Jobs outlook for the biotechnology sector in Canada is positive, with more than a third of companies here currently experiencing a shortage of skills. However, the Canadian job market is very competitive, so be prepared and understand each of the steps needed to gain employment. As well, finding a job in Canada may be very different than in your home country.
You must look for jobs in the region where you will settle. Therefore, take your time to research job requirements in that region and develop a plan for finding work.
There are many ways through which you can search for architect jobs.
- Broaden your search and include alternative careers and sectors.
- Seek out a mentor in the biotechnology sector – for example, a retired biotechnology professional – who would give you valuable insights and advice, and probably introduce you to their professional network.
- Join business related job-finding or networking clubs through immigrant-serving agencies.
- Attend industry job fairs and regularly check the employment sections of your local newspapers.
- Ask your contacts in the industry for help. Tell them you’re trying to get your name around. If someone well-established in biotech can forward your resume to a potential employer (instead of you forwarding it yourself), that gives you a leg up.
- Some colleges or associations may maintain a job bank or suggest a commercial job site. As well, BioTalent Canada’s website includes a job bank called The PetriDish, where you can post your resume, view job postings and subscribe to job alerts to know about any future opportunities.
- If you have an idea of what companies you’d like to work for, regularly check their company websites for job openings. Depending on the size of the company, it may be helpful to connect with someone you know who works in the company (or someone who knows someone) to help you get your resume fast-tracked to the hiring manager.
Immigrant settlement agencies
Most settlement agencies and other immigrant-serving organizations offer free help with finding job vacancies, updating your resume, writing cover letters, preparing for interviews and understanding what Canadian employers are looking for.
To find immigrant services in your area, click here.
There are many different ways to draft a resume for the biotech sector. However, most professionals working in the industry will agree on a few guidelines that should be followed when writing the ideal resume.
As most scientists, you may be very modest and not see your accomplishments as highly as the rest of the world. When you are making your resume you need to know how to impress your audience and list your most relevant accomplishments and strengths related to biotech.
Make sure to list your accomplishments early on in your resume: the top-tier school, or your education; any articles you may have published in any top-tier biotechnology journals; your patented work and awards you have received.
Biotech industry resumes are ordered chronologically, with your most recent experience first. Mention your job related experience, including your internships, consulting jobs and volunteer work.
Generally, with science industry jobs, hiring managers look for people who have achieved unique things. Therefore, it is important for you to list not only things you’ve done, but also things you have achieved.
Remember: if you make any claims, you need to be able to back them up. For example, use words such as ‘identified’, ‘discovered’ and ‘determined’. As the scientific community is relatively small, people will find out quickly if you give yourself credit where credit isn’t due, or worse, if you claim to have participated in research projects you have not undertaken.
Consult with different people
When meeting career counsellors, or people who are already working at a biotech company, ask them for their best advice for you regarding resume requirements for the industry.
Include references only if you have told the people beforehand that they are your references. Recruiters these days emphasize on references closely, particularly for the biomedical industries.
The outlook for the biotech industry looks good and whether you’re interested in agriculture, pharmacy, medicine, or bioengineering, you will find opportunities out there. However, before you land the job, you’ll need to ace the interview. Here are a few tips on how to prepare for an interview in biotechnology.
Look for jobs
To be invited to an interview, first you have to find a job opening. Regularly check online classified ads and other specialized sites, such as The PetriDish, which only list biotech job openings. Also check the websites of medium to large pharmaceutical companies. Once you find an opening, check if you know someone at the firm — your application will likely be given more attention if you reach out.
Biotechnology is a rapidly growing industry, and you better include your most recent references during your interview. As most probably, you’re interviewing for your first job in the Canadian biotech industry, make sure you know about current events in biotechnology and be able to discuss them comfortably. Subscribe to biotech newsletter or blogs — your interviewer may ask you to discuss a case study from the news.
As your potential employer has never seen you at work in the lab, they’ll probably ask you questions to figure out how you’d perform on the job. You may be asked to solve a hypothetical question, but most probably, you may be invited to participate in a technical conversation with your potential employer, who may use the conversation to assess your depth and technical knowledge.
Biotech involves the intersection of several disciplines, and it’s important that you know about the other related disciplines as well.
So when you’re studying or working, make sure to talk to people in other disciplines and with different backgrounds.
While the job outlook looks positive for biotechnologists, landing that next opportunity – especially for newcomers like you – requires extra effort and outreach.
Informational interviewing can be viewed as a way to put your wonderful empathetic yet professional communication abilities, research skills and time management talents to work for your own benefit.
An informational interview is a brief (20–30-minute) meeting that you schedule with a person who is currently working in your (or any other) industry to learn more about that particular industry.
You should not try to get a job during an informational interview but rather find out whether or not a particular position or industry might be a good fit for your interests and your personality. An informational interview with a contact from your network can be an excellent source of career information because, in addition to basic information about a particular type of industry (such as you might find on a company website), it also offers you the benefit of a professional’s first-hand experiences and impressions.
Make a list of the biotechnology related companies that operate in your area and use your resources including professional organizations, LinkedIn, and other networking tools to identify organization insiders and others that you may approach, asking for informational interviews.
Networking is an essential tool that may give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular firm or industry, and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network. As many job vacancies are not advertised, you must make connections with practicing physiotherapists and others in your field.
Good places to network are gatherings such as conferences, association luncheons, receptions and industry get-togethers for the convenience in meeting people, building relationships, and sharing information. You might hear about job opportunities you wouldn’t have found online, and you’ll also hear what people in biotech are talking about.
LinkedIn is another important professional tool for networking. It is great for reconnecting with your ex-colleagues and employers, search by company or jobs, and get introductions and recommendations.
You can also join some related professional groups. But remember, that you have to allow time to cultivate and grow the ties you establish through networking. Nothing will happen overnight and you need to be patient.