Coming from a science background myself, when studying for my Bachelors and Masters I always had the same plan in my mind; graduate and go into a lab role. Looking back on it now, I realise how little I was prepared for what you can actually do outside of this path and I wish I would have known about the many other areas you can go into with a science background. I realised that I didn’t want to go into a lab-based role, but I still wanted to use the knowledge I gained during my education and not leave science completely. If you can relate and want to know what other options you have outside of the lab, then check out just some of the below suggestions:
Have you ever wondered who is responsible for kitting out all of the labs you’ve seen in college or industry? Laboratory or Scientific sales is a great area to consider if you are a people person who enjoys working in sales and a target-driven role, but you have a technical background and want to incorporate this into your work. A high percentage of sales people in scientific sales have previously worked in a lab or come from an academic science background of some form. Companies seek candidates who have science backgrounds for these opportunities as they want their sales representatives to understand what is it they are selling and why it is beneficial to the people buying it. Many technical sales positions also do not necessarily require a previous sales background but require the science or laboratory experience, so they can be a great move for someone moving away from the lab. Check out the Inside Sales Development Specialist role we currently have available for an example of roles in this area.
Manufacturing Quality Assurance:
This area focuses on taking a product from research phase to large scale manufacturing for the market and ensuring that products and services meet and exceed quality standards. If you want to be in the science sector but don’t want to working within the lab, then Quality Assurance (QA) in manufacturing may be the place for you. As a QA professional you confirm compliance with local, EU and FDA regulations and have the option to work in a range of highly regulated industries including biopharmaceuticals, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, clinical research and engineering to name a few! These opportunities require people who have a third level degree in a science discipline along with strong attention to detail, solid organisational and good documentation skills. Have a look at our Senior Quality Specialist role to see what’s involved in roles in this area!
This could be a career path to consider if you are someone with a flair for art and a science background. In this area you can work within the design and production of artwork for products such as pharmaceuticals and ensure artwork is compliant with company and regulatory needs and standards. More senior roles in this area can project management opportunities such as our Artworks Coordinator role available, where you act as the point of contact and are responsible for the project management of all artwork update projects for a company.
If you have a flare for words and an ability to take scientific information and translate it into layman’s terms then this might be right up your alley! These jobs may lead you into preparing content for Science magazines, websites or newspapers but remember, the competition is tough in this sector. Work may be either freelance or in direct employment with an organisation as staff. If you want to try and make a move into this area then start writing articles or blogs and try to get them published, building up your portfolio initially as a past time can help you later make the transition fully into this area.
Recruiters like myself are used by companies to find suitable talent for positions they have available. Thornshaw Scientific is a niche recruitment consultancy and we work specifically within the Science sector. What’s different about us is that all of our consultants come from science backgrounds, which helps us understand the market and what companies are looking for in employees as well as relate to candidates. Working as a recruiter in science you get to use your science knowledge and work with companies in the Science sector. Recruitment positions are available both in consultancies as well as within a specific company (in-house). If you like working with others, are organised and enjoy as fast-pace environment, then this could be the area for you!
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