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Before you begin your internship or job search, know where you want to be within the industry and within the organization before you apply. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Which sector interests you? It is important to consider if you want to work in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals or medical devices because each sector is different. Biotechnology refers to the process of leveraging a cellular or biomolecular process in order to create products. Such products could include biofuels to fermented beverages. Pharmaceuticals is a specific branch within biotechnology in which the focus is on creating medications. Medications can be derived from purely chemical compositions, or from cellular organisms (in which the latter is referred to as biopharmaceuticals). Medical devices are instruments used to diagnose, prevent, and treat diseases or other conditions. Think about which area you want to work in when considering your job and internship search.
  • What type of role are you seeking in biotechnology/medical devices/pharmaceuticals? Various roles exist within these industries. Roles include positions in research, operations, engineering, quality control, quality assurance, communications, marketing, sales, and corporate functions. Opportunities in all of these areas can start at the undergraduate level.
  • What type of work setting interests you? The work environment within these industries varies by company. Each field includes roles within laboratory settings, manufacturing, office settings, as well as within large and small organizations.
  • What issue do you want to solve using the integration of science and technology? These industries focus their efforts on resolving various health issues impacting the world today. For examples, organizations may focus on oncology, therapies for viruses (e.g. hepatitis C and HIV) and genes, and creating renewable chemicals for pharmaceuticals. Consider which issue(s) you are passionate about to discover organizations that work to resolve those phenomena.

***Having difficulty answering these questions? Meet with your Career Adviser or Counselor to learn more about these industries and to discuss your career interests.

Skills needed:

  • Flexibility
  • Cross functional teamwork
  • Analytical ability
  • Communication skills
  • Time and project management
  • Technical and design (for research and manufacturing roles)
  • Engineering coursework (for manufacturing based positions)

Internship/Full-time Positions: 

  • Laboratory Assistant (full-time and intern)
  • Research Associate (full time and intern)
  • Quality Engineer (full-time and intern)
  • Manufacturing Technician (full-time and intern)
  • Data analyst (full-time and intern)
  • Rotational programs for different areas of the organization (typically full-time)
  • Medical Science Liaison (full-time)
  • Field Application Specialist (full-time)
  • Business Development Manager (full-time)

 Job Search Tips for Success:

  • Consider temporary and contract opportunities: Most large biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device firms are more likely to recruit undergraduate students for rotational programs on-campus. For full-time technical or research roles within organizations, employers are more likely to hire lean for these positions. Employers are more likely to work with staffing agencies to hire individuals for contract/temporary roles due to not knowing how far the product development process will go with a given product. In order to enter into these industries, student should consider temporary/contract employment through work with staffing firms in order to build their experience. To learn more about specific staffing agencies, schedule an appointment with your NCA career adviser.
  • Target your resume: Tailor the description of your experiences and accomplishments to the type of work the organization and business unit are doing. For example, if you are applying for a research position in an organization that focuses on oncology, highlight your oncological research experience to make yourself stand out in the application process. If you do not have specific experience in the role you are applying for, talk about the transferable skills you have developed in other activities that relate to the position you are applying for.
  • Emphasize your cross-functional teamwork experience: Various business units interact within these industries in order to complete different projects and initiatives. Talk about collaborative projects on your resume and in your interview in order to highlight your ability to work with other teams and with co-workers who possess areas of expertise different from your own.
  • Contemplate your career advancement plan: With an undergraduate degree, more advancement opportunities exist with business-related roles (e.g. sales, recruiting, operations, and marketing). There are fewer advancement opportunities available for those with an undergraduate degree in research roles since senior level research positions require an advanced degree (e.g. a doctorate or master’s degree, depending on the organization. Some organizations also prefer to hire researchers with postdoctoral experience). However, one can still start their research career with an undergraduate degree.  Before undertaking your search, consider what you want your career track to look like because an advanced degree may be necessary to progress your career.  

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