A young woman in a Johnson and Johnson jacket speaking to a man about the biopharma industry.
Image: Connor McKenna/Silicon Republic

What will make you stand out working in biopharma?

30 Apr 2019

Want to know what is most important for those who want to work in biopharma? We spoke to some industry professionals to find out.

For those who want to pursue a career in life sciences, there’s a lot you will need to know. Of course, there will be a variety of technical skills that you will learn at third level and certain competencies depending on the job you apply for.

However, it’s hard to know what will truly make you stand out from the crowd of other biopharma candidates that you’re up against. After all, those who go for similar jobs will more than likely have similar skills. So, what particular traits will make you shine in the eyes of the biopharma industry giants?

Siliconrepublic.com headed to NIBRT’s sixth annual Careers in Biopharma event to speak to a variety of industry professionals about what makes candidates stand out.

MSD’s James Byrne said candidates don’t have to tick all the boxes when it comes to experience and qualifications. “If you’ve got the fundamentals and you’ve got enhanced problem-solving skills, you will do very well within this industry.”

Conor O’Neill works for Allergan, which just yesterday (29 April) announced more than 60 new jobs for its Westport facility. O’Neill said that while a lot of candidates focus on technical skills, soft skills such as communication and being a team player are key as well. “Obviously you have to have the technical skills too, that will come with your education,” he said. “But it’s the life skills really that I’d be looking for when I’m hiring people.”

Lynsey Grehan is an associate director of quality services at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) but she’s also the co-lead on the BMS network of women. She said: “Quite often we find that female candidates in particular tend to shy away from certain roles if they don’t meet all of the requirements.” She advised people to take a chance and be brave when sending out their CVs.

Last year, WuXi Biologics announced plans to invest €325m in a Dundalk facility, creating 400 jobs over five years. Thomas Yue, a senior director for process engineering and validation at WuXi, spoke about the importance of having an open mind if you want to work in the industry because of how fast the technology advances.

Yue also emphasised the importance of candidates who have big hearts and are caring, “because anything we’re making, we’re searching for the cure”.

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.

Loading now, one moment please! Loading