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From campus to industry: breaking into pharma, medtech or biotech as a graduate
8 Jul 2024 | Words by Star People

A career in pharma, medtech, or biotech can be an exciting and rewarding journey, with these dynamic sectors offer opportunities for a graduate like you to make a real impact on patient health and wellbeing.

So, if one of these industries is calling your name, what steps can you take to ensure you give yourself the best chance of landing an entry level position?

Here are our recommendations.

Update/create your graduate LinkedIn profile

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, create one! If you do, make sure it’s up to date with your most recent information, including your education.

LinkedIn is your digital launchpad as a graduate. Think of it as your online CV, networking event, and job board all rolled into one. Create a profile showcasing your degree, skills, and any internships or projects.

Star People Recruitment Client Partner for Medtech, Alice, says: “Get connected! LinkedIn is your friend. Make sure your profile is detailed and ‘complete’, with a professional picture. Use your summary to get across your personality and passion for breaking into your desired interests, and don’t forget to connect with individuals doing your desired job title. Most people are happy to share their experiences!”

LinkedIn is more than job listings. It’s where you’ll research potential employers, learn new skills through courses, and start building your professional brand.

Related post: How to use LinkedIn to find your dream job

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, create one! If you do, make sure it’s up to date with your most recent information, including your education.

Align your education with openings

While many graduate roles in these industries require specific scientific backgrounds, such as biology, chemistry, or biomedical engineering, there’s also a growing demand for professionals with expertise in data science, AI, and business management. Tailor your job research to align with your studies, interests, and career goals within these sectors.

Seek out practical experience opportunities

It might be an idea to gain practical experience through internships, or research projects. Depending on what’s available, these hands-on opportunities not only enhance your skills but also provide valuable industry exposure.

Companies may offer summer internships or year-long placements that can serve as stepping stones to full-time positions. Don’t hesitate to reach out to smaller biotech startups or local research institutions, as they often provide unique learning experiences.

Alice, says: “If you’re currently studying a life sciences degree and thinking about a career in medical devices or medtech, it’s never too early to start planning.

“Similarly, if you’re graduating this year and have a long summer ahead, I’d advise applying for internships and hands-on work experience now. Not only will this really enhance your CV, but it will actually help you to discover the path you want to take.”

I’d advise applying for internships and hands-on work experience now. Not only will this really enhance your CV, but it will actually help you to discover the path you want to take.

Alice smith, Recruitment CLient Partner

Put your graduate self out there

Networking is crucial in these industries. As a graduate, look into attending industry conferences, seminars, and workshops to connect with professionals and stay updated on the latest trends. Join relevant professional associations and participate in their events. Platforms like LinkedIn can be powerful tools for building your professional network and discovering job opportunities.

Star People Recruitment Client Partner, Elaine, says: “Do your research! Speak to as many reps as you can to get an understanding of what the role entails and what area that might be best suited for you.

“Always ask if you can shadow them, everyone started out as a rookie so they will be happy to help!”

Work on your soft skills

Develop a range of soft skills alongside your technical expertise. Effective communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and adaptability are highly valued in these collaborative and fast-paced environments.

Pay attention to industry bodies

Stay informed about industry trends and regulatory landscapes. The pharma, medtech, and biotech sectors are heavily regulated and constantly evolving. Familiarise yourself with key regulatory bodies like the MHRA and EMA and stay updated on industry news through reputable sources and publications.

Alice adds: “Follow Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), relevant to your desired industry, and follow companies you are interested in.”

Speak to as many reps as you can to get an understanding of what the role entails and what area that might be best suited for you.

Elaine Plunkett, Recruitment Client Partner

Explore all graduate opportunities

Be open to various entry points into the industry. While research and development roles are popular, there are numerous other functions vital to these sectors, including clinical trials management, regulatory affairs, quality assurance, marketing, and sales. Explore different departments to find the best fit for your skills and interests.

Be persistent and patient. Breaking into these competitive industries may take time, but persistence pays off. Be open to entry-level positions or rotational programs that can provide a broad understanding of the industry and potential career paths.

Look into free time activities

Don’t underestimate the power of personal projects or volunteering. Engage in relevant side projects, contribute to open-source initiatives, or volunteer for health-related causes. These experiences demonstrate passion and initiative, setting you apart from other candidates.

Work with an expert recruitment team

Of course, expert guidance is invaluable when you are a graduate trying to break into the pharma, medtech, and biotech industries. Our team of experienced consultants is here to provide personalised advice, industry insights, and career coaching, tailored to your unique goals and background.


Don’t leave your future to chance – reach out to our expert consultants today and take the first step towards a fulfilling career in these innovative industries.

We can help you turn your passion for science and healthcare into a thriving professional path.

Get in touch with our team to start a conversation.

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