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4 Most Commonly Misunderstood Pieces Of Job Search Advice



5/5/2014 12:04:56 PM

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4 Most Commonly Misunderstood Pieces Of Job Search Advice May 15, 2014

Beware of these misunderstood pieces of job search advice.

By Angela Rose for BioSpace.com

The Internet is full of employment advice. Every bookstore has several shelves of publications on the subject. Even a sister, best friend, or grandmother can be a worthy source of suggestions. Unfortunately, the sheer amount of information you may uncover can make it all too easy to become overwhelmed and confused. Consider the following job search tips that many life science professionals misunderstand and misapply. Avoid doing the same and you could improve your chances of securing your next biotech job.

1. Include information from the job posting in your cover letter.

It’s important to customize your cover letter every time you apply for a job. This shows you’ve read and comprehended the information and allows you to draw parallels between each employer’s needs and your qualifications. Unfortunately, many life science job seekers misunderstand this advice and end up with a cover letter that is so stuffed with keywords, it loses all personality or—even worse—sounds like it was copied and pasted directly from the job posting.

Avoid this mistake by identifying the top three qualifications necessary—as mentioned in the job posting—and addressing those in your cover letter. For example, if you were to apply for an in vivo scientist position, you could state that you have 1) established hands-on experience with in vivo dosing techniques 2) excellent publication record dealing with in vivo studies and 3) have experience running ELISA, FACS, TLDA and RT-PCR and CBA and Luminex assays. You can add a little about why you want to work for the organization and finish up with a request for a meeting to discuss the opportunity further.

2. Pay attention to your body language at the interview.

Few experiences are as nerve wracking as a job interview; even the most seasoned job seeker may fumble for the right words to describe the unique value they can bring to the workplace. Unfortunately, allowing yourself to become hyper-focused on controlling your body language can make you appear even more nervous or awkward than you actually are.

While you should strive to put your best foot forward, as they say, when meeting with a prospective employer, you should ultimately be yourself. For example, if you’re normally an animated speaker, don’t obsess over controlling your hand gestures. If you tend to be rather subdued, don’t force yourself to behave in a gregarious manner.

3. Don’t pester human resources or the hiring manager.

The operative word in this common piece of advice is “pester.” It means “to bother persistently with petty annoyances,” not “do not contact under any circumstances.” Checking in with an appropriate party—to confirm receipt of your resume or follow-up on next steps after your interview—is perfectly acceptable. And if you do not land this particular position, staying in touch will keep you top of mind the next time the organization has a job opening.

4. Ask questions to show you’re interested in the job.

It’s unlikely that you’ve applied for any jobs you’re not truly interested in—and prospective employers know this. And while questions can certainly show you’re actively listening and engaged in the interview at hand, many professionals make dozens of unnecessary inquiries because they’ve misunderstood this piece of job search advice.

If a question arises during the course of the interview, ask it. Have a few queries prepared for the end of the interview as well. You might want to try one or two of these questions every employer wants to hear. Whatever you do, avoid turning the interview into an interrogation.

About the Author

Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends, and workplace issues for BioSpace.com.

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