The pharmaceutical industry is one of the fastest growing and most lucrative industries in the world, with the largest companies pulling in upwards of $60 billion or more each per year.
Many people flock to companies such as Merck, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline – collectively known as “big pharma” – not only for their lucrative salaries, but also because of the sheer diversity of positions available at these massive corporations. Whether you want to work in sales, advertising, chemical engineering, communications, law or even aviation, you are likely to find openings there.
Medzilla is a job site devoted exclusively to all things biotech, including listings for more than 7,500 jobs in nearly every corner of the healthcare, biomedical research and pharmaceutical industries.
When you visit the site, all you have to do is choose where you’d like to work, type in some keywords related to your target occupation and Medzilla will instantly give you listings for currently available positions .
Employers that actively use the site include Novartis, Allergan, Navigant Consulting and Covance. Job seekers also have the option of uploading their resume for free to enhance their chances of getting interview requests.
Keep in mind that there are very few entry-level positions on Medzilla – many of the listings cater to people at mid-career or higher.
Pharmiweb actually does list pharmacy jobs, as its title suggests, but it also features some of most intuitive advanced search controls you’ll find to search for pharmaceutical industry careers online. Calling itself "Europe's leading industry-sponsored portal for the Pharmaceutical sector," it lists jobs available in the U.S., U.K., Europe and Asia.
When you begin using the site, you can filter listings according to function area, location, company, keywords, job type and salary range, helping you narrow your search to the jobs that fit your goals and skills.
Also check out the homepage for news, events and press releases. These include announcements of important upcoming industry events and information on big pharma trends.
The company also runs Pharmiweb solutions, which produces software applications and web solutions for pharmaceutical companies in more than 40 different countries – something to keep in mind if you’re a programmer or web designer looking for a job in pharmaceuticals.
Medzilla and PharmiWeb are not the only places on the internet to find a job in big pharma. Some of the best sites for finding jobs in this industry are those dedicated to finding jobs in all industries.
LinkedIn is arguably the largest and most popular career networking site in the western world. Many of the biggest companies actively recruit for big pharma jobs on the site. Plus, there are many industry-specific groups you could join to meet like-minded individuals and discuss the latest happenings (and perhaps job openings) in big pharma.
Monster is also a deep and diverse job site, on par with LinkedIn’s volume of listings. The site features plenty of helpful job-hunting resources, such as guides for formatting the ideal resume and acing your interviews. However, it lacks the polished networking features you’ll find on LinkedIn.
Indeed is first and foremost a job search site. What it lacks in specialized features it more than makes up for in the sheer number of its listings. As of writing this, a quick search for “pharmacy” yielded more than 70,000 results from around the world.
If there are specific companies you’d like to work for, make the effort to go directly to their sites and browse their “jobs” or “careers” section. While it may be tedious to browse each site one by one, this is the most focused way to find a job in a specific company. And who knows, you might even get extra credit for taking the trouble to go specifically to the company's own job search center.
If you’re still in college, don't forget to check your school's career office and website. You'll likely find ads posted by recruiters looking for fresh talent or even visiting your school if it's large enough or famous for its science programs.
The Bottom Line
People who work in big pharma are a unique breed – professionals who develop and market a highly complex and technical product to a highly educated customer base.
Once you’ve got your resume and cover letter in order, start looking for work on any of these sites. Also check out How Long Should My Resume Be? and Investopedia's compilation of resume articles for advice on how to present the skills and experience that will get you hired.