Career fairs can help you land a great job in biotech


There are several avenues people take to find jobs in the life sciences. From networking and taking classes to connecting with recruiters.

One of the most effective strategies may be attending career fairs.

Career fairs give you access to many companies in one place and allows you to make personal connections with local recruiters. They are becoming an increasingly useful tool that job seekers utilize to navigate the job market.

Vernon Shoaf, senior director of the NC Community College System’s BioNetwork program, knows firsthand the value career fairs bring to both job seekers and companies looking for top talent.

Shoaf has worked with BioNetwork since 2004 and currently leads the Learning Solution Center, which provides training resources statewide. His work spans web development, video production, e-learning, and digital marketing. His main focus is on creating opportunities for his college community and matching students with employers.

career fair

One of the best ways for students to meet employers is to attend career fairs, says Shoaf.

The BioNetwork Career Fair works with a variety of North Carolina life sciences companies to help open doors to millions of students.

The virtual format of these events makes them more accessible for both job seekers and employers. Being virtual was originally born out of the necessity of the pandemic, but the feedback about accessibility was so positive that they decided to continue the platform in this fashion.

Shoaf said the purpose of the career fair is to help students and those who wish to make a career move into the biopharmaceutical industry. Career fairs for students and job seekers are free.

The results are impressive. Here are the stats from the April 2022 BioNetwork Career Fair:

  • 128 students from 9 community colleges and 6 universities participated
  • 22 biopharmaceutical companies participate
  • 5 Employment Agencies Participating
  • 543 unique chat sessions were conducted for over 100 job openings

“We have been very pleased with the strong relationships we have had throughout the year with industry representatives as we have been able to get more feedback on how we can make the career fair better for the company and our students,” said Shoaf. says Mr.

How Career Fairs Helped Job Seekers

Laura Pineda, who lives in the Triangle and now works as an Operations Technician at Merck in North Durham, remembers how difficult it was to find a job.

“When I started looking for a job, it was really hard because I was applying to so many companies and no one called,” she said.

It was a time of frustration and bewilderment for Pineda, who had the experience, education, and qualifications, but she didn’t attract the attention of her employers.

She decided to try out the BioNetwork Career Fair. She has never been happier. It was at BioNetwork’s career fair that she met her current employer, her Merck representative.

What is Pineda’s advice for a successful career fair experience? Do your homework and be proactive about finding the right match in terms of what you want and the company’s culture.

“Know who’s going there and make sure you talk to them. [top 10] It’s a company you want people to know about,” she said.

That strategy worked for her. Merck is one of her top companies and is now happily employed as an Operations Technician. She is now eligible for promotion.

“I’m very lucky to work with such a great team,” she said. “They make me feel very comfortable and they teach me a lot. They feel really happy with the work I do.”

Biowork certification program

Biowork is a unique program that job seekers can learn through the bionetwork. Offered in 11 community her colleges across the state, BioWork is a program that provides process engineers with the foundational skills they need to enter a career in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, or chemical manufacturing. Process engineers play a vital role and assist in the production of chemical and pharmaceutical products.

“Furthermore, our career development assistance program helps students understand that they have skill sets that can be applied across industries, which mainly helps them gain confidence,” said Shoaf. . “We guide them through the process. We spend a lot of time reviewing their resumes and giving feedback on how to improve it.”

Although much of the program focuses on technical training, participants will learn how to write a resume, how to apply, and interview for entry-level process technician jobs at a life sciences manufacturing company in North Carolina. Learn how. Instructors want participants to land their dream jobs.

“Before, I was very nervous because companies would ask me questions I wasn’t prepared to answer,” Pineda explained. I was much more prepared, more confident, and I was nervous, but my teacher really encouraged me.”

“BioWork helps students better understand the unique aspects of companies participating in career fairs, and prepare them to interact with company recruiters and hiring managers at career fairs,” said Shoaf. explains Mr.

Shoaf said BioNetwork’s ultimate goal is to help improve employment rates in the biopharmaceutical industry. With his story of success like Pineda, it looks like BioNetwork has achieved its goals.



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