Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cast a Wide Net

After Tuesday's post (covered graciously by Derek and Chemjobber), I received plenty of well-wishing and interesting emails pointing to potential jobs. I'm truly thankful for all of the kind responses.

One persistent question came up in multiple venues: What type of job was I looking for?
Was I, perhaps, being too picky?

Below, I've listed a smattering of the job titles I've applied to in the past three years. I'll let you be the judge(s):

Scientist I
Scientist II
Scientist III
Sr. Chemist
Project Leader
Principal Scientist
Research Investigator
Polymer Scientist
Consultant / Manager
Flavor Scientist
Technical Adviser
Patent Associate
Asst. Professor
Adjunct Professor
Educational Assistant
Asst. Editor
Social Media Manager
Science Writer
Medical Writer
Lead Chemist
Business Development Associate
Business Development Manager
Marketing Rep
Sales Associate
Customer Affairs Rep
Organometallic Scientist
Accounts Manager
Business Analyst
Applications Development
Metallurgy Engineer
Research Chemist
Food Scientist / Engineer
Team Leader
Asst. Director
Metabolism / Fate Scientist
Research Asst. Professor
Technology Transfer Specialist
Product Specialist

(more as I dig 'em up...)


  1. One of the things I always tell people in my talks (and that I'm sure you know) is that job titles are meaningless - the same title can do vastly different things at different companies. Focussing on what the position actually does is usually more successful - especially if you can get the right keywords from the job description.

    1. Of course! I guess I meant that I'm trying jobs from a wide array of industries - legal, marketing, products, sales, research, education, etc - and still encountering the same tepid job market.

  2. add Process development and Synthetic chemist to your list

  3. Have you looked at the FDA ( or USP ( You wouldn't necessarily be doing lab work, but approvals and policy. When I was finishing my post-doc in '07, USP was a good place for a chemist to go. Especially if you were to get a position as a scientific liaison.

  4. I feel your pain. After being in medicinal chemistry for 8 or so years post postdoc, I must have applied for 200+ positions across medicinal chemistry, biofuels, scientific education and advocacy, project management, IT consulting, Competitive Intelligence, Information Science, Specialty chemicals, Scientific Recruitment and Solar Energy. Few of these were 'lob over the wall" attempts either, they were backed up with research, leveraging relationships and contacts.

    Keep plugging away - it's a hard slog still these days.

  5. I wish I had some good leads and advice to share. I am a PhD with over 25 years of experience. My last position in Pharma/biotech was as an Associate Director of MedChem. I was involved in programs which advanced 3 drugs into clinical trials, one of which is now likely to be approved for B cell linked cancers (albeit, by the company which bought the program when my company closed).

    I was unemployed for 19 months, finally landing a position in the federal government. Nice things about government jobs; as stable as a job can be, low stress, great access to journals, good retirement plan. Bad things about government jobs; I took a 40% reduction in compensation compared to my previous position, the health insurance is good but not as good as I had in the private sector, very few gov't jobs involve lab work (mostly done by gov't contractors), IT resources are well short of state-of-the-art, politics and the general public's perception that government workers are overpaid and underworked bureaucrats.

    Given the ongoing decline in the pharma job market, I'm glad to be where I am. All in all, I wish I still had my pharma position. I miss the sense of urgency that every day mattered.

    I suggest checking for positions at FDA, USPTO, NIST, NIH, etc. I hear on the grapevine that FDA and USPTO are hiring chemists, alas, I have no contacts there that would be helpful to you.

    Good luck

  6. Keep going! If you get 10,000 no's and one yes, then congratulations! You got the job.

  7. That is depressing to hear. I only have a masters and 5 years in pharmaceutical, medica device development and biotech. And I cannot relocate. So, pizza delivery it is.