Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals

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Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals

The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry produces drugs and other products that help people and animals live healthier lives, recover from injuries, and fight illnesses. The industry is home to cutting-edge biological and chemical research, and offers opportunities for people across a wide spectrum of careers from scientists, physicians, and engineers to marketing and sales workers, financial analysts, and other business professionals. 

Employers range from large established companies with many approved drugs and medical devices on the market, to newer firms with products in development but not on the market, to generic drug manufacturers.  The top 10 pharmaceutical companies account for 60 percent of total sales. Most biotech companies are small, research-oriented companies dedicated to applying genetics and other biological systems to curing disease. Some of the large pharmaceutical companies are acquiring the small biotech companies thus blurring the dividing line between the two industries. 

Typical bachelor level opportunities include both research and business, particularly sales, marketing, operations, and finance. Review the materials below for more details on types of jobs in these sectors. Additional information can be found in the Healthcare & Health Science Careers section.

Job Title Examples:

  • Engineering Technician
  • Research Assistant or Associate
  • Lab Technician or Technologist 
  • Clinical Research Associate or Coordinator
  • Compliance Specialist; Quality Assurance Specialist
  • Analyst or Associate; Representative (Business Roles in Consulting, Marketing, Sales, Finance)
  • Assistant; Manager; Recruiter (Human Resources or Operations)

Skills Needed:

  • Organization
  • Problem solving
  • Communication (oral and written)
  • Project management
  • Teamwork

Find Opportunities

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Using IrishCompass, LinkedIn, and ND’s alumni association directory called myND is the best way to start on the networking front.

Job Databases:

Industry Timeline

Within the biotech/pharma industry, timelines vary by type of work. For business positions, for example, plan to begin applying as early as August for large companies, with the majority of applications being due in the Fall. Research positions, however, will be filled on an ongoing basis throughout the year, with the exception of large companies with a greater number of positions or with consistent hiring needs. Some post baccalaureate fellowships and internships will also have Fall deadlines. It’s best to begin checking organization websites as well as Handshake beginning in the Fall of your senior year. 

Applying and Interviewing

Resumes

Your resume will often be the first impression for a potential employer.  You want to make sure that your resume is concise, direct, and specific. Ensure that your resume is tailored for the position and for the industry. Highlighting relevant coursework can demonstrate your fit for a particular position. Review our guide on resumes for more information on how to construct one. Students applying for research positions may opt to create a Curriculum Vitae (CV)--a more academic version of a resume that includes information on research, publications, and presentations. Also, students interested in applying for positions with the federal government will need to follow specific resume guidelines, which vary slightly from a traditional resume. 

Cover Letters

A cover letter introduces you to a potential employer. Use the position description to make specific connections between your skills and experience and what the organization is looking for in a candidate. The cover letter should be concise and well-written—if a potential employer reads your cover letter and is intrigued, they will then read your resume. Your cover letter should not repeat your resume verbatim, but enhance it. Together the cover letter and resume can help land you an interview. Review our guide on cover letters for more information on how to construct one.

Interviewing

Most interviews will contain a mixture of resume based questions (questions about your past experience) and behavioral based questions (your ability to handle prospective situations at work.  Most positions will begin with an interview that has a mix of these questions. Review our guide on common interview questions

Preparation is extremely important for interviews. Research the company/organization, current and previous projects they’ve worked on, and even the people that you’re interviewing with. This will not only help provide talking points but will show your knowledge and genuine interest in the position. Utilize our resources on how to best prepare yourself to excel in your interview.

Online Resources

Explore:

Professional Associations:

Campus Resources

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Career Counselors:

Karen Manier
Assistant Director, Science, Healthcare, & Sustainability


 

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Niti Singh
Assistant Director, Engineering


Student Clubs & Organizations:

Employer Examples:

  • AbbVie
  • Eli Lilly & Co.
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Merck
  • Pfizer
  • Regeneron
  • Roche
  • Stryker
  • Zimmer Biomet


Join Handshake:

Personalize your feed, explore your curiosities, and get updates that matter to you. Handshake is a dynamic system that works to match students with the most relevant resources and opportunities offered by our office including:

  • Access to personalized job recommendations – This is based on major, career interests, and profile information such as skills and experiences. When students fill out their profile, they’ll be able to see jobs and internships that match their interests and skills.
  • Ability to schedule one–on-one counseling appointments  – Counseling appointments are able to be scheduled through Handshake and held virtually via Zoom. 
  • Ability to Interact with employers – Students can research contact information for local and national employers. Employers can also message students with opportunities and information.
  • Connect with students across the country -  Students can interact with their peers through messaging, get tips and advice, as well as network. 
  • Search for and apply to open positions -  On Handshake, students can see jobs and internships posted specifically for them as well as employers actively recruiting from Notre Dame.