(Closed) Science bees how did you get your job?

posted 8 years ago in Career
Post # 3
42 posts
  • Wedding: August 2012

I’m excited to see some responses to this thread. I’m trained in food chemistry and microbiology and struggling to find employment in the sciences, too. 

Post # 5
5474 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I am a phlebotomist but work with MLTs often (medical lab technologists).  I think they have a specific MLT degree, but I know that health systems/clinics/hospitals are always looking for techs.  I am not sure if you’re looking at anything health-science related or not, but hope this helps ๐Ÿ™‚  If not, it will at least bump this to the top!

Post # 6
749 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I work for my state public health laboratory ๐Ÿ™‚ Every state has one (or more!) and there are positions for chemists usually too. Also try out your local department of natural resources, they have chemistry jobs too. Good luck!

I got my job through a fellowship program. I worked in one state lab then that opened doors to perminant employment when I moved. PM me if you want help with the job search process or anything ๐Ÿ™‚ I love mentoring other scientists!

[ETA]: The mentoring thing goes for anyone!! PM away!

Post # 7
2183 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2011 - Florida Aquarium

My husband works in the sciences… he’s on the industry R&D side right now, but he interned at a cancer center and then did academic research at a university. He was actually recruited for his position from his resume posting on monster.com. A recruiter contacted him with a position that was of interest, and he accepted. He finished that contract about a year ago and has been with the company since. He loves his job. 

When he was job searching, he looked everywhere… actually monster.com gave him quite a few leads, which surprised me.

ETA: He was a bio major.

Post # 8
171 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

My husband has a chemisrty degree and it took him almost 3 years to find permenent employment.  Everything was temp. with possibility to hire which in this econonmy wasn’t really going to happen.  I don’t really have any advice but just wanted to wish you luck and tell you to hang in there ๐Ÿ™‚  We know what it’s like!

Post # 9
1576 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I had a paid intership in college. The company sold things to the company I work for now. Current-company knew that college-company was located right next to a college campus and always had great, well trained interns.

I had given my resume to current-company at a job fair, but they said they weren’t looking for any chemists. But I guess a few months later they decided they could use someone. They saw on my resume that I worked at college-company and called up my boss to see if I was any good. Then I got hired.

I was very lucky.

It really is about who you know. Keep getting experience. If it’s looking like any particular temp job isn’t working out, ask if they know anyone else who might be looking for someone like you.

Post # 10
1460 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I have a degree in biology but have always worked as a chemist. 

My first job I got by boing lucky.  It was at a very small environmental lab and the supervisor of the hiring department was from my home town and knew me from high school.  I worked there for 5 years and learned to do everything I could.  Then I started looking for a new job.

I got a job out of state at a larger environmental lab that has labs in several states.  Once again I learned everything I could.  I hated working there but I just kept pushing myself.  I survived 4 years 

Then I visited a friend who lived outside Washington, DC and decided maybe I should move there.  I started applying for job after job.  I got several call backs and interviews at labs but didn’t want to work in a lab anymore.  Finally I got an interview with a defense contractor who wanted someone with organic analytical laboratory experience to provide expertise to the Army.  I’ve been there for over 11 years now and have steadily worked my way up.  All the torture of my early career paid off.

Here is what I learned:  1) Don’t go in expecting lots of money.  It’s not out there until you get the experience.  2) Be willing to do every piddly laboratory-related grunt job out there.  You’ll learn more and learn to appreciate even the people who do nothing but wash glassware.  3) Always ask to learn more and don’t be afraid to do somethign outside-the-box.  4) Don’t worry about an advanced degree because 2 years of experience outweighs a MS degree.  Unless you plan on getting a PhD forget grad school unless your company pays for it.  Otherwise, it’s a waste of your own money.  5)  Never burn a bridge.  Believe it or not these people will crop again in your future.  I still see names that I dealt with 15 years ago in another state.  5) Network!!!  Get out there and make friends in the business whether it’s through ACS or a local professional group.  Get on LinkedIn.  There are often jobs posted there.        

@Mrs Christopher:  You’re in Denver.  I would suggest you look up Battelle laboratories online.  They are providing laboratory support to the Pueblo Chemical Destruction Pilot Plant in Pueblo, CO and it will be a long-term project with lots of lab work.  I know you’re not really close but you’re not too far either.  Often, they will run shuttles for employees and they might run one from the Denver area.

Hope this helps!!!

Post # 12
13095 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

I work in a university research lab and simply applied to posting listed on their website.

In general for all jobs I’ve had, I’ve found applying directly to a company’s posting (versus through monster.com or another job board) is much more successful.

Post # 13
285 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Before I started grad school I worked as a lab tech- actual science instead of glassware cleaning, it was more like being a grad student without designing your own experiment, if that makes sense. I basically spammed all the professors in the department I was interested in (found via the school’s website) asking if any of them were looking for techs. For like 20 emails, i got 3 interviews, so it worked well.

Post # 14
1460 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Also check out URS Corporation they have offices in the Denver area.  They’re mainly engineering positions but you might luck up.  In addition, I’m pretty sure that Test America has a lab in Denver.  It would be a great place to gain some experience.

Post # 15
10363 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

My suggestion would be to MOVE. Denver has a small biotech sector, but it is small beans compared to areas like Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, and the North Carolina Research triangle.

Do you have a masters? Or just a bachelors? You’ll find a bachelors to be extremely limiting. It would absolutely be worth going back to school – get a thesis-based Masters if at all possible.

My path was an undergrad Bio BS, grad school at MIT, first job at a big multinational pharma company in Boston (took me 3 weeks to find that job), then I moved to the Bay Area (San Francisco) and it took me 2 weeks to get another job (which I love!). Throw a rock here, and you’ll hit 15 different companies.

My SIL and her family live in Denver. We really thought hard about moving there instead, but after talking extensively w/ my Brother-In-Law (he is a biochem prof at CU Denver) and his colleagues, it’s pretty apparent that the Denver biotech industry won’t really be up to a level of stability we’re comfy with until 3-5 years from now, if ever. If you want a place with more selection, you need to move!

Post # 16
10363 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

@Mrs Christopher:  RE your salary, if you had a masters from a leading school you’d easily be pulling out $33+/hr as a Research Associate I. More if you worked for one of the big companies like Novartis or Genentech.

Just something to consider as you figure out your options!

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