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(Message started by: nfkappab on Jun 13th, 2007, 10:44pm)

Title: Technology Specialist
Post by nfkappab on Jun 13th, 2007, 10:44pm
Hello All,
Background- I am interested in starting off as a technology specialist at a law firm. I have done my phd in molecular and cell biology and have been postdocing for the past year in an autoimmune area (all in pretty good research institutes). I feel that a law firm will give me the right mix of pratical experience, along with which i can take the patent bar exam (correct me if I am wrong).

Questions-
1. I am going to start applying in the Boston area. But before that I want to know tips on how to prepare my resume/cv for the tech specialist position.
2. What are the key things law firms look for in a resume of a tech specialist? What do they wince on seeing?
3. How can I prepare an attractive cover letter?
4. any other pointers on resume or cover letter will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

Title: Re: Technology Specialist
Post by pentazole on Jun 14th, 2007, 12:37pm
One of my best friends and I were in graduate school together and decided to take the same path - patent law.  I decided to continue my Ph.D., get a job as an agent, then have my firm pay for law school, he decided to quit with a masters, go to lawschool, and then join the working world.  When he applied to my firm, his application got pretty much thrown away in the garbage without the senior partner in our group even looking at it.  Reason?  too verbose, trying to look humorous with unnecessary use of Legalese, etc. etc.

Bottom line, most **** IP groups are run by attorneys who most likely have advanced science degrees, and in addition are extremely busy.  They don't care about your humor, or competency with big words, what they want is to be able to look at your resume and in 2 minutes see everything you can offer the firm.

Be very professional, cut to the chase, use plain English, focus on technical prowess, etc.  When I asked the attorney about my friend's application, she said as soon as she started reading the cover letter, she couldn't really understand what he was trying to say in the first paragraph, so she tossed it.

Here is what I recommend: (this is the format I used for my application and I got offers from several firms)

for your coverletter:  keep it to one page if possible, 3 paragraphs.  First and last paragraph make them 3-5 lines.  middle paragraph will be the bulk, and feel free to use bullets.

First paragraph:  I am sending you my cv to be considered for the position of *insert postion here*.  If you saw an opening for this position, say where you saw the opening listed.  Also specify which office you are applying to, and mention you would have no issue starting at another office if that's where you need to be trained.  give a quick background of your education, kind of like "I recently completed my Ph.D. in *subject* at *university*, and am finishing a postdoc at *blah*.  I am interested in patent law for being able to bridge the gap between science and law, or some other reason.

The body you want to emphasize on your knowledge/writing skills/technology expertise/accomplishments.  Organize it so that you are noticed.  For example say you did research in what field, and you are an expert in whatever fields, you have published in this field, and took a lot of courses and read literature in this field.  This will be where you market yourself, but don't make it too big, that's what the resume is for.

Final paragraph:  a one line recap of your objective.  and then say that you are hoping that your qualifications will be of interest to *law firm*, and that an interview may be arranged to discuss the currently available employment opportunity.  

For your resume, you are going to focus on your academic achievements since you really don't have any legal or professional experience.  Again you want it to be easy on the eyes, and be able to bring the important points across right away.  Stay away from fancy fonts and graphics, but do have a decent design that separates your sections.  it's ok at this point in your life for your resume to be 3 pages long, as long as it's all meaningful, and not just excessive words.  Start with your name in large font (let it be seen), and then put your address, email and phone.  Don't put any other personal information like I've seen some people do (ie birthdate, place of birth, etc.)  

next put a one line objective.  If you are applying to a position that was listed somewhere, make sure to use the exact title as the one that was listed.  So something like:

Objective:  To obtain a challenging position as a *insert position here*

Next put a quick summary of your skills/education in a "highlights" section:

Highlights:
Ph.D./Postdoc in *subject*
Excellent technical writing skills
Specialized knowledge in *insert as many subjects as you feel comfortable here, don't narrow it down to the central theme of your research*
research skills/knowledge of databases, etc.

Employment:  If you have any relevant employment to patent law, list it, otherwise, just list your Ph.D./postdoc as employment.  ie.  Postdoctoral researcher, graduate research assistant, etc.

Education:  bachelor, Ph.D. only

Research Experience:  This may serve as your real qualifications, feel free to elaborate a bit.  What you studied, what youa ccomplished, what you researched, what instruments you are familiar with, what techniques you know, etc.

Presentations:  self explanatory

Professional affiliations if you have any (academic societies, etc.

Publications - comprehensive list

References - put three references, don't use the traditional *available upon request*.  Make sure your Ph.D. advisor and postdoc advisor are on the list, and make sure they are aware that you are using them for reference, and what you are applying for.


Title: Re: Technology Specialist
Post by pentazole on Jun 14th, 2007, 12:37pm


I make my resume in a table, with only the horizontal lines showing, and I list stuff in bullets.  So it looks something like this:

----------------------------------------------
address                         phone/email
----------------------------------------------
NAME (big font)
----------------------------------------------
obective
----------------------------------------------
o   To be the ****iest guy ever
----------------------------------------------
Highlights
----------------------------------------------
o   Hot
o   ****y
o   Cool
o   The man
----------------------------------------------
Employment (tab tab) year (tab) company (tab) city
----------------------------------------------
o   responsibility 1
o   responsibility 2

etc.

Title: Re: Technology Specialist
Post by pentazole on Jun 14th, 2007, 12:42pm
And don't forget to send 2 or 3 writing samples (mention in your cover letter that you are enclosing writing samples along with your resume). Don't send a thesis, journal publications exclusively if possible.

Also don't limit your search to the Boston area, it is an extremely competitive market there.  You may find it easier to get a job as a technical consultant in an IP boutique firm that is smaller, and located somewhere other than New York/Boston/Chicago/Silicon valley.

Title: Re: Technology Specialist
Post by akanksha on Jun 17th, 2007, 4:46pm
Thankspentazole-for the suggestions-  
 i have taken every bit of suggestion and designed by resume and cover letter accordingly.

If i could have someone go through the 2 docs and give me some feedback that would be awesome.

Title: Re: Technology Specialist
Post by biopico on Jun 17th, 2007, 8:08pm
You have the same background as mine.  Well, if the lawfirms know who they are looking for, your resume and the list of publications would be more than enough to give a compelling impression that you are a good technical writer.  

Title: Re: Technology Specialist
Post by duse on Jun 21st, 2007, 10:57pm
You may want to try Ropes and Gray in Boston/New York.  If you've already passed the patent bar, try darby and darby in New york.  As for the resume and cover letter, keep them short and "on-point."  Firms care mostly about your technical background and writing skills.  So if you have publications, list them.  For a first contact, I believe a resume and well-crafted cover letter (stating that you're willing to provide additional info including transcript and writing samples) should be sufficient.  Once you get a call back, they'll let you know if a writing sample is needed.  Of course, if you know the exact requirements regarding writing sample, you may send it along.

Title: Re: Technology Specialist
Post by tehe on Jun 22nd, 2007, 9:13am
"When he applied to my firm, his application got pretty much thrown away in the garbage without the senior partner in our group even looking at it."

If you were truly his friend, you would have helped him with his application and/or made sure the senior partner saw it.  You could have put in a good word for him as well.  Sounds like somebody felt threatened by their own "friend."

Title: Re: Technology Specialist
Post by pentazole on Jun 23rd, 2007, 10:02am

on 06/22/07 at 09:13:25, tehe wrote:
"When he applied to my firm, his application got pretty much thrown away in the garbage without the senior partner in our group even looking at it."

If you were truly his friend, you would have helped him with his application and/or made sure the senior partner saw it. You could have put in a good word for him as well. Sounds like somebody felt threatened by their own "friend."


Excuse me?  Obviously from everything I wrote in my other posts I'm as helpful as I can be even to complete strangers, and I don't need some shmuck like you slandering me as such.  I advised him to change his cv/coverletter but he chose to ignore me because some other firm got a kick out of it.  Now go away.



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