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Biosciences career symposium offers employment tips

Jun. 16, 2016, 10:31 AM

by Lorena Infante Lara

Don’t worry, there is life — and a good job — at the end of graduate and postdoctoral training. But it won’t drop in your lap. You have to reach out and talk to people.

That was the message delivered by Dave Jensen during a career symposium recently hosted by the ASPIRE program, which helps graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the biosciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center make informed career decisions.

Jensen, a nationally known executive recruiter and biotech industry columnist, was one of several speakers who participated in the daylong event. The speakers and panelists came from diverse educational backgrounds, but all had achieved successful careers.

Attendees learned how to look for industry jobs and the details of the hiring process, which qualities attract employers, how to get their feet wet by applying for postdoctoral positions in industry and why it’s important to have strong communication skills.

“After attending, I have a much better idea of what careers are available in industry and how to go about applying for those jobs,” said Amber Beckett, a third-year Ph.D. student. “I especially appreciated getting a glimpse of the day-to-day activities of people in these careers.”

A popular feature of the symposium was Networking Huddles, speed dating-style interactions between attendees and representatives of local companies and research institutes.

At the end of the day, students and post-docs had the opportunity to network with speakers, panelists and company representatives.

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