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New year, new career

For recent biochemistry graduates considering industry careers, the beginning of the year is the best time to apply for jobs and internships
Inayah Entzminger
Jan. 30, 2024

What are your routines at the beginning of the new year? I usually feel reinvigorated in January to complete tasks I had put off the previous year: doctor appointments, deep cleaning and applying for grants. If you’re a recent graduate, you might be filling out job and internship applications. That may turn out to be a winning strategy. 

January and February are the best time of year to job search. According to Indeed, the job search and career guide website, corporate employees often slow down their work for the holidays in December and then return after the new year with new hiring budgets and projects for potential new employees. There may be more hiring managers with eyes on your applications in early February when business is back in full swing.

If you’re a new graduate interested in industry, you are not alone. According to the NSF’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics Survey of Earned Doctorates, 9,386 people received their doctorate in the biological and biomedical sciences in 2022. About 40% of 8,807 doctorate recipients that reported their postgraduate status had definite postdoctoral training plans and 30% had definite employment plans. Of that 30%, 76% wanted to enter business or industry. 

Biochemical and drug discovery industry may have become more attractive to graduate students during the COVID-19 pandemic, as companies such as Moderna, Pfizer, BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson developed lifesaving vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. If during the course of your graduate career you have become more interested in applying to pharma or biotech companies after graduation, check out this column on reworking your résumé  for industry

And if you are approaching your graduation date, here are some of the top pharmaceutical companies with job openings that may spark your interest.   

AbbVie is a patient-focused pharmaceutical company based in Chicago. It is the parent organization of Allergan Aesthetics, the producer of Botox and other cosmetics. You can find listings for both AbbVie and Allergan on their careers website

Biogen, a global biotechnology company, focuses on treatment development for neurological conditions including depression and Alzheimer's disease. Its careers page has programs for interns and postdocs, as well as full research scientist positions. 

Genetech, a member of the Roche Group of multinational healthcare companies, is a biotechnology company with a focus on drug discovery and development for diseases. It is headquartered in San Francisco. Along with jobs, it also offers internships and postdoctoral training programs. Check out its careers page for more information. 

Moderna is an mRNA focused biotechnology and pharmaceutical company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that researches and manufacturers mRNA vaccines and mRNA encoded antibodies. Its open job positions that require biochemical skills range from process development engineer to infectious disease research scientist. You can find all its open job listings on its careers website

Make sure to catch other industry columns that will be posted this year for those of you on the job search, including advice on dual Ph.D. and industry work, and the difference in responsibilities between a scientist and senior scientist at Bristol Meyers Squibb.

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Inayah Entzminger

Inayah Entzminger is a doctoral candidate at the The Graduate Center, CUNY, in the department of biochemistry. Their research focuses on viral translation initiation mechanisms. 

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