Career Advice & Resources for Beginning Biologists
Putting Your Application Together
There is a lot of advice on campus to help you put together an effective package for that job or grad school. And be sure to visit the Career Center on campus.Ditch That Crappy Business Resume. Science applications require a curriculum vitae (cv or vita for short), NOT a resume. The CV is allowed to be >1 page long, but is still concise and without ANY fluff (e.g., no hobbies). Look at Prof. Carlin's cv or, probably more useful, download sample student cv's for students interested in molecular or field/organismal biology. How to Ask your Professors for Letters of Recommendation: First, a word to the wise - if you ever want a second letter out of someone, be sure to ask for the first with plenty of advance warning! TWO or THREE WEEKS is what I mean!
Second, gather all the applications together if you can, so that you ask once for four different letters, not ask them weekly four weeks in a row. The best way to do this is to fill out a Recommendation Request Form and email it to them, along with your CV.
Third, send only the required number of rec letters. These should be from people that match the job you are applying for as closely as possible, and they should be from people that know you as a professional. However, keep one more recommender ready in case another recommender gets sick, loses your info, etc.
Finally, do not bombard a professor with your cv and info until you have POLITELY ASKED THEM (in person, or by email - NOT through social media). Remember, they are doing you a favor!
Resources for the Vocationally-Challenged
Should I go to Graduate School?
If you are hunting for a grad school, I recommend you read Some Modest (cynical) Advice for Graduate Students, then Acynical Advice for Graduate Students, and then Advice to undergraduates considering graduate school.
If you happen to be female and are considering science research as a career, you may also want to check out the WIB website
Once you have a grad student position, take a summer and read some of these.
Are There Any Jobs or Internships Out There for Me?
Are you hunting for a more serious opportunity? (as in a job). Here are a few links that you may find useful. Some of these are more geared towards marine biology and aquatic science, but that is my bias and therefore my resource.
Note that the Biology Department also maintains a job page.
Need more personalized advice?
This is your brain on unemployment.