New to Life Sciences? Here’s How to Sell Yourself During an Interview

interview questions

Congratulations, you landed an interview! It’s usually exciting for most professionals when they secure a phone or in-person interview, but it can be even more thrilling when you’re new to the life sciences industry because your hard work is starting to pay off. Before you can even get in the door of a company for an interview, your resume must set you apart from other candidates, in addition to having the right keywords to get past technology screening software known as Applicant Tracking Systems. We’ve discussed highlighting your transferable skills on your resume in the past.

At this point, you need to understand how to present yourself in an interview so that the hiring manager is compelled to offer you the job. When you don’t have a lot of experience within the life sciences industry or for the role you’re targeting, it’s easy to lack confidence. A BioSpace survey of different organizations revealed that doing more background research and learning about the company are vital for candidates. Doing that type of research, will also help you become more knowledgeable about the industry. Here are some ways to sell yourself in an interview when you are new to the industry!

Focus on your transferable skills

Since you landed an interview, the internal hiring team believes that you are a serious candidate for the job. During the interview, you want to reaffirm that you are a good fit for the position, despite your lack of experience in the life sciences industry. In a sense, you want to make a connection for the interviewer to support your candidacy by discussing your transferable skills. These are your general talents and abilities that can be applied to a new role. Transferable skills are necessary in a wide variety of jobs. Some examples that could be useful in life sciences are: research, data analysis, problem solving, communication (written and verbal), planning, strategizing, project management and presenting.

Mention 2-3 accomplishments from your past naturally in the conversation

During an interview, it’s important to stand out from the other candidates for the job. Most people passively answer the questions that are asked of them, without much forethought. It’s a good idea to make a list of your past accomplishments that showcase your knowledge, mastery and/or success with a transferable skill. Be sure to include situations where you were part of a team that was responsible for a successful result. Outline the background information involving the circumstances of each accomplishment and memorize it. Ideally, you want to find times throughout the interview to mention your accomplishments as answers to questions. This is helpful because you can mention your successes without coming across as bragging.

Ask thought-provoking questions

Based on the background research that you did prior to your interview, you should have at least a couple of questions about the organization. How do they rank against their competitors? What are their main points of distinction from other organizations in their industry? You can ask about recent changes the organization has made or any new areas of focus. Inquiring about deeper subject matter can show the interviewer that you are well versed on the organization and thoughtful with your questions. Also, you can ask more subjective questions of the interviewer pertaining to their experience with the company.

Interviewing is uncomfortable for many people regardless of their circumstances.  If you are trying to land your first position in the life sciences industry, the thought of an interview can be even more overwhelming. Instead of worrying about the experience that you don’t have, focus on discussing your transferable skills. How can your previous knowledge and abilities apply to this new job opportunity?  Mentioning accomplishments and key contributions from the past within the conversation helps you to be more memorable and reinforces your transferable skills. Finally, asking thought-provoking questions shows your interviewer that you are prepared and seriously considering the role. What is one thing you could do to sell yourself better during an interview?

Porschia Parker-Griffin is a Certified Coach, Professional Resume Writer, and Founder of Fly High Coaching. ( She empowers ambitious professionals and motivated executives to add $10K on average to their salaries.

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