Insight

Sectors

/ 4 weeks ago /

 Article by Jem Collins

How To Get A Job In The Pharmaceutical Industry

We don’t know about you, but having a job where you get to crack out the lab coat and goggles on the reg feels like the ultimate win to us.

Plus, working in the pharmaceutical industry also means you’ll be helping push forward the boundaries of sciences and medicine. In short, you’re actually helping to make a difference in the world. 

But, how do you manage the gig? Here are a couple of pointers from the Debut School of Pharmacy to start you off.

What Experience Do You Need?

First things first, it’s all about working backwards. To get a job in the pharmaceutical industry you need to look at what experience and qualifications employers are looking for, as well as the skills they want to see in your application.

What Degree Should You Study?

It might sound like an obvious question, but this really comes down to what kind of job you’re looking for the pharmaceutical sector.

In general though, pretty much all employers will be looking for at least a STEM undergraduate degree (so that’s science, technology, engineering or maths), while some sectors will be expecting you to have gone onto study a postgraduate course too.

Outside of that though, it really depends on what kind of job you’re gunning for, so use that as a starting point. For example, if you’re looking to work as a chemist it goes without saying a chemistry degree is on the cards. For a food technologist though, you might be looking at food science or nutrition instead.

Where Can You Find Work Experience?

It’s a competitive industry, and if you’re looking to snag a job you’re going to need to get yourself some work experience. And, sadly, Dexter’s Laboratory isn’t currently open for placements.

Look out for four year degrees that come with a guaranteed year in industry as a way of shoring up a hefty amount of experience, or throw your hat in the ring for internship schemes from some of the big employers like AstraZeneca or MSD.

It can also be worth applying for experience or entry-level roles at local laboratories too – you might find the competition is slightly less fierce, and there’s a chance to take on more responsibility quickly.

What Skills Do You Need?

In terms of skills, most pharmaceutical companies will be looking for the same kinds of things. First up they’ll want you to have the scientific skills and analytical thinking needed to do the job.

However, it’s just as important to be able to work in a team, manage your time independently, and be aware of the commercial pressures around you.   

Focus On Finding The Right Employers

Finally, once you’ve cracked the training and the experience, it’s all down to working out which route works best for you. It might sound wishy washy, but it’s just as important to look at a company’s culture, training, and progression as it is the job spec.

Check out our jobs board for the latest pharmaceutical graduate schemes from big name players, attend a selection of graduate careers fairs, and make sure to follow any companies you’re interested in on social media. 

In general, it’s always best to apply to less things better, so once you’ve done your research, pick the schemes you really want to apply for and put together the best application you can.

Similarly, don’t discount other options either. Many smaller companies offer jobs directly to graduates, or you might find that an apprenticeship could be a better route for you.

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