Postdoctoral Scientist 

(Male, Age 27) from Hershey, PA

This is a REAL-LIFE job profile written by a Male aged 27 who works as a Postdoctoral Scientist in Hershey, PA. We have removed all names and personal information in order to protect privacy. This professional kindly spent a bit of their time to complete one of our job profile surveys so that prospective job seekers like you could read their insights. Please excuse any punctuation or grammatical errors in this profile.

At a Glance

Current Job

Basic data on your current job

Job Title Postdoctoral Scientist
Salary $70,000
Other Compensation None Set
Company Size (not answered)
Location Hershey, PA
Years Experience 4 months

Career Ratings

Opinions on your CAREER overall (i.e. not just your current job)

Years in Career 0
Education (not answered)
Income Rating 0 / 10
Interest Rating 0 / 10
Work-Life Rating 0 / 10
Fulfilment Rating 0 / 10

Current job Q&A

Describe the type of organization you work for.
Small/medium size biopharmaceutical company the makes therapeutic antibodies.

Describe your job role and responsibilities.
Responsible for using Surface Plasmon Resonance (Biacore) to screen antibodies for various properties. Present findings at meetings and assist in decision making for identifying lead candidates to be filed as investigative new drugs.

Please list an additional benefits (beyond compensation) that you receive.
4 weeks vacation, medical, vision, and dental insurance, 401K with 50% company matching

Do you feel you are under/over or well/fairly compensated at your current position?
well compensated

Does your job entail you working with others on a daily basis? Is this something you like/dislike about your job? Please explain.
I work closely with other all the time. I am always communicating with people in my group, as well as with directors and people from other research/pre-clinical groups. Data from many different groups in the company is compiled and used to make an educated decision about what antibodies should move forward in the testing program.

Do you work collaboratively with supervisors/managers?

Do you work collaboratively with your co-workers?

Describe your work location (e.g., office, home, theatre, in the field) and what you like/dislike about working in it.
I love how each day is different. I am always working on multiple projects and priorities are changed based on new results that come in. It was a little bit hard to get up to speed at first because of the breadth of projects that I am involved in, but overall, I love my job and wouldn’t really change anything about it.

Please rate each of the following aspects of your current job on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest/best):
Income: 2
Benefits: 3
Hours: 5
Co-Workers: 7
Supervisors: 6
Job Title: 8
Level of Responsibility: 4
The Actual Work: 1

A day in the life of…

Please describe a typical workday for you in your current job:

5am to 6am
6am to 7am
7am to 8am Wake up at 6, get ready for the day, leave for work by 7 or 7:30.
8am to 9am Get to work, check email, return any phone calls, plan out my day.
9am to 10am Finish planning/updating notes and logs, start experiments that I have planned
10am to 11am Continue experiments and analyze data from completed experiments.
11am to 12pm Work in the lab, analyze data.
12pm to 1pm Gather any reagents I might need for upcoming experiments.
1pm to 2pm Eat lunch/catch up on paperwork.
2pm to 3pm Prepare data to be emailed out to colleagues or presented at one of our team meetings.
3pm to 4pm Work in lab or at desk.
4pm to 5pm Finish setting up experiments to run overnight if possible.
5pm to 6pm Return emails, prepare for next day. Try to leave somewhere in this time (sometimes it happens, other times it doesn’t!)
6pm to 7pm Drive home.
7pm to 8pm Get a bit to eat, pack lunch for next day, catch up on any work on my laptop if I need to.
8pm to 9pm Try to relax a little bit, watch some TV or read
9pm to 10pm Try to head to bed.
10pm to 11pm Sleep (hopefully!)
11pm to 12am Sleep.

Table of Contents

How you got your job

How did you get your current job?
Networking at a career/interview fair.

What was the application process?
Did a preliminary interview at a career fair with a paper resume, then a phone interview, then face to face with a seminar at the company.

Did you have to interview for your current job? If yes, what did the interview process entail?
Yes, first a screening interview at the career fair where I mostly talked about my background and experience as well as the technical skills I had and why I wanted to get into the industry/company. A few days later, I had a phone interview with 2 managers, spoke about my skills and abilities again and answered some questions about my resume. A few days after that, I was invited for a face to face interview and to give a seminar. At my face to face, I met with about 7 different people who asked a little bit about my background and what I did my previous research on, but mostly learned about the company and the position I was being considered for. I gave a seminar to a bunch of people in the company, and was offered a position 2 days later. Very intense interview/application process, but very rewarding as well.

If you can remember, what questions were you asked during the interview?
Mostly about my background and experience with SPR, and a little bit of the typical “how would you fit in here” questions about experiences with coworkers, and teamwork abilities.

Do you feel your employer properly prepared you for your job? Explain.
Yes and no. I am definitely able to do my job from the experience I gained, but there was no formal orientation. I had to ask a lot of questions when I first started and learn as I went along.

Was there training for your current position? If yes, what did it entail?
4 years of college education and 5-6 years of graduate education, 6 months of academic postdoc experience. Lots of trial by fire once started this job. Some technical training seminars I was sent to, but mostly learn by doing and just trying to keep up with things until you start to settle in.

Do you feel your educational background prepared you for your job? Explain.
Yes, graduate school taught me a lot about research, critical thinking, and designing informative experiments. However, it was an adjustment to learn how to critically interpret the large volumes of data that I now generate in an industry lab versus the small scale experiments I performed in academia.

If applicable, do you feel your internship experience helped you prepare for your job?

If someone wanted to go about getting a job similar to yours, what would you recommend for him or her to do?
While in college or graduate school, and internship in the pharmaceutical industry might be very helpful in you future job search. Develop skills in the lab that are marketable to the pharmaceutical industry, and be a team player. It is hard to understand how important teamwork is while working in academia, so do all you can to get that type of experience and highlight that in your resume.

What skills do you think a person should have if they want to pursue a position like yours?
Drive, organizational skills, dedication, critical thinking skills, intuitive nature, good writing/speaking skills, ability to work with a diverse team of people, flexible with changing projects on the fly.

Do you feel that you need a certain level of education or training to be successful in your job?
Obviously a Ph.D. for postdoc and beyond, but a BS if you are looking for general industry positions.

What advice would you give to someone who was about to start work in your position/ line of work?
Seriously consider what/where you want to be in 10-15 years. If you want to teach at a college/university level, then by all means, go for your PhD. If you want to work in the pharmaceutical industry/biotech industry, you might consider a masters instead of your PhD. You are eligible for many of the same positions if you have a few more years experience. There are many more job opportunities available for MS degrees than for PhD’s. However, if you really want to move up in industry or not be stuck doing a lot of benchwork, then I’d say go for the PhD. Adding an MBA to your degree doesn’t hurt either if you want to go into industry. You must learn to adapt to the various different projects you will be working on and be able to perform under intense deadlines.

Long-term career plans

Is your current employment part of your overall career plan? Why or why not?
Yes, I’d love to stay here permanently if the work environment here stays as good as it is now. If not, I feel I will have gained a lot of valuable experience here that will help me in the future.

What are your current career goals?
Get better at my job, become an integral part of the company and take on more responsibility as I progress.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your career?
I highly recommend it, and no matter what some “old school” academics think about wasting your Ph.D. by going into industry, they are dead wrong! I am required to think, analyze, and design sound scientific experiments and interpretations here more than I ever had to for grad school. I use my degree and my brain every day here more than I ever could have imagined. There isn’t much I would consider trading this job for.

Prior work history

Please list your most recent jobs prior to this current job:

Title Length Salary Description
Prior Job 1 Postdoctoral Research Associate 6 months 38,000/year Used SPR to continue to tie up some loose ends from my thesis work while helping to spearhead a new project in the lab.
Prior Job 2 Graduate Assistant 5.5 years 20,000/year Design experiments to support, write, and defend my thesis to finish my degree.

Educational background

Please list your educational background:

High School GPA:

GPA School Degree
College (Undergraduate)
or Technical/Vocational
Elizabethtown College B.S. – Biotechnology
Graduate or Professional
(Masters or Doctorate)
Penn State University College of Medicine Ph.D. – Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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