Regifting! Giving You the Best Job Search Advice We Ever Received

December 19, 2011

It is the holiday season and we here at OITE are in a giving mood!  To show our appreciation to our readers, we have compiled some of the best job search advice we have been given.  We have wrapped them up neatly below and are regifting them to you!  Yes, we are proud regifters!  So, grab your holiday drink of choice (unless you are in the lab…no food or drink allowed), settle down in a cozy chair (or lab stool) and prepare to unwrap your gifts from us this holiday season!  Enjoy and see you in 2012!    

Your job search begins before you start looking for a job:

“The best advice I ever received is related to networking.  Think of your network as a bank.  When it is time to search for a job, you will need to make a withdrawal from your network. You need your network to work for you.  The key questions will be:  Have you invested enough in your network so you can make a withdrawal?  Did you invest in a network that will provide a good return on your investment?  

Investments can be as simple as attending someone’s seminar and asking an insightful question to volunteering to lead a project that will assist their career yet provide you invaluable experience.  So next time you hear the phrase network, network, network; think invest, invest, invest!”

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NIH Alumni: Where are they now? Profile 7 – International Academic Research, Israel

December 12, 2011

This is the seventh in a series of profiles about recent NIH postdocs who have found an array of jobs, from academia to industry to communications and beyond, in the U.S. and abroad. What do they do now, and how did they get there? What challenges did they face, and what advice do they have? Read on to find out.

Name: Mona Dvir-Ginzberg

Current position: Lecturer, Institute of Dental Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Location: Israel

Time in current position: 2 years

Postdoc: Histone-modifying enzymes involved in the pathology of osteoarthritis with David Hall at NIAMS

A change in path: I was very lucky during my postdoc to have made some novel observations. But I was held back by thinking it was way too early to look for jobs and that my publication record was insufficient. After my first publication, I felt more confident to start pursuing a position. At that point, I wasn’t thinking about academia at all. I wanted applicability and financial security, and industry seemed very appealing, so I began interviewing in the States and in Israel with several biotech companies.

It turned out some of the requirements did not suit my expectations. I was drawn to R&D, but some of the projects in the industry already had a product which only needed to be optimized. One company had outsourced all R&D. Others had a lot of documents and regulatory affairs, which appeared to me as being extremely technical and not very creative work.

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Friday Follow-up: Writing a Cold E-mail

December 9, 2011

One of the more intimidating parts of building your network is contacting people you have little or no connection to.  Before E-mail became the standard form of communication in science and business, this was even more daunting.  Making a “cold call” to a person you had never met was a scary prospect.  You never were certain how they would respond.  However, e-mail is a little less personal and thus, less of a risk.  Still, a poorly planned and constructed “cold e-mail” can get you nowhere, or worse, may actually work against you.  To make sure that your e-mail is well received and effective, follow these few tips:

Make it short and to the point:  The key principle here is respecting the reader’s time.  Everyone is busy.  No one really has the time to read a long drawn out e-mail that addresses every aspect of who you are, what you want to do with your life and the role that they can play.  Keep your initial communication on point.  Introduce yourself.  Explain that you are interested in the job that they do and how they got there.   Then, ask them for the interview.  Your entire e-mail should be no more than two short paragraphs. 

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What’s An Informational Interview?

December 5, 2011

As we continue to post success stories from NIH alumni in our “NIH Alumni: Where are they now?” series, readers of this blog have seen and will continue to see the term, “informational interview.”  While aptly named, many readers may be asking:  What is an informational interview?  How do I set one up?  What type of questions should I ask?  What, besides information, should I expect to get out of an informational interview?

First you should understand the purpose of an informational interview.  It is to gain information, not a job.  You are asking a person who works in a field, a position or a company of interest to you about their job and career path.  The interview is not about you and your aspirations.  It is about the person you are interviewing.  However, a successful informational interview will build your knowledge base and your network by at least one person. 

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