Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rumors from the Job Hunt

I am in the fortunate position to be very open about my job hunt, both that I am looking for work and for a career in general. I am fortunate because this means people all over the place are generously sharing their experiences and tidbits with me. However, if you are also a graduate student, there is a good chance that a lot of the tidbits are more like rumors. Sometimes these rumors are surprising, so I'll share these because I have no reason to distrust their sources, but I'd like to get some confirmation. If you have any reason to know better than I, please leave a comment!

Don't apply for too many different jobs at once. If you are applying to a big biotech, there is a good chance you'll see lots of jobs you think you can do, might like to try or want to know more about. If one hiring manager receives your applications for 20 positions from sales to research to tech to lead, they will assume you are unfocused and throw them all out. I'm not sure what the magic number is, but try to stay focused on specific types or responsibilities. Not sure how this sits with recruiting firms.

You don't really need to qualify for a government job. That's not totally true, you absoloutely must meet the minimum requirement; if they want a degree, you need to have one. But most government job postings will have qualifications, and Minimum qualifications. If you don't have 2 years of GS10 experience but still believe you can do the job, you need only convince the hiring manager, you may as well give it a shot.

You need to switch institutions for a post-doc. I know there are a few qualifiers on this rumor, this is only important to explain to NRSA Fellowships (although you'll inevitably apply for this if you plan to continue on the professor-training track), and if you have not switched institutions, you have space in your application to explain that choice. I am not sure what the NIH feels are compelling reasons to stay. But I am sure that at a very large research university like mine, I have not used ever opportunity for training available on campus, which is the standard argument for switching.

Do you know of other rumors? Are these ones true?

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