Thursday, July 31, 2014

Applying to the Entry Level Job (The Online, Scientific Way)

                So you've found the perfect job to apply to….now what? You can have a stellar resume and be very well prepared for an interview, but unless that company can find you as a candidate an interview request is not likely happen! And quite naturally, the best way to get a chance of that interview is applying to the job. Today we’ll take a look at some of the common steps and concerns in the application process.
                The first thing you’ll want to do when applying is to review the application and make sure that you have all the necessary information. Some online applications are fairly simply: Name, contact info, upload resume, done. Others will require you to create a profile, including past work history, references, etc. in order to apply for any of the jobs listed on the company site.  Rather than scramble last minute to find all that information, it is far easier to compile a list of the necessary (or most likely) information you will need. A lot of the information can be found on your resume, but check out the online application ahead of time just in case.
                One of the most important pieces of the puzzle is having an updated resume. Not only will you find important information on there for the application process, but any recruiter or company is going to want to see a professional, updated resume. Having a resume that is either sloppy or out of date will leave a poor impression of you as a candidate.  Before you start your application, have a knowledgeable person/friend look over your resume for you. Someone who is familiar with your chosen field is best (as they will easily be able to see whether the information makes sense) but even someone not in the science field can check over for misspelled words, misplaced commas, etc. You should also have tailored your resume for the specific job you are applying to, in order to highlight the specific skills/jobs that can best showcase why you are a fit for that position.
                One of the most common misunderstandings when applying to a job is the curriculum vitae (CV) versus on a resume. A CV is sort of a resume with a slant more towards an academic setting. It is meant to showcase research, presentation, and publications; a CV is more commonly used when applying to a job at a university, or when applying to graduate school. It often will describe positions in paragraph forms. A resume, on the other hand, showcases work history and skills sets; it is used when applying to a job in a non-academic or “industry” setting. Rather than being written in paragraphs, bullet points or lists are used to highlight the responsibilities held in various job positions.
                Another question often asked by job seekers is whether to include a cover letter and references with your resume. Whether you include them or not usually depends upon the individual application/company site. If they are required, you will need to include them. If they are optional to include, it is up to you. A cover letter is your chance to highlight why your skills and experiences make you a great fit for the job opportunity, provided you don’t simply rehash what’s already on your resume to begin with! If references aren’t required, it usually means you won’t need to include them; companies will assume that if they need references from you, they will be available later.
                As some finals thoughts on applying, take the following tidbits of advice. First, be sure that your first and last name are included in the title of your resume. It makes it much easier for the recruiter or company to find a resume for “John Doe Resume” than “Resume.” Next, be sure to double check that all required fields have been filled out on the application forms, and that all necessary documents have been included. Happy job hunting!

Stay tuned for our next article on 08/14/14 where we’ll discuss when to apply for positions. Until then, feel free to catch up on our previous articles, and be sure to check out our pages on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for the latest news and opportunities available through Verum Staffing! If you are interested in speaking with us further regarding positions we have available, future opportunities, or interview/resume help, please send an email to to set up an informational interview.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Finding the Entry Level Scientific Job

                There are many important parts to anyone’s job search.  A well written and put-together resume, together with a stellar (and well-prepared!) interview are two of them. There is a most important step in between, however, that connects those two crucial pieces. And this is finding a job to apply to in the first place.
                With the plethora of companies involved in scientific pursuits, there are a great many options available when searching for a job. One of the most common is a job board. A job board is a website that brings together a great many job ads from both companies and recruiting firms.  This is a good place to start your job search, as there will be a variety of companies represented in everything from entry level to more advanced positions. You can typically confine your search to a specific area or region, and search for keywords, such as “entry level chemist” or “Research and Development Associate.” Some job boards are very general (ex: Monster, Indeed) and will include jobs that are not necessarily specific to science. Some sites may be more specific, either to the field of work (ex: Careers in Food) or by region (ex: Jobs in Minneapolis). You can use any basic internet search engine to find these sites.
                Some of these job boards will offer a “direct application” and some will require you to create a profile. While it is easier to simply send in your resume/cover letter in for each individual job, creating a profile and posting your resume on that job board can have many advantages. First, it’s often free to create those profiles. And second, having your profile posted makes it easier for a recruiter to find your resume.
                Other places to find jobs are the company websites themselves. If you know the company you are looking for, it can be relatively easy to find. Otherwise, you could run a basic search for the type of company you are looking for. I.e. Pharmaceutical companies in Minnesota, food companies in Minnesota, etc. In many of these cases, you will need to create a profile on the company’s career site, similar to the job boards.   Some company sites will offer a “site notification” you can have sent to your e-mail account. These notifications will alert you when a job matching your search or profile is posted.
                A newer option to find jobs is on various social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or Linked In. Many companies will have a page/profile/etc. on these sites, and often may place advertisements for various job openings on those sites. Like the company pages, you can often sign up for job alerts, or merely “like” or “follow” that page in order to get updates in your news feed. This means you will be less likely to miss a new job opportunity with that company, and hear when new positions are posted that much quicker! 
                A career/job fair can be another option you may want to consider in your search. Many colleges/universities offer career fairs, both general and in specific fields, for new or soon to be graduates. Both companies and staffing agencies can be represented here. In some instances, they may simply be looking to collect resumes and network with new graduates. At other times, they may be holding interviews during, or after that career fair. For companies looking to interview on site, they often require interested candidates to apply/sign-up for an interview ahead of time. Be sure to get information from the career fair ahead of time to see if this is the case.
                Another option in your job search is connecting with recruiters at staffing agencies (such as Verum Staffing!). A major benefit to connecting with a recruiter is that we may be working with companies on positions that simply aren’t posted on those company website, especially in regards to entry level positions. Staffing agencies use many of the above methods to post the jobs we are working on; a simple internet search or a career fair may be another place to connect with a recruiter. As a general note, staffing agencies are being paid by the companies to find candidates; this means that they are not the same as a job search firm (who would find a job for a person, not a person for a job!). But that being said, recruiters are still a great option, as you never know when we will have a job where you could be great fit!
                One very important word of caution in your job search; be sure to keep a record of what jobs you are applying for, where you found them, and who you have spoken with regarding a position. Since both companies and recruiter usually place job advertisements in multiple places, it can be easy to find yourself applying to the same job more than once! Besides not giving a very professional appearance, it has more direct implications in regards to staffing agencies. If you give permission for a staffing agency to represent you for that particular job, you would not be able to be represented in that instance by any other staffing agency. (NOTE: some companies will require you to sign a document stating that you are giving them permission to represent you. Be sure to understand whether you are giving them permission to represent you for that specific job, that company, or for a specific length of time).
                In short, there are a great many places to find a scientific job. Your best bet it to use multiple and varied sources, keep track of where and what you apply to, and keep at it! Best of luck from all of us here at Verum Staffing!

Stay tuned for our next article on 07/31/14 where we’ll cover some of the basics of the online application process. Until then, feel free to catch up on our previous articles, and be sure to check out our pages on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for the latest news and opportunities available through Verum Staffing! If you are interested in speaking with us further regarding positions we have available, future opportunities, or interview/resume help, please send an email to to set up an informational interview.  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Why your resume could be keeping you from getting an interview: The Scientific Version

                You have scoured the job boards and found the perfect position. The job description, location, pay…everything is good. You quickly fire off your resume to the employer, confident that you have the skills and drive to succeed in that position. Excited, you wait to hear back….and hear nothing. Wouldn't the employer see straight away that you are an excellent candidate? Well, as it turns out, you may be getting in your own way. Mistakes on your resume, be they tiny or glaring, may be killing off your chances of getting that return call. Today we’ll take a look at some common scientific resume mistakes that could be costing you that ever important call-back.
                Although the content of the resume can (and should) be the most important part to your resume, the physical layout can greatly affect the impression your resume gives.  There are several parts to consider here. A standard scientific resume should be typed in black ink on white paper, in an easy to read font (such as Calibri, used here) in an 11-12 size font (heading may be larger).  You should not be including any extra pictures, graphics, or whimsical borders. There are other industries where a “creative” resume may include all of those things, but those are all positions where the job in question would require those artistic skills (such as a graphic designer). Scientific positions may ask for creative problem solving at times, but they often require strict adherence to many different rules and regulations as well. Keeping your resume clean, neat, and professional tells your potential employer that you are ready to take the responsibly of this position, giving you the best chance to make the first great impression.
                The order in which you lay out your resume can also affect your chances.  In our prior resume articles we went over the basic parts of the resume, but we will give a basic “order of go” here. The order you should place your resume in is as follows: Heading/Contact Info, Objective (if you choose to include it), Education, Relevant Skills/Coursework, Employment/Research/Other Employment, and “Filler” (fillers include professional memberships/certifications, awards, and relevant presentations/publications, patents). Keeping your resume in this order gives the company or recruiter the best chance to find the important information quickly and easily. If you have held a position in industry, your experience may be included before the skills section. For a recent college graduate, the skills section should generally come first, unless you have held a full or part time relevant job or internship while attending school.
                The length of your resume can also play a significant factor. If your resume is very short, it may be because you did not include the one or more of the sections listed above. If you do not have the experience or information to include in those sections, that cannot be helped. If you do have the experience, however, it is best to include that information in order to showcase what skills and experience you do have!
                A resume that is too long can be just as damaging. While it is important to include the relevant skills or responsibilities in your research/job/etc., you do not need to include every possible detail you can think of. A standard rule of thumb would be to include 3-5 bullet points per position. In other words, what were the main responsibilities you held? Which of those tasks most closely pertains to the job you are applying for? As an example, many laboratory positions may include attending multiple meetings. But if you are applying for a laboratory position that does not list “meetings” as one of its top job duties, there is no need to list (individually) every type of meeting you attended.  It is critical for a company to understand your previous positions, but if your resume is running on for 16 pages by listing everything you’ve accomplished since college…well, it would probably be skimmed over at best. A standard rule for resume length is as follows: for 1-3 years of experience use one page, for 3-5 years use two pages, and for 5+ years it’s ok to use three pages. As we stated in our previous article, if you have information you feel is critical for the company to know…include it. But be sure that the information is relevant and highlights only the major skills or duties of that position.
                Another very common reason resumes may get thrown out is if they contain too many grammar or spelling errors. There are few things more damaging than mentioning that you “have strong attention to detail,” only to have multiple errors in your resume. Most scientific positions will involve state or federal regulations that must be followed to a T. If you can’t or won’t double check your own work in your resume, it doesn’t leave the employer with a great impression of how well you would pay attention to small details on the job!
                One of the most critical errors you can make when sending in your resume for a position in sending in a generic resume. In other words, the same resume for every position you are applying for. Even if you are applying for very similar positions, it is best to tailor your resume for the specific position to which you are applying. Each company may be looking for slightly different qualifications, skills, or previous work history. By taking a few minutes to edit your resume before sending it in, you get the chance to review each position or experience you may have and look for the skills and experience that best fit that individual role.
                The final piece of the puzzle we’ll discuss in this article are the dates of employment on your resume. Dates that are missing, unclear, or out of date entirely will look at best like messy work on your part, and at worst like you are trying to hide something. Your dates of employment should be clear (month and year), and any large gaps between employment should be addressed (ie. If you were not working for a few months in order to travel, or tend to a family emergency, a short sentence on your resume can explain this).  As a final piece of advice regarding dates, remember to keep your resume updated not only on your computer, but any job boards you may have your resume on as well.  For example, if you have your resume on a job board, but do not update it in a year, it sends a few messages to recruiters or companies looking at your resume. First, you may have missed some new role or job you have recently assumed, so they have no idea if you are still at the company listed as your most recent employer. And second, if you are not updating on a regular basis you may look like an uninterested job seeker who can’t be bothered too much with the search.
                The most important piece of advice to take away from this article, is that your resume is a reflection of you as a candidate. Whether your resume if professional, up-to-date, and relevant leaves a recruiter or company with a much more positive view of you as a candidate. A resume that is colorful, outdated, and generic won’t leave nearly such a good impression. Remember that as a job seeker, your primary job is getting the job! Let recruiters and companies see you as a quality candidate by putting effort and polish into your resume. Good luck!

Stay tuned for our next article on 07/17/14 that will take a look at how you can go about finding that scientific job through advertisements, staffing agencies, career fairs, and more! Until then, feel free to catch up on our previous articles, and be sure to check out our pages on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for the latest news and opportunities available through Verum Staffing! If you are interested in speaking with us further regarding positions we have available, future opportunities, or interview/resume help, please send an email to to set up an informational interview.