In recent posts, Jade at Life's a Biotech offers up résumé and CV-writing tips for those seeking careers in biotechnology, and salary-negotiating advice for those who've recently landed jobs. When writing an industry-specific résumé — as compared to an academic-centric one — Jade says it's important to "focus on achievement, goals, and skills," rather than beginning with a list of research projects and project-specific goals. "Consider that the first person weeding out résumés may not have a science background and not understand a project," Jade says; rather, this person will likely be more attentive to application documents that prominently display the specific "key words they are looking for, in terms of techniques and skills." According to Jade, the cover letter that accompanies an applicant's résumé or CV "must be written specifically for the job post." More specifically, she says, a position-specific cover letter ought to "touch on why you are the best candidate or a good fit for the job, what skills you can bring to the organization, and why you want to work for them."
New hires who have already been offered a position in biotech should consider the company's outlook when negotiating their salaries and benefits. For example, Jade says firms that have "venture capital and tons of startup money may offer much higher salaries to start," though the potential downside to this initially higher pay "is that these companies often either get sold … or the company may not make it." Having been a hiring manager at a smaller, private firm, Jade says that she declined to make offers to two potential candidates who had asked for salaries above the company's allotted starting range without having even asked what it was. "My advice is to get an understanding of the salary range for similar positions in your state or area of the country and then ask for something on the high end of the range," Jade says, adding that the company "can always counter-offer a little lower but if you come in too low, that's what you'll get."