The Top 7 Skills Needed to Succeed in a Biotech Career

As the job market fluctuates, making yourself as much of a star candidate as possible is vital to landing a biotech job. While focusing on your job search or considering a new opportunity, there are steps you can take to prepare for your next career move. One of the easiest ways to develop and succeed in a biotech career is by continuously learning on the job and building the necessary biotechnology skills. A curious and open mind will take you far in your career as you develop in your field. With the right skills, education, and experience, you can become an irreplaceable asset to teams in any organization. So, how do you stand out from the competition? As life science recruiters, we have decades of knowledge and know what hiring managers look for in their dream candidates. Here are the top 7 skills you should aim to develop to succeed in a biotech career.

Biotechnology Career Technical Skills

Technical skills are the bread and butter of proper and accurate research in biotechnology careers. When developing technical biotech skills, there are a few areas to consider where you can grow. You’ll come across laboratory equipment, procedures, and software while on the job. If you’re new to biotech, familiarize yourself with the varied equipment you might work with within a lab. If you have a question, ask someone. Beyond this, staying up-to-date on lab techniques and procedures will keep you knowledgeable in your field. Practice and build your ability to analyze and interpret data from research. As your role and career grow, develop your understanding of experimental designing as you might design and lead experiments in the future.

Regulatory Compliance Knowledge

Another vital area to build is your knowledge of industry regulations and guidelines. If you’re pursuing careers in clinical operations, manufacturing, or engineering, then you need to know your standard operating procedures. Areas to know are FDA regulations, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), and experience with Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) processes. While this sounds like a lot of information, most of your knowledge will come from routine practice and experience. Volunteer for projects or attend informational sessions to expand your comprehension. Another method is to reach out to people in positions you want to pursue and ask them how they learned. In biotech and pharmaceutical careers, regulatory compliance knowledge is a neat quality for some roles and an essential requirement for others.

Communication Skills in Biotech Careers

One of the skills hiring managers looks for most in biotech candidates is the ability to work and communicate in teams. Most labs, studies, and projects require professionals from various backgrounds. In multi-disciplinary teams, communication is an essential skill. This skill is at the center of efficient processes. Furthermore, in a biotech career, you will often present information to direct reports or key investors, depending on the role. In some biotech positions, communicating technical information to audiences who may not be as familiar with technical language is critical. When thinking of communication as a skill, think of it as the ability to disperse information between teams, supervisors, and other audiences.

Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving skills in candidates are essential for virtually any industry. Developing them in one area will help apply to a successful biotech career. Research roles will often come with trial, error, and problem-solving to pivot in new directions. For many jobs in biotech, strong candidates have equally strong analytical and critical thinking skills. Like in any occupation, some things don’t go as planned. When the unexpected happens, it’s up to your problem-solving skills to identify and troubleshoot any problems. Biotechnology seeks to find solutions to problems using the intersection of biology and technology. Having a mind for developing a path to these solutions will take you far in the biotech industry.

A Mind for Business in Biotech Roles

One of the most enticing reasons for pursuing a career in the biotechnology industry is the wide variety of occupations. Professionals in biotechnology aren’t only scientists, engineers, or clinical trial managers. Biotechnology and life science companies are often in need of business operations personnel. These careers include human resources, informational technology, finance, or business consultants. Companies are still in need of roles that are vital to contributing to a functional business. When pursuing a biotech career, having a mind for business principles and strategies can broaden your career options. Building your experience with project management can make your resume stand out when seeking higher-level roles. Learning how to manage resources and budgets will also add highly-sought after skills to your list of experiences.

Adaptability and Flexibility

Innovation comes with rapid changes. In a biotech career, adaptability and flexibility are must-have skills. Biotechnology jobs can be in fast-paced environments where changing circumstances are standard. The ability to adapt is a unique and valued skill when techniques, goals, or projects change at the drop of a hat. Being flexible with your approach to work and realizing that not everything is in your control won’t always be natural or easy. In developing this skill, you can also build your willingness to always be a student at your job. Approaching biotechnology as a student keeps you open to expanding your knowledge and workflow. With the ability to handle multiple tasks and responsibilities, you set yourself up as a highly-sought candidate in your field.


With biotechnology careers, teamwork is the name of the game. As mentioned, many biotech work environments are in teams of multi-disciplinary professionals. Depending on the size of your organization, your team may be a few people to a whole department. Collaboration factors into productivity in stressful situations, and team members can be great support systems. Teamwork can also be a massive source of inspiration for problem-solving. Bouncing ideas off each other can help others with their work and your own. When working in a supportive ecosystem, work allows for a high-functioning recipe for success. Especially in startup organizations, every member has to have a shared goal they are working towards.

Showcasing your Biotech Skills

Life science careers demand well-rounded individuals. Because of this, interviewers may ask you both technical and behavioral questions. Technical and soft skills are equally valued in this industry. When communication skills are just as vital as regulatory compliance knowledge, showcasing your skills toolbox is necessary. Building a successful career in life sciences doesn’t always happen in the laboratory. Developing skills can happen at volunteer events, speaking engagements, workshops, or conferences. Remember that your network is a valuable resource for asking questions and researching opportunities to grow. Learning can be done throughout your career, and new skills can always be developed. Continuously improve and grow in these skills to stay competitive in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. Are you ready for your next opportunity? Start a conversation with one of our life science recruiters today.