January 19, 2022, 06:25:41 PM
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Topic: Acquired Degree in biochemistry. Am Lost. Want to gain employment in it.  (Read 7803 times)

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Offline Anth

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Hi,

I was hoping someone would be able to offer some help/advice/suggestions.

I graduated with a degree in Biochemistry with Immunology in 2006. I obtained a 3rd Class honours in this.

This was 6 years ago in 2006. Due to many personal issues too many to go into detail I was not able to gain employment after graduation.

I then got totally lost on what to do. Due to taking this time out and not acquiring employment in any Chemistry related roles. I started undertaking a distance learning degree in computing which I did not finish.  I enjoyed it. But I find it also does not seem to lead to any work.

I have in the last year been undertaking menial call centre employment which I hated. And was not right for me as I do not have the gift of the gab to calm down irate customers and then try to sell them things.

On my leaving the job after close to a year the employer said that I am "over qualified for this type of work and wasted in call centres with the Biochemistry degree I have"

I know this was just something said by the employer to make them feel better for effectively sacking me. But it still annoys me that I slogged my backside off to get this degree. And to see people I went to secondary school with who either failed their GCSEs or obtained them but did not do A-Levels or go onto University now in high paid managerial positions. And me who went to university seeming that I am unemployable and fighting for menial work like call centre work or admin assistant.

My question is. What options do I have with this Biochemistry degree. I obtained it many years ago. I only obtained a 3rd class honours in it, not because of lack of effort but because this was my level of skill. I worked like crazy to get that 3rd. And I am also close to 15 grand in debt from that Biochemistry degree I feel it should have some pluses from all that effort.

I am currently unemployed looking for work. But I am honestly in a situation where I don't know where to start. I have spoken to careers advisor's who know nothing about science and the suggestion I got was what I am doing now. Find a forum for Biochemists and ask on there for ideas of what I can do.

As you can probably guess from the tone of my post. It is getting me down. I am at the stage at my life where I feel I should have a career. And yet I have not even started.

Is there any tips/advice or anything else anyone can give.

Offline Arkcon

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This is a common sort of problem voiced on these forums and there's no quick fix.  However, some points:

You've tried career advisors, but they're not science specific.  So try some that are science specific.  Also try temporary or contract agencies, that are likewise science specific.

Be able to talk to them about what your related skills are.  You may not find a biochemistry job, but you can take an analytical chemistry job, if your coursework has set you up for that.  You can also use your recent, though incomplete, computer courses for some sort of computer services job at a biotech, chemistry or pharmaceutical company.

These are all stepping stones, to a better job, once you've proven yourself to your company, told a superior of you goals and abilities, and maybe met with his superior, and other people he knows at the company that may need a biotech professional.

I would think that a positive job done, at a call centre or as an administrative assistant would help you qualify for a managerial position, if you'd have stuck with it, given your college degree.  If that's what you wanted.

You might also consider returning to university to advance your degree, if you can find work in a lab where the prof would remember you with distinction from some of your courses.
Hey, I'm not judging.  I just like to shoot straight.  I'm a man of science.

Offline Jasim

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Just want to reinforce what Arkcon said regarding temp and contract agencies. Get in contact with a science-specific headhunter. If you find a good one they will help you a lot, one even helped me re-write my resume. Also, be willing to re-locate. These kinds of jobs are in very high demand, but in very localized areas. The high-tech industries are typically found centralized in very specific regions. It doesn't matter much that it's been 6 years since you've done any related work. You should still be able to find something more akin to your qualifications.

I was laid off last year from a grant-funded position. I made it a goal to apply to at least 2-3 positions every single day. They are out there, but you may have to spend some time looking until you learn how to network in your area and figure out where all the resources are. A headhunter (temp or contract recruiter) from a large company that specializes in science recruitment (in my area it's Volt Scientific and Kelly Services) should be your first step. Find one, initiate contact, ask for help, ask for resources. They will guide you. And NETWORK! I know a lot of industries say it over and over again, but Networking truly is the key to finding that perfect job.

You can also look around at larger research universities. Often such universities will have spin-off business and industry in the area that need talented employment. Outside businesses also like to local in areas where they can more easily find talent (i.e. cities with large research universities and a culture that supports high-tech industry).

I know how daunting and scary it can seem. I've been through it. But once you learn the ropes and make those connections it will be easier and you will see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Good Luck!

Offline eazye1334

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As someone who was recently unemployed but has now found a permanent position in chemical engineering, I can understand what you are going through. The advice given so far is absolutely correct.

Networking is thrown around as a cliche, but it actually is the best tool. A website called LinkedIn actually helped me a lot in this. The site allows you to connect to people you know, and through branching out to their contacts you can find someone with a connection to a company you may be interested in. I highly suggest you make a profile on it an connect to whoever you can. This is, quite literally, how I found my current position. I am working in an electroforming department at a highly specialized reflective products company, a topic I have absolutely no experience in, with great benefits and pay. The real kicker is this: I never even applied for the position, or knew that it was even available. A local science-focused hiring consultant found my connection on LinkedIn, contacted me, and the rest is history. I did not know the specific consultant nor the company he worked for, but we had mutual connections and he thought my profile fit their wants. I am so incredibly thankful that I created a profile. I highly, highly suggest it, and it's free (there is a higher-level membership that you can pay for, but it's definitely not necessary.)

In addition, definitely be applying to almost anything you are tangentially qualified for. I nearly was offered another position when I applied to a company for one of their openings; the hiring manager was not interested in me for the position I applied for, but passed my information on to another manager who called me in for several interviews. The point is, it can never hurt to apply.

Keep trying, keep searching. With all of the internet resources as well as local ones, there are actually more jobs out there than you think, it's just that most people get so focused on one specific method of searching that they miss a whole bunch. Indeed.com is great for searching all of those internet job posting sites all at once, and my fiancee actually foound her job on Craigslist. Local newspapers still carry job postings, and always be on the lookout for a local job fair.

Good luck, I hope you are able to find something soon. Try not to get discouraged by rejections; just take their responses as constructive criticism and use their comments to tweak your resume and interview style for the next opportunity.


Offline Anth

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In addition, definitely be applying to almost anything you are tangentially qualified for. I nearly was offered another position when I applied to a company for one of their openings; the hiring manager was not interested in me for the position I applied for, but passed my information on to another manager who called me in for several interviews. The point is, it can never hurt to apply.

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions everyone.

Can I ask which jobs website would you recommend as best for science based job advertisements.

You rarely see them on the likes of Monster.co.uk and Fish4Jobs.co.uk.

(I am in the UK if this is an international forum)

Offline Arkcon

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I was waiting for a hint on where you were from.  Well, I had something of a hint, because you mentioned A-levels.  I use monster.com and CareerBuilder.com, and I am put in touch with chemistry positions.  Here, I typed "DNA" into monster.co.uk and got  ... well, some science positions, and (oddly) some retail sales positions.  But you'll likely have better luck if you create a profile and actually type in more realistic skills.

http://jobsearch.monster.co.uk/search/?q=DNA&sort=rv.di.dt

Looks like Oxford Nanopore is hiring.  I mention it here mostly for more feedback -- are you not qualified for this sort of position, are you not interested, is Oxford too far away, what?

http://jobview.monster.co.uk/Analytical-Scientist-Job-Oxford-Home-Counties-110819957.aspx
Hey, I'm not judging.  I just like to shoot straight.  I'm a man of science.

Offline eazye1334

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http://www.indeed.co.uk is where I would start for you. Indeed is actually a search aggregate site, so it pulls in search results from places like Monster, Careerbuilder, and some of the lesser-known sites and places it in one spot for you. Your past searches can be saved too, and it will show you the new postings the next time you return. It was a pretty invaluable tool when I was searching.

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