Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile to Get a Job in Pharma

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Many scientists who want to use their science degree outside the lab or transition out of academia look to get a job in Pharma. Working in the pharmaceutical industry requires business acumen as well as the technical skills for your area of expertise.

To get a job in Pharma, you should position yourself as someone with strong commercial knowledge or the ability to pick this up fast. For all professionals, LinkedIn is a great platform to use as part of this positioning. There are some aspects of LinkedIn that are equivalent to a CV, but there are also many other functionalities. Although your profile can align with what’s on your CV, looking at LinkedIn in a different light will make you stand out. Use LinkedIn as a tool to position your personal brand as a professional and demonstrate social proof of your skills and the value you can bring to a company. This is the step I initially missed out with LinkedIn when I first started using it. Social proof is a way of showing that other people can vouch for the value you bring. This is why employers ask for references when you apply for a job. It’s why you look at reviews on Amazon before you buy a book. Receiving a recommendation from someone else makes you more likely to trust a product, service or person.

Here are 4 tips to leverage your LinkedIn brand and social proof to help you get a job in Pharma:

  1. Gather skills endorsements that demonstrate your soft skills

If you want to work in the pharmaceutical industry, you need to show that you have developed soft skills during your time at university or past jobs. For any role that you do in industry, you will be part of a team or working closely with other teams. You will be required to communicate in meetings, perhaps via a presentation and during your day-to-day interactions with colleagues. There will be times when you need to influence others, make decisions and build relationships.

You should therefore show that you have a foundation of soft skills acquired through your current and past activities. This could be through extra-curricular activities at university, volunteering or employment. Add these skills to your LinkedIn profile and ask for endorsements from those you have worked with. Make sure you give others’ endorsements too. This is a way of gathering social proof for your skills and strengths.

  1. Gather recommendations for each role you have done

You can request recommendations from your connections on LinkedIn. These show up at the bottom of your profile as a short paragraph. They act as references from your past peers and colleagues, showing your value and how you are to work with as a person. This is a more in-depth way of gathering social proof as people can describe your skills, strengths and their experience of working with you.

When you ask for a recommendation from someone, you have to show your working relationship with them by selecting an option from a drop-down list. For example, you can pick ‘this person managed me directly.’ You can customise your message to then and mention what attributes you want them to highlight. Once they have given you a recommendation, you can review it and ask for revisions before publishing it to your profile. Remember to thank them and offer to return the favour. Note that the recommendations you give to others also show up on your profile!

  1. Work on your summary to show your motivation for working in the Pharma industry

Many people choose to work in Pharma because they are excited about the purpose it gives them to do work that can have a huge impact on patients. Others may prefer the pace of working in industry compared to academia. What are your motivations to get a job in Pharma in particular? What makes you interested in this industry and the work they do? Think about this and include it in the summary of your LinkedIn profile. It’s the place recruiters will look at first and is therefore the first impression you give people of your personal brand. When writing your summary, include your top achievements that demonstrate your transferable skills for a job in industry. Keep it concise and relevant to the role and industry you are interested in.

  1. Share relevant articles to your news feed

One final way of utilizing LinkedIn to build your personal brand for a specific industry is actively sharing relevant articles. Following companies you are interested in and sharing their articles shows that you are keeping an eye on their latest developments. Sharing articles you have found personally shows that you keep up with industry news. You can even write articles yourself directly on LinkedIn and share these on your news feed. Doing this can build your expert status within your network. If this scares you, there are less intimidating ways you can start off! Try liking and commenting on others’ posts with relevant comments or questions to show your curiosity. You can also join private groups centred around a particular role or industry and share content in there.

To get a job in Pharma, reflect and work on your personal brand. It is all about considering how to position yourself whilst being authentic. LinkedIn is a crucial platform to start doing this, using your profile for personal branding and social proof. Collect social proof by gathering skills endorsements and recommendations, and build your brand through your profile summary and sharing content consistently.  

If you are ready to take your career outside the lab and want to know how to start, book a Beyond the Lab Breakthrough Session here.


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