Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Step 2: Job Application

(a.k.a Tying the Noose)

In a flurry of job-hunt-induced-excitement and under a mounting pressure to ‘get a job already!’ (mainly from myself), I applied to a bunch of jobs over Christmas.
I was freshly burnt-out from handing in my thesis, still sizzling a bit at the ends, and utterly convinced that my Viva had gone terribly and that I had been outed as a ‘bad scientist’. So I did not apply for any post-docs. In fact, every time I read a project description for a post-doc advert, I felt a little sick in my stomach. And then of course, there was the small but rather important fact that I did not want to work with animals anymore (I might write a bit more on this in another post). And since most of my Masters and PhD training had been on animal work, this narrowed down my post-doc possibilities significantly.
So instead, I decided to apply for medical writing and editing jobs. To be honest, they were the only ones I felt like I had some kind of an idea of what the job was actually going to be like. And why not? I’m interested in science, especially biomedical science, and I’ve always loved reading papers, interpreting data, researching and writing. Of course, loving something does not mean you’re any good at it, and I didn’t actually have any kind of work experience in any of those things (does my baby-turned-monster count?).  But I applied anyway. Where? Anywhere, I didn’t care about location. I was still living out of a suitcase at this point, so it seemed quite easy to just zip it up and hop on a plane. I applied to journals, pharmaceutical companies and publishing companies. Basically, any editing or writing job on Naturejobs that required a PhD in a biomedical science. Most jobs only asked for a CV and a cover letter, so I spent some time updating and polishing my CV, and writing a flexible cover letter that I used for several jobs applications with minor changes. And I tried to emphasise the non-researchy bits in my background like teaching, languages, presentations, and society work. And then I hit send (a bunch of times), took a deep breath, and went off to enjoy my holidays.
And a few days after New Year’s, I got invited to my first job interview.

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