Career Advisory Council members Dr. Melanie Paquette, Dr. David Price, Dr. Doug Frantz, Dr. Stan McHardy, and Dr. Edward Kalmykov spoke about careers at pharmaceutical companies/industry at the April 20 workshop.
A reoccurring message from Career Advisory Council members was to find a company for where you want to be.
“One piece of advice I never got was that if you have a
geographical consideration in mind, make it happen,” said Dr. Frantz, who used to work at Merck &Co in New Jersey and is a tenured associate professor at The University of Texas at San Antonio in the Department of Chemistry.
“New Jersey wasn’t what I thought it was and once you have kids, every vacation was back to Texas so that can be really hard,” Dr. Frantz said. “So be sure not to just pick a job for a big name and that it’s really the job and place you want.”
Dr. Frantz explained that the key to getting a job is to make people excited about who you are and what you can offer their company.
“Friends may help but you still have to sell yourself. We hired people for inorganic chemistry for an organic chemistry job because they were so good at convincing us that they were the ones who could solve our
problems,” Dr. Frantz said. “When you make them excited about what you do, it changes the dynamics of the conversation and it goes from you selling yourself to them selling to you so you’ll take it.”
Dr. Edward Kalmykov, a medical science liaison at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, explained
that science recruiters can be a great help in connecting you to the right company for where you want to go.
He explained that after graduating from UT Health Science Center, it took him 3 weeks to get a job.
“A recruiter is like a letter of recommendation,” Dr. Kalmykov said. “If they think you are good enough to get a job, you are probably good enough.”
Patricia Rosa De Araujo, a postdoc at UT Health Science Center, said the event was really helpful for her to learn about all the job possibilities for people with Ph.D.’s.
“A while ago, I had little or no idea about other types of job outside academia I could apply for,” Rosa de Araujo said. “What I like the most in these workshops is the possibility to personally ask questions to somebody already working in the field.”
She was also excited to learn about the possibility of using
a recruiter to get a job.
“I think a recruiter can be helpful especially in situations
like mine where I don’t have a specific position I want to apply for,” Rosa de Araujo said. “Perhaps, somebody who knows better the job market can direct me to a position that requires skills I already have.”
Dr. Kalmykov explained that when meeting with a recruiter,
it’s good to have a really long resume with everything you’ve done with keywords.
“Keywords opens the door to more opportunities because it helps the recruiter look for more jobs that you might be a good fit for,” Dr. Kalmykov said. “When they send you the job posting, then you can re-tailor your
resume for the job and take out the extra information.”
Dr. Kalmykov also explained that it’s important to read up on the company and to look for bios for the people that work there.
“I saw that the company I work for likes to give back, so I added community service to my resume,” Dr. Kalmykov said. “You are interviewing with people, not the company so keep that in mind. Every team is small so think of it as being adopted by a family.”