, meanwhile, has to do with retaining and satisfying employees once they’re already on board. Think transparent company structure, workplace flexibility, and a compelling benefits package.
Of course, the two processes aren’t entirely separate. Well-managed talent will boost your organizational reputation, leading to smoother talent acquisition. By the same token, a well-thought-out hiring process will help your company attract candidates that suit their roles and will thus deliver more satisfied and productive employees.
An intelligent talent screening system – the bread and butter of recruiting – paves the way for a smooth acquisition process. This system could involve phone interviews, aptitude tests, or even background checks on social media. Just one caveat: when conducting skills tests, make sure the skills you test are actually required for the job.
Along with traditional screening methods, many recruiters will have state-of-the-art AI tools up their sleeve to help you streamline your search. Advanced software can help predict candidate outcomes, while chatbots can schedule interviews and engage candidates on your website.
It’s a two-way street
Don’t expect magical answers if you haven’t articulated the questions. As an employer working with a recruiter, you’ll have to spell out your requirements. As soon as you can, arrange a meeting with your recruiter, and leave no stone unturned as you lay out what you’re looking for. A basic checklist of qualities doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible – your recruitment plan should include backup strategies to deal with unexpected hiring needs.
Once you’ve outlined your basic requirements, put your micromanaging hat in a drawer and leave the nitty-gritty to the recruiter. That’s what you’re hiring them for, after all. If you’ve done the prep work of articulating your needs and agreeing on a plan, you can trust that the recruiter will leverage their own networks, pre-screening systems, and software solutions to bring you a pool of high-quality candidates.
If you’re looking to expand a particular department or role, do your homework on current top performers. Consider: do they share a similar background, skill set, or personality type? Even better, ask the high flyers themselves what part of their education or experience has served them best on the job. Share their answers with your recruiter, who can use the insights to hone in on your next workplace superstar.
The post-pandemic world also calls for a leaner approach to hiring. Do you need a pipeline of candidates ready to jump in as needed, or can your organization tolerate a waiting period? Talk to your recruiter about your level of risk tolerance and need for hiring efficiency.
The “just in case” model puts a priority on candidates who are already trained in every skill they may need. While difficult to find, such candidates help you build resiliency. The “just in time” model seeks employees who are trained in a specific skillset and nothing more – and in some cases, called in only when needed. Both models have their perks; it’s budget and company culture that will determine which one to use and when.
Done right, recruiting is not only productive and cost-effective, but enjoyable for everyone involved.
Our Sci.bio recruiters take pride in delivering results and building relationships. They come from a variety of backgrounds, and possess their own wide talent networks to draw from. From general to specific, entry-level to expert, our recruiters can help you fill any po honesty over hype, and will work hard to find a match that makes everyone happy – a win-win-win.
If you’re a recruiter looking to join a team of like minded professionals, searching for efficient and expert assistance filling a role, or you’re interested in more information about how we operate here at Sci.bio, feel free to reach out to us here. We can help you learn how best to leverage our platform and technology to increase your success as a recruiter. We also invite you to browse through our blog posts to get a deeper sense of what recruiting can offer
Have you ever considered working for a start-up? It’s almost a buzzword nowadays – that’s how much the term “start-up” is tossed around. But what really is a start-up, and why is there so much chatter about working for one? In truth, working for a start-up comes with many exciting opportunities – but like anything else in the working world, it can be a trade-off. As always, the most important thing is discerning if it’s the right fit for you, your career, and where you are in your life.
What is a Start-Up, Anyway?
A start-up is any company that is still getting off the ground – indeed, “starting up”. Around 90% of start-ups are unable to expand past the start-up level, with 10% of these failures occurring within the first year.
Working for a start-up often entails irregular hours, a wide variety of job duties, and a sense of closeness with your team members. You’re expected to show up with a can-do mindset, and to prioritize growing the company above most else. You’re also likely to get interesting development opportunities that may never come your way at a larger company.
Biotech start-ups can be unique in that they allow you to develop a wide range of skills, and build connections to many different pharmaceutical companies. Even if you end up working at a start-up for a shorter stint, you may be able to leverage these skills in an unexpected context later down the line.
Growth Potential When Working for a Start-Up
When you work for a small company, the potential for growth is huge. Should the company succeed, you could profit in a big way. And truthfully, there’s not much that looks better on your resume than having helped catapult a little-known name to success.
But there’s a significant chance your company won’t become the next Facebook – or worse, will have to shut down. So if you do opt to work for a start-up, make sure it’s one that offers great connections, learning opportunities, and chances to prove your skills.
If the business does have to close up shop, you may feel like you’re back at square one. To mitigate this, come up with an action plan for if and when this happens. That way, if it (unfortunately) comes to pass, you won’t feel panicked trying to figure out your next steps.
Joining a start-up may in some ways feel like being vacuum-sucked into the most chaotic, most ambitious group of friends imaginable. Employees tend to be close, and leaders tend to be open to ideas from everyone – as long as it helps the business, it really doesn’t matter what your title is. You may also be asked to do things that don’t fall strictly within your job description – or feel inspired to, because you know exactly what the company needs.
We’re all familiar with the stereotype of the ambitious twenty-something busting their guts in the start-up world. That trope exists for a reason – clearly, said world can be demanding and unpredictable. Of course, you can join a start-up at any age, but if work-life balance is your top priority, the lifestyle may not be the best fit for you.
All that being said, start-up workers often experience higher-than-average job satisfaction. This isn’t surprising – working for a smaller business, you’re far more than just a number. Everyone knows your name and probably at least some of your story. And because the stakes are so high, your contributions are deeply valued.
Is the Start-Up Life for You?
The stress and uncertainty of working for a start-up can be worth it – if you’re willing to shoulder some risk.
Some people feel most comfortable working for a large corporation, where security is high and the path forward is clear. Others may prefer a more unpredictable, chaotic environment with a small but real chance of paying big dividends. Maybe you want something in between – a mid-size company still trying hard to grow, but with an established presence in its field. Different strokes for different folks, as they say!
Do you know who to hire for which role? Gone are the days of the lab-only scientist. Nowadays, positions in STEM fields can call for a variety of communications skills, whether that be writing, management, design, or something else. These science communications positions are all the rage nowadays, but because they require at least two skill sets, they can be difficult to fill.
When hiring for a science communicator role, there’s no one-size-fits-all background to look for – so screening applicants can be tricky. What keywords do you search for? Who do you rule out? Many qualified applicants won’t have had a separate career to match every skill required for a role. So, you’ll need to find other ways of assessing their potential to succeed.
Types of multi-skilled roles in the sciences
As careers in science communications become more and more well-known, interest in the field is burgeoning. Examples of positions in science communications include scientific communications specialist, medical writer, and research analyst. Some positions will skew more communications-based, and some more science-based. The trick for who to hire for which role is to discern which skillset comes first for a particular job. Then, you can comb through the applicant pool with that information top of mind.
Positions that are often more science-based can include roles in technical editing, data management, and curriculum development. Such roles absolutely still require communications skills – just perhaps not the same kind of verbal acuity that might be required of a presenter or writer. There are no hard and fast rules, though! Always use your judgment about the skill set that would work best for a particular position.
Who to Hire for Which Role
A role that primarily involves research or leadership, but seldom calls for in-depth or on-the-spot scientific knowledge, is often well-suited to a communications professional. If you’re on the lookout for a Director of Communications for a life science business, for example, don’t hesitate to choose someone who’s well-versed in leadership and project management, and less experienced (but highly trainable) in research analysis.
For roles that hinge on a deeper STEM knowledge base, consider hiring scientists – albeit that they boast some natural writing acumen. For instance, you may be on the hunt for a data science consultant who can not only solve problems, but effectively communicate their solutions. Because data science is not usually a skill that people pick up “on the fly”, you’ll probably want to first gather a pool of candidates with experience in the field. Then, to form your “top tier” of potential hires, you can identify the strongest communicators within that pool.
Some positions get especially tricky, though. Let’s say, for example, that you’re on a mission to find the perfect technical editor to fill an opening. In this case, you might actually be better off hiring a trained scientist. That’s because editing, while communications-based, is very detail-oriented and factual. Of course, any editor should have a good handle on grammar and paragraph structure, too – but in this case, finding someone who knows the ins and outs of the subject matter may prove to be the most important factor.
What to screen for
For science positions that involve preparing presentations, articles, or other written materials, ask your shortlist of candidates to show you a couple of relevant samples. A candidate’s portfolio may include brochures, slide decks, even emails – as long as it gives you a sense of their writing style, it should offer valuable insights into their suitability for a communications role.
Ultimately, when you’re hiring for a multi-skilled position, the most important thing to screen for is ability to learn. If a candidate sounds terrified, or perhaps just bored, by the thought of becoming well-versed in a subject that’s new to them – this may not be a recruitment match made in heaven. But if their eyes light up when you tell them more, and they can describe times they’ve used a similar skillset somewhere else – you may just have a winner on your hands.
The most important skill – who to hire for which role
Figuring out which candidate is likely to make the best hire can be a tricky balancing act – especially when it comes to science communications roles. As you search for suitable candidates, keep an eye out for those who are sharp, enthusiastic, and above all ready to learn – even if they don’t have the perfect resume.
And remember: people can always surprise you. Just because a writer hasn’t researched scientific topics before doesn’t mean they aren’t cut out to learn some new ropes. If your new science news editor has advanced technical degrees in their subject matter but little to no writing experience, you can assess their language skills another way. Keep a critical but open mind, and you’ll find a candidate who brings to the table an impressive skillset – and a willingness to keep learning more.
Science MBA Combo? The short answer: yes! The long answer: yes, because career opportunities in the STEM business space are more abundant than ever, and it’s never been more useful to bring a wide range of skills to a position. An MBA can be the perfect complement to a science degree, supplementing a technical grounding in science with some highly sought-after business skills.
A solid foundation
Science degree holders are often already well-versed in many of the skills required to succeed in business. These can include research skills, data analysis skills, and the ability to communicate high-level concepts. With a little bit of instruction, these skills can easily be applied in a new context. In addition to applying them to lab work and problem-solving on a chemical level, a science-and-business expert knows how to apply them within the context of a whole company.
STEM Science MBA
Some highly specific MBA programs offer tracks for STEM, healthcare, and other fields. This is in response to the ever-growing need for specialized business experts. If you’re thinking about doing an MBA, consider applying to a specialty program that will not only teach you the standard content of this classic degree, but how to apply these lessons to your chosen field.
If you do find yourself shopping around for STEM MBA programs, make sure you have your screening process down pat. Prioritize programs whose curricula offer a direct pathway into the role you’d like to land afterwards. And should you be called in for an interview, be sure to clarify what companies recruit from the program, and the kinds of positions that are up for grabs.
Career opportunities for a winning combo
For those who’ve graduated with a STEM degree and go on to pursue a Science MBA combo, career prospects abound. Many positions require a blend of technical science acumen and more hands-on, management-focused business skills. If you can bring both to the table, you’ll be a piping hot candidate.
Financial analyst: a financial analyst in the life science space can choose to work for a company, or to work as a freelance consultant. In either case, your primary role will be to offer financial and business advice to biotech and pharma companies.
Quality control specialist: this position involves overseeing research processes to make sure they comply with all applicable regulations. That might sound dull, but there can be an element of creativity, too: this job can also involve making recommendations to improve the efficiency of the research process.
Sales account manager: A sales account manager for a life science company may indeed find that they can work in a scientific field they’re passionate about, while receiving no shortage of opportunities to schmooze with customers. For the right person, managing a sales account in a field they love can bring the best of two worlds to the work experience.
Product manager: an employee in this role oversees the development of new products in the life science and biopharma space. This could involve monitoring lab work, advising a marketing team about current project specs, or advising businesses on what products to develop next.
Advantages of a diverse skill set
Biotech businesses are some of the hottest on the market right now, and at present the industry is only growing. As a result, life science employers are more in need than ever of employees who understand their businesses on both a micro and macro level. Surprise surprise: the science MBA combo lends itself beautifully to just that.
Another benefit of getting an MBA post-life science undergrad: more interactive career opportunities. After years of highly detail-oriented and isolated lab work, some scientists hunger for more interactive, people-facing employment. If you can relate, take note: an MBA will bolster your chances of finding a socially dynamic position that still calls upon your years of rigorous scientific study.
The perfect position for your background
Clearly, the science-MBA combo has never been timelier. Employers nowadays are looking for a blend of soft skills and hard skills, and the moment they see that winning duo of specialties on your resume, they’ll know without any further investigation that you possess plenty of both. If you’re looking for an interdisciplinary position that incorporates the full range of your skills, Sci.bio’s recruitment services can help you find it.