Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Cover Letter

Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Cover Letter

A cover letter is a letter written to accompany a job application, a grant application, project reports, manuscripts, etc. that explains the purpose of your writing and incorporates certain key points of your application. It plays a decisive role in accomplishing the task it’s been written for, which is why it is so important to…

How to Stay on the Margin of Academia During Your Gap Year(s)

How to Stay on the Margin of Academia During Your Gap Year(s)

The gap year I intended to take between my Master’s degree and hypothetical Ph.D. is now going into its 4th year. Here’s why I’m not worried. These days it seems like undergraduates are proceeding en masse to graduate programs shortly after completing their senior year of college. An abundance of undergraduate research opportunities and poor…

Science on Wheels: How to Bring Science to the Masses with a Mobile Lab!
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Science on Wheels: How to Bring Science to the Masses with a Mobile Lab!

Ask a scientist why they love their job, and they will likely tell you it’s because they get to see and discover amazing things! Why, then, does science class in school never reflect this? A major problem identified in our society is lack of science interest and literacy. Mobile labs are helping to turn the…

Parlez-vous Français? Top Tips for Making the Most of Your Time in a Foreign Lab

Parlez-vous Français? Top Tips for Making the Most of Your Time in a Foreign Lab

Whether as a summer intern, exchange student, MSc, PhD or post-doctoral student, working abroad can be one of the many perks of working within the sciences. Although these experiences will often require substantial planning in advance, there are funding opportunities and many receptive destinations around the globe. During my undergraduate degree, graduate studies hadn’t been…

Getting Started with a Job in Science Communication

Getting Started with a Job in Science Communication

As a graduate student or PhD scientist you are likely to be surrounded by plenty of career advice and options – that is, if you’re interested in a career in academic research or the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Those of us who aren’t sold on either of those fields are left wondering what other career…

How do I REALLY Figure out What I Want to do After Graduation?

How do I REALLY Figure out What I Want to do After Graduation?

During my second year in graduate school, I (silently) started freaking about life post-PhD. I read voraciously about science writing, scientific editing and business consulting positions. I went to seminars offered by the career center at my school. But, I was still lost. Between all the pipetting and PCRs, I could not figure out what…

Getting to Know Your h-index

Getting to Know Your h-index

You’re applying for your first tenure-track position, and you’ve heard that your dream department uses something called the h-index to decide who will get interviews. It’s an increasingly common scenario: institutions are now regularly using the h-index to help make hiring and promotion decisions, especially when they have to screen many applicants. For that reason,…

Career Highlight: Technical Officer

Career Highlight: Technical Officer

An ad about a Technical Officer position is usually nebulous. For example: “The post holder work as part of a technical team and provide both routine and specialist services in support of undergraduate, postgraduate, outreach and revenue-earning activities.” What Does a Technical Officer Do? In fact, a technical officer role can be summarized in two…

Making a Good Impression – How to Successfully Network at a Conference

Making a Good Impression – How to Successfully Network at a Conference

For many, myself included, the idea of attending a large conference and talking to hundreds of new people can be terrifying. Often times there are people in attendance you may want to collaborate with, or that you see as possible future employers, and you really don’t want to make a bad first impression. Luckily, there…

7 Tips for Getting Back into the Lab after a Job Change

7 Tips for Getting Back into the Lab after a Job Change

I previously wrote an article for BsB detailing my experience transitioning from lab-bench research into research administration roles after a particularly unhappy experience as a postdoc. About a year into my second research admin role some restructuring occurred and I decided to try to move back into the lab. I am now working again as…

5 Top Tips for Surviving Your First Conference

5 Top Tips for Surviving Your First Conference

One of the really exciting parts of being involved in research is the opportunity to travel to a conference (hopefully at an exotic location!) to present your work and get to see presentations from the major players in your chosen field. Now you’ll probably have all sorts of frivolous reasons for not wanting to go…

Never Leave an Empty Seat – A Simple Rule to Increase Your Networking at Scientific Talks

Never Leave an Empty Seat – A Simple Rule to Increase Your Networking at Scientific Talks

One of the great things about being scientists is that we are lifelong learners.  Scientists go to a lot of seminars, meetings and conferences.  The traditional, hour-long seminar is also a great way to learn a lot in a relatively short time. So it continues to amaze me how most scientists don’t take advantage of…

Mars and Venus:  Are Academia and Industry So Different?

Mars and Venus: Are Academia and Industry So Different?

Mars and Venus:  Are Academia and Industry So Different? One of the less acknowledged perks of scientific and technical training is that these educational paths prepare you for a vast selection of career options.  Scientists are certainly following many diverse career paths these days.  A recent National Science Foundation study showed that 57% of PhDs…

Interview Techniques: Interview like a STAR

Interview Techniques: Interview like a STAR

During your time interviewing for different jobs, more likely than not you will encounter employers who conduct behavioral interviews. What is a behavioral-based interview, you may ask? Behavioral interviewing is supposed to uncover your past job-related behavior to predict how you will behave in the future. It is based on the assumption that your past…

Bad Reference? It’s Not the End of Your Science Career

Bad Reference? It’s Not the End of Your Science Career

The conventional sequence for getting a new job in science (or anywhere else) goes like this: 1) Apply for job 2) Get an interview 3) Ace the interview 4) Pray that your references hold up. So if you had a bad relationship with your last boss, you’re in trouble. Because no matter how well you…

Join the club: Ten benefits of joining a professional scientific society

Join the club: Ten benefits of joining a professional scientific society

If you already spend all day hanging out with other scientists, the last thing you might feel like doing is joining a professional scientific society. With today’s shrinking budgets, you might also start to question whether this line on your CV is worth the membership dues. However, joining societies has many career benefits in addition…

The Etiquette of Approaching a Potential Supervisor

The Etiquette of Approaching a Potential Supervisor

Whether you are looking for a PhD Studentship or your first postdoc position, identifying and approaching a potential mentor can be quite daunting and seem like a bit of a minefield. The following are a few tips to help make a first good impression. 1)      Tailor your CV and cover letter to the individual lab…

Why do relatively few women rise to the top in academia?

Why do relatively few women rise to the top in academia?

Fact: The vast majority of professors are male. By the time you reach the top of the ladder, only roughly 20% of professors are female In most European countries and in quite a few countries the figure lingers around a depressing 15%. Biosciences are no exception. The balance is being redressed but only very slowly….

!BAM! !POW!: How to Become a Better Job Search Street fighter – Final Round

!BAM! !POW!: How to Become a Better Job Search Street fighter – Final Round

Up till now, we’ve discussed many different ways we can prepare and execute a new career search. In the last series, I discussed getting away from internet job boards and out into the real world. Now, I’m going to challenge you and push most of you way out of your comfort zone. So, there’s XYZ…

How to Make the Most Out of a Lab Internship

How to Make the Most Out of a Lab Internship

It takes some time to complete any professional education beyond a bachelors degree. So what to do if you’re not absolutely sure about spending the roughly sixty-or-so-months it takes to achieve a PhD? A hands-on internship or lab rotation is an excellent way to investigate science as a career. In a few short months an…

Five Reasons to Mentor an Intern

Five Reasons to Mentor an Intern

To become an expert in managing people and projects together, a scientist needs a variety of important skills to succeed. One way to add to an already impressive skill set is by mentoring others through internships. Students take internships to be exposed to new things. Mentors give internships to inspire others to do research. They…

Four Ways To Keep Up With Your Field If You Are Out Of A Job

Four Ways To Keep Up With Your Field If You Are Out Of A Job

Keeping up with the latest developments in your field of research is important whether you are taking a sabbatical to travel the world or your funding has finally dried up. Whatever your situation, it is good to maintain a broad working knowledge of your field of interest and not leave yourself a mountain of reading…

Advice To An Earlier Me, On The Occasion Of My Graduation

Advice To An Earlier Me, On The Occasion Of My Graduation

I recently had my PhD viva (that’s a thesis defense, to those of you in the US, and it was successful – yay!), and one of the questions my examiners brought up was: “if you could go back and do things differently, what would they be?”. Obviously they were thinking more about what different reagents,…

!BAM! !POW!: How to Become a Better Job Search Street fighter – Round Two

!BAM! !POW!: How to Become a Better Job Search Street fighter – Round Two

Thomas Edison, when asked about his failures in creating the world’s first single carbon filament incandescent lightbulb, said (and I’m paraphrasing here): “I didn’t fail, I simply found 2000 ways how NOT to make a lightbulb – and only one way to make it work”. If only most job-seekers possessed this attitude. It’s amazing the…

How to Pursue a Non-Research Career While in Graduate School

How to Pursue a Non-Research Career While in Graduate School

‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’ ‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat. ‘I don’t much care where,’ said Alice. ‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.                                    From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. According to a…

!BAM! !POW!: How to Become a Better Job Search Street Fighter – Part One

!BAM! !POW!: How to Become a Better Job Search Street Fighter – Part One

Career searches and job hunts are painful: answering ads, resumé tweaking, phone calls, interviews, preparation, sweat, tears, fear of rejection, etc. But it’s funny, even after investing all of this effort, the same mistakes are often made by newbies and veterans alike. In this series of articles, we’ll be talking about a variety of ways…

Do YOU Want to Work in a Lab This Summer?

Do YOU Want to Work in a Lab This Summer?

Graduate programs in science can take an additional four to seven years beyond a Bachelor’s degree. That’s a lot of time to commit to advanced training! If you’re currently a high school or college student wondering if graduate school is the right path for you, perhaps an internship in a laboratory can help you decide….

Lessons I’ve Learned in Grad School (Despite Myself)

Lessons I’ve Learned in Grad School (Despite Myself)

“Don’t let school interfere with your education” – Mark Twain We all started our PhDs with stars in our eyes, hoping to make great contributions to technological innovations in our field. However, by the time we are a few years into the program, weighed down by the failures and frustrations of graduate life, we forget…

“Networking” is NOT a Dirty Word

“Networking” is NOT a Dirty Word

Merriam-Webster defines networking as “the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business”. Less formally, networking is actively communicating with the other people you know (mostly scientists, in our case) for career advice and job openings, in addition to utilizing opportunities to meet new people for the same purpose. This is a core activity of…

Build a CV You Can Be Proud Of – Part II: Teamworking and Networking

Build a CV You Can Be Proud Of – Part II: Teamworking and Networking

Previously, we covered how to add communication skills to our CVs; now it’s time to consider teamwork and networking! In science it can sometimes seem like finding ways to work as part of a team are difficult – after all, how many people does it take to do a Western blot? However, there are ways…

5 Things You Should Know Before Working Abroad

5 Things You Should Know Before Working Abroad

We have previously discussed some of the pros and cons of moving countries for a new research position.  If you’ve made the decision to take the plunge and move abroad, here are 5 tips from a seasoned scientific wanderer. While I was doing my Master’s degree in Biotechnology, I decided on something – I would…

My Job: Life Sciences Software Developer

My Job: Life Sciences Software Developer

Any research biologist spends a large amount of their working time at the computer, whether it’s writing articles, analysing data or just checking emails. In fact, any new research proposal will likely start by trawling Pubmed and online databases to get the latest information on a particular topic. But have you ever stopped to think…

Careers for Scientists – Research Technician

Careers for Scientists – Research Technician

One of Bitesize Bio’s regular readers asked me to interview people in jobs that don’t necessarily require a PhD.  So, today I’m talking to Angela Briski who’s a research technician and currently working in stem cell research.  Hope you enjoy the interview… You describe yourself as a Research Technician.  And what exactly is it that…

Careers for Scientists – Clinical Research

Careers for Scientists – Clinical Research

This week we’re taking a look at the clinical research industry for some great advice if you’re thinking about moving into this field.  Vicki Ronaldson, one of our staff writers, tells us all about her job and how she got there… You describe yourself as a clinical research scientist. And what exactly is it that you…

Careers for Scientists – Operations Director

It’s time for another interview with a scientist to see what careers are out there waiting for you.  A few Bitesize Bio readers have asked for more information on jobs within the editorial or publishing industries, so this week I spoke with Laura Stemmle of American Journal Experts.  Here’s Laura’s low-down on what she does…