How to Break In to the Biotech Industry

Biotechnology is a rapidly growing industry that is redefining the boundaries of science. When it comes time to land a job, certain steps can be taken to increase your chances of breaking into the biotech industry and becoming a sales representative.

Prior to seeking employment in the biotech industry or as a sales representative, you first need to determine which of the three broad classes you are interested in. Those broad classes are medical, agricultural, or industrial biotechnology. The type of field you select will guide you in planning your future so that you can prepare yourself for getting the very best education that you can.

Stand Out From the Basic Education
Your education is the one of, if not the most important factor in finding employment after you have finished school. Knowing what type and field of study you will pursue when entering in to the study of biotechnology will clarify which prerequisites are required, as well as what deeper learning will be essential to your career. Medical, agricultural and industrial technology each have specialized knowledge and skill sets that are needed and having a solid background in these specialized areas is vital. Sales skills are a necessary attribute for a sales representative.

In addition to specialized education, you will need a firm grounding in basic biology. You will also need to have an understanding of recombinant DNA technologies, cell and molecular biology, biochemistry as well as other common sciences.

Once you are clear about the course of study you will pursue you will have a good idea on just how long your education will take. A rough estimate is, 4-6 years for a senior research scientist in a university to obtain a PH.D. This is then followed by a few years for a post-doctorate. Another route is 3-4 years for an associate technician with a Bachelor’s and then an additional 2-3 years for a master’s degree.

Be in High Demand for a Great Job
In addition to your all-around education, you will want to add some additional skills to make you an irresistible catch for a sales representative position in the biotech industry. Adding these to your list of accomplishments will likely ensure that you will be get noticed and considered for a job. You will want to show an aptitude for mathematics, possess certain computer skills, and have some management skills and marketing skills as well.

Membership in Professional Organizations
When it comes to seeking a new job, who you know is always the best policy. Join professional organizations so that you can meet other group members and leaders among the industry. Aim to develop a respectful relationship with targeted members in the organization and seek out leaders to mentor you and give you job seeking advice. The organization most likely will issue a newsletter where jobs may be advertised, available grants disclosed, workshops listed and industry
conferences and updates announced. It should also contain the name of a sales representative that you could contact for more information. The main reason for joining is that this will greatly help you with networking since you can meet other fellow members by attending the meetings and conferences that are arranged by the organization. Having an extensive contact list is always a plus.

Attend all available conferences that are in your nearby area, this will help expand your list of contacts so you will quickly develop more professional relationships. Having a sales representative as an ally is also a smart move. At the conferences, there will be many biotech companies and associated employers that you will be able to communicate with and learn more about the company and what they expect of their potential employees. This is an excellent opportunity to speak to someone inside the company and develop rapport. The companies are usually hiring and this
gives you the opportunity to meet the employers face to face and possibly get considered for the job. You should collect contact information from all companies you may be interested in working with and plan out a strategy to stay in touch so that the employer will remember you when a job does become available.

Internship/Summer Jobs
If you are currently a college student, you should find out if your university offers internships or summer jobs available. Take action on finding out this information early as these positions are in high demand and the positions can be filled very quickly. You might not receive pay for these jobs but you will gain valuable experience, and experience is what the employers are looking for. Reach out to your professors and speak with your school adviser or Dean to see if they know where you could possibly be hired as an intern. There are also some biotech companies that offer short term project work during the summer and most likely will pay a small stipend.

Modern Technology
Believe it or not, the Google search engine can be conducted to locate many available jobs. The internet is a very resourceful tool that you can use to find work to start your career in biotechnology. For those in nursing jobs, healthcare jobs, science jobs, as well as pharmacy will generally find themselves in a good position to pursue a career in biotechnology. A sales representative may also discover that biotechnology is a good fit as well.