Biomedical Engineering (BME) students come from diverse backgrounds, various areas of academia or industry, and have acquired their own unique experiences. Justin Long, a December graduate of the Biomedical Engineering (BME) Program, credits the “applied” science and engineering aspect of the biomedical field as one of the motivating factors that attract a diverse array of students to the program. Justin remarked, “[BME students] are engineers, chemists, biologists… Some come from industry, such as myself, and some have come straight from another academic program, starting their PhD right after the end of a master’s or undergraduate program.”
His entire career to date has resulted in 25 U.S. patents and 44 U.S. patent applications. Moreover, Justin proactively marketed his skills and abilities on multiple employment websites, including Monster.com and LinkedIn.
A month later, he had his first interview with Medtronic via Skype. The process continued with a second, face-to-face interview in Minnesota and a third, final interview in Galway, Ireland.
Throughout the interview process, Justin focused on understanding the employer’s expectations of his potential role in the company. He wanted to ensure that the job description and work environment coincided with his career goals. Moreover, each interview allowed him to emphasize relevant experience, such as patents or publications, which quantified his value to the employer.
The last, but arguably the most difficult, step in Justin’s interview process involved financial negotiations. He had to consider the implications of working internationally and discussed many issues, including citizenship, taxes, exchange rates, and work visas.
The entire process, from beginning to end, lasted approximately six months. In the beginning of next year, Justin will be working as a Senior Product Development Engineer for Medtronic’s Structured Heart Division.
Justin Long stresses the importance of marketing oneself in order to navigate the biomedical workforce. He advises students to “publish well and often” as a means of getting your name out there.
Additionally, Justin explained that BME students should always be looking for opportunities to distinguish themselves from their cohorts. This can be accomplished through internships, acquisition of additional expertise, or even through the pursuit of intellectual property such as patents.
The benefits of intellectual property go beyond any possible financial benefits and allow students to earn valuable recognition that industrial companies look for when determining which applicants they want to interview. Finally, Justin highlighted that companies are always looking for employees with experience. Taking the time to find opportunities to gain valuable experience is the best way to tailor a resume and/or CV to highlight your specific goals.
Lastly, Justin encourages students to stay motivated and driven to “take charge of their education.” Ultimately, students must make a conscious decision to take risks, but more importantly, to not be afraid to fail at something new.