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Pharmaceutical Internships – Everything you need to know

Pharmaceutical Internships – Everything you need to know

As you know, internships are a fantastic opportunity to gain further, hands-on experience in the industry you have studied in. Internships provide insight into what working in that industry will actually be like and it works as an opportunity to develop and enhance your skills and knowledge within that field. Being able to showcase, real-life abilities, skills, references and knowledge enhance your resume, profile and chances of attaining employment. Employers look to see which applications jump off the page and tell them the person is keen, dedicated and interested to work and are passionate about their work. Internships can do that! Bin Chen (postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University), has created a guide for all Pharmaceutical students to help navigate your way through the transition between studying and employment. The article is titled: Ten Simple Rules for Internship in a Pharmaceutical Company and has been published in PLoS Computational Biology. Chen has designed a ’10 rule’ process for Pharmaceutical students to follow and apply when they are applying for internships. Chen’s belief is that internships, within this field, are extremely important and necessary as a learning experience for Pharmaceutical students. Chen states that Pharmaceutical internships allow students to see, first-hand how the industry operates and what life is like when working in Pharmaceuticals. Chen also notes the importance of being able to “learn the process of drug discovery and development, and build a strong network with experts and fellows in the pharmaceutical field, which can positively contribute to future career development.” I have summarized Chen’s ’10 rules’ for you, so that you can take away all the relevant information you need.

  1. Start Preparing for and Internship early-Start applying for internships as early as possible, as spots can be limited and positions are hard to attain. -The more you apply for, the better chance you have of acquiring an internship. -You can start preparing the basic skills and knowledge you need to complete the internship, when you have the appropriate time to plan and prepare for it.
  2. Leverage All Your Sources to Be Selected for an Interview-Networking, networking and networking. -Basically Chen verifies the belief that it’s sometimes more about ‘who you know’. -Name dropping of professors, mentors and industry professionals that you have a relationship with can be a great indication of your abilities and your interest in the industry.
  3. Survey the Interviewer(s) before and during Interview-Know the managers of the business and know their background. Chances are they will be interviewing you, so showing a clear understanding of what they have done and what they do is great to start conversations and shows your commitment.
  4. Specify Your Target at the Beginning of the Program-Internships are a great stepping stone to your future, however a lot of them only run for a 3-month period. So, know what you want to be able to achieve during your time at the internship and chances are the business might be interested in helping you achieve it.
  5. Keep to Your Timeline-Make the most of your time in your internship, you want to be able to get things done and produce some high quality work so make sure you use your time effectively. -Ask your manager/mentor for a weekly meeting to be able to track your progress in a positive manner.
  6. Don’t Hesitate to ask Questions-Teamwork is in important in most industries so open communication with not only your mentor, but your other colleagues is imperative in achieving results and completing tasks to the best of your ability. -It also decreases room for error and demonstrates your ability to be a positive team member.
  7. Have the Confidence to ‘‘Sell’’ Your Project-Take advantages to talk about your work with other staff-members and managers.
  8. Expand Your Horizons beyond Your Project-Involve yourself in every aspect of the company, you can. -Team meetings, seminars, workshops, etc. are all relevant and valuable experiences so don’t hold back in attending and being a part of anything and everything.
  9. Be Social, Open-Minded, and Curious-Be friendly, polite and social with everyone you meet. -Lunch time situations are great for developing more connections and creating lasting work-relationships.
  10. Finishing the Program Does Not Mean the Ending

-Even though your internship is over, your colleagues will still be working so ensure you save and document all relevant work for them. Chen’s rules are not only applicable to Pharmaceutical students, but can be used as a positive guide for all students looking to gain more experience, through internships. To see Chen’s full article, go to the PLoS Computational Biology Journal (www. journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/)

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