Category Archives: Technology

Study (for free) in Sweden

While reading a recent issue of New Scientist which got delivered to us (thanks New Scientist!) yesterday, I fell upon an add which brought me back to my college days. They weren’t that long ago….

Having graduated from Medicinal Chemistry, I only knew 1 thing, I didn’t want to work in a lab. I was uninterested in the daily lab work during my research project in Madrid, and wanted to try something different. So if it wasn’t a PhD and it wasn’t a job in an industrial lab, what was it?

Then I came across these guys. As I’m originally from Denmark just across the water from Goteborg, Technology peaked my interest. And what’s more all of the Master’s programmes offered in Sweden are funded 100% by the Swedish government.

I was interviewed by the them but in the end I chose to stay in Ireland (to the benefit of the recruitment industry!), but it’s an excellent option for someone on a budget who is looking to further their education. You will automatically distinguish yourself from the crowd with a Master’s degree from a different country. Many companies will view the experience gained in a foreign country as producing more rounded individuals who can better deal with a large variety of people and situations. There are some great options to choose from, very modern and current topics can be studied in depth. I am aware of one of the very senior candidates we are currently dealing with who has a qualification similar to this, and he has achieved a lot for his age – so if you are struggling to find work and keen to experience new horizons, Sweden is certainly worth a second thought.

-Brian (bhc at lifescience dot ie)

More CV tips

An interesting CV arrived in last week, something I had not seen before. At the bottom was a whole paragraph of tags, which the candidate was obviously hoping would be picked up by our database as it scanned the CV for key word skills. He CV would then show up in more searches which he then hoped would result in his CV being more visible to us and us calling him more often in relation to available opportunities. This is similar to “black-hat” webpage search optimisation which has since been discovered by Google. People would hide a multitude of keywords in the background text on their website, often in the same colour as the background itself (say white words on a white background which would be picked up by the search bot). Needless to say, this did not look very good on the CV and didn’t strike me as being hugely professional, for someone  that had a lot of experience.

In a market like this for the informed job-seeker, the process is very much 2-way. A consultant who receives a lot of CVs and traffic may not have time to call you immediately in relation to any new jobs. A great way to stay on top of things is to be proactive, and technology can help here. I would advise all people actively searching for jobs to join us on Facebook, Twitter and especially subscribe to our RSS jobs feed. In this way you are notified as soon as a new job is posted, and the candidate can therefore call in to the consultant, something which is far more time-efficient.

1 final tip while we’re on the subject – do NOT apply to more than 2 positions with any particular company / recruitment agency. It looks unprofessional and will only damage any application you make more than enhance it. It’s better to compose a personal email to the consultant listing the positions you believe you are suited to. Better still is calling the consultant after you have made an application to get more detail on the various other roles available, in this way you can quickly figure out how many companies you would like your CV to go to. In a company setting, most companies have talented in-house recruiters who will know if your background is suited to a different role they have on offer, and will present these to you if they wish to speak to you. Making more than once application simply presents more admin work for all parties involved and this reflects badly.

-Brian (brian dot c at lifescience dot ie)

Crisis as University Science Drop-Out Rates hit 40%

Recent reports have indicated that a very high percentage of university students are dropping out of science and technology courses after their first year in college. In DCU, heralded as the cutting-edge technology campus, drop-out rates of 39% have been reported, while in UCD a drop-out rate of 26% was reported and countrywide, the seven universities averaged 20%.

SO what has brought on this rise in the drop-out rates in science…?

One camp says the increase in due to the “dumbing-down” of the leaving cert exam combined with significant drop in points for science subjects especially. The points for science in UCD in 2008 were 300, compared to 440 the year I started my science degree there… Quite a drop.

Reading in the Irish Times, Tom Boland, chief executive of the Higher Education Authority, recently voiced fears of declining standards, with what he called “spoon-fed” second-level students struggling to cope at third level.

The other side of the argument is that maybe student life is too easy, too much of a party and that those who perform badly in first year, due to the excitement of genuine party-time, do not have the funds to go back and repeat the year.

The reality is that there is a massive over supply of science graduates on the market – I think the govt have forgot that “quality” is better than quantity… Raise the points for university to what they were 10 years ago and make the leaving cert harder, then we will get a real marker of how smart of economy is.

-       Eamonn

The Web 2.0 Recruitment Era

Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Blogs, Technorati, MySpace, Social Media…. the list in endless… but what is all the fuss about and how can it find me a job, i hear you ask…

Web 2.0 is simply the catchy term for the next generation of internet technologies. In the same way mobile phones evolved from Analogue (088) to GSM (087) to GPRS the to 3G and HSPDA; from just making a standard call to making a video call, the internet is in a state of flux. A tidal wave of new rich applications are now available, enhancing the internet for the end-user. This has been made possible by the widespread peretration of broadband to the masses, combined with a reduction in the cost of computer hardware.

So how does it increase my chances of getting a job???

Web 2.0 gives you instant access to information; information and knowledge are essential resources in the job search. Twitter is a good case study to use here; instant updates on twitter, affectionately termed “tweets” in the cybersky, allow you to recieve information immediately. Imagine the scenario: Recruitment company A gets a call from Employer B who requests to see a shortlist of candidates for Job C. The job is tweeted immediately and simultaenously sent to the administration dept. for dissemination to the job boards. 5 suitable candidates reply to the Recruitment Company via Twitter before the job is even advertised. The employer recieves these applicants and is happy with the response and asks to see no more applicants. The job doesnt even go up on the job boards, hence you have lost your chance. Some analyst say that 70% of open positions are not advertised on the major job boards.

Web 2.0 facilitates networking. Facebook and LinkedIn are good case studies in this example. Imagine you became a fan of the Life Science Recruitment page on FaceBook. Consultant A sees that you became a fan and checks out your profile and sees that in your professional info (which you obviously have filled out!!!) you work as a QC Analyst. Ten minutes later Consultant A gets a call from Employer B regarding a new QC Analyst vacancy – guess who is fresh in the consultants mind??? Furthermore, finding a good recruitment consultant on LinkedIn and adding the personal touch by sending a message via this medium, makes you stand out…

Web 2.0 increases your exposure in the online world, increased exposure correlates with increased opportunity. One of the most difficult tasks these days is getting recognised. Why ride a bicycle on the information superhighway when you can drive a tank??? The more you put yourself out there, the greater your chances of finding a job. However, a note of caution, be careful with sensitive information such as addresses and date of birth. Don’t put these on your Web 2.0 profiles. A handy tip to avoid spam is to put your email in this format: myname [at] myisp {dot} com, as oppossed to [email protected] - spam email scrapers don’t recognise the former, and many people are savvy to this format.

Blogs can often give you access to ‘off the cuff’ or insider information – this information can often give you an edge over your competitors, as this blog post will probably do!

The secret is not to be afraid of Web 2.0; people in the past were hesitant of DVD’s, Electric Cars and Online Banking – now they are here to stay, and guess what, so is Web 2.0.

– Eamonn (Email: eor [at] lifescience [dot] ie ) jg7baqve9t