Starting a career in the life sciences can be daunting. There is a long list of required skills and personal experiences that prepare you for this career path. Figuring out where to start can seem monumental, but it doesn’t have to be a mountain. Make the choice a molehill, and you are well on your way to your career.
Life sciences include doctors, bioengineers, zoologists, and many more. There is a career choice for every set of skills inside the life sciences. You just have to find what works best for you.
Here are 9 expert tips for life science professionals:
Find Your Passion:
Success in a career begins with passion. If you are unsure of where you want to focus your career, look to your hobbies and interests outside of the classroom. Curiosity is essential in the life sciences as new information is always coming into the light, and there will always be more to discover.
A sought subsection in this career path is in the field of medicine. Within medicine, there are many specialties and room for research opportunities that would be unavailable to anyone else. Medical school may seem out of reach for some, but there are ways to make it happen if it is truly your passion.
Know Your Skills:
You know what you are good and bad at better than anyone else, and while you may not be as skilled in math as others in your classes, it doesn’t mean you can’t pursue a career that involves math. You may have to work harder than others in that area.
Those that excel in communication and people skills often go into the life sciences with public-facing roles. These roles include general practitioners, family medicine doctors, pharmacists, assistants in a clinical trial, etc.
Communication is a long-running problem in many fields, including the life sciences. Science fields are often associated with knowledge and data and the expectation of a lack of personal communication. This stereotype is false, but it is true that some are better at communication than others. You do not have to be a public speaker, but solid communication skills are needed.
Improving your interpersonal communication starts with the willingness to try. Talk to individuals and slowly move forward to small groups of peers than individuals at a higher rank than you. This can gradually build your confidence and allow you to speak to a future employer with confidence.
It is true of every job that networking is essential to a successful career. Having a solid network of professionals or other students can open doors that you didn’t even know existed. Social Networking sites can jump-start your network, but there is no replacement for an in-person meeting.
Local events or job fairs within your field of study give you the ideal circumstances to present yourself to a future employer. While some may find this challenging if they are less comfortable in social situations, networking can help boost your career and get you started at a higher level than you thought was possible.
It may seem obvious, but formal education is often required for a career in the life sciences. Positions often require a master’s degree in your field of study, and some require a Ph.D. or MD. The road can be long to start your career, especially for those in the middle of a mid-career change, but stay strong, and you can achieve your goals.
Within the life sciences, some roles only require a bachelor’s degree and certificate. These roles include lab assistants, radiology technicians, and physician’s assistants and are a possible option for a job during school with the possibility to advance in your career.
Keep Up With Technology:
Life sciences are continuously advancing with new research and discoveries. You do not need to keep up with every technological advancement, but you should stay up to date on major medical breakthroughs. If you don’t already, subscribe to some online life sciences journals in your field and brush up on new information.
When applying for a job, look through their research and learn what the company is working on. This could give you an advantage over other applicants. A recruiter likes to hear that an applicant has done their part and knows the company’s goals.
It can be easy to think that doctors or lab scientists need to be perfect. This is far from accurate, and it could hurt you in the long run. No human is perfect, and there will always be room for error. Striving for perfection may make your goals impossible to achieve and discourage you from making new ones.
There is a reason doctors practice medicine. They are not perfect, though their patients often think they should be. Professionals understand that there is always something that they don’t know and someone else they can learn from.
Cover letters are dreaded pieces of paper that accompany a resume for a job application. Use your CL to show off your writing skills and present yourself more than lines on a resume. You can demonstrate the impact of events in your life and why you chose the path you are pursuing.
Write a short anecdote of how you discovered your passion for your field and what you did to achieve your goals. A cover letter is more about your personal connection to your studies than detailing your experience with bullet points.
Once you have landed the interview, do your research and recruit a friend, fellow student, or co-worker to help you with a practice interview. You can find sample questions online and create answers that are both compelling and truthful. Having a prepared response to common interview questions will help put you at ease and let you feel more comfortable.
Life Sciences Are Essential:
The world will always need people to work in the life sciences. It is a constantly expanding industry, and many jobs are often available in various fields. Whether you are looking for a shorter route to your career through a certificate program or the long journey of a surgeon, you can find your place in the life sciences.
Don’t forget that you may not land your dream job directly out of school. It might take some time to move up the ladder or get that position in the state you wanted to be in. Have patience, and you will have a happy career in the life sciences.
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