How to Find a Job in STEM and Stay Motivated

How to Find a Job in STEM and Stay Motivated
Nathan McCarron

3 mins

How to Find a Job in STEM and Stay Motivated

Get actionable advice from Nathan McCarron on how to find a job in STEM and maintain motivation

As a scientist looking for a new opportunity, you may be feeling the effects of a turbulent job market.

According to recent statistics, 1 in 5 UK workers say that they are very or extremely likely to switch to a new employer in the next 12 months. Meanwhile, despite initially surging after the pandemic, job vacancies have begun to fall - a trend the office for national statistics describe as linked to economic pressures and uncertainties across industries.  

In this competitive landscape, more candidates are experiencing higher rates of job rejection. 24% of UK workers are finding the process to find a new role longer than ever before.

In November 2022, SRG surveyed 754 job seekers looking for opportunities across STEM on their biggest blockers in the job search process. These blockers included burnout, a lack of feedback from job interviews, managing job applications and not knowing where to find jobs.

In this article, I will explore practical strategies and techniques based on our research to help you stay motivated and on track to finding success.

Read on to explore:

  • How to find a job in STEM
  • What do when you receive no feedback after a job interview
  • How to control burnout as a job applicant

How to find a job in STEM

For 9% of respondents to SRG’s survey, knowing where to find jobs in STEM was their biggest demotivator in finding a new role.

In my experience as a Recruitment Consultant, non-industry specific job platforms such as Indeed, LinkedIn and CV Library have a range of scientific roles advertised across a variety of levels – from graduate positions, through to more senior jobs. Alternatively, SRG’s own website also hosts a range of opportunities across the scientific fields specifically including Pharma, MedTech, FMCG, Chemicals and Biotech.

If you’re looking to network and establish a career as a scientific professional, LinkedIn is a particularly valuable tool to grow your professional network and increase your access to opportunities. However, your success will depend on how well your LinkedIn profile is developed (we have an article to show you how to do this here). 

When it comes to finding a job in STEM, my top pieces of advice are:

  • Update your LinkedIn profile 
  • Create job alerts for the types of roles you’re interested in
  • Follow company pages at target organisations on LinkedIn
  • Partner with an established scientific recruitment agency
  • Create a profile on job boards (CV Library and Indeed)
  • Build a tailored scientific CV 

What to do when you receive no feedback after a job interview

Over half (57%) of all respondents to our survey said not receiving feedback from a job interview was the most demotivating factor in their job search. Given the time and energy applicants invest in both job applications and interview stages, communication and feedback are particularly critical to maintaining a positive dynamic between both applicants and hiring managers.

However, in an increasingly digital world of recruitment, establishing an open channel of communication and feedback with those hiring can be challenging if you’ve never met in person. This goes both ways, for both recruiters that fail to follow up with actionable feedback, and candidates who don’t get back to organisations or recruiters on interview follow-ups.

As a candidate, I would recommend communicating honestly with the recruiter you’re working with – from being open about other interviews you’re attending, to actively replying to and refusing vacancies that aren’t completely aligned with your expectations. Being honest and open and providing information on what it is you’re looking for will help optimise your job prospects.

If you haven’t received feedback from a job interview you’ve recently attended, I would recommend waiting for at least 5 days in the first instance. This may seem like a long time to wait when you’re anticipating a decision, but it’s important to bear in mind that the job application process takes an average of 3 weeks in the scientific industries. You can expect to wait 1-2 weeks to hear back about your CV, and around 1 week before you receive feedback from an interview.

It’s important to remember that a lack of feedback could well be reflective of an organisation’s hiring processes, rather than a reflection of your own abilities. Not achieving a role in a specific organisation does not define your value as a candidate and partnering with the right recruiter within a specialist agency will ensure feedback is provided where possible, and a relationship is developed to help continue to support you in your job search.


How to control burnout as a job applicant

Almost a quarter (24%) of respondents in SRG’s recent survey said burnout was their biggest blocker to motivation in their job search. In addition, 10% of respondents said struggling to manage applications was their greatest demotivator as a candidate.

In my experience, burnout and not knowing how to manage job applications are linked.

Candidates experiencing burnout often apply to many roles at once – some roles may be linked to their interests, while others are chosen out of location or salary, but selections are sometimes not made as part of a clear, holistic strategy.

Building this strategy as a candidate means mapping our your short-term, and long-term, career goals. Be realistic and have a long-term view of what role offers the right skills and opportunities for later progression to take your career to the next level.

I recommend optimising and targeting the types of roles you’re applying for based on this strategy – focusing your time on a select few applications at once, rather than 10+.

Whilst dedicating effort, time and energy into an unsuccessful job-process can drive burnout in the long-term, working with an experienced recruiter can help lift some of the stress and help prepare and support you across the job application process.

At SRG, all our Recruitment Consultants offer interview preparation to our candidates as standard, where we call candidates 2 days before their interview, go through example interview questions and provide all the detail the candidate needs about the role and organisation to be successful in interview. This interview preparation process is targeted for each candidate and is built on conversations that we’ve had with the Hiring Managers at the organisation, meaning that your preparation is as effective and tailored as it can be.

We also support with cover letters, when they’re required, by building cover sheets on the behalf of candidates that highlight their skills and experience for the employer. 

By working with an established recruitment agency like SRG, you can proactively reduce some of the burnout you may otherwise experience surrounding peripheral factors like interview prep or cover letter preparation by aligning your ambitions and preparing for the best eventual outcome together.

Find your career for life with SRG

At SRG, we support scientific professionals across the full span of their career, helping link talented experts to leading organisations across STEM.

Our talented Recruitment Consultants are on hand to help you make the next step in your professional journey.

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