Write a Rocking BioProcessing Resume

BioProcessing is a set of complex multifaceted scientific and technical activities. Your resume needs to speak to reviewers at all levels and scientific areas of expertise including Recruiters, HR Professionals, Hiring Managers and BioPharma Executives. Make it easy for resume reviewers to understand exactly what you do. The key to moving through interview processes is a well structured, BioProcess keyword rich and easy to understand resume which highlights your experiences most in demand by BioPharma employers…

Clinical Development Phases – Be sure to emphasize which specific clinical development phase projects you have worked on. Highlight your specific early Phase I process experience as well as late stage Phase II or Phase III experiences. There is a huge demand for candidates with late Phase III experience so be sure these experiences stand out.

Commercial Experiences – Have you worked on Commercial Manufacturing activities? Please be sure to differentiate clinical development from your Commercial Manufacturing experiences. We also see a great demand for candidates with Commercial Manufacturing experience.

Equipment – What BioProcessing equipment have you worked with? Stainless steel bioreactors, chromatography equipment, filtration equipment, lyophilizers, HPLC analytical equipment? Describe the equipment you have worked with as it relates to the clinical and commercial processes.

Sizes and Scales – What size scales and processes have you worked on? Bench scale, 500L scale, 1000L scales or 5000L scales. It’s true, bigger is most often better!

What are you making? What’s the end product you’re working on? Is it a major commercial product such as Enbrel or Rituxan? Are you working on late stage monoclonal antibodies, antibody drug conjugates, or fusion proteins? No need to divulge proprietary info but be sure to make it clear what’s the end product you’re working on. Also, if you’ve been working on small molecule and biologics, be sure to mention this for each position you’re in.

What are you working on? Are you working on drug substance processes such as upstream cell culture, downstream purification, analytical development and formulation activities? Are you working on drug product fill/finish, packaging, labeling processes? Make it clear specifically what part or parts of the processes you are working on from early Cell Line Development all the way through to Fill/Finish and Packaging. 

What is your role? Were you leading projects? Were you leading people? Were you leading project teams? Leadership is important so make it clear exactly what you are leading.

If you are in a personnel management or team leadership position, specify the titles and roles of the people on your team. For example, ‘Overseeing a team of 3 Manufacturing Scientists; Upstream Scientist, Sr. Downstream Scientist and Downstream MSAT Associate’.

Other highly experiences in high demand – Manufacturing Sciences and Technology (MSAT)Validation, Process Validation, Process Characterization, cGMP experience, FDA interaction, contributing to CMC filings, Tech Transfer to CMOs, scale up, scale down, contributing to FDA filings such as INDs, BLAs and NDAs. Quality experiences are also in high demand such as QA, Quality Compliance, Batch Record Review, Batch Release and Disposition, FDA Inspection and Inspection Readiness as well as Quality Control activities.

Ensure that your resume is keyword rich. Don’t just list keywords, embed them into the context of your resume so it flows in well crafted sentences. A few examples:

‘Managed and optimized unit operations to improve Drug Substance manufacturing yield using CHO expression system to support a phase 2 manufacturing program.’

‘Led equipment modification and automation changes for chemostat platform and assured process robustness and scaled-up to the 12000 L production scale.’

‘CMC lead for the development of Amgen’s first MAb, delivering successfully a clinical manufacturing process for purified bulk within an accelerated timeline.’

‘Led downstream process development and tech transfer of early stage recombinant proteins for both internal and external client projects from bench to 12,000L scale.’

‘Improving chromatography steps through resin performance evaluation, buffer compatibility, and elution conditions without sacrificing product quality and yields; adjust filter membrane type and sizes through flux and adsorption studies; enhance TFF performance by evaluating TMP excursions and molecular stressing.’

Use Action Words – Avoid using words such as participated, supported and performed…Instead use words which highlight your leadership and direct contribution to processes and projects such as led, drove, designed, owned, created, improved, directed, implemented, increased, optimized, initiated and managed.

The person reviewing your resume makes a Yea or Nay decision in split seconds. The more descriptive and easy your resume is to understand the more they’ll like you! You’ll get more calls to interview and more great BioPharma opportunities.

And one more thing. Don’t worry if your resume goes from 1 page to 2 or 2 pages to 3. If you have the relevant in-demand experiences, highlight them and don’t hold back. It’s 2020 and cyber storage space is a plenty!!

Recruiting in a Pandemic

Companies are rapidly adapting new practices by the hour to make the best of the current business conditions impacted by the widespread COVID-19 pandemic. During these unprecedented times, it is essential for companies to take all necessary measures to protect the health and safety of their employees and visitors. Many key jobs in Manufacturing Plants, Laboratories, Healthcare, Hospitals and in the Supply Chains require employees to work on site and are even more essential to meet rising demands. 

Preventative measures change daily. With new self quarantine, social distancing and travel advisory guidelines, conducting face-to-face interviews is not the best practice. So What is the plan for continuing a recruiting process when a candidate gets to the in-person interview stage? How do companies continue recruiting for key essential and urgent positions,while maintaining the ability to attract top talent?

We’ve been on the phone with clients locally in Southern California, out of state, and in South Korea.This has been a learn-as-we go week for everyone. Here are a few things we’ve noticed:

  • Companies still need to recruit for key positions in Manufacturing Plants, Laboratories and Hospitals, where employees need to work on site. They also plan to continue recruiting for positions in IT, Sales/Marketing and in Supply Chain Operations, where employees can work remotely.
  • Companies are rapidly adopting video interviews processes in lieu of in-person interviews.
  • Candidates interviewing for positions are open to accepting an offer based on a full virtual interview process without conducting an in-person interview.

Here are a few things companies continuing to hire new employees over the next few months need to consider:

  • Defining, outlining and communicating a business continuity plan, which clearly presents measures taking place to ensure employee safety.
  • Communicating a revised interview process to candidates along with the assurance of best measures to ensure an efficient and safe interview process via phone and video calls.
  • Establishing a streamlined process which incorporates video interviews in lieu of in-person interviews. How can you replicate a plant tour or office tour with a video walk through of on-site locations? Providing a virtual facility tour, plant tour, lab tour or cafeteria tour will absolutely help candidates feel more comfortable about their new work environment AND make for a more fun Facetime call. 
  • Utilizing online presentations or interview seminars during video interviews in a group meeting through Zoom, Slack or other advanced online virtual meeting apps
  • Creating a virtual interview agenda which lists the panel of key stakeholders and decision makers who are conducting the series of virtual “in-person” interviews. The virtual interview itinerary can include links to Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom or Facetime calls.
  • Identifying the process for making an offer after all virtual interviews are complete. Is your company comfortable hiring a candidate that has not physically met with any employee in-person?
  • Incorporating reference checks to help gauge a candidate’s personality, management style and integrity. This will help assure any decision maker who may not be comfortable hiring a candidate without a prior face-to face meeting.
  • Developing a virtual onboarding plan. Hopefully social distancing and self quarantining conditions will improve over the next few months. If it’s still not safe for employees to work on site in 1-2 months, is your company prepared to on-board a new employee to start work remotely? What new-hire orientation procedures are you able to run in a safe office environment or virtually?

And lastly, here is what candidates who are interviewing over the next few months need to consider:

  • Ask myself the question, am I open to accepting a position without having a face-to-face or in-person interview?
  • What else do I need to see or learn about that I would normally see during an in-person interview? How can I see the inside of the manufacturing plant, labs or office space? If my family needs to relocate, how can I learn more about the schools or local real estate?
  • If I need to relocate for my new job, will I be able to skip a househunting trip?
  • How can I start a new job independently from home or remote?

The development of new diagnostic tests, pharmaceutical treatments and vaccines as well as the continuation of healthcare, manufacturing, and supply chain operations is promising and even more critical. Hopefully it will be back to business as usual soon but until then, businesses will need to adapt new business practices including virtual recruiting operations. Business conditions are changing by the day, hour and minute. Please chime in and share any new business practices you’re seeing which are helping companies and job seekers streamline a safe interviewing process while social distancing. Stay positive, safe and healthy!