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Two maps and a vocabulary - finding a new job as a graduate

Two maps and a vocabulary - finding a new job as a graduate

17 May 13:00 by Matthew Rollinson


It’s that time of year again. Graduation!

We hope you’ve got the grade or classification you were looking for and whether you’re reading this as a A-Level, BTEC, BSc or PhD completer, congratulations and welcome to the world of working in science and getting paid instead of paying course fee’s!

Onto business.

First up, we’ll address the most commonly asked question. 

"All of the jobs that are out there ask for experience, and I have none. How can I get a job?"

You need two maps. We’ll come to this later.

First of all, you don’t need experience to get a job in science, that’s total nonsense.

Everyone who is working in science started somewhere and nobody is born with experience. If we all needed experience then we’d be trapped in the kind of perpetual loop.

So, rest assured, someone will give you a chance, what you need to do is find them.

How do you do this though?

Step one. 

Decide what you want, this is about you getting the right job for you. At this point it’s likely a case of a job in the lab doing "something science related", but do consider the kind of company you want to work for.

Do you think you want the close-knit small-or-mid sized business or prefer the feel of a large corporate environment. Did you really enjoy a particular part of your course maybe and think there’s a job in that? Can you relocate if so where might you know people and find it easier to do this?

Most of what’s taught at colleges and universities are the same techniques you’ll find in a client of ours, it might be a case of reflecting on what you enjoyed and starting there?

Imagine the job markets like a map, you need to know which bit of it you want to get to, before setting out. 

Otherwise, you might get a bit lost, and you'll definitely expend more energy and time than you needed. Possibly even get frustrated and stop! Lets not go there - once you know where on the map you want to be, you can talk to people in this kind of area.

Ok that’s step one. Now you need to work on appealing to hiring managers.

Step two. 

Industry has a different language to academia and responds to different prompts. Take a moment to let that idea sink in as it's 100% important. 

Basically your next boss wants to read on your CV the skills that mean you can slot in with the minimum of fuss to their workforce. The problem is you talk academia, she talks industry. This is where the transition begins between the two. 

So, you’ve decided on your industry or type of job. Why should they notice your CV? (first of all it needs to be good. And at this point perhaps look at the link below for a guide to writing a top CV). 

One way, is to talk their language. Are there particular buzzwords you could transfer to your CV. For example lets say you want to be a formulator and you’ve done a project involving formulation. You probably didn’t use the words like “dosage form”, “compounding”, “extrusion”, “tabletting” on the CV, but can perfectly legitimately do this. This is the language your new boss talks, and it will appear throoughout adverts in this field. If you summarise your experience using common phrases you'd both use, you're suddently on the same plane of communication.  

This language may not come naturally, I get that, but it’s the language your new job will speak. So it’s now your language and you need to get fluent.  

If this language is on your CV it’s a bit like hearing a friendly accent, people will warm to it. Look at adverts for the job you want and pick up on what keywords come up, get these on the CV.

Step three

Apply LOTS. You will get up to 20 rejections for each interview. Dig in, this is the time of your life where you get a lot of rejection, but persevere.  

Everyone went through this. Someone will hire you.

It's important to sound positive throughout despite any frustrations, people only really get a snapshot of you in the recruitment process so you don't want that impression to be negative in any way. You are not "finding it tough" rather “just haven’t yet found that opportunitiy that’s 100% right but the search continues!” 

Keep confidence levels high. You will get a job, if I wanted a graduate from 2017, I’d not be able to find one right now, they’re all in jobs if they want to be.

Finally, sometimes you just need to ask for a job. Threre is nothing wrong with contacting a company to ask can you work there, and do they have openings? 

Step four

Onto how to find your new company.

70% or so of all businesses are small to mid scale operations or SME’s. They all have one thing in common. You haven’t heard of them.

This is because they have precisely zero cash to spend on promoting themselves to graduates on milkrounds or in books full of pictures of shiny skyscrapers and people laughing in the office in the careers centre. 

So chances are you have no idea who they are, and they have no idea of who you are.

This will never do. What we need is our second map for our job hunt.

This one you've heard of. It's google maps. 

Believe it or not, you can google map search “pharmaceutical companies in Manchester” (or any town / industry combo) in the serch bar, and loads come up.

Because… whose not on Google, right? 

So you can then click further into it and they’re 100 person companies with a successful story, but they aren't the blue chips and the certainly aren't going to be sending someone to your University to give a speech on working there.

They might be perfect, if you like then apply to this kind of business. They will take in the CV, and, ok maybe it’s a no for today, but what about next week when their technician resigns? Do they advertise a job, or call you the convenient solution to their staffing crisis? Also, as much as possible post the CV as well as email. Posted stuff stands out in 2018.

So, in conclusion, use the above to contact like minded people, using their language, about you and your background. Make it easy for your new boss to know who you are, understand what you can do for them and want to bring you on board.

Be businesslike to deal with, have a professional voicemail setup, spellcheck emails, put out of office on if you go on holiday. Finally, contact LiCa Scientific on because we place lots of graduates every year and can help.

Good luck!