Can I escape a Catch 22?

images-1Q: I want to move from IT into biotechnology. I have a transferable skill set, but when I interview, they say I need biotech experience to be hired. Sounds like a Catch 22. What can I do?

A: Great that you have transferable skills and you can clearly articulate how your experiences will contribute to a role in biotechnology. It can be frustrating to hear that you need previous experience in an industry to be hired, but don’t get discouraged. It’s up to you to make the case that you not only have the skill, you are passionate about the industry. You have to convey that you are not just looking for a job, you are committing to a career.

Prepare by addressing the following:

  • Are you solely focused on biotechnology or do you have your foot in two camps? Note: If you are unsure, you will not be able to hide it when you interview.
  • Why biotech, now?
  • Why is the research or drug discovery of this specific company important and relevant to you?
  • Do you have a personal connection? For example, a grandparent, parent, sibling diagnosed or living with disease that is the subject of your company’s research?

Remember to take time and learn the language and understand the culture. I learned a lot images-3from reading The Billion Dollar Molecule about the founding of Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

Good luck and let me know what happens, OK?

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