How to Transition from a Research Position to a Job in the Biotechnology Sector
Published: Nov 27, 2009
Biotechnology continues to provide groundbreaking discoveries to fight diseases, improve production, improve the environment and make manufacturing more profitable. People working in this industry enjoy excellent pay and benefits. Research and development, manufacturing and production, quality control and quality assurance, sales and marketing, business and management, and information systems are some of the job functions within the biotechnology industry. A person who has a research position can find work in the other job areas if so desired.
Attend summits or events sponsored by biotech companies. These events offer opportunities to meet people in the biotech industry. Often, summits last for several days and present speakers on a variety of topics. Summits can give you an insight on the latest advances that may lead to job opportunities. Exchange information with the people you meet and then reconnect with them after the summit (see Resources).
Learn something about causes or charities supported by biotech companies and attend fund raising events to meet important people in the organization. To find out more about the charities an organization supports, visit its websites to look at news and events. For example, Bio-Tech Consulting (BTC), a biotech company based in Florida, sponsors a charity golf to benefit the B.A.S.E. (Believe, Achieve, Support, and Educate) Children's Cancer Foundation. If you happen to be in Florida and can play golf, you can attend this charity event to do something worthwhile while meeting people in the industry. Use this time to network and find job opportunities.
Publish completed research projects in a reputable medical or biotech journal. Often, the best written-researches get the attention of headhunters. One example is the American Chemical Society (ACS) Publications, where you can contribute articles pertaining to any biotechnology-related field. Another example is the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, which features researches and studies pertaining to these biotech sectors. The articles are available in print and online.
Moonlight at other jobs. For example, accept a teaching position while working as a researcher for a biotech company. Continue to hone your skills while you teach in order to prepare yourself for another position in the biotech industry. Find teaching or doctoral jobs by visiting biospace.com or phds.org.
Take a leave of absence from your current job to volunteer overseas to work for biotech-sponsored organizations. Travel to developing countries, visit businesses in your field of study, volunteer your services for a month, attend international conferences, contact and visit members of industry associations abroad. According to Science Careers website, there are approximately 70 volunteer programs in Canada and thousands others worldwide. In addition, the federal government currently awards more than 2000 international internships each year through six government departments. By doing volunteer or internship work abroad, you can test the waters and gain additional experience while maintaining your research position. The experience you gain will help you transition to a new position in the biotech industry. (See Resources for volunteer programs abroad.)
Keep several copies of your resume or CV on hand at all times so you have them available when you meet hiring managers or headhunters.
Biospace.com: Biotech and Pharmaceutical News & Jobs
American Chemical Society Publications
Bio-Tech Consulting Charity
Science and Doctoral Jobs
Biotech Summits and Events
Biotech Volunteer Programs in Asia