The Secrets to Succeeding in a Career as a Biotech Industry Scientist

  • Young scientists starting careers in the biotech industry often wonder what the best way to be successful is. Obviously, the scientist must have the education and be technical fit for the position. However, making a transition from the academic environment to the industry can be challenging. So many things are competing for time and attention. Additionally, there are a lot of changes. Scientific training is primarily focused on the science and is more academic in focus and may not completely prepare a scientist for a business focused career. This blog post will discuss a few secrets to success in a career as a biotech industry scientist. Keep reading to learn more!


Know the Role

One can only be successful as a biotech industry scientist if they understand their role in the organization. Having clarity of what the expectations and requirements are is essential because there are so many variations of Scientist in the industry. Here are the best ways to obtain clarity of the role.

  • Obtain a Job Description from the organization and review it with the supervising manager
  • Discuss the role and how it fits into the organization’s business with the supervising manager
  • Discuss how the role is evaluated and who is responsible for the evaluation with the supervising manager
  • Identify and establish a mentor that has been successful or is familiar with the role


Set Goals with a Business Mindset

Biotech is a fantastic industry that is constantly innovating and moving forward. It is an industry that moves fast and with a business goal to achieve. For success in a scientific role within a biotech organization it is important to have a goal that aligns with the business objectives. Here are three ways to get started setting business minded goals.

  • Identify the organization’s mission and discuss it with the supervising manager and ask to have a similar discussion with a senior level leader, such as a COO.
  • Create achievable goals with the supervising manger
    • Include milestones and timelines
    • Include expected business outcomes
    • Include expected budget
    • Establish what successful completion of the goals looks like to the supervising manager
    • Establish what percent of time is allocated to the goal
    • Establish how these goals will be prioritized when other tasks come up
  • Establish a regular meeting with the supervising manager, specifically to review progress of goals and put it as a reoccurring meeting in advance


Effective Communication

Communication, communication, communication. The most brilliant business scientist will be overlooked if they cannot effectively communicate ideas, results, and discoveries. It is important to be a salesman as well. In the business world, communication is done verbally (in meetings, presentations, hallway, or lunch table discussions) and written (e-mail, reports, proposals). Every communication a scientist has in the organization will impact success. Here are some basic considerations when communicating:

  • Be confident
  • Always avoid negativity and gossip
  • When communicating via e-mail
    • Read it before it is sent
    • Write it like the President of the company is going see it
  • Rather than present just facts and results, remember to be persuasive by presenting “What is in it for the business?”
    • Importance to achieving the business mission
    • Importance to key business outcomes
    • Financial impact to the business
  • Seek out training in persuasive communication


Be open to change

As a scientist in the biotech industry, it’s essential to be open to change. The scientific world is constantly evolving, and new challenges and opportunities arise. Business objectives can change based on many things. For example: success or failures of projects, competition, funding sources, and corporate leadership. The key to effective adaptation is not to have big surprises. Here are some keys to “No Surprises” in the biotech industry:

  • Continually discuss company performance and objectives with a supervising manager or other leaders to minimize surprises
  • Continually review and revise goals with a supervising manger to stay in alignment with corporate needs
  • Read, investigate, and think about company information that is available
    • Company announcements
    • Company news releases
    • Company social network content
    • Company web page content
    • Customer reviews



When joining a biotech industry organization, the role of a scientist is a small part of the team that moves the business forward. Every member of the organization has an important part to play in the success of the company. Aside from having role clarity, it is important to build trusting relationships with the people who are on the team. Here are some ways to build trusting relationships with team members:

  • Remember they are people, have value, have an important role to play on the team
  • Be curious about each team member and discuss with them their position and role on the team
  • Contribute to the team
    • Be on time
    • Complete assignments before they are due
  • Listen to team members and seek to understand their point of view
  • Utilize a personality assessment to understand how the individuals like to work Many companies have employees take these and allow everyone access



The biotech industry is a fascinating and ever-changing field. To be successful as a scientist in this industry, there are five critical areas that can be focused on immediately Know the scientist roles and responsibilities, set goals that meet business outcomes, effective verbal, and written communication, embrace change, and be a great teammate. You can set yourself up for a long and successful career by following these tips.

At Insight Recruitment, we pride ourselves on our industry knowledge and candidate relationships. If you’re looking to recruit in the biotech market, don’t hesitate to contact us today to see how we can help you track down your next star hire.

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