The study of living organisms is essential to many of today's most exciting industries. From pharmaceutical companies to prestigious academic organizations, employers across the country are looking for qualified candidates to fill life science positions.
Whether you're still in school, beginning your career or looking to change jobs, use this guide to determine your best next step.
If you're still in school: Find a niche that suits your personality
The life sciences cover a broad range of disciplines and career paths. If you're an undergraduate student considering a master's program or thinking about taking an internship, your breadth of options could become overwhelming. So, how do you decide what's best for you?
"When I finished my Master's degree, I accidentally stumbled into scientific staffing," says Christopher Sauls, Business Development Manager for Beacon Hill's Life Sciences Division in Raleigh-Durham, NC. "I did not give a lot of thought to what I wanted to do ahead of time. However, I would advise finding an area of life sciences that you are passionate about – an area that becomes less work and more an integral part of who you are. Alignment in this fashion will make your life a bit easier."
Consider taking a personality assessment to help you narrow your options. For example, the Myers-Briggs assessment can show you which type of jobs you might enjoy. Depending on your results, you may decide to pursue a career in a lab where you work alone or with a small team. Alternatively, you may be better suited to a position with more interpersonal interaction. A personality test can't predict your future, but it can help to choose your focus.
Once you've chosen a few potential paths, research what the average work day is like. Consider connecting with professionals already in the field and asking them questions about what they like and dislike about their job. Your professors may be able to help you reach out to relevant alumni from your school.
If you're beginning your career: Learn what employers are looking for
Once you've completed your degree, your career path still isn't set in stone. As you explore the various options available to you, you might discover appealing jobs that you hadn't considered before. For example, if you're interested in life science education, you may find a job in technical writing to be rewarding.
Read through online job postings to get a better sense of what's available and in demand. Pick a handful of companies you'd love to work for, then use LinkedIn to find the profiles of people who work there. What do their career paths look like? While you don't necessarily have to use these as blueprints for your own path, you might find some unexpected inspiration.
You may also find that your dream job requires advanced certification. In that case, you may want to pursue another job now that will give you the time to continue your studies and obtain the qualifications you need to increase your earning potential in the future.
If you want to change jobs: Lay the foundation for your new path
Transitioning from an unrelated field to a career in the life sciences may seem daunting at first, but it is possible. In fact, many of the skills you've developed in your current role may benefit you in the future. For example, the ability to clearly communicate complex information is much needed in the life sciences.
Use your resume to make a list of all the professional skills you possess. Then, research life sciences jobs that appeal to you. Where do you see crossover? Where do you see gaps? If you're interested in a position that requires specialized education, you may want to consider getting an administrative job in the field that will allow you gain networking connections while you take night classes and increase your knowledge base.
Ready to jumpstart your career in the life sciences? Connect with an expert recruiter at Beacon Hill Staffing Group today!
This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.