Presentation on theme: "Life After Graduate School: Career Topics for Graduate Students and Postdocs: Biotech/Industry or Academia? Searching for Jobs Applications Interviews."— Presentation transcript:
1 Life After Graduate School: Career Topics for Graduate Students and Postdocs: Biotech/Industry or Academia? Searching for Jobs Applications Interviews Negotiations
2 What’s the Future?Note that unemployment rate among Ph.D.s is very low- 1.6% in 19971/3 of all Ph.D.s now work in industryBroad training is increasingly requiredOther skills you learn in grad school are increasingly important to your futureCommunication skills- esp. writingAbility to work in a teamUse of information technologySystems Biology
4 Factors To Consider When Choosing a Postdoc You are choosing the field you will be starting your own lab in- make sure there is growth opportunity (ie a niche for you)Small labs vs big labs- each have advantages and disadvantages- visit bothDesignated job or freedom to explore?Industry or academia?Aim high!You need to identify the labs by yourself! Aks your advisor for recommendations
5 Searching for Postdocs You should leave your institution in order to growIdentify three to six labs, in geographic areas you would consider, who work on topics of interest to youFunded investigators (check CRISP)Productive investigators (check Pub-Med)Don’t just respond to ads!
6 Searching for Postdocs Send a CV and a cover letter to these labs with an approximate time frame for Ph.D.Start a year aheadRemember that few actually graduate on timeAim high- very good labs, not just a jobYou will most likely be asked to interviewIf you cannot interview, arrange to meet the PI or members of his lab at a meetingBe persistent!
7 Choosing a PostdocStaying in the same field as your grad work provides continuity: you already know the field as well as some of your future reviewersChoose a change in technique or system/organism but not bothGet broad training but also specialize in something specific
9 Postdoc at NIH? Advantages Disadvantages Good financial resources and state-of the art equipmentGood intellectual resources: synergyStimulating metropolitan areaSalaries higher than elsewhereNo grant writingDisadvantagesPhysical crowdingNo grant writing- difficult to prepare for academia!Guide to find mentors:
10 The Postdoc Cover Letter No more than ½ to 1 pageDescribe your current area of research in a few sentencesDescribe what you would like to learnAsk to be considered for a positionSay when you will be readyRemember the postdoc market is excellent: you will most likely have many offers!Having 1-2 publications will increase the number
11 The Curriculum VitaeProvides a clear record of your educational and research accomplishmentsStandard format includes:Your name and the DATE!Personal information (contact address and info)Educational historyHonors and FellowshipsTeaching Experience (if appropriate)Grant and research support (if appropriate)
12 The Curriculum Vitae, II Membership in professional societiesInvited lectures (if appropriate)Research and PublicationsSome formats list only the publications followed by the abstractsOthers intersperse this information with a concise summary of what the work showedOptionalPersonal interests (biking, fishing) (no)Techniques mastered (PCR, immunocytochemistry) (yes)References (at least three, up to five)NO TYPOS!
13 Letters of Recommendation Thesis advisor - mandatoryProminent faculty member in Dept?Any faculty you have interacted with-?Collaborators?Ask referees if they can write a positive letter; if you have any doubts, then do not use the referee (some fellowships require top scoring)
14 Interviewing for a Postdoc You may be asked to give a talk (50%)Ask other lab members what the PI’s style isKnow your own style- hands-off? Interactive?Find out where former lab members are nowDon’t ask about salary: it will be in your offer
15 After the InterviewSend thank-you with a time frame for your decision if you already have an offerMake your decision; involve your committee members if you have questionsLet the other places know RIGHT AWAY (you are taking a spot away from someone else!)Plan to write an NIH postdoc grant 9 months ahead if you are a US citizen or have a green card
16 Negotiating a Postdoc Position If there is a job you want and you have not heard yet, but you do have other offers, tactfully contact the PI/institution and explain that you need to make a decisionMost likely you will then receive an offerIt is unusual to request more money for a postdoc: generally the PI pays what he/she can afford/thinks is competitive with the others in the lab
17 Postdoc SalariesFormerly: $28,260 for entry-level postdocs, rising to $44,412 for those with at least seven years' experience.New NIH guidelines Mar : start at $35,568; 3 yrs is $43,428; 7 years experience is now $51,036 (it will take up to 5 years for source grants to catch up!)Note that at NIH staff fellowships often pay more: there is a big range depending on source!Equipment, technical assistance, professional travel, or “any other activity directly related to the Fellow's research” may also be supported by some sources
18 Postdoctoral Training Grants You need to show you will experience professional growthGo to another institutionLearn other techniques or a new field
19 Postdoctoral Training Grants Identify a postdoctoral mentorOne year or more before anticipated graduationBe proactive- most people are looking for fellowsSubmit your proposal well before movingSuccess elements - in order of priorityYour mentor’s reputation (pubs, grants,status)Your own accomplishments (grades, pubs)Training plan (courses, techniques to be learned)Research plan (clear, doable)There are 3 deadlines a year-Jan 10, May 10 and Sept 10 for Kirschstein awards
20 Postdoctoral Training Grants ProjectShould be doable and limitedShould provide training expertiseNeed not be extensiveYour qualificationsRecommendations extremely importantTop 5-10%Grad school GPA 3.0 and abovePublications (1-2) and presentations (2)
21 How Long Should It Take To Write? It’s only 10 pages- give yourself one month maximum!Get forms from NIH.govDiscuss ideas with future mentor and read papersWrite!Make sure PI will be in the office to do his/her partIn the last week, focus full-time on proofing etc.Remember institutional deadlines (mentor’s) precede NIH’s
22 Writing a Successful Proposal Background and Specific AimsMust persuade reviewer of need for workExperimental DesignMust persuade reviewer of your ability to think, anticipate problems, design experimentsLess is more- do not propose 5 years of work!Have 3 people read and critique your proposal
23 Postdoctoral Funding Opportunities NIH individual grantNIH training grantMany, many other sources- disease-relatedAHA and ACS are the largestNIH research training opportunitiesNational Academies' reportHoward Hughes Medical InstituteAlfred P. Sloan FoundationBurroughs Wellcome FundRobert Wood Johnson Foundation
24 Other Postdoc Resources See COSEPUP document:National Organization of Postdocs websiteThere are currently 40,000 postdocs!
30 Advantages and Disadvantages of Biotech Higher salaries-perhaps twice if postdoc (60-70k); also many other perks- stock options, bonuses etcWell-equipped facilitiesFocused work environmentDisadvantagesYou may find an interesting phenomenon and not be permitted to explore it, if it is not relevant to company goalsYou must put your group’s interests ahead of your personal interests: teamwork effort
31 Hiring Trends in Industry Multidisciplinary training very usefulMolecular biology and businessChemistry and lawLife sciences and programmingConversely some specialized areas are hotProteomics, genomics, drug discovery, medicinal chemistsIndustrial specializations such as formulations, product development and process scientists, clinical project managers, regulatory affairsSystems biology
32 Biotech or Industry?Note that some industrial companies are giant pharmaceutical or chemical companies and others are startups with employeesHow will you fit into existing culture?Can you live with insecurity of small company?Biotech companies are smaller but risk is higher
33 Biotech 3,000 firms were polled in 2003 Increase of 12% in hiring 90% have 500 or fewer employeesMost located in six statesSee US Dept of Commerce Report
34 Biotech Jobs Market is tough in years when venture capital is low Use every resource to locate positionsNetworking; meetings; online sites; journal ads; headhuntersMake sure you are a match for the job before applyingThere is no substitute for the personal contactMany companies create positions in December to hire in January
36 Applying to Biotech, IIDo a postdoc in biotech if you think you want to work in biotech- it makes you more competitive to have industry experience (ask about advancement)Make contacts within the company at meetings if possible- ask people who come to your poster (and go to theirs!) about opportunities at their companyFinding a good biotech job at the Ph.D. level is equally difficult as finding an academic position!
37 The Biotech ResumeIs different than the academic CV: 2-3 pages, not 5-6 -even for mature scientistUse key words- technologies you have usedRelate your accomplishments, not your skills- use brief, 25-word descriptions of how you put the “key word” items into practiceMust persuade that you have the abilities that will help achieve corporate goals: SALES JOBShort and snappy! No publications, posters, abstracts, no personal interests
38 What is an “Accomplishment”? A way you helped your previous organization make moneyOr save money- increased efficiency, cost reductionDeveloping something new or differentAdvanced a research program, a breakthrough, a new product, a new line of research or technique
39 Improving the ResumeUse action-oriented verbs such as “established, directed, managed, increased, created, launched, trained, instituted, designedForget “assisted, helped, served”-and “responsible for”Use specific numbers when possible- dollars, number of people supervised, papers etcSee Science jobs website for other tips
40 The Biotech Cover Letter Customized for each job3-4 paragraphsFirst one specifically states how your experience fits the particular positionSecond one lists your accomplishmentsThird thanks the addressee and says that you will either call or wait to hear.
41 Example: Industry Experience Required! DIRECTOR, INDUSTRIAL ENZYME APPLICATIONS My client is a recognized leader in the development of novel enzyme products for a multitude of industrial applications. With 50/50 support from two of the largest, most respected biotech & pharma companies, this Joint-Venture is sure to continue its growth and client base. Located in the beautiful southern California coast, this opportunity will not be around long! You will be responsible for the design, implementation, and management of all research in the arena of enzyme application. Focus will be on products and services for identified industries, and you will oversee said research milestones and delivery in contracted 3rd-party laboratories. Accurate and timely documentation of results, monitoring activities, and setting project guidelines and goals will be required. The researching and assembling of all relevant information for development of new product and service concepts in a variety of industries will also be performed. PhD in biochemistry (or related field) with 6-8 years of industry experience. Proven experience with applicable, related research is a must! Familiarity with and knowledge of enzymes, biocatalysts, and process optimization as they apply to industrial fields is a plus. Now is the best time to join this proven leader in industrial enzymes -- if this sounds like you, please send you resume/CV (as an MS Word document) to (Please use the application form below) and let's talk!Example: Industry Experience Required!
42 Interviewing for Biotech Prepare: read everything you can about the company you are visiting/ do mock interviewReview the annual report, pubs of people you will meetBe guided by the ad: be prepared to say how you fit their qualificationsShow enthusiasm for the workGive seminar, meet people all day longNo second interviews (usually)
43 Biotechnology Career Websites Many job sites connect to companies-big pharmaPfizer site has a lot of tips
45 Academia Has Many Advantages The scientific questions you answer are your own and are not related to company goalsYou can grow at your own pace1 grant or 3 grants; 1 technician or 10 postdocsYou are your own boss in many ways- you decide hiring, travel, reviewing responsibilities etcOpportunity for subsidized travel
46 Academia Has Disadvantages You must be self-supporting in terms of dollars and ideasYou are essentially running a small company without having been fully prepared for some of the skills involved (human resources, financial management, lecture preparation)You must be good at multi-tasking: teaching, research, administration, reviewing -so that all demands are balanced
47 Finding Academic Jobs Science magazine Contacts from meetings, colleagues, your mentorBulletin boardsUniversityOrganization websites (ASCB)Job bureaus at meetings
48 Cover Letters and CVs for Academic Appointments The CV is similar to the postdoc CV but includes talks; teaching experience; and any grants obtained. Should be detailed!The cover letter is more generic than for biotech- states your intent to apply; your accomplishments; and a few sentences about your area of workUnique: 1-3 pages of your planned research program (or teaching philosophy for teaching positions) is attached to CV
49 Interviewing for a Faculty Position, I Be prepared- know interests of faculty who will interview you; find potential areas of mutual interest to talk aboutGive a good seminar (introduction! Future plans!)You will meet with people in 2 daysIf not science talk about shared equipment, quality of life issuesMeet with other newly hired facultyBe extremely tactful with everyone; no complaints!
50 Interviewing, IIIf you are in the top few you will be invited back for second interviewYou should have list of needed equipment /resources ready (core facilities?)You will meet more people outside the Department as well as insideInformal offer may be made that day or more likely afterwards in writing
51 Negotiating a Faculty Position, I Negotiations for permanent positions will include many different aspectsSalary (median salary for Assistant Prof is currently is 70K); med schools pay more than undergrad institutionsSpace ( sq feet)Startup (ranges from 150K to 300K)Equipment (shared or all yours?)Teaching (# contact hours per year eventually at a medical school; more at an undergrad institution)Committee/administrative responsibilities
52 Negotiating a Faculty Position, II Salary is not everything- benefits can vary greatlySubsidized home purchase/loan rateSubsidized health insuranceRetirement benefitsSoft vs hard money guarantees- what % of your salary do you have to provide? (0% to 100%)
53 Research Assistant Professor Not tenuredCan be lab “lieutenant”AdvantagesSomeone else writes the grants and has the pressureYou can do independent scienceDisadvantagesPay; Recognition; Security
54 Clinical Appointments More common these daysCan be tenuredAdvantage: clinical departments can generate revenue for your research; pay betterDisadvantage: do not want to be isolated from other researchers/colleagues
55 What Does Your Ph.D. Mean?You have a broad knowledge of current scientific knowledge with a specialization in one areaYou can research a problem and design and implement a solution independentlyYou are a motivated workerYou have developed communication skillsYou have developed organizational skillsTherefore, you are competent to perform a wide variety of jobs besides research….
56 Alternative Careers for Science Ph.D.s (besides research) Law- patent, tech transferFinance- business experience helpsSales and Tech Support-most companies hire Ph.D.sJournalism -freelance or staffTeaching -small collegesPublic policy (science)AAAS, other organizationsAdministration (NIH, NSF, many other private and public organizations)
57 Acknowledgments ASCB Life Sciences Job Hunt Booklet (order free from ASCB site!)Science Jobs website: