Less is more ….

… where companies are concerned. With the break-up of many large pharma industries into smaller contract research organisations (CROs) and an increasing number of specialist tech companies springing up, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) represent a major source of jobs in the science sector. So, if you’re considering moving out of academia and into industry, you will be severely limiting your job search if you ignore these guys.

But how do you track down these less well-known companies to find out what they do or to make an enquiry or application? Here are three ways:

  1. If you search “Biotechnology”, as I did, on LinkedIn, you’ll see that there are a lot more small companies ‘out there’ than large ones. LinkedIn is a great place to do your research: You can investigate industries which are relevant to your field of interest and discover the type of work they do, services they provide or products they make. You can track down some of the people who work for these companies and, from there, find out their backgrounds and even make a polite approach. If you are keen to target a particular location, you can refine your LinkedIn search, and even add in your own institution to try to pull out any research alumni, who are now working in companies of interest to you. They might be more likely to help you if they see a connection between you.
  2. Another way to find small companies in the science sector is to identify science/research parks, where lots of small companies are located. A global directory of science and technology parks is listed on the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (note, you can see the parks listed without having to join) and you can see another worldwide list on Wikipedia. Don’t only rely on these two lists as I noticed that some parks are missing from them. A search on Google may help to fill any gaps if you can’t see anything in your preferred location. 
  3. Finally, try signing up with a recruitment agency which specialises in the biosciences. Many companies make use of these agencies nowadays to help them with their recruitment, especially at the initial stages, so you may be missing out if you don’t engage with them. If you build a good rapport with them they can be very helpful in finding suitable vacancies for you. Tina Persson, a former recruiter herself, has some useful advice on this subject, featured recently on the Naturejobs blog.

That’s all for now folks! I’ll follow my own advice and sign off with a shorter blog this month. I’ll leave you with links to some previous blogs I have written on this subject and you can also take a look at my resources page.

Small companies, big opportunities

Do I stay or do I go?

I’m a scientist [don’t] get me out of here!

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