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Guide to Getting a Pharma Job Without a Fellowship

One of the ways to get a job in the pharmaceutical industry is to complete a post-doctoral fellowship. That may not always be a viable option, however, especially for people who have been out of school for some time and may not be the target demographic of fellowship programs. For those and other people, there are still ways to transition into the industry.

Doing your research on functions in pharma and deciding on what you want to pursue should be your first step. Once you have an idea of what you want to pursue, you can try to get relevant experience in your current job and highlight that on your resume or CV if possible. Look through entry level position job listings in the area you are interested in and familiarize yourself with what they are looking for and read up on any terms you do not know – Rxference is a great resource for that!

From there you can start applying or if possible talking to recruiters on LinkedIn to see if you can get some interviews. Landing the first job in pharma is the hardest, so persistence will be key and it may not be an overnight success, but with some diligence it can happen.

Going directly to pharma from a non-pharma job will be the hardest thing to do, but if that is not panning out you still have options. There is a broad contract organization ecosystem that supports pharma and many of these companies will be willing to take someone with less experience and to train them. This can be a great way to get more experience in a given functional area and will make a subsequent job search much easier as you have the experience to then be a more attractive candidate for a pharma company. What contract organization you should apply to really depends on what function you are pursuing but there are many agencies that pharma works with across functions: from contract research organizations to marketing agencies to real world evidence and data companies and on and on. You can usually find these opportunities on LinkedIn or you can search for companies offering these services to life sciences companies via Google.

For specific pointers on your functional area of interest and agencies that support pharma in that space, feel free to ask on the forum.