Friday, April 9, 2010

Wanted: JOB

The job search hasn't been going great so far. I'm lucky that the agricultural economy never really cooled off these past few years and there've been lots of open positions. Unfortunately, despite that I could do many of these jobs in my sleep, pretty much all my applications so far have disappeared into the black hole of corporate websites. I don't know what kind of competition is out there right now, but I expect at least part of my problem is that the initial HR screeners (understandably) have no clue who actually is qualified for these positions.

I'm gonna have to tweak my cover letter or something - cause so far demonstrated expertise in diverse statistics, field design and molecular biology isn't getting me through the front door for any of these molecular genetics positions. I guess if you don't know what a QTL is, you can't judge whether someone can deal with them unless they specifically say they've done it in the past. It's the reality of the job market and I'll just need to find a way to adapt to it.

At any rate, no matter how my current leads turn out, it looks like I'll be in NY through the summer! I figure I'll just rent out a room in someone's house when my lease runs out. It'll be easy and a little extra cash is always nice.

I'm gonna go ahead and rent a plot at our community gardens this summer. It's a pretty good deal: 25 bucks buys water and compost (though not fencing to keep out 2 and 4-legged thieves). It'll be nice to get out in the dirt on the weekends, though I probably won't bother ordering exciting seeds from Seed Savers. I have plenty of home and research seeds lying around anyway and it doesn't seem worth it to buy seeds when I have no idea how good the plots are.

I'll start drawing up some plans this weekend. I had good luck with last year's salad mix and carrots so I'll direct seed them. I'll start some tomatoes and poblano peppers in the greenhouse. Hank, Black Plum and Ailsa Craig are probably the best of our research tomato seeds from last year and I also have Joseph's experimental Wild Cherry x Black Krim F2, which will be interesting. Maybe I'll see if I can get some of my boss' leftover sweet corn seeds too.

Well, I think I'll head off to my band's show to blow off some steam. Hopefully we'll have a decent turnout and I'll earn some deer fence money!*


* Hopefully the venue's on the groundfloor too. It's bad enough carrying hundreds of pounds of gear down and back to our attic practice space. Half our shows seem to be 2-3 stories up without an elevator...

6 comments:

  1. Job searches blow. I sent out my first applications in September last year. I've done almost 20 more in the last few months. Nothing. I think I'll just live in a box.

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  2. Could you clarify your comment on QTLs? Are you saying that people looking at resumes are looking for people that can do QTL experiments and that even though you might well be able to do them they don't care unless you can clearly show that you have done them? I ask because I am thinking about getting involved in a QTL project and would appreciate any advice on the matter. thanks.

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  3. As far as I can tell, the big seed companies are in need of 4 major types of biologists: molecular lab rats, field-oriented breeders, bioinformatics/statisticians and plant geneticists capable of making use of omics data. The last category is the one I'm most interested in/qualified for and typically asks for a person who's capable of running standard genetic association tests (e.g. for QTL).

    Unfortunately, because these companies have to wade through hundreds or thousands of applications for every position, they're forced to spend only a few seconds looking at each resume (where they often decide if you're potentially qualified with a checklist of keywords - some companies even use automated software for this first step).

    The first person to see your resume is unlikely to have much of a science background and (understandably) won't be able to read between the lines to see what you're capable of. If they want someone to run QTL tests and you don't have that keyword in your application package, you probably have a slim chance of making it to the next round (even if a fellow scientist could easily see that you were likely qualified for the work).

    I don't know to what extent my experience has been due to this relative to simply competition from better candidates, but if you want to hunt QTL for a company someday, it'd behoove you to get that specific experience.

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  4. Best of luck with the job hunt!

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  5. What ticks me off is why, in this day and age, hirers cannot be bothered to send an email saying "You haven't been shortlisted. Sorry. Get on with your life."

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  6. I experienced the same thing when looking for a job....the HR person who does the first look has no freakin idea what they are looking at. I finally took my more CV-like resume and made it even more resume like by putting a bulleted list of my key skills at the top. This was after I sent my resume off to some job in Sacramento and I got a snarky reply an hour later from some dude who said that of COURSE I couldn't do survey work because I was a psychologist. Um, dude? Who do you think does that crap? Unless he was a total moron and thought psychologist=clinical psychologist. Because of course, no other kind exists. Even though I clearly say I'm a social psychologist. So yeah, basically, I feel your pain.

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