CMB After Graduation

What Happens After I Finish?

Our CMB undergraduates have been highly successful after graduation in obtaining jobs in the field and applying (and being accepted to) many graduate programs. Your degree has made you highly qualified for a wide range of careers.

A recent graduate provided this advice for new graduates. By June after graduation he had two job offers in hand and then chose to go with a startup biotech company in Ann Arbor. He is some of what he said in a email to his advisor:

"Regarding how I found the positions, my current position was found through, believe it or not. I just checked the job postings for Metro-Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Grand Rapids areas every day. The other potential position, the research assistant position at Wayne State, was found through if I recall correctly. It was either that or I found a position on that referred me to the Wayne State job listings where I found the one I got offered. I am also still getting offers for interviews based on companies and hiring companies finding my resume online. Just a month ago I was offered an interview to fill a contract research position for some "globally known" biotech company on the east coast. Some other places I applied were and even university websites, like U of M.

If I could give any sort of advice to the graduating students it would be to be confident in the skills you learn at school and don't be modest when it comes to any kind of experience. Try and take away the critical thinking aspects of science because any monkey can read a cookbook and do PCRs all day. Also, don't omit any kind of odd skills you have. I put on my resume that I had mechanical skills from fixing small engines and lawn mowers from a past landscaping job and my boss saw that as a huge benefit over other candidates because I had the know-how to help him fix and build some of the homemade robotics we use. I also put down that I enjoyed working on computers and had knowledge of Linux and even some graphic design which works great in a startup because making presentation graphics can be done without having to hire someone else. It makes you an indispensable employee."

Job Locating Ideas

The information below is based on information from previous graduates and their experiences looking for positions. You already know of a lot of these sites - past experience indicates they actually are effective. If you run across other useful sites, etc., please pass the information along to us.

A List of Michigan Biotech, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences companies

Many companies do their initial hiring through agencies. This way they get to see how well the person fits the company, etc. before making a long-term commitment. Often the positions extend into permanent positions. This can work to your advantage as well as you can see if you like the position/company before you commit.

On Assignment is an agency that specializes in science positions and lots of healthcare positions. It's based in California, but works nationwide: or 1-800-995-7378

Aerotek Science is a nationwide recruiting company. It places entry level pharmaceutical, consumer products, R&D positions, etc. Several of our students have gotten their initial positions through Aerotek: or Grand Rapids (W MI) branch - Kelly Erskine 974-3530.

OtterBase is a small, personal agency; they call with potential jobs. They got the resume of one of our graduates off and then called her with possibilities. It might be worth contacting them directly:

Craig's List: A couple of our students have been contacted by potential employers because the students posted on This site searches other job sites. This is how one of our graduates got a position at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. He applied and they called to ask if he'd come for interview. One of our graduates got a position at Orchid CellMark (paternity testing) near Lansing via this site. A couple of our students thought this site was useful.

Higher Education Recruitment Consortium:

Universities will post all jobs (like research technician positions) somewhere on the website of the University. For example try these webpages for:

for MSU, U of M, Wayne State

Some local possibilities are:

Van Andel Research Institute

Perrigo Pharmaceuticals in Allegan

Sequenom Center for Molecular Medicine (SCMM) in Grand Rapids

Emergent BioSolutions (near Lansing). We have a couple graduates there; at least one of them got the initial position through Aerotek.

Website in regards to research position salary rates and other information.


Interviews, Resumes and Letters of Recommendation

Career Services at GVSU will help with resumes


Examples of resumes for different positions/situations, letters of application, etc. can be found here.

What to do when requesting a letter from a faculty member?

Provide the faculty member a copy of your resume, something indicating what interests you about the program or position for which the letter will be written, and all of the specific information the faculty member needs- what program, school, position or company you are applying to, and the appropriate addresses to send the letter of recommendation (or the online submission information, if submission is via the internet). Sometimes, programs have forms for faculty writing letters of recommendation to fill out, in addiction to writing a letter. If this is the case, provide a copy of the form to the faculty member writing a letter of recommendation for you. Be sure to provide all required information at one time, if possible. Provide ample time for the faculty member to complete the letter and forms, and be sure to provide the due date, as some faculty members may be writing letters of recommendation for multiple students.

Page last modified November 15, 2018