PharmiWeb.com - Global Pharma News & Resources
30-Aug-2022

9 Ways to Get Experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry

9 Ways to Get Experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Summary

Although entry level roles don’t require you to have the full set of skills and experiences needed to do a particular job, having a very limited skillset can make it harder to stand out against your peers. To get your first role in the pharmaceutical industry, proactively developing your transferable skills whilst building valuable professional relationships can really help to strengthen your applications and build your knowledge around working in the industry.
  • Author Company: PharmiWeb.Jobs
  • Author Name: Lucy Walters
  • Author Email: Lucy.Walters@pharmiweb.com
  • Author Website: https://www.pharmiweb.jobs/
Editor: Lucy Walters Last Updated: 02-Sep-2022

Although entry level roles don’t require you to have the full set of skills and experiences needed to do a particular job, having a very limited skillset can make it harder to stand out against your peers. To get your first role in the pharmaceutical industry, proactively developing your transferable skills whilst building valuable professional relationships can really help to strengthen your applications and build your knowledge around working in the industry.

In this article, we outline 9 things you can do to help you get experience within the pharmaceutical industry; from staying up to date with industry developments, to finding a mentor and seeking out shadowing opportunities.

Immerse Yourself in the Industry

In your job applications and interviews, you’ll be expected to demonstrate an interest in the industry as well as the companies you’re applying to. To make your applications stand out, you should show awareness of the current developments, opportunities and challenges the pharmaceutical industry faces, as well as the realities of working in your field. You can immerse yourself in the industry by:

  • Attending events
  • Joining social media groups for news and networking
  • Proactively growing your network
  • Staying up to date with the latest news through blogs and newsletters
  • Identifying some target companies to keep track of

It’s impossible to keep up with every single development, so try to focus on the areas that will be impacting your target companies the most.

Build on Your Qualifications

If you’re entering the pharmaceutical industry for the first time, you won’t be expected to be fully qualified or experienced. However, having some of the industry’s most essential qualifications on your CV can help your application to stand out, as it will highlight your genuine interest in the industry, your willingness to learn, and a proactive approach to learning and development.

It’s not about how many qualifications you can get, but rather the quality and relevancy of those qualifications. For example, if you want to become a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep, you could take the required ABPI exam in your own time.

Identify Your Transferable Skills

Especially for entry level and graduate roles, transferable skills such as soft skills are extremely important. Some of the most essential soft skills for jobs within the pharmaceutical industry include:

  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Problem Solving
  • Decision Making
  • Organisation and Project Management

Go through your CV and highlight the areas that can be used to showcase your transferable skills, ensuring you have specific examples to add weight to your applications and interviews. Taking a soft skills assessment can also help you identify any areas that need improvement and that you can work on in your spare time.

Develop Your Digital Skills

Digital skills are in high demand across the industry, so developing these in your spare time can help to strengthen your application, even if you’ve not applied these skills to a pharmaceutical role yet. You can take a look at some of the most in demand digital skills in this report published by the ABPI.

Grow Your Network

Proactively grow your network on platforms like LinkedIn, but focus on creating long lasting professional relationships rather than getting your connection numbers up. Once you’ve made a connection, start a conversation, engage with their content, and think of how you engage them too. One of the worst things you can do is make 100 connections and not speak to any of them until you’re asking them for something, whether this is a job, or some advice.

  • To engage your new audience, you could:
  • Create a relevant and insightful LinkedIn newsletter for them to follow
  • Share articles or other valuable resources with them that you feel would be of interest
  • Engage with their content, and share it with your audience
  • Invite them to industry events that you’ll be attending, both online and offline

You don’t want to spam your new connections, but you do want to make your name one that they’ll remember. More tips on growing your LinkedIn network can be found here.

Conduct Informational Interviews

Informational interviews often take the form of informal meetings with professionals with industry experience and are conducted with the aim of finding out more about working within a specific company or discipline. They allow you to gain more in-depth knowledge about the types of companies and roles you’re applying to through first-hand accounts that you can’t find in job adverts and descriptions.

They can also be great networking opportunities, as long as you treat them as a chance to establish long lasting professional relationships, rather than one off meetings where you’re the only person benefiting from what’s being shared.

Find a Mentor

Finding a mentor is also something that informational interviews can help with. Having a mentor who works or has worked in the pharmaceutical industry can benefit you in many ways, including:

  • Getting advice on applications, interviews, and more
  • Being introduced to others in the industry and having more networking opportunities
  • Gaining a more in-depth insight into what working in the industry/a specific role realistically entails

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has its own mentoring platform for members looking to develop their careers. Using a platform like this where people willing to be a mentor themselves have already signed up can be more effective than trying to reach out to lots of different people on platforms like LinkedIn.

Look for Shadowing Opportunities

Shadowing opportunities aren’t always advertised, so it won’t hurt to reach out to some of your target companies to see if shadowing is something they offer. It might be a good idea to start with some of your smaller target companies, as larger companies may lean more towards formal work placements, internships, and graduate schemes rather than as and when shadowing opportunities.

As well as gaining experience in a particular field, shadowing can help build your confidence for interviews and even when you start a role and has the bonus of helping you form connections with people already working in the roles you want.

Look for Volunteering Opportunities

If you don’t have much experience working in any industry, look for volunteering opportunities that could help you develop some of the most essential transferable skills. If you can, try to find an opportunity that allows you to work in an administrative role where you can work on your computer literacy, as digital skills as we’ve mentioned are becoming increasingly in demand.

Additional Resources

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