A tremendously thought provoking question came from
an attendee at a recent workshop:
Dan,… “we met and talked last weekend at the University
of Pittsburgh during the “Job searching for chemical
professionals” workshop. I plan to graduate with an MS
in organic chemistry at the end of this semester and am
looking for jobs with small biotech and start-up companies.
You gave me good advice on how to follow the venture
capital money to find new jobs, and I was hoping to
follow up with you and get some more advice on how
and when to approach these opportunities.
My concern,” he continued in the email, “is about whom
I should contact, and when.“ He described what he has
learned about a company with growth plans from <10
to 15-25. “I don’t know how to contact anybody with the
“Should I send to VCs asking to be referred to any of
the upcoming positions?“
This may apply to a larger audience, so please let me
share the response.
TACTICS AND STRATEGIES
-checked ABs Linkedin profile. It needs to be refreshed. Add
more about his thesis topic, additional skills and a photo.
-strong pedigree for the field, has he spoken to their career
services/placement offices? Is he part of alumni groups?
-Suggestion: Find a “warm introduction” [rather than a “cold
contact” though someone connected to the firm] to each
opportunity. Does he know someone there or a previous
employee? Does his adviser (someone in his network) have
any connections? How about alumni from his group?
- some venture capitalists have websites and he ought to apply through
them directly. Recruiters often work for small firms.
- Incidentally, J does have a website and if he has skills they
are seeking people with skills in cancer immunotherapies
[Again, a “warm introduction” can be an advantage, through a
referral or networking.]
- is he focused on a location? I can offer leads for some specific
areas…(SF, SD, Boston, NJ, TX…]
- is he presenting a poster at NOLA ACS or attending the career
fair? It is a huge upcoming opportunity.
- Brush up on presentation and interviewing skills simultaneously,
so when the next step happens, he is ready.”
Shirley offered some terrific advice:
“first,use Linkedin as a source.
does anyone at the company have a profile?
articles regarding VC will list appropriate individuals, who have
send an “invite” on Linkedin in a nice personalized note expressing
interest in their company and industry. Don’t ask for a job in an invite!
continue to constantly expand your network
second, explore local industry specific networking events through
Linkedin. I highly encourage this. Sign up for specific groups in
Linkedin, attend periodic [can be monthly] meetings, and find out
about start-ups, etc.
third, I recommend having business cards with them. Vista
(www.vistaprint.com) offers a cost-efffective product. A person
might list their specialization on the card, that can be handed out
at networking events.
job openings. Surprisingly, a number of companies use Craigslist,
Door64 and other unrelated sites. Check Forbes’ list of best
cities where biotech congregates.
campus counselors. Many times, these individuals can offer a
wealth of information.
Finally, pay attention to “consequential strangers”, who are people
you meet and have something valuable to offer.”