5 of the Biggest Biotech Job Application Mistakes

In a growing competitive industry, making a mistake on a biotech job application can set you apart from the rest…and not in the best way. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects overall employment in life science occupations to grow faster than other occupations, CBRE’s U.S. Life Sciences Research Talent 2023 report shows more life science researchers in the U.S. than ever before. Accordingly, more life scientists are entering the workforce and applying for the same jobs. Especially when starting your biotechnology career, avoiding job application mistakes can make a difference in letting your achievements outshine the competition. In this blog, we help you identify and dodge common biotech job application mistakes to improve your chances of success.

Mistake #1 – Ignoring to research the company

One of the mistakes hiring managers see when reviewing resumes is blanket resumes that are too vague for a particular role. These resumes may not be a great demonstration of your work history and achievements in terms of the position you are applying for. The key to not making this mistake is to research the company. This is not to say that you need to revamp your resume for each company, but rather showcase how your work aligns with its focus and values. So, this is what people mean when they recommend tailoring your resume. An easy way to do this is to learn about the company through their website pages or social media platforms. Look for information on company culture, projects in the pipeline, or recent press releases on company achievements. This research can help you reframe your accomplishments to help hiring managers visualize you in the role at their company. Not researching the company beforehand may result in missing important details that can help shape your resume as the candidate they search for.

Mistake #2 – Creating elaborate or generic biotech resumes and cover letters

As biotech resume mistake #1 leads to mistake #2, we discussed how not researching a company can lead to a generic resume. Another item that leads to this same pitfall is the overuse of industry buzzwords instead of focusing on the results of your assignments. Rather than only list projects and activities, include the outcomes and achievements from your contributions. This takes a generic resume to the next level, showcasing your unique and individual work experiences. Do you have an applicable project you want a hiring manager to know more about? The cover letter, if required, can be the right place to elaborate on that experience. Remember that biotech resumes and cover letters do not need to be overly done, too long, or have an elaborate format. A simple layout, with your tailored work history, can do the trick for demonstrating your industry experience.

Mistake #3 – Failing to showcase relevant life science skills and experience

While some roles require a well-rounded candidate, others may require a candidate with specific skills. One thing recruiters and hiring managers see frequently are resumes that showcase irrelevant skills or lack emphasizing proficiency in what a hiring manager looks for in a candidate. If you worked on multiple projects throughout a position, highlight the experience from a project most relevant to the role you want. If you list all of your certificates, list the most sought-after for a given job. Provide an example in your work history of skills listed in a job description. This will support your experience and better showcase relevant life science skills.

Mistake #4 – Not proofreading and editing

Do you have attention to detail listed as a skill on your resume? Support your claim by proofreading and editing your resume and cover letter. Skipping over this crucial step can reflect negligent and sloppy work for hiring managers who comb through resumes with a fine tooth, looking for the best of the best additions. Use tools like grammar and spell checkers to make sure everything is correct or can be clarified. You can also ask friends or trusted colleagues to review your resume for any errors or edits to make. If using Microsoft Word or Google Docs to build your resume, these platforms include spelling and grammar checks to ensure your resume is ready for hiring managers.

Mistake #5 – Overlooking networking opportunities

Staying connected in the biotech sector is also critical in finding the newest opportunities at the right time. Don’t underestimate the power of networking and asking connections if you can send them your resume to forward to hiring managers or department heads. If you know someone who is a department lead, connect with them to discuss possible opportunities or leave your resume with them in case a future opening presents itself. Remember that networking comes with building and maintaining your professional relationships. Taking care of your connections through occasional meetups, networking events, and quick conversations over coffee should not be overlooked as leverage for job applications.

Avoiding Biotech Job Application Mistakes

It’s easy to develop an informative resume that represents your experience. To avoid the most pressing biotech job application mistakes, research a company, tailor your resume, highlight relevant experience, proofread, and network. Knocking these five items off your checklist is critical for putting your best resume forward. Resumes demonstrate careful and detailed work and are one of the first impressions you make with a possible employer.

Other Biotech Job Hunting Resources

For other job-hunting resources, refer to some helpful blog posts we created for biotech job seekers, both new to the industry and experienced. Need help with your cover letter? Check out our cover letter template with an example here. Check out Indeed’s tips for an elevator pitch, or visit our website to find California life science jobs to get started. Every day is a chance to learn more and improve your job applications step-by-step. If you need extra help, contact here one of our experienced biotech recruiters today!