How to get a job in biotech? 5 tips on securing your dream job

Biotech job tips

In order to get a job in biotech, you will generally need at least an undergraduate degree in a scientific subject, such as biotechnology, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, microbiology, environmental biology, or chemical engineering. But, once you have received the necessary qualifications and training, how exactly do you go about getting a job in biotech? 

In this article, we will provide you with five tips on how to help you secure your dream job within the biotech industry.

Table of contents

    Make the most of networking opportunities

    Building relationships is crucial to succeeding in the workplace and searching for your next biotech job. 

    Janet Qi, chief executive officer (CEO) of PurMinds Neuropharma, said that it is important to reach out to people working in roles or companies that you are interested in, as asking about their career path and responsibilities “provides valuable insights and connections.”

    Greg Wyatt, recruiter and founder of Bircham Wyatt Recruitment, agreed with this sentiment. He said: “Once you have an idea of the job you might like, look up people already doing this and see if they can spare 10 minutes to talk to you. Learning what the job is like from someone doing it is a great way to check if it suits you. Try LinkedIn, a careers fair, or an industry event locally.”

    This is why making the most of networking opportunities could be extremely beneficial to you. In fact, it could even help you find your future employer because it can be a good way of increasing your chances of getting noticed by biotech recruiters and connecting with potential employers. Furthermore, it allows you to take advantage of personal and business connections rather than relying solely on your resume. 

    Qi said that biotech conferences in particular are a great way to meet people in the field, learn about new developments, and make connections that could lead to job opportunities, adding that speaking at conferences will also help to raise your profile. Plus, recruiters have a habit of looking for candidates at conferences, so it is important to get yourself noticed when attending.

    Ultimately, any connections built during networking are not only beneficial to you but also to employers who tend to hire new employees through networking. Hiring managers may prefer to hire candidates with contacts within their shared network because they can gain insight into their qualities rather than just what they might look like on paper. Therefore, developing your professional network could be vital in improving your chances of landing a job.

    Get your research papers published

    Although many people think that academic writing is generally targeted at scholars, published papers can actually be considered a precious asset when you have to apply for a job, too. 

    “Publishing research and collaborating with professors or other experts demonstrates your scientific skills and knowledge,” commented Qi. “This builds credibility and gets your name circulating.” 

    On your resume, publications add additional value to your educational background and make your application stand out to recruiters. Published papers instill confidence in them, as they instantly know that you have research and teamwork skills. Publications also show that you are reliable and committed because they suggest that you were able to follow a project for an extended period of time.

    Qi also mentioned that contributing to biotech publications can aid your job hunt, as it “showcases your writing skills and ability to synthesize complex topics.” Publishing thoughtful, relevant articles and blog posts and sharing them on social media can help you stand out to recruiters and potential employers.

    Write a thorough resume and make sure you understand the interview process 

    According to Wyatt, it is important to learn how to write a resume and cover letter, how to interview, and how to effectively communicate with people who may be hiring. This will help you to promote yourself as someone who is “worthy” of the job. 

    It all starts with the resume; this will be an employer’s first impression of you. Any careless issues here will put hiring managers off. At the end of the day, they want to see that you have put thought and care into your application. So, be sure to look through your resume and cover letters for typos and other errors. It might be helpful to have another person look over them for you, too. It is also crucial that your resume and cover letter are specific to the job you are applying to. You can save generalized copies of each and then tweak them to better fit the specific responsibilities and qualifications of the job you want. 

    Now, for the interview process. While you are waiting to get your first interview, it could be a good idea to take some time to prepare answers to commonly asked questions specific to the biotech jobs that you want to apply for. Planning what you are going to say ahead of time can help increase your confidence when you are doing the real interview. Practice can also help you improve the quality of your answers to include specific examples and accomplishments.

    Wyatt mentioned that the ‘STAR’ method is a great framework to help you prepare, reflect on, and answer interview questions effectively. ‘STAR’ stands for ‘situation, task, action, result.’ First, you describe the situation you had to deal with, then you move on to the task you were given to do. This is then followed by the action you took and what happened as a result of your action, as well as what you learned from the experience. This structure really helps you to more efficiently highlight particular skills and qualities you have that the employer is looking for.

    Apply to the biotech jobs you really want

    Before you attempt to secure a job offer, make sure you read each job description thoroughly and research each business to make sure you actually want the job and agree with the company’s values and culture. Take your time and wait for a company you’re satisfied with and a job that meets your needs, so you can avoid having to start the process all over again.

    While this might seem obvious, it is a very important step in the job-hunting process. When you are desperately looking for a job, it can be easy to apply for every single job you are qualified for, rather than being selective about which ones you apply to. But the last thing you want is to end up in a job that you thoroughly dislike.

    And, although you should direct your focus on jobs you are qualified for, you should still feel free to apply to jobs where you do not necessarily check off every single requirement. If you think you will be a good fit for the job and apply for it, the employer may decide to give you a chance, allowing you to go on and impress them further during the interview process. But you will never know if you refrain from applying just because you think you are not qualified enough. 

    Having said that, it is also important to be realistic. Therefore, try to only apply to those jobs that are realistic when you consider location, pay, benefits, and other job factors. 

    Listen to feedback and do not give up 

    Last but not least, it is important to be persistent and never give up when it comes to looking for a job in biotech, even if you have had several rejections already. 

    It is important to always ask for feedback when you are turned down for a job so that you know what you can do better next time. As long as you then put in the effort to make those changes in your next interview, you could be one step closer to securing a job in biotech.

    “Looking for work is tough!” said Wyatt. “Every ‘no’ can feel disappointing. Keep an eye on your end goal and try not to take things personally. Every ‘no’ puts you closer to the one ‘yes’ you need.”

    Good news for job hunters: several biotech careers currently in high demand 

    The outlook is relatively positive for people who are going to be looking for a job in biotech this year. It seems as though the biotech industry is poised for a recovery in 2024, meaning that the biotech job market could also recover, and more companies will be willing to hire new talent. Furthermore, many job opportunities lie within specific in-demand areas of biotech, so if you have the relevant skills and qualifications, there should be plenty of job opportunities available for you within these specific career paths.

    If you take your time to go through the tips in this article, you may well find yourself securing your dream job in biotech very soon. 

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