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The World’s Most Comprehensive Resource for Scientists Transitioning to Industry

Published over nearly 20 years, the 100-plus articles in this collection are a diverse lot. In some of the older articles, you may encounter the odd formatting glitch, and not every observation is completely up to date: If you encounter a claim that the job market in pharma is hot, you can safely ignore it. You shouldn’t ignore the career advice, however; most of it is as fresh as the day it was published. So if you’re looking to leverage your hard-earned science degree into a career in industry, read on. You may want to bookmark this collection and revisit it throughout your search.

Biotech Buzzwords: The Industry's Confusing Acronyms and Insiders' Jargon
by David Jensen
If you want to get hired in industry, you first need to know what they’re talking about, right?

The Job Seeker's Lexicon
by David Jensen
Job seekers need to be able to interpret the jargon used in job ads and interviews.

Should you?

Myths About Industry Jobs
by David Jensen
There's more common ground between industry and academia than you think.

Would You Like Working in Industry?
by Beryl Lieff Benderly
An essay in Molecular Biology of the Cell describes what it's like to work as a scientist in the biotech industry.

Academia or Industry? Finding the Right Fit
by Elisabeth Pain
There are restrictions and limitations on doing for-profit science, but there are also many advantages to joining industry.

Questions to Set Your Sails By (Part 2)
by David Jensen
Answering these six questions can help you choose your career path without having to make major course corrections.

Questions to Set Your Sails By (Part 1)
by David Jensen
Answering these six questions can help you choose your career path without having to make major course corrections.

The Job-Offer Checklist
by David Jensen
A job in industry has much to recommend it, but it's not always the right answer. The best advice, says David Jensen, is to look before you make the leap to industry.

Searching and finding

The Dating Game: Why Job-Hunting and Finding a Mate Are Really the Same Thing
by Peter Fiske
Maybe you can’t find a job for the same reason you can’t get a date. 

Are You Job Hunting or Job Fishing?
Peter Fiske
You need to put on your scuba gear, get out your spear gun, and go to where the rare fish live.

Conducting an Authentic Job Search
by David Jensen
Many technical professionals don't like the job search because they think they have to be insincere to do well. Not true, says our Tooling Up columnist.

The Career Contrarian
by David Jensen
To get a job, defy the herd.

Urban Legends of the Job Search
by David Jensen
There are certain things about the job search that everybody knows. The problem is, many of them aren't true.

The Cold, Hard Truth About Finding a Job in 2009
by David Jensen
Finding a job in 2009 will take a perfect plan, perseverance, and a positive attitude.

The Wall
by David Jensen
Is there hope these days for scientists who enter graduate school expecting to be trained for employment outside the ivory tower?

A Job-Search Plan for the Person Without One (Part 2)
by David Jensen
The key to a successful job hunt is to precisely target particular jobs and to demonstrate that you can solve the hiring manager's particular problem.

A Job-Search Plan for the Person Without One (Part One)
by David Jensen
A successful job search involves more than posting your resume on the Web. Here are some pointers for honing your job-seeking skills.

The Slightly Irreverent, Shake 'Em Up Job Search
by David Jensen
If the usual rules aren't working, you may need to bend or break them to get the juices—and your job search—flowing.

Guerrilla Marketing Yourself
by David Jensen
"Guerrilla marketing" was developed for resource-poor small businesses, which is why it works so well for scientific job seekers. Who's shorter on resources than a postdoc.

The Real Deal vs. Well-Oiled: Who Gets the Offer?
by David Jensen
Which approach works best: slick, ingratiating responses or being real? It’s a bit of both, really.

More Than Just a Job-Seeking Skill
by David Jensen
Networking is the process of establishing links between people, with the intent to promote communication of mutual benefit.

Style Over Substance?
by David Jensen
There are some credentials that no one ever talks about.

Ten Traits of the Job-Search Rebel
David Jensen
There are times when you should reject the advice of your mentors.

Getting hired

Six Classic Lines of Bull
by David Jensen
Some of the things you hear during the job search are about as silly as a bad pickup line.

Be the Candidate
by David Jensen
Your chances of finding a job improve if you are considered a candidate and not just an applicant.

Words With Punch
by David Jensen
In a variety of job-seeking contexts, the right choice of words can make a big difference.

Making the Cut in 2011
by David Jensen
In a job market where even entry-level jobs are going to people with industry experience, how can you compete?

Two Choke Points
by David Jensen
When moving away from the bench and into the business side of industry, it's important for scientists to realize that there's not just one gaping chasm to cross, but two.

Playing the Name Game
by David Jensen
Need to find out who's who inside a company? Here's how the pros do it.

The Why's and What For's of Employment References
by David Jensen
In industry these days, verbal recommendations mean a lot more than those written on paper.

Resume Wisdom
by David Jensen
To go beyond "good enough," think hard about the needs of the hiring manager and the position.

Resume Rocket Science, 2007
by David Jensen
There's little consensus among experts on what constitutes a good CV or resume. But it is possible to identify some common threads in their advice.

The Path of a CV
by David Jensen
Here's what happens when you send in your C.V.

Path of a CV, 2014 Edition
by David Jensen
When it comes to how job applications are processed by companies, some things have changed—but others haven't.

The Master List of Don'ts
by David Jensen
Avoid these rookie mistakes and place yourself among the top 20% of applicants for jobs in industry.

How to Work a Meeting
by David Jensen
From a networking standpoint, the purpose of a scientific meeting is to accumulate connections and thereby improve your odds of professional success.

Customize a Job-Magnet CV
by David Jensen
Like your cover letter, your industry CV should be customized for every job you apply for.

The Cover Letter: Relic or Still Relevant?
by David Jensen
It's true that some employers don't even read cover letters, but you shouldn't miss this opportunity to personalize your application package.

Focus Your Industry CV
by David Jensen
The concept of "resume real estate" can lead to small changes in your CV that yield big rewards.

The Commandments of Cover Letter Creation
Peter Fiske
One of our most popular articles still, 18 years after it was written.

How to Write a Winning Resume
Peter Fiske
Our columnist explains all you need to know about resumes and CVs.

The Informational Interview
by David Jensen
Landing an informational interview requires good networking; making it pay off takes preparation.

CVs That Open Industry Doors
David Jensen
Rethinking your industry CV


15 Minutes to a Better Interview
by David Jensen
Even for experienced interviewers, some basic rules of courtesy and etiquette are worth reviewing.

The Dreaded Phone Interview
by David Jensen
The goal of a telephone interview is to reduce the size of the applicant pool. Don't let them screen you out.

Human Resources Interviews
by David Jensen
You may be comfortable talking with scientists, but interviews with Human Resources are a different beast.

Interview Intangibles
by David Jensen
The most important aspects of your job interview are things you may not have thought about.

Job Talk Jitters
by David Jensen
When giving a job talk to an industrial employer, remember that you—and not your science—are the product the company is thinking about investing in.

Interviewing Skills: What to Do When They Say "Tell Me About Yourself"
by David Jensen
This common interview question can be dangerous if you don't know how to handle it.

Views on an Interview, Part 2
by David Jensen
Ups and downs continue during Scott Jackson's interview at ABC Technologies.

Views on an Interview, Part 1
by David Jensen
On interview day at ABC Technologies, Scott Jackson's experiences range from mundane to terrifying.

On Interview Day
by David Jensen
With the right attitude and actions, you can rise to the top on interview day.

The Finer Points of Giving a Job Talk
by David Jensen
A job talk is entirely different from scientific talks or presentations at management meetings.

Mr. Manners Hits the Interviewing Trail
by David Jensen
David Jensen investigates the often confusing aspects of protocol involving current and prospective employers when looking for a new job.

First Impressions—Are Interview Results Preordained?
by David Jensen
Those first few seconds are really important, and there may not be much you can do about it.

Managing First Impressions at Interviews
by David Jensen
Make eye contact, know what hazards to avoid, and follow up.

First Encounters With Behavioral Interviewing
by David Jensen
Interview questions are becoming more personal and probing.

The Other Side of the Interview
by Peter Fiske
What the other person is thinking.


Salary Negotiation, Part 2
by David Jensen
Some nitty-gritty tips and describes some techniques that should be in every scientist's negotiation toolkit.

Salary Negotiation, Part 1
by David Jensen
Once a company has made you an offer, they've crossed the threshold and they really want to close the deal.

Negotiation Boot Camp
by David Jensen
Few job skills bring as much value to your career as the ability to negotiate.

Attributes, skills, and how to get them

How to Succeed in Industry by Really Trying
by Beryl Lieff Benderly
What Dow Chemical's chief technology officer looks for in new employees may not be what you think.

Getting in Shape for Industry Jobs  
by Michael Price
Bioscience Management Bootcamp gives business-minded scientists a crash course in the skills they'll need to work in industry or become entrepreneurs.

Time for an Attitude Adjustment?
by David Jensen
If you'll take a chance and adopt a more positive mindset, you'll stand a much better chance of ending up in the ranks of the seriously employed.

Traits of the Key Players
by David Jensen
What are the qualities that scientists must have to be key players in an industrial setting?

Are You Likable?
by David Jensen
Your success in the job search depends partly on how much people like you.

Defying Gravity
by David Jensen
Because we don't live in a perfect world, things besides intellectual brilliance are just as important in getting things done—and in getting hired.

Developing Resilience
by David Jensen
Resilience can get you through grad school and beyond. Here's how to thicken your skin.

Advice from the C-Suite
by David Jensen
Advice from top executives reflects their years of experience climbing the corporate ranks, hiring people, and watching others succeed and fail.

The Killer Instinct
by David Jensen
Industry employers relish the killer instinct, which allows scientists to push their projects and ideas past obstacles.

Transitioning to Teamwork
by David Jensen
The ability to work well in a team is integral to today's company environment.

Adding Charisma to Your Toolbox
by David Jensen
What is that ephemeral quality that makes some people stand out in a crowd as others vanish into the background? Can you learn it?

'Culturing' Your Marketable Skills
by David Jensen
Like a culture of microorganisms, some career skills need to be nurtured and cared for before employers can observe and rely on them.

Professional Polish
by Sarah Webb
When dressing for a job interview, it pays to cultivate conformity—and attention to detail—instead of individuality.

Customize Your Training
by David Jensen
The extra skills you need to get attention from industry don't have to cost an arm and a leg.

Types of jobs and industries

Wanted: Collaborative life-scientists for drug discovery
by Jennifer Carpenter
A restructuring pharmaceuticals industry is looking for life scientists who can work together across disciplines within smaller companies.

Transcending the Transition from Academia to Industry
by Clifford Mintz
An overview of the types of jobs available in industry and the skills needed to obtain them.

Working for a Contract Research Organization
by Naomi Lubick
Scientists interested in any phase of drug research and development can find opportunities within CROs.

His Mother Cried When He Went Into Sales
by David Jensen
'Sales' is not a four-letter word.

Clinical Trials Careers
by David Jensen
A recent book describes several clinical career paths that can be entered by people without clinical experience.

The Applications Scientist Career Track
by David Jensen
An "applications scientist" job can be a great link between the bench and other types of industry careers.

The Business Development Career Track
by David Jensen
Ph.D. scientists working in business development scout for new technologies, plan new initiatives, negotiate licensing agreements, and often work directly with customers.

Project Management for Scientists, Part 1: An Overview
by Meenakshi Kashyap
The skills project managers need.

The Project Management Career Track
by David Jensen
Project management, as a career track and a core skill, requires detail management, good communication, and people skills.

Clinical Research Careers
by Katie Cottingham
These days, you are quite likely to find Ph.D.s leading multidisciplinary clinical research teams, alongside physicians and M.D./Ph.D.s.

Careers in Medical Writing: Opening Doors *Feature Index*
by Crispin Taylor
All about medical writing careers and how to get those jobs.

Little 'r,' Big 'D'
by David Jensen
If you want to work in industry in this economy, tweak your CV to emphasize the "development" side of R&D

The Medical Writing and Corporate Intelligence Career Tracks
by David Jensen
Jim Gardner follows a career as a medical writer with another as a corporate sleuth.

The Regulatory Affairs Career Track
by David Jensen
Serving as liaisons between the government and drug developers, regulatory affairs specialists play a key role in getting drugs to market.

The Biomanufacturing Career Track
by David Jensen
Biotech and pharma companies are stepping up their product-manufacturing facilities—and looking for excellent problem solvers to run them.

Content Collection: Working in Pharma
by Science Careers Staff
We present our best information and advice on working in the pharmaceuticals industry.

Pharma Offers Bench-to-Bedside Opportunities
by Karyn Hede
Scientists working in pharma say the industry is among the most direct ways to improve human health.

Big Pharma Ramps Up Postdoc Programs
by Michael Price
After years of layoffs, drug companies are turning to the youngest Ph.D. scientists for fresh ideas.

Advice for Future Pharma Scientists: Start Small
by Michael Price and Elisabeth Pain
As the industry moves away from the big pharma model, drug development scientists are likely to find more and better opportunities at smaller companies and academic labs.

Computational Biologists: The Next Pharma Scientists?
by Michael Price
Drug development companies are now hiring more computational biologists, creating an abundance of high-paying jobs.

Special Feature: Careers in the Chemical Industry
by Jim Austin
Employment in the chemical industry has been slow for several years. But chemists with the right skills have been finding jobs anyway, and today, prospects for young chemists with industrial aspirations are improving.

Brewing a Career in the Chemical Industry
by Elisabeth Pain
Dutch biochemist Jeroen van Roon started building strong ties with a specialty chemicals company early in his training. His networking paid off.

Research Careers in the Biotech Industry
by Elisabeth Pain
What kinds of research jobs is the biotech industry trying to fill?

Careers in Biotech Manufacturing
by Jim Kling
Biotech companies gearing up to manufacture product face a shortage of talent, as most young scientists interested in biotechnology have congregated to research.

Building a Science Career in the Defense Industry
by Angela Saini
The defense industry offers opportunities for scientists and engineers that go beyond designing weapons and aircraft.

Geoscientists in High Demand in the Oil Industry
by Lucas Laursen
There are two basic categories of geoscientists, and one of them is in demand.

In the Geosciences, Business Is Booming
by Carolyn Gramling
Flat federal funding means tight times in academia, but jobs abound in the petroleum, mining, and environmental consulting industries.

In the Footsteps of Archimedes: Mathematicians Working in Industry
by Albert Michels
Companies are usually looking for an indication that candidates have an affinity for both industrial mathematics and teamwork.

On the job

Rules of the Road: A Collection of Philosophies From Leaders of the Biotechnology Industry
by David Jensen
A guide to how to succeed based on Other People’s Experiences

The Law of Reciprocity
by David Jensen
In almost every work environment the ability to influence others is an essential job skill.

Why Good People Leave Good Jobs
by David Jensen
Short stays don't look good to future employers—so why are they so common?

Integrate Yourself
by David Jensen
Being viewed as an outsider can happen to anyone, and it can have devastating career consequences.

How to Swim With Sharks
by David Jensen
Here's what you need to know about third-party services that offer to help with your job search.

You Will Never Be Appreciated
by David Jensen
Scientists and other professionals can increase their job satisfaction by kicking their addiction to praise.

Be Politically Astute, But Don't Play Politics
by David Jensen
You can't avoid politics in the workplace—but you can stay above the fray.

In Praise of the Sherpa: Moving From Follower to Leader in Your Career
by Peter Fiske
Grad students and postdocs are like sherpas—or maybe they’re like sled dogs. On tough expeditions, sled dogs sometimes get eaten.

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