Discover Careers in Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology– Outside the lab (Part 2)

This post is written by Natasha Lindsay, a 2nd year PhD student at the IOPPN Department of Psychology researching neurocognitive and behavioural development of infants with epilepsy. She has been an Application Adviser with King’s Careers and Employability since September 2022.

This week we have an engaging panel to share from Discover Careers In: Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology. In the last panel we covered some of the pro’s of working in the lab, but for this blog we’ll be covering the wide range of career possibilities outside of the lab and how to find them. The discussions are led by Damilola Fajuyigbe (PhD – Scientific and Medical Strategy Manager at L’Oréal), Sophia Eminson (Account Manager at Hanover Communications), Esmé Walters (Scientific Support Assistant at Abbexa Ltd) and Dilesh Patel (Chief Information Security Officer at Arjo). Keep reading to find out more about how you can source these types of jobs and the best way to market your skills for them. 

Explore career websites using different job titles – don’t limit yourself! 

A good starting point noted by our panel is to visit popular job boards and career websites that cater to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. Some well-known platforms include Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and BioSpace. While laboratory roles may be the most common in these industries, our panel highlight that there are numerous non-lab positions available. Consider job titles like regulatory affairs specialist, clinical research associate, medical writer, sales representative, product manager, project manager, business development associate, quality assurance specialist, technical support specialist, or training coordinator. Expand your search beyond traditional lab-focused roles. 

Network with industry professionals

Attend industry conferences, seminars, and networking events where you can connect with professionals working in the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology sectors. Make an effort to build relationships and express your interest in non-lab positions. Networking can often lead to job opportunities that are not widely advertised. One of our panel, Damilola from L’Oréal, used contacts through her PhD supervisor to forge a working relationship with a company seeking to fulfil a role in science communications, so don’t be afraid to make those connections and highlight that you are interested in non-lab based work.

Utilize LinkedIn

Create a strong LinkedIn profile highlighting your skills, experience, and interest in non-lab roles. You can do this by emphasizing your transferable skills, such as project management, communication, problem-solving, and regulatory knowledge. It is also worth connecting with professionals in the industry, joining relevant groups, participating in current discussions, and letting your network know that you are actively seeking non-lab positions.

Directly contact pharmaceutical and biotech companies

Identify companies that interest you and visit their websites to explore their career sections. Many organizations have departments and roles that are not lab-based, such as marketing, human resources, beauty and cosmetics, finance, regulatory affairs, supply chain, and project management. In some instance, you can submit your CV and cover letter directly to these companies, expressing your interest in non-lab opportunities.

Research contract research organizations (CROs)

CROs often collaborate with pharmaceutical and biotech companies and offer a range of non-lab positions related to clinical trials, data management, regulatory compliance, project management, and more. Look for CROs in your area and explore their career opportunities. 

Leverage professional organizations and societies

Join professional organizations and societies related to pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. These groups often offer job boards, career resources, and networking events specifically tailored to the industry. Engaging with such organizations can help you discover non-lab job opportunities and connect with professionals in the field.