Life Sciences Job Seekers: Land Your Dream Job with a Digital Networking Approach
Multiple, higher-probability shots on goal.
This is a phrase you hear uttered by c-suite leaders across the life sciences when referencing the strength of their respective drug development pipelines. This often-used sports analogy acknowledges that drug development success is a high risk for failure, yet reinforces the importance of a multi-pronged research and development strategy that is deep and has a higher likelihood of commercialization success.
An all eggs in one basket approach is not an effective drug development approach. The same applies to job candidates seeking their biopharma dream job.
Carpet bombing resumes via email or posting on popular job sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, or the Ladders, for example, is a static, all eggs in one basket approach that will increase your hiring time and that might cause you to jump at a job opportunity out of desperation that’s not an ideal fit.
A dynamic, multi-channel digital networking approach to your job search will create a higher number of quality shots on goal that just might earn you the life sciences opportunity of a lifetime.
So, what does this kind of nuanced and diverse job search look like? And how might one do this effectively and efficiently?
“There are a lot of ways to go about this…Some people will be most comfortable engaging in discussions and conversations online. Being a part of a LinkedIn conversation, connecting with someone afterward, and carrying that conversation forward to see if they can connect at an upcoming event is a great multi-channel approach to networking,” shared Jake Thomas, Director of Employer Brand & Talent Communities at Workforce Genetics. “If you’re on social media, you want to be accessible. There’s no risk in reaching out with a thoughtful message about why you’re interested in a company’s mission.”
“We’re in an incredibly tight job market and if companies aren’t interested in engaging with candidates, that says something about their employer brand and they might not be the right fit for you,” he added.
To understand these multiple shots-on-goal approaches to promoting your personal brand, it might be helpful to look at the field of product or services marketing. Omni-channel, integrated, and multi-channel customer engagement are all catch-phrases for the same thing: a product or services marketing approach that mixes myriad messaging distribution channels beneath a single, unified messaging and branding strategy. Hubspot, a widely-used digital marketing platform, calls this Inbound Marketing.
This means a company will promote its new software service, for example, via Facebook ads, Google Adwords, search engine optimization, television, print, blog content, social media posts, and even radio in some cases. The core idea is that the more times you engage customers where they live (and achieving this requires market research and a highly targeted strategy), the more likely they will be to recognize a brand, trust a company, and become a customer. This can be deployed on a large scale by companies with bigger budgets, but smaller companies with less human capital and resources can be successful at it as well.
At its core is a targeted message delivered within the right networking hotspots in a consistent manner and with intent. This is not firing off blog or social media posts at random intervals or buying Facebook ads whenever the funding is available. Integrated, Inbound, multi or omnichannel marketing has to be intentional, thoughtful, and strategic to work.
This same philosophy should apply to your networking approach and your job search. Find out where the hiring managers live and are engaged and connect with them via content, thought leadership posts, video, or online virtual recruiting events.
According to Thomas, LinkedIn is the most utilized networking and job connection platform available right now. Curating your professional profile and presenting it thoughtfully is a great way to build awareness of your personal brand and get your name in front of the right hiring managers.
But job seekers also need to be mindful not to overstate their skills or oversell their brand to hiring managers, recruiters, and human resource professionals. There is a fine line between connecting with these groups and pestering them.
“I think you need to be cognizant of what value you’re bringing to any conversation. If you’re requesting an exploratory discussion, you need to have a valid reason for why they should take time out of their day to speak with you,” said Thomas. “You have to be selfless and empathic to their business needs. You need to create value so the hiring manager can get something out of the conversation as well, whether that’s your talent or something you can deliver if you were to step into a role with them.”
“Being mindful is the key to this. You should avoid just asking for an interview or just sending your resume and leaving it there. If you haven’t put a lot of thought into it, it will be a big turnoff for companies and hiring teams,” added Thomas.
Showing usefulness, utility, and passion is always better than a salesy or overly aggressive approach to job networking. A softer branding approach has the most value.
“Think about your skillset as the product you’re trying to sell and how you create quantifiable value early in a conversation. You need to demonstrate your value proposition. Show how you’ll help a hiring manager drive business objectives and create better business outcomes,” stated Thomas. “You’ll be working with this person 40 hours a week at a minimum, so you also need to show that you’re fun to work with, that you’re passionate about what you do, you’re a willing teacher, and that you can create value.”
“If you take the traditional approach to the job search, you’ll eventually find a job. The difference here is finding a job versus a dream job. You’ll find a job you’re more satisfied with and that’s better aligned with your career goals if you’re taking the time to put all of yourself into sharing and taking part in the things that are exciting to you professionally,” stated Thomas.
The “set-it-and-forget-it” days of posting your resume and cover letter on a popular job search site are over.
A multi-channel, strategic, consistent, and thoughtful approach to marketing your personal brand to hiring managers is a necessity for any life sciences professional looking to land their next great opportunity. Showcase your skill, express your passion, and deliver value by engaging the life sciences hiring community where they live and that next dream job will become reality faster than you might think.
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