If physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, or ecology intrigue you, a career in life sciences may be for you. Life sciences occupations cover a wide range of interests and specialized categories. Epidemiology, microbiology, food science, zoology, and plant science are just some of the specialties you can pursue. Life scientists conduct research either in the field or in a laboratory. Researchers analyze living organisms—such as humans, animals, and bacteria—to understand how they function. This knowledge also drives better treatments for any dysfunction in these organisms.
So, how can you prepare yourself for a life sciences position? The first step is to pursue a degree in chemistry, biology, genetics, or a related scientific field. If you’ve already earned a degree in one of the life sciences disciplines, how do you find the job best suited to your education, aptitude, and temperament? There are many different career paths you can take. Finding the right job may involve soul searching, consulting experienced professionals, and using several job-hunting methods.
What are some of these methods?
Networking – Networking can be challenging and intimidating. But it’s a meaningful way to get exposure and open doors leading to your life sciences career. Think of yourself as a detective. Pretend you’re investigating how to find the connection to your dream job. Solving the case will require both patience and persistence.
Applying for Jobs – Myriad ways exist to find job openings: search sites, university placement offices, trade publications, job fairs, and direct applications. It’s essential to have a thick skin and to prepare for rejection. However, there is a job match for you, and perseverance is the key to finding it.
Volunteering – Volunteering as a research assistant or intern will give you valuable job experience. Even more important are the contacts you’ll make. The company you intern with may not hire you. Then again, the internship will still enhance your resume and boost your exposure in your field.
Using Recruiters – Did you know some recruiters specialize in the life sciences? They have industry knowledge that can assist you in finding your first life sciences position. And when dealing with a recruiter, you’ll be paired with actual job openings rather than merely adding your name to an employer’s list of future candidates.
As with any profession, soft skills often count more than technical knowledge. Industry professionals look for people willing to work hard, be flexible, take the initiative, and be proactive. They especially want individuals passionate about their work and the drive to improve the world. If you have these qualities, a life sciences career may be in your future.