The Academic Chicken Vs. The Work Experience Egg – Which Comes First?

Chicken Vs. Egg

Over the past couple of months, I have given a number of talks to postgraduate and second level students about careers in STEM-Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths in conjunction with various groups such as WITS (Women in Technology and Science), Trinity College Dublin and their Molecular Medicine postgrads, RCSI and for Science Foundation Ireland Smart Futures program during SciFest. The common theme at each of these events was careers in STEM, the different types of career paths you can take, and most importantly HOW to get your first job in this area.

As a STEM graduate myself, I am aware of the challenges out there for people trying to get the foot on the jobs ladder and the catch 22 we are all so familiar with “You need X amount of years industry experience for this role”, but it can be very difficult to get this experience in the first place and can be a quiet disheartening for new graduates. Is there a way, as a graduate, to make you more employable without industry experience? The simple answer to this is yes, however you do need to be determined and not give up after some rejections. Here are 4 simple tips I hope you find helpful in your job search:

1. Choose a career direction

There are many different careers path you can take in STEM, such as careers in pharma, biotech, medical devices & ICT as well as many others, so first of all make sure you do your research around the different types of jobs out there and which ones you think you would enjoy. Once you have identified this, have a look at all the companies that have these roles and where they are located. Yes, we do always hear about new jobs in Dublin, however there are numerous indigenous Irish companies and multinational companies based in Ireland with 9 out of the top 10 Pharma companies based here.

2. Put the time into your CV

Your C.V is obviously hugely important as in some cases, this may be the first impression you make on someone. Make sure your C.V is well written and tailored specifically for each role. We have really useful C.V templates available on our website here .

3. Update your LinkedIn profile

It is very useful to have an up to date LinkedIn profile which should include a picture brief summary of yourself. You can use this to connect to people you know and join groups and follow companies you may be interested in working with.

4.Get out there and network

Face to face networking can one of the most effective methods of securing your first role, be sure to attend careers day etc and bring an up to date version of your C.V with you.

Although the above tips are extremely useful and the transferable skills we gain while studying for our degree, such as time management, organisational skills and communication skills to name just a few are imperative, I think our educational system should also step in and assist in making students more employable after years of study. Yes, there are courses out there that offer placements in industry but not everyone has the option to go to these colleges so in my opinion I think our educational system does need provide a more industry focused aspect in all courses to allow students to easily make the move into industry if they so wish.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this and thank you so much for reading.



Life Science News, November 12th 2013

A New Type of Microbe Has Been Discovered in Two Distant Clean Rooms.

The way I see it, there are two types of people;

Global Top 10 Most Expensive Prescription Medicines


1. Ravicti: $794,000 per year – Ravicti is used to treat urea cycle disorders (UCD), genetic diseases that prevent the body from getting rid of ammonia.

Horizon Pharma – Horizon have an office in Dublin city centre which focuses on CMO (Contract Manufacturing Organisation) Management and other centralised services.



2. Spinraza: $750,000 per year – this drug is used for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) drug Spinraza

Biogen – the only company on this list without a direct presence in Ireland. Come on, Biogen, we don’t bite!

The Advantages of being a Scientist recruiting Scientists

The Advantages of being a Scientist recruiting Scientists


Karen Shiel


When I first started out in recruitment 10 years ago, I had just successfully completed a PhD in Molecular Biology and had spent a year in Australia working in a commercial sales role. I found it difficult decide on which career path to take in Ireland with a PhD in Biology, as the logical step at the time was to stay in academia and undertake a post-doc or move into Quality in pharmaceutical manufacturing. The majority of biology graduates I knew went into GP sales, QA, QC or clinical data coordinator roles within the pharma sector or, alternatively, into Production/QA Coordinator/NPD Technician roles within the food sectors. 

Life Science News, November 4th 2013

Another quick rundown of the scientific news and breakthroughs of the last couple of days, from the carcinogenic miasma we inhale every single day to the biggest reptile of all time. Also, find out what happened the bees during the last days of the dinosaurs and why Thorium is creeping its way to prominence in the world of nuclear fission.

The Week in Life Science #3

Literally flat out here in the office; been a month of immense change and growth in the both the Life Science industry here in Ireland and indeed the science world in general. I managed to peel myself away from my newly-shouldered duties in my new office space to round up a nice mix of science, tech, industry and of course cute animal news. Please hit the titles if you want to read more from the source material or find links to any published sources.

Life Science in Motion #3

Some science-y gifs to take your mind off that stuff you really should be doing.

A Capella Science – Bohemian Gravity!

This is truly incredible. A student from McGill has used Queens classic to explain string theory. And this is no normal cover version, Tim Blais (youtube channel acapellascience) does this rendition completely a Capella, while explaining one of the most complex theories in science, WHILE remaining rhythmically, melodically and OVERWHELMINGLY faithful to Queens original masterpiece. I’m delighted this is getting the attention it deserves – well over a million views in about 2 weeks. To add to this bizarre and brilliant ensemble is an Einstein sock puppet who sings the guitar solo-y bit chipmunk style and more costume changes than the average Madonna tour.

This Week in Life Science #3

Well its been almost 3 weeks since I’ve updated thanks to holidays and a pesky illness but as per usual it has been an incredibly busy and promising time across the science world. From termite poop to diamond-encrusted teeth to ‘black holes’ at sea, there has been no shortage of scientific progress announced recently. As usual, all source material is cited, just follow the links provided in each title. Most have additional videos and graphics. I’d recommend checking out Carl Harts story ‘The Rational Choices of Drug Addicts’ for a drastically different perspective on the world of addiction to the one the media often portrays.

This week I Learned #3

Been a pretty busy week here at LS but that hasn’t stopped me accumulating a veritable  smorgasbord of useless (read: highly informative) information. Here it is pared down, collated and presented with some newly-acquired WordPress skills which you probably won’t notice. Enjoy!