Building a successful career in the biotechnology industry
is really just a series of transitions from one role to another. But the devil
is in the details—when to make a change, how to create opportunities and who
can be your champion as you pivot. So how do you navigate these factors to keep
your career goals on course?
I recently attended a symposium (presented by the University of Wisconsin Master of Science in Biotechnology Program, of which I’m an alum) that addressed this topic through the lens of one individual with a storied career in the industry. Bob Weiland currently serves on the Board of Directors for CymaBay Therapeutics. He has held various roles, from sales and marketing to operations and strategy, within large, established companies (Abbot, Baxter, Takeda) and smaller ones (Pacira Pharmacueticals). He drew on this wide-ranging experience to provide advice to professionals at all career stages.
Bob began the talk by declaring that there will be points in
your career when you reach a “hard spot” and will need to transition, whether
to a new role, company or even industry, to meet your career goals. He
suggested a good starting point is simply to be thinking about making a change.
But in the same breath he emphasized, “What are you doing about it?” He
identified four distinct actions that you can take to ensure role changes and
career transitions support your professional growth and development.
I’m a list person. You may know people like me—we are the ones who start compiling a list of items to pack for vacation a month in advance; we wouldn’t be caught in a grocery store without a carefully curated grocery list (often organized by department), and we have been known to write down previously completed items on our to-do list just to experience the satisfaction of crossing them off. The internet is full of lists and I love comparing other people’s checklists against my own to make sure I have what I need.
Some call my list-making zeal a curse, some call it a gift. Whatever you call it, I’d like to share with you my suggestions of items to bring to your next onsite interview (in list form, of course). Whether you are as passionate about lists as I am or not, I think it can help. Packing for an onsite interview in advance can help you feel calm, confident and prepared; which is exactly what an interviewer wants to see. When getting ready for an interview, be sure to pack: Continue reading “Interview Day Checklist”
When searching for a job it’s important to consider the job duties as well as the company and the company’s culture. Two companies have become famous for their cultures—Google and Zappos. Google is known as a company where you work hard in an amazing environment. Oh, and the food is free! Zappos is known as a place where employees are valued, and customer service is the first priority. Here at Promega, science rules, employee well-being is extremely important, and you can make a big impact regardless of your job title.
If you are able to find a company with an appealing culture and similar values to your own, it is a win-win situation. You will likely be happier in your job and therefore a better performer.
Here are some questions that you can ask to learn about the company culture and figure out if it is a fit with your personality and needs. These questions can be asked in an interview or in an informational conversation with someone in your network before you apply for a job. Keep in mind that there is no right answer to these questions. Some people thrive in government jobs while others have more of an entrepreneurial spirit; you need to figure out what type of culture will work best for you. Continue reading “Culture Rules- Investigating Company Cultures”
No matter what type of job you are interviewing for, you may be asked to give a seminar or presentation. When I interviewed for my first HR job, I had to give a presentation on any topic I wanted. Other jobs specify that you need to give a presentation on a topic specifically related to the job. In my case, they were looking for both presentation skills and my ability to teach. When asked to present on a job-related topic, a potential employer may be looking for your ability to organize information and your knowledge on the topic. Presentations can be scary, but some good old-fashioned preparation can make things go much more smoothly.