Contributor Prital Patel
Driven by her passion to foster entrepreneurship and instill leadership in life science trainees, Lauren Celano along with Dr. Omar Amirana, established Propel Careers. Propel Careers acts as a liaison between companies and individuals with relevant skills. At the Naturejobs Career Expo, Lauren Celano spoke about tips and tricks on how to look your best on paper.
“You want to tell a story. All of you have done very important things, to be where you are. You don’t want to minimize what you have done, but instead you want to highlight the right details appropriately, so people can see that you are the right fit for the position,” says Celano.
When creating a resume or CV, assume that the decision on whether you get an interview or not will be based on a ten second glance at your document. In order to maximize the visibility of relevant experiences, it is a good idea to customise it for every job application. This is especially important because it makes it easier for hiring managers to immediately recognise whether or not you have the skills necessary for that job.
“Think about how you are branding yourself when you are applying to different places,” says Celano. As a young trainee, find some time to reflect on where your interests lie. This allows you to develop skills along the way that will aid in producing relevant experiences when you are ready to enter the job market. Ideally, your resume should demonstrate long-standing interests in a particular field of interest rather than applying to a non-academic position as a default option. Here is a list of various roles and the skills and experiences that you want to be able to highlight:
Business Development:Emphasising activities undertaken to expand your business skills can be beneficial when applying to business development positions. Ideally, internships at tech-transfer offices and start-ups, as well as practical experience in conceptualising business development plans should be highlighted. Enrolling into relevant business courses can expand your knowledge base while also demonstrating your interests positively to potential employers.
Strategy Consulting: Researching specific areas you want to consult in can help set you apart. Simply stating “I want to be involved in the business-side of science” can be limiting, says Celano. You may want to analyse scientific information and be the expert on developing cancer drugs targeting a particular cancer type or pathway, or you make enjoy providing insights on intellectual property or reimbursement strategies. Getting involved in consulting clubs, or participating in case competitions can help tailor your interests. Business courses and tech-transfer internships also establish invaluable skills for these types of positions.
Marketing: Clearly indicate experiences when you used your communication and creative skills for marketing jobs: writing blogs, actively using social media, competency in Adobe Illustrator or involvement in networking groups, are worth highlighting in the work experience section. The ability to think on your feet and adapt to changing customer needs all play important roles in the success of a marketing company. As a researcher, you could portray your ability to stay current by demonstrating how you keep up with the latest publications. Additionally, any review papers you may have written in your field could be used to demonstrate abilities to summarise and clearly communicate information.
Product/ Project Management: Some of the most valuable skills for such management roles include organisational abilities, lead collaborations as well as working with people from diverse backgrounds (for example, an informational biologist collaborating with chemists and geneticists). The ability to see the “big picture”, managing budgets, and making use of Gantt charts can all be great assets to bring to the table. showing that you can multi-task by handling multiple projects and students as well as meeting deadlines for research paper re-submissions are great translational skills to showcase.
Research and Development: In addition to having excellent scientific skills, employers look for individuals that can work cross-functionally and see things in a broader perspective, for example, understanding why a company is developing a particular technology. Knowledge on patents, working in translation research, taking a drug discovery/development course and internships with start-ups can all add positively to your resume.
Medical Affairs and clinical research: For this role, employers look highly on any experience in working with translation disease research or clinical research. Being involved in Institutional Research Board approvals, developing Standard Operating Procedures as well as clinical courses can be some ways in which you can bolster your experiences.
Intellectual Property: Practicing how to write and review patents can lend you a good talking point for informational and formal interviews. Moreover, during interviews, organisations could potentially ask you to tell them about your experiences in evaluating aspects of patents. It is therefore a good idea to prepare yourself for this.
Grant Writing: Companies such as small biotechs and non-profits value individuals with grant writing skills. Emphasise the grants that you have helped write or review in your graduate or postdoctoral work when applying for these jobs. Any research papers you have authored or reviewed should also be highlighted as well.
Entrepreneurial Company: If you have helped set up a new lab or trained people and developed new procedures, highlight those aspects as it’s valuable hands-on experience. Any involvement in local clubs or organizations that have helped instill leadership and team building skills in you are worth mentioning too. Have a look at Nathan Watson’s advice from the Life beyond the bench session.
Regulatory: During your research career you may have been involved in developing Standard Operating Procedures for protocols or techniques. These are great experiences for this career path. Additionally industry collaborations, developing relationships with and regulatory filing for partners are experiences that can be looked upon highly.
Technical Sales: Highlighting that you can teach people techniques, tools and in-depth knowledge regarding a particular device are invaluable to these roles. Using any experiences where you have managed relationships with vendors and other purchasing aspects can help too.
Regardless of the career path you chose, two of the most important skills to develop are leadership skills and your ability to work in a team. Finding ways to get involved and manage people can have a great impact on the quality of experience for your resume or CV (see part 2), regardless of career paths.