Jump to content

  • Log in with Facebook Log in with Twitter Log in with Windows Live Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account

Submit your paper to J Biol Methods today!
Photo
- - - - -

Any biotech workers here? How do you get an entry level job with a BS in BMB?


  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1 Cyp450

Cyp450

    member

  • Active Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
0
Neutral

Posted 16 June 2012 - 11:07 PM

So I graduated a little over a month ago with a BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a Chemistry minor. I was a 7 year undergrad because I had always been part time (for financial reasons) and I had switched majors 3 years in. I was a Political Science major and Sociology minor, but then the recession hit and I had a feeling that Lib Arts/Humanities students weren't going to do so well in the job market. I decided I wanted to pick a major that taught some applicable skills and produced tangible goods and services, so I picked Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, but none of my previous credits carried over so it was like starting school all over again.

The thing is, I've applied to over 130 positions in the past month; laboratory technicians, research assistants, quality control analyists, anything with "PCR," "enzyme," "cell culture," "antibody," "coliform," "sterile/aseptic technique" in the job description. In that time, I've only gotten 3 rejection letters for positions at Tufts University, Genetech and Alexion Pharmaceuticals.

There seems to be a lot of jobs available; there are probably 1000+ new positions posted on Indeed or Simply Hired everyday. The thing is, the vast majority of them require "2-5 years experience," and my only experience in a laboratory setting is in my undergraduate level labs.

A lot of these jobs also require aditional certification (Certified Medical/Laboratory Technician, Certified Lab Animal Training, Hazmat, BSL, etc.) depending on the state it's in. Pretty much all California and New York jobs require certification and licensing even for low-level lab techs, so I'm restricted to those states that don't have those requirements.

It's really discouraging because I spent a lot of time learning to do some serious, applicable science and even got hands on experience with some heavy duty gear; I've learned how to use PCR thermocyclers, mass specs, gas chromatographs, NMR machines, reagents that cost several hundred dollars per bottle. Was anyone able to find any sort of entry level, laboratory-setting biotech/biomedical work (corporate or academic) after college with a BS in Biochemistry or Molecular Biology? How did you do it?

Edited by Cyp450, 16 June 2012 - 11:13 PM.


#2 Shadan

Shadan

    member

  • Active Members
  • Pip
  • 10 posts
0
Neutral

Posted 17 June 2012 - 08:37 AM

sorry to hear that, but its normal
u have to get an experience for free first , and thats not an easy thing to do either!!!!Posted Image
some ppl r jerks enough to not to give u a work even if u took it for free

i hope u find a job soon Posted Image

#3 leelee

leelee

    Veteran

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 652 posts
53
Excellent

Posted 17 June 2012 - 08:28 PM

I think given how competitive the job market is, you may need to consider up-skilling. How long would it take you to get the extra certification needed for some of the jobs you described? It might be worth it in the long run.

#4 Cyp450

Cyp450

    member

  • Active Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
0
Neutral

Posted 17 June 2012 - 09:58 PM

I think given how competitive the job market is, you may need to consider up-skilling. How long would it take you to get the extra certification needed for some of the jobs you described? It might be worth it in the long run.


I don't really know because like I said, different states have so many different requirements. I applied for a lab tech position environmental services firm in Connecticut; they test soil for toxic waste, sewage run off and such for land developers and provide bioremediation services, but since that falls under the category of "environmental engineering," I needed an Engineering or Engingeer In Training License. I applied for a microbiology lab in a hospital in California and I needed BSL (Biosafety Level) training. I applied for a research assistant position at a New York university and they required CLAT (Certified Lab Animal Technician) training just because lab rats would be handled.

Is there any type of certification that covers the most fields of work and is good across the US?

#5 hobglobin

hobglobin

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional...

  • Global Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,548 posts
104
Excellent

Posted 18 June 2012 - 09:42 AM

Can you ask for internships or "placements", i.e. an on-the-job training without payment? Often this is a good starting point as they can see if you fit to a position without risks and costs. Later it can result in a position, if you meet their requirements...and if they see that you're worth it they may then invest in additional certifications for you to really have all necessary qualifications...

One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

That is....if she posts at all.


#6 tfitzwater

tfitzwater

    Enthusiast

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 96 posts
3
Neutral

Posted 18 June 2012 - 10:11 AM

These days, ads for entry level positions result in a flood of applications from newbies as well as people with PhDs. Entry level will usually not pay for travel costs to an interview or relocation costs. The employer may be concentrating on the local talent pool as a result. Experience as an intern or tech in the lab of one of your professors is a plus, but not usually required. The positive side of this is that it would presumably take less time to train you.
The disadvantage of only having classroom lab experience is that you have only performed things once or twice. On the other hand, you probably haven't picked up any bad habits.

#7 Cyp450

Cyp450

    member

  • Active Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
0
Neutral

Posted 18 June 2012 - 05:03 PM

Can you ask for internships or "placements", i.e. an on-the-job training without payment?


How would I inquire about that though? When I look for jobs on Indeed or Simply Hired, they don't list internships or placements. I've looked for them on actual corporate websites but they don't seem to list them.

#8 Cyp450

Cyp450

    member

  • Active Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
0
Neutral

Posted 18 June 2012 - 05:11 PM

These days, ads for entry level positions result in a flood of applications from newbies as well as people with PhDs. Entry level will usually not pay for travel costs to an interview or relocation costs.


That's fine. Would you suggest putting "willing to relocate at no cost to the employer" or something like that on my cover letter or resume?

The disadvantage of only having classroom lab experience is that you have only performed things once or twice.


I thought about that too, but what if I list specific things I did in class labs? I poured over my old lab papers and compiled everything I could fit into my resume. How does this look to you?

Molecular Biology

Extensive knowledge of cell signaling pathways, cell cycle events and functions of biomolecules. Performed
enzyme kinetic assays with bacterial enzymes and various substrates. Separated mammalian hemoglobin via
gel electrophoresis.

Cell Biology

Performed insect vivisection to analyze antigen binding to live epithelial cells. Tested membrane permeability
to various hydrocarbons. Separated proteins and antibodies with Western Blots, SDS-PAGE, Liquid
Chromatography and Thin Layer Chromatography.

Genetics and Genomics

Performed PCR to amplify Rdl gene, which confers pesticide resistance in Drosophila melanogaster. PCR
products were also ligated into plasmid vectors and then cloned in bacteria. RT-PCR, Northern Blots, Southern
Blots and BLAST searches were also performed.

Microbiology

Extensive knowledge of viral, bacterial, fungal and prokaryotic biochemistry and genetics.
Performed various procedures to culture and identify many genera, species and strains of bacteria
(Gram staining, aerobic vs. anaerobic, IMViC, catalase, nitrate reduction, etc.) Antibiotics and antibacterial
compounds were tested. Food and water was tested for fecal coliforms. Perfotrmed academic research
on the structure, genetics, pathology and epidemiology of Dengue virus.

Organic Chemistry

Extensive knowledge of nomenclature, preparations, reactions, and reaction mechanisms of functional groups
of several organic compounds. Performed distillations, extractions, recrystallizations, multistep synthesis
reactions and identification of compounds using optical rotation, refractometry, mass spectra, Proton NMR,
Carbon-13 NMR, IR and UV-Vis spectroscopy.

Biochemistry

Extensive knowledge of human metabolic pathways and reaction mechanisms. Performed academic research
on environmental and biomedical applications for bacterial Cytochrome P450 enzyme systems.
Independent Research


Edited by Cyp450, 18 June 2012 - 05:12 PM.


#9 hobglobin

hobglobin

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional...

  • Global Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,548 posts
104
Excellent

Posted 19 June 2012 - 07:37 AM


Can you ask for internships or "placements", i.e. an on-the-job training without payment?


How would I inquire about that though? When I look for jobs on Indeed or Simply Hired, they don't list internships or placements. I've looked for them on actual corporate websites but they don't seem to list them.


There are (at least here) some employment websites where you can search for them but I guess usually an unsolicited application is good for this too as it's not a "real" position. Or go to biotech trade fairs and ask the people; at many of these fairs there are special events or places just for aspirants to come in contact with companies.

One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

That is....if she posts at all.


#10 tfitzwater

tfitzwater

    Enthusiast

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 96 posts
3
Neutral

Posted 21 June 2012 - 06:15 AM

Listed details look good. Check careers section of biospace.com for more advice.

#11 Cyp450

Cyp450

    member

  • Active Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
0
Neutral

Posted 22 June 2012 - 09:43 AM

Experience as an intern or tech in the lab of one of your professors is a plus, but not usually required. The positive side of this is that it would presumably take less time to train you.


I couldn't get an internship in college, but if I wanted to volunteer my services to a university (either in their biochem labs or if they have a hospital) who would I have to talk to about that? When you apply for a job, you usually have to go through the organization's Human Resources department.

If I wanted to volunteer, would I have to contact these universities' HR departments or their individual professors? Or perhaps their Biochem/Mol Bio department chairmen?

How about for non-profit research institutes?

Edited by Cyp450, 22 June 2012 - 09:44 AM.


#12 Cyp450

Cyp450

    member

  • Active Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
0
Neutral

Posted 25 June 2012 - 09:22 PM



Can you ask for internships or "placements", i.e. an on-the-job training without payment?


How would I inquire about that though? When I look for jobs on Indeed or Simply Hired, they don't list internships or placements. I've looked for them on actual corporate websites but they don't seem to list them.


There are (at least here) some employment websites where you can search for them but I guess usually an unsolicited application is good for this too as it's not a "real" position. Or go to biotech trade fairs and ask the people; at many of these fairs there are special events or places just for aspirants to come in contact with companies.


Are you talking about those events that cost hundreds of dollars per person to attend? Posted Image

#13 Cyp450

Cyp450

    member

  • Active Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
0
Neutral

Posted 25 June 2012 - 09:26 PM

Listed details look good. Check careers section of biospace.com for more advice.


I looked at Biospace, but all the articles I can find tend to be catered to older people with years of experience and industry connections to reference them; couldn't find anything for new grads without experience or references (outside of retail).

Would you suggest putting something like "will relocate at no cost to you" on my cover letter? Or to offer to work for way below the average wage? The average biology technician salary is about $19 an hour; would it be a good idea to offer to work for something like $13 or $14 an hour to make myself more "affordable" for them?

#14 leelee

leelee

    Veteran

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 652 posts
53
Excellent

Posted 25 June 2012 - 10:05 PM


Listed details look good. Check careers section of biospace.com for more advice.


I looked at Biospace, but all the articles I can find tend to be catered to older people with years of experience and industry connections to reference them; couldn't find anything for new grads without experience or references (outside of retail).

Would you suggest putting something like "will relocate at no cost to you" on my cover letter? Or to offer to work for way below the average wage? The average biology technician salary is about $19 an hour; would it be a good idea to offer to work for something like $13 or $14 an hour to make myself more "affordable" for them?


I don't think that is a good idea. I think if you undersell yourself in an application, you will only make yourself look less attractive as an applicant. That's just my opinion though.

If you want to volunteer for work experience, here in Aus you would usually approach the lab you were interested in working for and take it from there. Most labs (at least in my department) aren't too keen to take people on for experience though, as it takes up a lot of time and resources.

#15 hobglobin

hobglobin

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional...

  • Global Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,548 posts
104
Excellent

Posted 26 June 2012 - 08:50 AM

And you'll spoil the prices or better the wages, and the other staff will hate you for this....anyway to avoid this labour unions, "personnel boards", minimum wages and similar stuff exists...Perhaps not everywhere but in many companies, universities and governmental institutions they exist and will prohibit this surely.

One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

That is....if she posts at all.





Home - About - Terms of Service - Privacy - Contact Us

©1999-2013 Protocol Online, All rights reserved.