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How to Start Your Career in Life Sciences

A career in Life Science has many opportunities, not only progression wise, but also regarding the rapid advancement in technology. It is as challenging as it is rewarding, and if you are looking for a dynamic, ever-changing environment, then Life Sciences is where you belong.

Either you have always had a passion for it, just got to grips with the industry, or are simply looking for a change in career, starting within Life Sciences is not as daunting as it may seem.

A career in Life Science has many opportunities, not only progression wise, but also regarding the rapid advancement in technology. It is as challenging as it is rewarding, and if you are looking for a dynamic, ever-changing environment, then Life Sciences is where you belong.

There is also a dream-big policy within this sector, namely if you are looking to make a difference by developing life-changing medication or maintaining the quality of our everyday life to prevent widespread illnesses, then Life Science can offer all these opportunities. All of these do not come at the cost of your job security, satisfaction or compensation package as this field offers endless opportunities and possibilities for you to flourish.

Here are 4 easy ways to start your dream career today.

 

Pick your niche:

Life Sciences cover a vast area of spaces, so depending on your qualifications and, of course where your passion lies, you might want to be specific in your search and not aimlessly apply to every opportunity.

A good starting point is to research and understand the differences between Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, Medical Devices, Clinical Research Organisation (CRO) and Contract Developing Manufacturing Organisation (CDMO). Understanding the market you want to step into will only make your search easier and quicker. Once the desired space has been chosen, it is time to look into your dream job.

Companies worth looking into that are breaking through and rapidly advancing within the scientific field are: Amgen, Sanofi, Resilience, Merk, Medtronic, Lilly.

 

Your experience, knowledge and expertise should align with the company’s requirements:

Getting your foot in the door means a lot when looking for your dream career, but that is not going to happen if your qualifications do not meet what the company is looking for. The skills required to succeed within Life Sciences differ depending on the field you wish to join, and yet some qualifications can be transferable. Scientific Degrees such as Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Pharmaceuticals and even Engineering are a plus with most companies and can definitely open a door or two.  

Many roles in Life Sciences will require a Ph.D., and yet there are entry-level positions which you can secure with only a Bachelor’s Degree. While you’re reading the Job Description do not get overwhelmed if you feel like you cannot cross-off every requirement on the list - highlighting your skills and achievements, what you have learnt throughout either university or during past roles can be an asset to the organization you’re looking to join. Having a genuine positive can-do attitude could potentially bring you to your first chat with Hiring Managers.

Don’t neglect networking:

Having an outstanding CV is one thing, but tailoring your social profiles (i.e. LinkedIn) is a more effective way of getting you noticed. Head-hunters and recruiters are all looking for top talent for their clients, so having the relevant peers within Life Science in your network, as well as a well defined profile, can prove beneficial when on the hunt for your dream job. While you’re connecting, make sure that your profile is also outstanding, like your CV would be. Never neglect the power of social media.

Being always open to network should not be confused with being ‘open to work’, but simply having the open mindedness to discuss and hear what’s new on the market and a potentially new and better career. Networking is more than having thousands of connections which you do not connect or interact with. Engage with professionals from various industries, you can get a better understanding on, what’s out there and also how you can enter or advance throughout the industry.

 

Make yourself stand out at the interview:

Interviews make everyone feel nervous, and that’s extremely normal. From the most experienced to the graduate, we have all been there. One way to tackle this feeling is to know your achievements and accomplishments, or in other words – know how to sell yourself. “Tell me about yourself” is the oldest question in the book but here’s how to get around it:

  • Make it a story worth listening to, make it specific to the role and make it stand out. You can add a personal touch to it (i.e. decisions made on a personal or professional level that have landed you where you are today, showing growth and competency) but do not derail from the main topic of discussion.

  • Give examples – every experience related point you make should be followed by a solid example.

  • Ask questions back – interviewing is all about you finding out about a company as it is about them finding out more information about yourself. Use this wisely to learn more about the things that are important to you (team, company progression, work environment, etc.). Do not ask questions you can easily find out from the company’s website.

  • It’s all about your personality. The most important thing to remember is: People hire People! You need to connect and like the individuals you are interviewing with as well as them enjoying their conversation with you. Be natural, confident and bring the best YOU to the interview.

As simple as it may sound, you’d be surprise to know the number of candidates who do not get to the 2nd stage. Not because their skills did not align with what the company was looking for, but because either their attitude or overall presentation did not match with the team, or they derailed from the topic.

Now that you have concluded your research, have your dream job highlighted and an action plan in place – it is time to start taking over the market. There is one more thing to keep in mind if you’re still unsure on skills or capabilities. As these opportunities grow, the talent pipeline also grows exponentially. That means some companies take it upon themselves to develop the top talent they need. So you know the training and support you’re missing in your current role to progress your career? All these are going to be available to you within Life Sciences.

If you are looking to start your career within Life Sciences or to simply find the best talent to join your business, feel free to contact Ramona Joita-Asprei at ramona.joita-asprei@mantellassociates.com or +44 203 778 0990.