The life sciences and biopharma sector is a great industry for sci-tech jobseekers and graduates. Here are some expert tips on how to get your foot in the door.
Whether you’re just starting out on your career journey, looking to switch industries or simply moving around within the biopharma industry, it can be daunting trying to figure out where to start on your job search.
Last weekend (1 April), SiliconRepublic.com headed down to the National Institute of Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) Careers in Biopharma event at The Campus in Cherrywood, operated by Pioneer Group.
In speaking to several professionals working within some of the industry’s biggest players, we got some expert advice for graduates and jobseekers looking to break into the sector.
Look at upskilling courses
Amgen’s Kevin Gordon said those who want to get into the biopharmaceutical industry should think about their skills.
“I would recommend looking at upskilling courses and also looking at organisations that specialise in courses relevant to the industry,” he said.
“Also [look] at the skills that are transferable from other industries into biopharmaceutical manufacturing.”
With so much variety within the roles available, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and find yourself unsure of which jobs are the right ones for you to go for.
However, MSD’s John Harrington said candidates should approach every role as a potential role for them.
“Have an open mind and be ready for change. The industry is continually changing so you’ll need an agile and open mindset to succeed, but we know that you will.”
Don’t wait around
For graduates and those still in college, it can be easy to think that you have all the time in the world to think about graduate roles and programmes.
However, Cognizant’s Orla Healy said candidates should not wait until they’ve finished their exams to apply. She also said that graduate programmes should be taken into account.
“A lot of people think grad programmes are like: ‘I only have six months and then I’ll have to go get a real job so I’ll go to a pharmaceutical company rather than going on a grad programme’,” she said.
“That’s not the case with us so realistically the graduation programme for us is the opening into your career. It’s the entry-level step you need in your career.”
Don’t be discouraged by requirements
A lot of job listings will have a detailed description of the role itself along with a long wish list of required and desired skills and experience they look for in candidates.
However, Pfizer’s Maeve Rafter said it’s important not to shy away from jobs where you don’t have every requirement.
“Pop in a CV, we will always provide feedback. Our applications are filtered through one by one so it’s a really tailored experience that you’re getting from the candidate experience team,” she said.
“If we don’t have something now we will absolutely have something for you in the not-so-distant future.”
Make your skills shine
When the time comes to actually submit your application, Eurofins’ Lydia Slattery said it’s important that your CV clearly highlights the skills, techniques and experience you have.
“When you get accepted on an interview, ensure that you have the knowledge to be able to describe the type of experience you have in those various different types of techniques,” she said.
“Be open and flexible and engaging with the recruiters too,” she added. “You might have a background in chemistry but there might be opportunities in a biochemistry lab that you can be open to too.”
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