Busy Bee

03Dec09

I figured I’d write just a few words to stay in the habit of it… It’s so damn easy to get inundated by everything else in life and let the poor blog go to shit. I had a calculus test this morning, an informational interview at [Insert Name Here] pharmaceutical company (which went fantastic, by the way), a research presentation tomorrow (with no data because I’ve been troubleshooting a UPLC/MS that keeps going down for the last 15 weeks), and final exams next week. Whew! I’m exhausted!

Oh, if there are any students out there reading this blog, I want to share a little wisdom that has been handed down to me. About the informational interview, it’s such great advice! I don’t think people promote them enough. One thing is for sure – only uploading your resume to a database will NOT get you a job. The chances are reeeeaaally slim. You really have to get out there, meet people, and show initiative. Particularly in this economy, being smart and skilled just isn’t enough! It’s really competitive out there. Professionals that are hiring want to know that you can do the job right AND that they aren’t going to get sick of working with your ass in close quarters.

So anyway, my last informational interview was with a pharma engineering consultant. He’s the director of operations for his company in this state. I met him at a conference (another must-do to meet people). He liked my enthusiasm I suppose because he offered me a co-op for the coming semester to get me some experience and help me with my job search. The one yesterday was great because I interviewed the director of manufacturing sciences and he asked me for my resume at the end, which of course I came prepared with. He’s worked at a couple other major pharma companies and knows lots of people with hiring power. His company isn’t hiring so he is personally going to send it to some of his contacts. Yay!

Not only does the informational interview open the door for new opportunities but if you interview the right people, there is a lot of guidance and advice to be taken. Both have given me great insight into how I will focus my career plans. The great thing is that although these people are VERY busy, they are happy to squeeze in 30-45 mins to help out a student looking to get into the business. I think most of them recall being in the same position before and can sympathize. Not to mention that you can create a favorable and longer-lasting impression than just going to a job fair. Anyway, just thought I would share that. It’s been of tremendous help to me and I truly believe that it’s the type of networking that will help land me a great job next summer.

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5 Responses to “Busy Bee”

  1. 1 isisthescientist

    I heart that you are writing.

  2. 2 extrovertscientist

    I heart that you haven’t given up reading it, Dr. Isis. LOL.

  3. 3 isisthescientist

    Of course I haven’t, querida. You are one of my favorites!

  4. 4 rowan

    what exactly *IS* an informational interview? and how do you get one! I’ve had a few people just say, go do some informational interviews, but I have no idea where to start!
    Just cold calling seems like a bad idea to me, is that really how things are done?

    • 5 extrovertscientist

      Well, an informational interview gives you the opportunity to ask a professional questions about their company, their specific job, their educational background, etc… I’ve found they’re open to answering any questions about the industry whether they are general or specific to their experiences. It’s also a good time to ask them for career advice. I always take my resume with me because more often than not, they will end up asking you for it.

      The best way for you to go about asking for an informational interview is by asking people that you know that might have contacts in the industry you are interested in. This could be friends, professors, or people you meet at industry-related professional events. In my case, I joined the local chapter of an international pharmaceutical organization. I attend networking events and seminars and collect business cards. I email everyone I met in the following week. If anyone seems particularly interesting I then let them know that I’d like to know more about their profession or job. I have yet to get a “no”, even from the busiest people. Tell them you are asking for 30-45 mins of their time. The other great resource you have is LinkedIn. Search companies that you are interested in and then it will give you a listing of the people on LinkedIn that work there. Try to find people with relevant positions and LinkedIn will tell you if you are separated by 2 or 3 degrees. I try to find people that directly know my acquaintances then I ask my acquaintances to introduce us and let them know why.

      I hope this helps! It’s been very helpful for me so far. Good luck!


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