JOB SEARCH PROCESS
You’ve heard about Medical Science Liaison (MSL) positions and even know alumni from your institution that have entered the field, but what does a MSL actually do? Is it a sales position? Is there a lot of travel? When you’re looking for answers to these myriad of questions, who do you turn to? How about someone who is currently in the job in the form of an informational interview? To learn how to do informational interviews and why they are important, check out the article.
The career planning process can start at any time, but the overall rule is the sooner the better. The rule applies to anyone - whether you’re a junior undergraduate, 1st year graduate student, postdoctoral fellow or somewhere in between. The career planning process includes four steps: 1) Understanding You – What are your interests, values, and skills? 2) Exploration – What are the current career paths in the workforce and which do you find most interesting? 3) Building Yourself and Your Network – What skills, experiences, and people do you need to get to career X, Y, or Z? 4) Job Search – How do you put together a job application and execute the interview successfully? This process is important because it will help you shape your career aspirations and make you more marketable for a particular career. In return, these steps will make it easier for you to put your application materials together, including: cover letters, resumes, CVs, teaching philosophies, etc.
How critical is a postdoc if I want to teach at a primarily undergraduate or 2-year institution?
To bring a broad perspective to the issue, Microbe Mentor editor Thomas Hanson asked three microbiologists at different career stages and types of institutions for their thoughts. Dr. Amy Cheng Vollmer is a Professor of Biology at Swarthmore College, Dr. Virginia Balke is an Instructor and Project Director at Delaware Technical Community College (DTCC), and Dr. Carie Frantz is an Assistant Professor of Geochemistry and Biogeoscience at Weber State University.
Dr. Vollmer’s research focuses on the stress response in Escherichia coli, and is moving towards microbiome characterization. She is the sole microbiologist in a Biology Department, where she has served twice as Department Chair. Research experience for students is an important part of the curriculum at Swarthmore and Dr. Vollmer has hosted over 70 students in her lab to date. She has previously written about her job in the August 2000 ASM News (66:459-462).
Dr. Erica Suchman covers the differences between a CV and resume, the elements of a CV, cover letters for postdoctoral positions, etc.
Loretta Brancaccio-Taras presents a webinar on teaching philosophy statements; she defines them and identifes elements that should be included in them.
In this article of Microbe Mentor, we address the topic of elevator pitches; what are they? When do you use them? How do you prepare and execute an elevator pitch? Read what recommendations Dr. Shilpa Gadwal, Career Advancement Fellow at the American Society for Microbiology, has for elevator pitches when attending conferences and meetings.
Like ~ 80% of other women in STEM disciplines, I am married to another PhD. We are both biologists and often collaborate together, but have very different research programs. He's now tenured and I am a post-doc. We would like to move closer to family, so I am applying for academic jobs and have had several on-campus interviews. When would you recommend bringing up the spousal hire situation? For each interview, I've done this at different times depending on the feel and size of the institution and/or when the illegal questions are asked. I've heard many different philosophies on this and still cannot make a decision as to which is the best way to proceed, assuming I get another interview.
When should an applicant divulge their marital status? We all know it is illegal to inquire about marital status, however some entities ignore the rule or more commonly an interviewer inadvertently introduces the topic. Can there be advantages to discussing marital status and issues of a trailing spouse in advance?Microbe Mentor reached out to several colleagues to gather their responses about how to handle this situation so many of us have faced.
How can I make myself more marketable for a career in Clinical Microbiology?
There are many excellent reasons to consider a career in the clinical field: great salaries and job security, job portability, chance to use state of the art equipment – not to mention that your work improves patient health and saves lives. To provide you with the essentials for working in clinical microbiology, Microbe Mentor asked Janet Hindler, MCLS MT (ASCP) to give her thoughts on this thriving and in-demand field.
How do I prepare myself for a position in microbiology with a different focus than what I was trained in? For example, I would like to do work in industry, but my thesis work has been in very basic research.
The short answer is: talent is a currency accepted everywhere, and an educated and well-rounded microbiologist is a valuable commodity no matter what the work sector. To elaborate on this idea, the Microbe Mentor reached out to Paul Dunman, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.