When you’re preparing to launch your life sciences career, you typically have a limited skillset and little – if any – direct experience. While entry-level positions often don’t expect life sciences candidates to have highly developed capabilities, gaining additional experience quickly can make moving forward easier. You’ll be more competitive when going after lower-level roles and can potentially secure higher-level positions in less time.

Fortunately, several approaches can prepare you for success. Here are five strategies for gaining experience in the life science sector.

1. Find a Mentor

Finding a mentor that works in a higher-level position in the life science industry is an excellent way to hone new capabilities. Many mentors are more than willing to assist entry-level life sciences professionals with skill development. This could include direct instruction in specific areas, recommending resources that help newly minted professionals boost their capabilities, and more.

Plus, mentors can assist with other career-oriented areas. For example, they may provide tips for writing a quality resume or refining interview answers. In some cases, mentors become sources of life science job referrals, giving you access to more opportunities.

2. Explore Volunteer Positions

If you’re an entry-level life sciences candidate, finding volunteer positions that let you gain experience is an excellent idea. You’ll get to work in a professional life science environment, giving a new entry for the work history section of your resume. Plus, you can learn from others – including employees and volunteers – potentially exposing you to new skills that you can develop while in the role.

3. Attend Conferences

Attending life science industry conferences creates new learning opportunities that can elevate your qualifications. You can gather information about emerging trends, explore technologies that are poised to reshape the industry, and connect with others who can share their expertise. Additionally, some conferences may have experiential classes, which could lead to further skill development.

4. Try Job Shadowing

Job shadowing involves partnering with a working professional and observing them as they go about their day. It’s an excellent option for exploring a range of positions, as you get to see what it’s like to work in them firsthand.

Plus, job shadowing can create learning opportunities. You can see the techniques and strategies others use to accomplish various tasks. In some cases, you may be able to actively participate, allowing you to gain hands-on experience that you can then use at work.

5. Request Stretch Assignments

If you’re in an entry-level job and want to elevate your capabilities, request stretch assignments. With a stretch assignment, you take on tasks that you haven’t handled before, allowing you to further your knowledge and acquire new skills. Often, you’ll spend more time researching processes and gathering information than you do when handling familiar duties, but the experience you gain makes it worthwhile.

Ultimately, the strategies above can help life science professionals gain relevant experience. Are you ready for a new job in the life science industry? Partner with the Staffing Resource Group to find career-boosting opportunities quickly. Contact us to learn more about our services today.

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