Tag Archives: career advice

Interview Tips: Look The Part – Free hair do in Dublin 2.

It may be a cliché but appearance is everything and first impressions count. When you are going for a job interview you need to be turned out from top-to-toe and that includes having your hair looking right too and the simple rule that works every time is “Clean & Neat”.

Times are tough and it is not always possible to get to the hairdresser as often as we would like but the good folks at “Queen” want to help you get that job you are after. If you or a friend have been out of work, for 6 months or more and have a job interview in Dublin City Centre, they are offering to do your hair for free!

If you want to book an appointment then just put in a quick call to Emma on +353 (0) 1 478 9633, for details and to arrange a time. You will also need to bring your letter of proof to confirm the job details and they will look after the rest! (Contact queen.ie for Terms & Conditions). Please address all enquiries to queen.ie and NOT Life Science Recruitment.

Some tips for Interview Hair-Style

  • Wash and dry your hair the day before the interview. By getting that out of the way, you’ll save time the day of the big interview and be able to focus on the task at hand.
  • If your hair is long, consider tying it back in a ponytail. This way, you won’t be tempted to nervously play with it.
  • If you are considering colouring or cutting your hair then get it done a day or two before the interview to allow for anything going wrong – Nothing will know your interview confidence like a really bad-hair-day.
  • Avoid wearing a hat as part of your outfit. If you need a hat to keep yourself warm or dry, remove it before entering the building, and if possible check a mirror to tidy any ruffled traces of hat head.
  • Avoid flashy hair accessories.
  • Keep your hair out of your face at all costs. Long curls falling into your eyes while they may look nice don’t always project a professional image. If you need to get them out of your face, using a simple hair-clip or bobby pin is a suitable solution.

Post by Patrick James Horan

Disclaimer:  Life Science Recruitment and Queen.ie are two separate companies and in no way affiliated.  This post is for information purposes only and not intended as an endorsement of Queen.ie. We accept no responsibility for the actions of Queen.ie in relation to their product or service. 

Tips: Overcoming Shyness in A Job Interview.

One emotion that many people worry about when it comes to interviews is the feeling of shyness. This is something that I have often struggled with myself on many occasions so I can genuinely understand what people mean when they say that they are nervous or that they may come off a bit shy or a bit too soft spoken.

However, shyness doesn’t have to prevent you from getting the job you really want and we have put together a few tips and things you can do to help manage the shyness enough in order to portray yourself well in an interview.

You might even be surprised to know that many famous people had to contend with shyness themselves and you can too: Abraham Lincoln (who gave the Gettysburg Address), Clara Barton (best known for having founded the Red Cross) and Thomas Edison (inventor of the Electric Light bulb) and countless others but how does this help you – First thing to remember is you are not alone and more people are understanding of Shyness than you might realise.

The No.1 Tip for dealing with shyness is “PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE”.
Interviewers do care about how you present yourself and you do need to show them that you are comfortable meeting and interacting with new people. It might seem like basic advice to get ready for an interview but an introvert’s self-consciousness is often very crippling and can feel like their downfall.

The more confident you are with your interview skills, the less shy you will appear. One of the best things you can do is practise with a friend or family member, someone you can trust to give you honest feedback. Numerous websites have sample “Common Interview questions” available. Rehearse as many of these as you can until you are comfortable with your answers. It may seem odd but this approach is what an introvert needs to help stay relaxed, have confidence and not be nervous. At the interview, you know your material so well the answers come out like their rolling off the top of your head. It really takes the pressure off. This is 99% of your formula to success. You will come off sounding better than the most outgoing person who is just winging it. PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE.

What your body language is saying.
The introverted want more personal space and may fidget. To avoid this sit up straight in your chair, fold your hands together and rest them on the table. Keep them there. If there’s no table, sit up straight and keep your hands folded in your lap. Do not cross your arms across your chest. It’s a sign that you’re on the defensive.

Focus on your successes.
What have you done well? What are the 3 strengths you want an employer to know about you? How can you craft those strengths into a story that an interviewer might want to hear? I know many introverts who tell wonderful, clever stories. It’s that anxiety/audience thing that keeps you from telling them. The more you know about your strengths, the less you’ll be tempted to focus on your challenges.

Turn weakness to strength – It’s ok to mention your shyness.
Many introverted people feel it is a Taboo to mention the word shyness but I think if you do it properly it can be a strength. For instance, it is ok to mention that you “tend to have an understated style” — in fact that can be a great response to the typical “what is your weakness?” question. You can say something like “I tend to have an understated style and people may wonder what I am thinking. So I have learned to make sure I give my feedback explicitly when needed, and encourage people to ask me if I haven’t been clear. For instance, if you have any questions for me or if I haven’t answered something clearly I hope you will ask me to clarify it.” You could also mention that you don’t tend to over-talk in situations and make a point of listening to all opinions before you make a decision.

Be happy you are an introvert
Aggressive outgoing candidates may seem like they have everything going for them but quiet, soft spoken types possess different qualities that can be just as appealing to employers. Those traits are an advantage especially if the interviewer is an introvert him/herself. In many science and pharmaceutical companies, there is a higher proportion of introverted employees.

You are introverted so you may have a tendency to be thoughtful, pay attention to detail and to be a good listener and observer of other people. You can have quite good insights on situations & people and that increases your value in the work place. Even though, at times when you are feeling shy it doesn’t seem like it but all these qualities can be very attractive to right interviewer. So have some confidence from knowing that people can be drawn to your softer personality and make a little more effort to stay open and smile when you’re going for that job.

And last but not least: Remember to Breath….
A good interviewer will understand you being a little nervous especially if you are really keen to get the job. If you become nervous during the interview or are thrown by a question, just take a moment to allow yourself a long deep breath while you compose yourself.

If you have any tips or stories of your own in relation to this post we would love to hear from you through our comment section below.

Keeping your finger on the pulse (while not working)

So you’ve just graduated and are looking for your first job, or recently been made redundant? It’s important to keep that fire burning by staying in touch with current scientific issues. This will come across very well at interview when they ask you something along the lines of: “so what are your interests?” or “tell us about yourself.” If you can convey a passion for science and current issues, an organisation will be far more likely to believe you can grow and flourish with their organisation. Here are some resources to get you on your way:

Science Spin is both a podcast, mag and site dedicated to Science in Ireland. It’s aimed more towards environmental and discovery issues, but that’s science too isn’t it?! (apologies, I’m a medicinal chemist with tunnel vision!).

Twitter: I hate sounding like a broken record, but Science seems to be one of the major topics on here, along with tech, given that’s it’s bulging at the seams with geeks and nerds of all descriptions (along with some super cool people too!). Some humorous and / or interesting  scientists are here, here and here. By following these people and checking out who they follow, you’ll be in the loop in no time.

There are numerous video channels dedicated to science. TED (Tech, Entertainment, Design) brings together people from different walks of life who each give keynote speeches. Some very interesting scientific speeches can be found here. They are all remarkable in their own little way.

For more industry focussed information, B&F’s Life Science Review is excellent. It will give you a rundown of a number of companies operating in the Scientific space in Ireland, as well as some interesting articles. What a coincidence, we just had one published ourselves last month! But seriously, I would suggest its essential reading for anyone looking to pursue a career in science / medical devices in Ireland.

Podcasts are also a great way to keep in touch on the go. Stanford has a great series of “Entrepreneur Thought Leaders” talks which feature a number a high profile scientists.

Any more resources appreciated! Brian (bhc at lifescience dot ie)

Would you fire this person?

I had an interesting online conversation with a friend who is based in the States last night.The chat came round to a lab supervisor who was upset that a person they had recently hired had “embelllished” and added details onto their CV. Essentially, they had lied in order to get themselves ahead of the pack. Although upset, the supervisor was dealing with it and moving on, I assume because this person had been doing some solid work since they started. How would you react if you were the lab supervisor?

It’s a well known fact that people highlight their CVs to the best of their abilities, but there exists a fine line  between this and adding skills there which don’t exist (and which, if discovered would make your employer upset).

Personally, I would have to give this person their P45 – how could you expect a constructive business relationship to be built if the candidate effectively undermind you to get the job? The relationship is effectively undermined from the outset, and it’s tough to build confidence when this happens.

I think it boils down to passion for what you do. Do you see your job as just a job? Do you dread Monday mornings? Yes, there are expenses involved with firing and re-hiring. But if you have true passion for what you do and strive to build a team around you who echoes your values, then you have to be able to trust them implicitly. I can’t see how this can be achieved if your recent hire has lied on their CV to get the job.

For more on this, Seth Godin is a great resource (recent posts here and here).

What you you do if you were the lab supervisor? Fire or let it go?

-Brian (bhc at lifescience dot ie)

Career Advice from Industry Experts

I’ve tweeted and posted this on Facebook already (as well as blogged about it before), but I think it’s worthy of a lot more than that.

All Life Science jobseekers should check out this video: HERE.

Biopharma – Q & A from TCD Alumni on Vimeo.

It’s 4 Irish industry leaders: Owen Treacy (GM, Novo Nordisk Ireland), David Lloyd (Dean of Research, TCD), Joe Keenan (Director Sales & Marketing, Argutus Medical) and Michael Gillen (Bioindustry Ireland). There are various tips contained within about how to distinguish yourself from your peers, how to sell yourself to people like them in industry, and how to get that first step on the ladder.

We get a lot of call from graduates and people with <1 years experience who are seeking to advance in industry. Although there aren’t as many opportunities as 2 years ago, following the advice provided here will set you well on your way. The concept of working for free is mentioned. Although I would agree with Doug Richard that working for free is not a great idea (it can create the wrong dynamic), certainly being flexible in your approach is the way to go to get that first notch on your CV.

I’d love to hear any thoughts you have on the above.

-Brian (bhc at lifescience dot ie)

Being Creative in a Tough Market

It’s a tough market for jobs. No prizes there. If you are as unfortunate as to be out of work at the present time, differentiation is the key. This can’t be stressed enough. As well as the usual advice you’ll be given (knock on as many doors as possible, follow up all contact, keep yourself busy and in good shape), there are other things you can be doing.

It can’t be stressed how much potential lies in the internet. IT professionals can get outsourced work, people can open ecommerce shops in minutes (eBay) and everyone and the uncle seems to be an “expert” at something or other (“social media guru anyone??!). However, if you are willing to dig deep and work harder than the next person, opportunities will come your way:

Get active on Twitter – e.g. one guy I know there works for a large scientific/healthcare company. This isn’t obvious from the outset, but were I a jobseeker I would get in touch with him and see who he knows, these things quickly snowball. How many examples are there out there of people in the same situation? It must be stressed that sitting on the net isn’t enough, there are lots of various meet-ups going on, from out of work professionals and entrepreneurs to carious networking events. You will only strengthen any relationships built online here.

Build an impressive LinkedIn profile – OK, so you may not have a huge amount of experience, but at least sell what you do have to the utmost of your abilities. Get in involved with groups (even start your own if you see a niche) and discussions.

Get in touch with old colleagues / classmates – many are working in other roles and pursuing other opportunities, they all have new and diverse networks. It may not be easy or come naturally to you, but ask for help and leads, people are generally very willing to help out where possible.

Learn new stuff – you mightn’t have the resources to do new courses. No problem, again there are almost endless resources on the net. Learn html; build websites, graphic design, whatever you’re interested in. You can find it here. And you can find hundreds of people with the exact same interest who will help you along the way. As the Bible says “Just as iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above and other ideas you have

-Brian (bhc at lifescience.ie)