Networking, resumes/CV, cover letters and interviewing

There are several sites that give tips on searching. Some I have found with valuable advice are:

Throughout the following networking, resumes, cover letters and interviewing topics are comments from a BME graduate's job search. Also listed are online resources for networking, interviewing, salaries, resumes and cover letters.

NETWORKING

From a BME Alum; "Follow every lead, and don't be afraid to exploit every potential contact . . . you may find help where you least expect it. For instance, I got my job when my grandmother's stock broker put me in contact with a friend of his who used to be a J&J exec, who then put me in contact with an associate of his at the FDA, who then put me in contact with a professional recruiter he worked with sometimes. The recruiter then set me up with a few interviews, none of which I got an offer from, but through which I found out about another job, which I then applied to through the company's website, and ended up landing. This kind of chain of contacts is especially important if you want to work for a smaller company."

As a student you might have a Facebook account but most business professionals maintain a LinkedIn account. Make sure to establish an account on LinkedIn and begin to expand your network.

Networking with industry contacts

Associate Professor of Practice for Biomedical Engineering & Entrepreneurship, Aileen Y. Huang-Saad, Ph.D, M.B.A., gave a talk on networking in September 2014 called Professional Development: Networking with industry contacts. Her lecture slides are provided.

Networking Resources

RESUME/CV

"Get your resume and cover letter reviewed as often and by as many people as you can. I probably had mine reviewed a dozen times before I was done, and was able to improve something every time."

In your experience section, you can include design experience from a class (ENG 100, BME 458, BME 450, any lab/research work). The description should include the "customer" for which the project was completed, the project description, deliverables, and a conclusion. Do not use the class number such as BME 450 as the reader will most likely not know the reference.

Include a relevant coursework section on your resume. Again, do not include class numbers, but use descriptive titles to list your relevant courses. Note, this section should change based on the position you are applying for. As a biomedical engineer, also make sure to include your focus area or concentration of study. Your concentration should be listed in the lines that list your education such as:

Education     University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering, anticipated April 2012
Concentration: Biomechanics; GPA: 3.5/4.0

Resume Tips: Include
Graduate Students
Resume/CV Resources
Cover Letter Resources

INTERVIEWING

"Take every opportunity to interview even if you do not want the job you would be interviewing for. You will improve your interviewing skills and be able to better answer the typical questions asked every time you go through one. You would rather make mistakes at unimportant interviews than at important ones. It also helps to look up lists of typical behavioral interview questions and think about answers you might give to them. Try and follow the STAR format (situation, task, action, result). Have a store of good teamwork examples from situations where you showed leadership, where you worked well within a team, and at least one where you had a problem teammate, and how you dealt with that situation."

"When you do not get an offer after an interview, if you can, ask the interviewer if s/he can give you any advice on what you could have done better. For instance, at one of my first interviews, I was told I did not land the job because my posture and mannerisms were 'too relaxed' and I seemed 'too confident' which apparently to some people indicates 'a questionable work ethic and sense of entitlement.' If I had not asked, I would have never thought this could have been a problem. Ask the engineers you speak to, and not the HR rep, as HR is often not allowed to tell you this information."

Interviewing Resources

SALARY

Use these sites to find salary levels comparable to your education and qualifications.

BE PATIENT AND PERSEVERE

From a former Michigan BME student; "Realize that your search may take a long time. Even with good grades, good projects, and previous work experience, it took me 6 months and 9 on-site interviews to land a position. I've heard some general rules to follow are to allow 1 month for every $10k in salary you are seeking, and that the average person goes through 7 interviews before getting an offer. Try not to be too disappointed with a rejection, and attempt to learn from it."

If you have additional questions, please contact:

Lisa Waples
Biomedical Engineering Career Consultant
University of Michigan

Phone: (414) 416-7890
Email: lisa@strategicrecruitmentservices.com