Essential Skills Required for Industry
(and how to get them)
1. Attention to detail
This should be a no-brainer. You are working with medications that will ultimately affect real-life patients, so there is zero room for error. Pharmacotherapy accuracy is crucial, but one area that many students forget to master is compliance knowledge. Understanding GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) regulations are important in ensuring high quality standards are met and that companies are following health and safety requirements. On average, a non-compliant company must pay a $9.6 million penalty. Luckily, most pharmacy programs incorporate legal regulations as part of the curriculum, so PAY ATTENTION. You can also get a GMP certification to help distinguish yourself from the crowd and demonstrate your understanding of industry best practices.
2. Problem Solving
Strategic thinking is essential in any industry, and the same holds true in the pharmaceutical realm. You will be working on complex projects that require constant innovation and planning ahead. Work on that procrastination problem while you’re still in school, because time-management will only get harder in the real world. Employees who are quick to problem solve are valued heavily in the industry. The best way to improve critical thinking is to put yourself in scenarios that require it (i.e. leadership positions in clubs).
3. Interpersonal Skills
Communication is key! You may be used to working by yourself in an academic environment, but it’s all about collaboration in an industrial environment. You must be able to quickly and concisely convey complex scientific information in layman’s term. Talking is great, but it’s also crucial that you can empathetically listen to others. Hone in on your emotional intelligence skills and make sure to always ask intelligent follow-up questions.
4. Growth Mindset
Learning doesn’t stop once you leave the classroom; in fact, I would argue that it becomes more prevalent post-doctorate. There is no longer an overhead authority figure to ensure you are learning and passing. It becomes up to you to stay up to date on the latest therapies and industry trends. The best way to do this is to read pharmacy related news articles daily. Here are a few recommended sources: https://www.fiercepharma.com/, https://www.biopharmadive.com/, https://www.morningbrew.com/daily
I cannot emphasize this enough. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. All your perfect grades, publications, and leadership roles mean nothing if you can’t land a job. Talk to professors after class, reach out to like-minded individuals, attend conferences…. There are a plethora of ways to network. If you prefer not to leave the comfort of your home, hop on linked-in and start messaging away. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people with your dream job and set up a 20 minute coffee chat. People, especially recent graduates, are eager to share their knowledge and experience.
Written by: Gautham Venkatesh