By this point in the experimentation process, it's become clear to me that behavior I previously thought was outlandishly presumptive or aggressive is at worst barely approaching standard practice. Remember how I used to feel about calling HR? Or finding people on LinkedIn? Who knows what makes us scientists so shy, but I am here to push the bounds of acceptable job hunting behavior all the way to "expected levels of interaction." Call me a rebel.
I've started committing (via Twitter) what I used to think was a major faux-paus: asking about jobs. I'm not asking for jobs yet (that's still tacky), but I've found some recruiters who ought to have the types of jobs I am looking for, but only seem to post jobs that aren't right for me (QC Chemist). In prinicple, they know I am watching, because they can tell that I follow them, but I don't pay any attention to who my actual followers are. The only way to get noticed on Twitter is to speak up directly. When I asked Vala Sciences (publicly) for more info about openings, I heard back from them (they will be opening a new department, but they want to get a director in place first. It's almost time for a follow-up with them). So why not just ask the biotech recruiter? Why not just ask Amgen, do you have positions for people with my background?
The obvious reason not to is that the very thought of it makes me feel ill. But both Steve Levy and Adrienne Graham were comically appalled by my lack of aggressiveness in this whole thing. How are these people/entities going to know you want a job otherwise? Continuing to apply for the wrong positions isn't helping. I would really like to work for Amgen- they paid my summer stipend the summer I decided to go to graduate school, so I've always had a soft spot for them. But their careers pages is confounding and so my resume is likely filled under "people who can't read job descriptions." Hopefully I can get someone there to at least point me towards the correct job title or department to look for, since that would be a huge advantage to me. As bashful as I am feeling about this, I still don't think I'm crossing the bounds of appropriate job seeker behavior. In fact, I am finally just beginning to broach the whole reason groups like Amgen and Merck are on Twitter in the first place- to connect with candidates before the hiring process begins.