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Online Career Resources for Bioscientistsby Pamela M. Gannon
If you are looking for an academic position in the life sciences or a position in the biopharmaceutical industry, just what resources are available to you on the Web? If you are contemplating a job change or questioning aspects of your career path, are there online resources that present career advice and support?
Luckily, there are a myriad of resources on the Web that specialize in careers in science. In general, the resources fall into two categories - information and tools for job seekers and resources and aids for ongoing career development. The wide range of information is geared for both academic scientists and professionals in the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries.
For job seekers, a major timesaving benefit is the ability to browse job listings online. Science and Nature both provide online access to their published job listings, which include positions in both academia and industry. The job advertisements in Science are browsable and searchable by topic area, geographic location, type of position and key words. Users can also receive free email alerts for positions in particular topic areas. Science provides listings from the past 4 issues; the positions primarily represent openings in the US with a selection of worldwide jobs. Nature uses a more rudimentary interface to allow searchable access to job listings in what appears to be the current issue. Users can search by location, position, topic area or company name and the site has a nice selection of UK and international positions.
A new resource, Sciencejobs.com, is a collaboration of Cell, BioMedNet and the New Scientist that combines the job listings from all three to create an extensive, international resource. The sophisticated job search interface is browsable and searchable by discipline, geographic location, type of position and key words. Several viewing options for search results include view by date or view by organizations. Sciencejobs.com offers a free email alert service and job listings are available from the past 60 days.
Several web sites that focus on the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industry feature searchable job listings. BioSpace, BioOnline, and The BioCareer Center all provide job databases that are browsable by company, discipline and location and are searchable by key words. Job listings include scientist positions, technician positions and other positions in industry, such as marketing and sales. MonsterJobs at Monster.Com is an enormous searchable jobs database with a category for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Users can create automated search agents that email relevant job openings.
For information about career development issues and career advice, several high-quality resources provide access to hundreds of relevant articles. Science's Next Wave is designed specifically to provide career information for young scientists. Next Wave's Career Development Center for Postdocs and Junior Faculty presents over 70 articles that focus on professional issues in academia and grant writing information. Although discussion forums are available, they are not very active. Unfortunately, access to additional career material at Next Wave is now limited to subscribers. The Career Center at Bio Online features a very useful collection of over 50 articles in Your Career in the Sciences by David G. Jensen. The topics are relevant for both academia and industry and address such issues as the job hunt, how to improve your career skills and how to be a better manager. Bio Online also hosts an active, moderated Career Forum.
In addition, many popular print publications provide free access to their feature articles on career issues at their web sites. These articles cover a tremendous range of topics in the science profession, including hot geographic locations, interview tips, specific research areas, academic science, women and minorities in science and alternative careers for scientists. The Scientist, a bi-weekly science news journal, has a long tradition of presenting relevant articles pertaining to both traditional and alternative science careers. Articles from the Profession section of every issue are permanently archived for free online access.
In the Science Careers section of Science Online, the Advice and Perspectives section presents a useful collection of over 80 articles with career information and features published in Science over the past few years. Nature Jobs also includes a selection of feature articles from the past few years on careers in science in the Career Info section. HMS Beagle, has published over 50 articles addressing career concerns in the Careers section, along with profiles of labs and companies, feature articles and a debate about career issues. Beagle maintains a full archive of these articles.
Several web sites that are devoted to information and resources for the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries contain useful and relevant information for job seekers and career professionals in industry. The Career Resources section of The BioCareer Center, organized by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and SciWeb, reprints about 50 articles from sources such as CareerSource Magazine and Fast Company. The articles address issues that are more specific for careers in industry, such as job interviews, resumes, salary negotiations and management techniques. The BioCareer Center site includes a Discussion Board that is somewhat active.
Another biopharmaceutical site, BioView, features a CareerView section with lots of practical career information, such as useful tips about resumes, along with access to a resume generator program. In addition, BioView provides links to resources and information about relocation, including a cost of living calculator and specific statistics from school districts in the US. The site includes job listings and a selection of career articles culled from other sources.
To keep abreast of developments in the biopharmaceutical industry and to research biotech companies for job interviews, try BioSpace. The site provides extensive coverage of breaking news releases, company profiles and financial results and includes feature articles and roundtable discussions on developments in biotech. BioSpace focuses on "hotbed communities" in the US, Canada and the UK; the site has a special section on Start-Up companies. The BioOnline site also presents news and events in industry and sponsors chat events and feature articles on current topics in biopharmaceuticals.
Many career sites now feature mechanisms for job seekers to post their resumes online. The majority of the sites mentioned above, including Science, Nature, BioOnline, BioView, The BioCareer Center and Monster.Com, provide this function. In general, the online resumes are designed by filling out standard forms and the information can be modified later if necessary. The web sites appear to be vigilant about protecting privacy; most sites will let users post a resume anonymously, which blocks the name and contact information and provides a forwarding email address to potential employers. Currently, this type of service may be more appropriate for technician-level positions rather than scientist positions. However, these tools may become more mainstream for bioscientists in the future.
Keep in mind that none of the online informational and job resources will substitute for good, old-fashioned networking, especially with regard to obtaining a position. The colleagues and mentors in your field will often prove to be the most insightful resources for your particular situation and concerns. However, online career resources can simplify and enhance the job search process and provide useful and relevant career development information.
Please note: This article was originally commissioned by HMS Beagle.