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Old 08.10.2020, 15:38
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Life science jobs/ moving from academia to industry

Hello

Does anyone know of a good recruitment agency/agent that can assist someone with job search in the life science sector, particularily after completing a postdoc (i.e switching from academia to industry)? German level is B1, Swiss citizen by marriage (just mentioning this so it's known visa/permits are not an issue).

Thanks a lot!

Nicole
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Old 08.10.2020, 15:44
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Re: Life science jobs/ moving from academia to industry

Sorry I can't be of help in terms of recommending an agency, but I did once work for this website, which is a job board that lists most science and math jobs available in all of Switzerland (both industry and academia):

https://www.acad.jobs/

If you scroll down in the "Field" menu, it lists Life Sciences as one of the filtering options (as well as Chemistry and Medicine).
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Old 08.10.2020, 19:12
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Re: Life science jobs/ moving from academia to industry

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Hello

Does anyone know of a good recruitment agency/agent that can assist someone with job search in the life science sector, particularily after completing a postdoc (i.e switching from academia to industry)? German level is B1, Swiss citizen by marriage (just mentioning this so it's known visa/permits are not an issue).

Thanks a lot!

Nicole
Hi Nicole,

There really are 3 kinds of recruiters: external specialists who are commissioned to fill a position in a specific field, internal corporate recruiters who as generalists try to do the same thing from inside the company for a broader range of positions, and the non-commissioned external recruiters who try win one by sending the company resumes from people they stalked on LinkedIn. The first case is like having a matchmaker, the second like a blind date set up by a friend and the last is a blind date set up by some algorithm on the internet.

Since you are looking for your first post-postdoc industry job, you are not (yet) typically the kind of candidate that the good niche external recruitment agencies are paid to find. To be honest, I also know all kinds of horror stories about the last kind of recruiter; I’m not saying that good ones don’t exist, but there are lots of bad ones out there. And, if I’m honest, the odds of one of them helping anybody at your level into a position are also quite low, as the company doesn’t pay them if they find their own candidate themselves, which is relatively easy at your level.

Don’t despair, you can still find an industry job, but you are going to have to do the work yourself. This also means that you have more control about the jobs you are targeting, as well. Check the positions listed on the websites of companies that hire people in your field. See if you can find the internal recruiter e.g. for R&D at those companies on LinkedIn. Check the careers sections of your scientific societies and journals like Science and Nature. Ask your network in your field who they know works in industry and then email them to see if they might need someone with your skills (be specific, you are not looking for a job, you are looking for the next step in your career specializing in X). (Feel free to tell me what X is by PM .)

Remember that the people doing the hiring have also needed to be hired at some point in their career. We know what the CV of a good candidate looks like when we see it and won’t want to waste a good contributor or even future collaborator in our field. Even if we don’t have a mandate to hire someone right now, we may share it with someone in our network if it seems like a good fit for what they do. My experience is that this informal process is common in Switzerland, but that this is going to be long and slow, compared to other countries.

Good luck!

Last edited by Tox_Rat; 08.10.2020 at 19:16. Reason: Typos
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Old 08.10.2020, 19:23
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Re: Life science jobs/ moving from academia to industry

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Hello

Does anyone know of a good recruitment agency/agent that can assist someone with job search in the life science sector, particularily after completing a postdoc (i.e switching from academia to industry)? German level is B1, Swiss citizen by marriage (just mentioning this so it's known visa/permits are not an issue).

Thanks a lot!

Nicole
It's quite important where exactly do you see yourself in "industry". Typically, someone with a postdoc will be at the same time overqualified and underqualified to enter a general management role so if this is what you're looking for you'll have to get in first and do lateral moves later.
Typically a postdoc will enter somewhere in the research and/or development roles, less often (at least my experience) is regulatory, I know of a few who entered into marketing and sales roles and I've not even heard of someone into general management. My advice to you is very similar to what Tox_Rat already said: don't rely on agencies, go direct and typically a good and interesting profile with interesting research interest will if not get hired directly, will be remembered. But make sure you have at least a vague idea about your entry point.


Btw, it's NOT a glorious entry path and moving from academia to industry is a literally different planet. The beginning is seriously tough and there's a bit of luck involved if you get stuck and want to move out of a unknown molecule development for the next 7 years
Good luck!
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Old 08.10.2020, 19:51
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there's a bit of luck involved if you get stuck and want to move out of a unknown molecule development for the next 7 years
Good luck!
Okay this is a bit pharma-centric, not all industry is like that. But the rest of the advice I agree with.
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Old 08.10.2020, 19:59
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Re: Life science jobs/ moving from academia to industry

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Okay this is a bit pharma-centric, not all industry is like that. But the rest of the advice I agree with.
Even in pharma it has changed or changing as most of the industry is trying to move out of research (cheaper and less risky to buy a molecule than develop) and focus on development, regulatory and commercialization. My point was that there are certain roles which require PhD level knowledge, but are even more stagnant and boring than academia and it's really hard to move out of those
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