Do you know how to use LinkedIn? LinkedIn is one of those social networks that many of us have always been at least dimly aware of. We may have had friends already on the platform sending us an email invitation to 'connect' with them annually. However, we might not necessarily be very well-versed in it.

The truth is, LinkedIn can be an invaluable tool in your search for science jobs, not least in light of the tendency for professional opportunities to come through contacts as often as through applications to openly advertised vacancies. Take a look at our top LinkedIn Tips here. 

How to get started with a great LinkedIn profile

As is the case with other social networks, you can expect to be most rewarded on LinkedIn when you complete your profile as fully as possible. That begins with uploading a photo of yourself, so be sure to make it smart, friendly and professional looking.

You will also be asked to provide a headline to your profile that is much like the personal statement that you may include on your CV. The best profile headline will probably refer in some way to your exact science field - such as biotechnology, medical or pharmaceutical - along with a more specific skill or area of expertise.

There's also space in your LinkedIn profile to provide a more detailed summary of yourself, along with similarly in-depth information on your experience, education, skills and expertise.

Then, it's all about connecting with people! 

LinkedIn is not designed to be a passive platform - it has been conceived with proactive business networking in mind, so don't be afraid to get connecting.

That process may initially be as simple as using the search function to find your current colleagues or people who you have previously worked with. However, it could be easily extended to searching for HR contacts at companies that you would like to work for, or searching for those already working in the kind of science jobs to which you aspire.

Once you have 'connected' with someone (the LinkedIn equivalent of 'adding a friend'), visit their profile and check out the 'People also viewed' box for more potentially fascinating contacts, including both individuals and employers. You might also investigate past companies that each of your contacts has worked for.

The more LinkedIn connections you have, the larger your network will be and therefore, the more opportunities you will potentially be able to expose yourself to.

Keep exploring LinkedIn for opportunities

The aforementioned tips on how to use LinkedIn are the best ways to use LinkedIn for jobs, in a nutshell. You should also be aware of the interest groups and discussions that you can join, as well as the various other fascinating functionalities that are being continually introduced to the platform. Invest in a paid Premium account, and you will be able to stand out even further from the crowd.

While LinkedIn is not necessarily the last word in business networking even in today's heavily social media-oriented age, it can nonetheless make an immense difference to your chances of turning the heads of the right science recruitment professionals and even nabbing that dream role in energy, telecommunications, food/FMCG or another science or technology role. 

If you want to search for more science jobs that aren't on LinkedIn, be sure to use our very own job search here

tips for job seekers

If conventional wisdom is to believed, catching the attention of science recruitment agencies and employers with your job application is easy: you get your CV into shape, find the most relevant science jobs being advertised and then send through your application with a presentable cover letter.

However, a downside of such conventional wisdom is that it is conventional, meaning that everyone is doing similar things. If you really want to turbo-charge your search for a suitable new science role, you may therefore want to try the following tips for job seekers.

1. Show your vulnerability

Don't necessarily presume that you have to turn yourself into an arrogant superstar to land your dream pharmaceutical, clinical or medical role.

Instead, consider showing your vulnerability, getting in touch with those who you would like to work with, expressing your admiration for what they do and asking questions. It can be a great way to start building up relationships that could help you when a vacancy next opens up.

2. Don't necessarily follow your passion

Career seekers have long been told to "follow their passion", but it isn't always entirely robust. Many people in science jobs that they now love may have only come to love it after developing their competency and experience in the role over time.

3. Don't obsess over finding your dream job right now

This advice is especially useful to those in the early stages of a science career. Whether in R&D, bioinformatics, regulatory affairs or any other field, given the unglamorous nature of most entry-level positions, your focus shouldn't necessarily be on finding a job that you love right now.

Instead, envisage what the role has the potential to become if you work hard over the next five years. That's the post that you are effectively applying for.

4. Contact the decision-maker directly

Those who watched the Will Smith film The Pursuit of Happiness may especially appreciate this pointer. Sometimes, it is all too easy for applications for science jobs to disappear into a black hole. Instead, tactfully and respectfully approach the person who will actually be making the decision whether to hire you.

5. Be your desired employer's biggest fan

If there's a specific science employer that you would like to work for, mark yourself out as a brand loyalist - someone who is always defending the company in the blogosphere or feting its expertise or services to friends or on social media.

Ambitious firms love employees who love them - so you may just find yourself first in the queue when the next perfectly-tailored position arises.   

Whether you are still considering your university options, have completed a PhD or have a long track record in a particular science field behind you, choosing from the vast range of possible science jobs can be an intimidating and overwhelming process.

With popular sectors ranging from immunology and pharmacology to molecular biology and clinical, and with functions within those sectors encompassing clinical research, quality assurance, research and development (R&D) and many more, it would be too difficult for us to give even a brief overview of your possible science career options here.

What we can do, however, is give you some pointers on choosing the science post that would best suit your own background, interests and motivations.

Figuring out your skills, values and interests

Various assessments exist that should help you to clarify your own personal characteristics and how these may lend themselves to various science jobs. These include the National Careers Service's Action Plan tool, as well as the Career Planner accessible through the graduate careers site, Prospects.

More informal ways of determining the best science career direction for you include simply asking yourself what areas at science most interest you and which you are best at, as well as what lifestyle you want and what you actually desire from your longer-term career.

What to consider when comparing jobs

Once you have a reasonable idea of the above, you will be able to begin your job hunt or consider the most appropriate academic course.

When you are thinking about your science job options, you will need to take into account such factors as entry requirements, employment outlook, the job description, salary and conditions and the scope to develop the job.

Is the role that interests you a good match to what you learned about yourself through tools and techniques like the above, and is the job reasonably attainable right now? If not, what do you need to do to have a realistic chance of entering this particular science career?

Imagining yourself on the job

Even having the right skills and experience, however, matters little if you would not actually enjoy the role on a day-to-day basis.

To ascertain this, ask yourself whether the employer would be a good match to your own values, as well as whether the job itself would be rewarding both now and some time into the future, based on your past experiences and motivations. Is this a job that you would even do for free?

Deciding on the right science role entails much serious thought about what matters to you in a job, as well as your likelihood of obtaining work in the field that interests you and the potential for career growth.

As leading science recruitment specialists here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, we are always happy to advise those still contemplating the right science career for them - as well as, if appropriate, match them to a suitable role. 

In all science jobs - whether in chemistry, molecular biology, quality assurance, engineering or R&D - a well-written CV is extremely important.

Today we're looking at 10 of the biggest CV mistakes to avoid when you're applying for a job in science. 

1) Too long

You shouldn't require more than two or three pages for a CV. Venturing onto a fourth or even fifth page is a rookie CV mistake, and employers will get the impression that you are disorganised and tend to ramble on.

2) Misspellings and typos

This is an obvious CV mistake to avoid but that doesn't prevent it being made time and time again. Be sure to run your CV through a grammar and spelling checker before you send it off to any prospective employers. 

3) Irrelevant information

Talking about ghost hauntings at your last job (unless you're applying for a ghostbuster job!) or that you were the best dancer in the office isn't likely to endear you to science recruitment agencies seeking only salient information. Be sure to check if everything on your CV is relevant before making the CV mistake. 

4) Falsified information

Saying that you passed a degree, diploma or certificate that you actually failed isn't a mere bending of the truth - it's an outright lie that will almost certainly catch up with you later.

5) Cliches

Simply saying that you are a "good communicator" or "work well in a team" without backing it up with any hard evidence is meaningless to any demanding recruiter and another common CV mistake.

6) Wrong contact details

Even the most brilliant CV might be of little use if the phone number or email address on it is wrong.  Be wary of writing .com where you should have said, or giving the address of your previous rather than current address

7) A one-size-fits-all approach

Don't send out the same CV for an information systems job as you would for a procurement role - the CV needs to match the employer's needs, so adapt it to each application.

8) Vague explanations

Simply saying that you are looking for a new challenge that offers the opportunity for professional growth doesn't much serve a potential employer. Instead, state something more specific that focuses on their needs, not just your own.

9) Fancy font

You might want to stand out through your CV, but you can do that best by demonstrating your unique qualifications for the role, rather than merely using an unconventional font that might merely distract the reader.

10) Name and personal details in the header

The technology used by many science recruitment firms today to process applications may not pick up information included in the document header, so we would advise that such crucial details are kept in the main text.

There are many potential reasons why you may not secure an interview and many common CV mistakes that can be made. Don't allow any of these easily avoided errors to be the cause of your own next job application failure. 

Do you want to hire a true game-changer? The answer to that question might seem to be "yes" for every new person that you recruit, but there is a particular type of candidate that has recently attracted the attention of HR managers in many science companies for varying departments, including Quality Assurance, Regulatory Affairs, R&D and : the 'purple squirrel'.

These especially rare individuals are associated with a combination of exceptional talent and an often 'maverick' personality type that can make them difficult to manage. While they are therefore not necessarily the best team players, being somewhat unconventional at times, there are nonetheless significant rewards to be had when they are successfully integrated.

At their best, the 'purple squirrel' can bring dazzling new perspectives to your organisation and push it in a decisive and successful new direction - possessing the education, skills and experience to be major innovators. Celebrated businesspeople who have been described as 'purple squirrels' include James Dyson, Philip Green and David Ogilvy.

However, it is many of the unique characteristics of the 'purple squirrel' that can also make them difficult to pick up via the more traditional recruitment methods. None of the three aforementioned individuals, for example, possessed a university degree, meaning that they would have been missed by a more competency-based hiring approach.

Instead, science employers looking to pick up a 'purple squirrel' are advised to apply more aspiration-based search and hiring techniques. To know where to look, it is a good idea to first ask yourself what incredible results you would like your organisation to achieve. You will then be able to start defining the kind of person who could produce them.

Adopting this more lateral perspective will lead you to consider individuals who you might not have ordinarily deemed suitable for your vacancy. However, it is also crucial to understand the very different motivations that 'purple squirrels' can have. Such candidates are much more likely to ask about your company's direction and values than the size of the financial package on offer or how many promotions they could rack up.

The key to finding the elusive 'purple squirrel' is disruptive talent searching, rather than the received wisdom of more established recruitment methods. Land such a candidate, however, and your organisation could be set for a new era of innovation and profitability - just as long as it is willing to adapt in turn to the exciting newcomer. 

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