Life sciences hire
Waiting for flight to overseas life sciences job of her dreams. Image: Vlad Teodor/Shutterstock

6 tips that will help you land a life sciences job overseas

27 Jan 2017

So you’ve decided you want to work in life sciences, but how can you take advantage of overseas opportunities? Hays’ Paul Strouts has the answers.

The world is becoming smaller, it seems, with opportunities for working globally opening up like never before. This is particularly true in medicine and the life sciences sectors, which are increasingly shaped by advances in technology and heavily dependent on knowledge-sharing across borders.

With a good qualification behind you, and a passport in hand, you can travel the world with the life sciences industry, experiencing different cultures, healthcare economies and diverse ways of doing things, all while supercharging your career trajectory.

But how can you secure yourself one of those opportunities?

Nail the geography

Do your research on different world markets. What’s happening in these economies and how is this impacting the medical and pharmaceutical industries? Is there a country, region, work type or style to which you feel naturally drawn? Is there a market where your experience or profession will be particularly prized?

Once you have selected your location, buy a Lonely Planet travel book and get a feel for where you’re headed.

Search internally

If you’re currently working for a large multinational, check out the prospects that might be on offer. If possible, participate in projects where the teams are staffed by people from around your company’s global network. That way, you’ll make new contacts, get your name circulating and learn more about working cross-culturally.

Keep your ear to the ground for new openings and, if appropriate, speak to your regional counterparts to find out more.

Engage global recruitment

A sure-fire way to access international job opportunities is to check out global pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology company careers sites, as well as global specialists in life science recruitment.

You could also get along to international industry events, where companies and recruiters will be anxious to network with new talent, with experience in other markets.

Globalise yourself

Audit your online profile to position yourself as a global operator, giving particular attention to any cross-country collaborations, languages spoken, papers published in international journals and transferable skills that might be needed within your target jurisdiction. Make clear that your interests include travel – paint a picture of a candidate who is the quintessential global citizen!

Adapt your CV

Different countries have different expectations when it comes to CVs or résumés. For example, the length can vary between one and five pages, depending on the country. Some favour a headshot while others do not. Personal detail requirement can vary – in Asian countries, detailed personal information is expected, whereas in the UK and North America, it is not.

If possible, run your CV by a local, to ensure content, tone and format adhere to the country norms.

Learn video interview skills

The number one rule here is to be prepared. Video interviews magnify your movements on screen, so learning to manage yourself in this context is vital. Practice with mock interviews to iron out any nervous gestures. Keep your background neutral and avoid having personal effects in sight. Effective internet connection, webcam and lighting, as well as the way you dress and hold yourself, will make or break the impression you create. Skype is becoming more popular and economical than flying, so practise.

By Paul Strouts

Paul Strouts is the global managing director for Hays Life Sciences. Strouts looks after 27 countries within the group’s portfolio, spanning from New York in the US to Sydney in Australia.

A version of this article originally appeared on Hays’ Viewpoint blog.

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