Q: My son is an engineering major graduating in May, 2014. He has not found a job yet. He is interested in going into biotech or life sciences. How should he look for his first job? It is important that he finds work because he has student loans in excess of $90,000.
A: Congratulations to your son! He is crossing the finish line of his undergraduate career. Your son is also expressing interest in a growing field, especially in Massachusetts. In December, 2013, Boston.com published an article entitled "Top 30 Fastest-Growing Jobs by 2018" based on data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS has reported that biomedical engineers will likely see a strong demand for their skill set. A bachelor's degree in engineering is almost always required, however the median earnings (in 2008) were just above $77,000. If you review all jobs listed in this report, many of them are related to healthcare. For more info, visit http://www.boston.com/jobs/2013/12/27/top-fastest-growing-jobs/aUvFsEjhGN3iqQcNKohycM/story.html.
Let me share a few suggestions for your son's job search:
1. Use the career services office of his college or university. The cost of these services are bundled into the cost of his tuition. Use these services! Often the career services office receives daily job postings from employers. This is a great place to start a search.
2. Linkedin is an invaluable tool for networking and job hunting. With Linkedin, the user first needs to develop a profile. Once a profile is built, your son can begin adding connections and joining groups. A solid Linkedin profile is essential to his job search today and in the future. Your son should join groups related to career interests.
3. Recommend that your son join professional associations in the area of life sciences. Two groups that immediately come to mind are the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council and the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. Incidentally, both have job postings listed on their websites.
4. Your son should have a well-designed and error-free resume. The career services office should be able to assist him with this task as well.
Lastly, remind your son to be gracious and thankful. He should also send a quick note of thanks to anyone who takes the time to talk with him or meet with him. It is a small world. The relationships he builds throughout his career will likely help him now and in the future.