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Here’s what Johnson & Johnson is looking for in graduates

27 Oct 2020

Thinking of applying to the Johnson & Johnson graduate programme? The company’s early-talent recruitment lead for the UK and Ireland, Ross Parsons, shares his advice.

Graduates who want to work in the pharma industry will more than likely be familiar with global pharmaceutical and consumer health company Johnson & Johnson. But when you’re entering the job market straight from college, it can be hard to know what to expect from a company and, in turn, what it will expect from you.

Johnson & Johnson has already given us some insights into working life for its employees in Ireland, such as the “agile operational model” it rolled out in response to Covid-19 and how it prioritises diversity and inclusion.

To learn more about what graduates in particular can expect and what the team at Johnson & Johnson is looking for in new hires, we spoke to the company’s early-talent recruitment lead for the UK and Ireland, Ross Parsons.

He explained that the company’s graduate programme helps people starting their careers to hone both technical and soft skills, such as project management, communication and self-reliance.

Ross Parsons of Johnson & Johnson is standing outdoors and smiling into the camera.

Ross Parsons. Image: Johnson & Johnson

What kind of educational backgrounds do graduates at Johnson & Johnson usually come from?

We hire graduates from a range of software, science and engineering disciplines, as well as more business-focused degrees.

What kind of areas have graduates gone on to work in?

Graduates have gone on to take roles across manufacturing, engineering, software development, quality, operations, business analytics and supply chain. We look to develop our graduates’ technical and soft skills to allow them to progress and develop along the path that’s right for them.

What are the most important skills and traits you look for in graduates?

As well as the relevant technical skills for the role, we’re looking for high-potential individuals who, when given the right tools, are empowered to proactively take responsibility, effect change and make a positive contribution to their teams and the business.

A complex environment like Johnson & Johnson requires self-reliance, an ability to adapt quickly, tenacity and drive.

What skills does the Johnson & Johnson graduate programme teach?

We give our graduates an opportunity to develop relevant technical skills within their area of expertise, as well as supporting them in the development of soft skills such as influencing, communication, project management, personal development and effectiveness.

What can graduates expect of the programme?

Our graduate offering is a collaborative programme across the Johnson & Johnson Ireland sites. Outside of the day-to-day role, we offer a range of opportunities to allow graduates to progress and develop. This includes the opportunity for graduates across our different sites to connect and engage with senior leaders within Johnson & Johnson and across our different enterprises.

We also support our graduates in taking part in funded courses to support their transition from academia into industry, and use cross-campus projects to encourage individuals to broaden their understanding of our different sectors and to encourage collaboration and innovation.

Some roles will also support individuals in rotations across different teams over the duration of the programme.

Why would you recommend it to graduates?

At Johnson & Johnson, we offer the opportunity to start your career by shaping the future of human health. We’ll connect you to a world of opportunity where you, your value, your perspective and your input can make a difference. Here, you can grow your skills and drive your own career.

For someone thinking of applying to the graduate programme, what advice would you give them?

Our advice would be to learn about our company, culture and the role or department that you’re applying to. It’s important to tell us why you want to work for Johnson & Johnson and how we fit with your career aspirations.

Read through the job description carefully and throughout the application process look to highlight the relevant skills and experience you could bring to the role and to the business. Learn more about the Johnson & Johnson graduate programme here.

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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