NIBRT advice for candidates
Pedro Moura, biologics process engineering scientist, MSD. Image: Connor McKenna

7 tips to help you land a biopharma job

23 Apr 2018

Looking for some advice on how to get into the biopharma industry? You’ve come to the right place.

Even with the right qualifications and skills, it can be hard to know exactly how to give yourself a competitive edge when it comes to getting a job – and that goes for any industry.

But biopharma can be a different beast altogether, as the importance of regulations and formalities within the sector can mean information isn’t as readily available for potential candidates.

However, the top biopharma companies still want to recruit the very best talent, and they want the very best talent to have as much information and knowledge as they can.

With this in mind, headed down to NIBRT’s fifth annual Careers in Biopharma event on 14 April to get some of the best advice and tips for potential biopharma candidates.

1. Focus on soft skills

Naturally, biopharma candidates will need to have certain qualifications, such as in engineering or science. However, NIBRT’s Killian O’Driscoll said soft skills are also important.

He said candidates should have a very strong focus on other soft skills such as teamwork, communications, project management and the right attitude.

2. Tailor your CV

Often, candidates might underestimate how well their skills can translate to the vast number of roles the industry has to offer.

MSD’s Pedro Moura said it’s important that candidates develop an understanding of what they want to do on a day-to-day basis, and then tailor their CV accordingly to fit the specific role.

3. Get lab-based experience

Once you have the qualifications, skills and CV, it’s good to think about getting the right experience. Eurofins’ Kate Brennan advised candidates to get experience in the lab first.

No matter what role you are interested in within biopharma, she said it’s always good to get lab-based experience and then go from there.

4. Do your research

With any job, it’s important that candidates do proper research – not just about the job they’re applying for, but about the company they’re hoping to work for.

Amgen’s Kevin Gordon added that keeping up to date with the latest trends within the biopharma industry is also important.

5. Be curious

Perhaps an unsurprising hallmark of a top biopharma candidate, those applying to work in the industry should have a curious mentality.

Shire’s Susan Hynes advised candidates to be curious, ask a lot of questions about the opportunities that are out there and be inquisitive when it comes to learning.

6. Keep networking

Perseverance is a strong attribute for any jobseeker, and can be particularly key for graduates or young candidates just starting out.

Takeda’s Paul Keogh implored young candidates to keep their confidence up, keep sending CVs out and, most importantly, keep going to events and linking in with people from the industry.

7. Attend career fairs

With that in mind, biopharma events and career fairs are a key place to get to know where the opportunities are and show that you’re interested in a career in the industry.

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Conor Hughes said that coming to events such as NIBRT’s annual careers one gives candidates great opportunities to interact with some of the top companies.

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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