Dheeraj's Leap of Faith: How a LinkedIn Message, Passion, and Curiosity Led to a Dream Role at Nutromics

Royina Bakshi Lock

How does one go from university graduate to securing a full-time role working on things they’re passionate about? For Dheeraj D’Souza, Associate R&D Scientist at Nutromics, the journey started with a LinkedIn message.

From a LinkedIn Cold Reach to Nutromics Bioinformatics Intern

While completing his Masters in Biotechnology and Business at Macquire University, Dheeraj worked as a junior scientist at a company that specialises in the research and development of precision haematology tools and data-driven diagnostics. This sparked an interest in disease prevention and molecular sensing.

“I developed an interest in the area and started looking at other start-ups doing similar things, especially with microneedles. That’s where I found Nutromics and learnt about the problem they were trying to solve. To me the vision of zero preventable deaths was a game-changer. I could also see my professional goals align with Nutromics. That is when I decided to message Hitesh, the co-founder and COO on LinkedIn”, Dheeraj shared.  

Simultaneously, he pursued alternative ways to discover opportunities at Nutromics including reaching out through his network and applying for open roles.  

Sharing his story, Dheeraj said, “There was an open role for an Engineering intern. While I am not an Engineer, I applied anyway, just to knock on all doors. Mikel, the hiring manager, replied to my email telling me that while I wasn’t a good fit for this role, he thought that there may be an opportunity for me in a different team. This is how I got an introduction to Rob and Priya who were setting up the APTOS team and were looking for a Bioinformatics intern.”

This is how Dheeraj joined the APTOS team, first as an intern and then full-time. In his role he helps develop synthetic DNA-based sensors (also called aptamers), the foundation of Nutromics’ platform technology.

Experiencing Company Culture

Choosing who you work for is an important decision, especially for graduates. Research shows that graduates prefer to work for employers who authentic, principle-led, and invest in their team. These are some of the things about Nutromics that stood out to Dheeraj from the first interview.

“From the first interview, Rob and Priya clearly communicated their expectations, what they were looking for, and the potential pathways for the role. They told me what working at Nutromics would be like, which at the time consisted of a small lab and working space, so there were no surprises”, Dheeraj said.

From his first day, Dheeraj felt valued and supported at Nutromics. This bolstered his decision to build a long-term career at Nutromics.

“Even though I was just an intern, I felt as valued as permanent employees. My opinion was heard, I was invited to every event, and this made me feel like a part of the team. Rob and Priya also gave me opportunities to learn. While there were expectations from me as an intern, they offered help with all projects, giving me the support, I needed”, he said.

Prioritizing Growth and Passion

Soon Dheeraj will have been a part of the Nutromics team for two years. A big factor keeping him here: opportunities to tackle challenges.

Elaborating, Dheeraj said “Something that I enjoy at work is being challenged, and not doing the same work over and over again. At Nutromics there are a lot of challenges, and this is not something you find at a lot of other companies. In my experience, at other companies the most challenging tasks are given to the most experienced people. However, Nutromics values skills over just qualifications or experience. If you’re capable and have proven yourself, you get opportunities to work on challenging tasks regardless of your title, previous experience, or qualifications.”

Nutromics’ culture, that facilitates interactions at work and beyond it, have also helped Dheeraj feel a sense of belonging in the workplace.

“Every weekend we go for a drink and chat, we have weekly runs, and this has helped me make some great friends here. The culture here is amazing because Nutromics balances prioritizing progress on the technology with investment in cultural aspects that fuel growth.” Dheeraj said.

So, what is Dheeraj’s advice to anyone considering applying for a role at Nutromics?

“My advice would be to consider if they resonate with our vision – it is not just a tagline here. Also, if you’re someone who likes to work with people who challenge you, this is the right place for you. People here are passionate about their work and there is always something to learn”, he said.

Dheeraj’s cold message on LinkedIn, and subsequent leaps of faith, resulted in a full-time role and career at Nutromics. His story personifies an important message for all university graduates – don’t be afraid to back yourself and put yourself out there. After all, you never know when a message could lead to your next dream role.