How to Get an Edge in the Job Search

It has become evident in the last 6 months that the search for jobs in science has become much more difficult. There are fewer jobs and more competition – two forces which combine to make the task of even getting an interview a challenge. Here we explore some tactics which may give you an edge in the job search.

Your Curriculum Vitae

Your CV is a representation of yourself and as such you should put significant work into it to ensure that it represents you in the best light possible. Not wanting to state the obvious, make sure it has no spelling mistakes (spell check!), that your career is in chronological order with most recent first, and that it starts with a 5 or 6 line summary of yourself (summary, objective etc.). Make sure it is formatted correctly (same font throughout – Arial, Verdana), Headings in Bold 12pt, Subheadings in Bold+Italic 11pt and body text 10pt. Avoid multiple colours (Monochrome Dark grey/Black OK) and donate to put your picture on it. People like conformity and are resistant to change unless it is very beneficial. View and download some templates on the site here.


It is definitely worth your while registering with FAS while pursuing your search. You could be doing short courses to upskill yourself while waiting for the right opportunity.

Applying for Jobs if your a Graduate

If you are a graduate then you need to do plenty of research on companies to see who is recruiting graduates. Go to graduate recruitment fairs. Try not to apply more than once for the same position, if you don’t recieve a response straight away its because the company is pooling all applications first before actually shortlisting. Multiple applications for the same position will reflect negatively on you. Register your CV with a niche / specialised agency so that you are ‘in the hat’ when a company approaches them for graduate recruitment. If you would like to register with us here at Life Science you can do so here.

Jobs Boards

At last count there were over 500 recruitment agencies in Ireland (the number rapidly falling) and 4 main Job Boards. Hence when you see a job on one of the boards it is generally one of many replicas (sometimes 20 agencies can be working on the same job – hence 20 advertisements). Keep an eye for new jobs which appear, check daily and when you see something interesting then apply.

Recruitment Agencies

There are many urban myths on recruitment agencies. Lets demysticise a few a) you don’t have to pay – under Irish law the maximum an agency can charge you is 1 euro, hence no charge. b) under data protection they are not allowed to share your information without your consent – applying for a job through an agency is not in the practical sense consent – best practice dictates they should contact you first before forwarding your CV. Choose a couple of specialist niche agencies and try to develop a personal relationship with them. In this market there are few jobs and most of the agencies have the same jobs. Avoid being represented by multiple agencies – would you go to court represented by 7 different solicitors working independently??? Check their website regularly and keep an eye for new positions and if you see one either apply through the site or drop a quick email registering your interest to your consultant. Here at Life Science we are open to contact for advice on your job search and can also refer to you career mentors who we recommend.

– Eamonn