Just graduated and interested in working in Pharma?

Here are some career paths to consider.

Finishing university and finding your first job in Pharma as a graduate is a challenging period for most. With so many options available to you, how do you choose which roles to apply for?

To help you make that all-important decision, we have asked real life pharma experts to give us a bit of insight into their job roles and explain how they got there.

A Research Scientist

We recently interviewed Harpal, a research scientist Graduate working for a global biopharmaceutical company.

His job involves performing and optimising biochemical assays for analysing compounds. He chose a career in research as he wanted to be involved in discovering new concepts.

Although the job is very technical, planning and executing experiments, analysing data and writing reports, there is also an element of team work. Harpal liaises on a daily basis with his team and line manager to discuss progress.

Are you also interested in pursuing a career as a Research Scientist?

Prior to becoming a Research Scientist, Harpal completed a PhD and then found relevant industry experience in his field of research. He adds that if you are interested in performing biochemical assays, it’s important to understand FRET biochemical assays and data interpretation.

A starting point for becoming a Research Scientist might be to look at PhDs in the subjects that interest you the most. By doing a PhD, you would gain that valuable lab experience.

A Stability Analyst

Katie works for a pharmaceutical company as a stability analyst, measuring the stability of different products manufactured at the facility. She tests different batches at different time points and conditions, to assess whether there are any changes in the content.

The role is fast paced and involves a lot of focus, so is ideal for someone who enjoys working under pressure and has a keen eye for detail.

Interested in becoming a stability analyst? Recruitment managers would typically look for someone with a chemistry degree or pharmaceutical sciences as well as prior experience in an analytical pharma laboratory.

A Laboratory Analyst

Anthony is a laboratory analyst, working for a company who develops vaccines and healthcare products.

He is responsible for conducting all quality testing on products, writing up data and reporting the results. These results are then used to determine the quality of the product, and make decisions on whether the product is deemed safe to be used by patients.

Anthony finds his job particularly satisfying, knowing that he is contributing to helping people’s quality of life.

Interested in this role?

To apply to this type of job, you would be expected to have a chemistry qualification or pharmaceutical sciences and specific experience in the use and maintenance of HPLC systems. Anthony gained his qualification and relevant experience through an Apprenticeship scheme, proving that the typical university route is not the only way to a successful job in chemistry.

An Associate Scientist

Sarah works as an associate scientist for a company that researches and develops pharmaceutical products.

Her role involves collating information to create knowledge transfer packages for clients. She uses a variety of systems to search for product information, to compile comprehensive reports.

She chose this role as she enjoys the challenge of piecing together information as well as the customer interaction.

Sarah explains that this type of role is ideal for someone analytical, who wishes to work in science but also be customer facing.

Interested in this role?

To get to this position, Sarah did a degree in chemistry and additional training in project management. She then gained experience in product delivery within a contract manufacturing organisation.

A Regulatory Affairs Associate

Alaa is a contractor currently working for a science-led global healthcare company. As a Regulatory Affairs Associate, he ensures Over the Counter Medicines (OTC) are maintained, renewed on time and regulated by Health Authorities in different countries globally.

His day-to-day involves liaising with affiliates from different markets globally to meet deadlines, as well as working with internal stakeholders to improve processes for the company.

According to Alaa, a Regulatory Affairs Associate role would suit someone who is target driven, enjoys helping people but doesn’t need to be micro-managed.

Prior to this job, Alaa graduated with a degree in Forensic Biology and has a variety of experience from lab work to project management roles.  He also worked abroad, which helps him stand out from the crowd.

A life science or pharmaceutical science degree would also be considered for a career in regulatory affairs.

Feeling inspired? Why not read the interviews in full, as well as many others on our careers section. You can also have a look at available jobs or create a CK+ account, to find jobs tailored to your experience.

Posted in Articles, Candidates, Careers Advice, Home Page, Homepage, Homepage Candidates, News

How to find a graduate job in Science after University

Congratulations, you are about to graduate from university.

But what now?

Leaving university and finding your first graduate role in Science is a daunting process. With so many opportunities out there, where do you start looking?

Moreover, once friends start receiving job offers and family start questioning you about your own future, the pressure really builds up.

A job might no longer be for life, but your first job is the first stepping stone for your career path, and not a decision to take lightly. After all, you do spend a third of your life at work, so choosing something that interests you and leads to your dream job is vital.

As a starting point, we suggest creating a simple 4-step job-finding strategy. This will help you stay focused and engaged, and give you the necessary space to make that all-important decision.

Step 1: Do your research
We know, this is easier said than done!

This initial step is all about research and finding out what options are available to you.

Popular dilemmas for graduating scientists are firstly whether to work in research or not, and secondly whether to work in academia or industry.

Additionally, apart from the obvious decisions regarding what role to choose, there are other factors to consider such as ‘where’ you wish to work – for example, would you consider a role abroad? And what kind of environment do you work best in – somewhere fast-paced or somewhere where you can take your time?

If you have done internships while working and have some working experience, answers to these questions might be clearer. If not, there are other ways to carry out research, such as:

A. Getting in touch with a recruiter
A good place to start is to speak to a specialist recruiter. Not only will they give you a better feel for the different jobs available to graduates, they will also take the time to mentor you.

Our recruitment consultants at CK have years of experience matching graduates to roles in the science industry, and therefore are best placed to give you credible advice. They will act as your guiding hand during the whole recruitment process, from looking for jobs to applying, and are here to answer all your questions during this daunting time.

B. Reaching out to your network
When searching for a job, you will most probably have been reminded of the old proverb “it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know”. We would always recommend proactively engaging with your contacts to ask for advice, whether that be to better understand different roles or to ask if they know of any job openings. Most people are willing to discuss their careers, give advice and answer any questions.

C. Attending career fairs
Many universities will organise career fairs for their students. This is a brilliant opportunity to talk to experts in the industry, to get a feel for the different types of companies and roles available to you, and more importantly, to ask questions!

For more information read how to make the most of careers fairs.

Step 2: Start your applications
After your initial research, you should have a good understanding of the different roles available to graduates, and which of those roles interest you. And now it’s time to start applying.

The science job market is a very competitive job market, especially for recent graduates with little experience.

At this early stage in your career, the aim is to gain as much experience as possible, to build up to your dream role. With that in mind, we would suggest applying to as many opportunities as possible in the field that interests you. To avoid disappointment, remember to apply to jobs suitable to your level of experience and field of expertise.

To increase your chances of finding that ideal first job, our advice would be to not just look at opportunities close to home, but to also look further afield.

If you struggle to find job opportunities, get in touch with CK and we can help find those opportunities for you. This will help you from feeling overwhelmed.

Step 3: Tailor your application
So many people start their job search by updating their CV and resume. But without knowing which jobs you are applying for, this makes little sense.

Hiring managers and recruiters receive hundreds of applications for every graduate job, leaving them only a few seconds to scan each CV and resume. In this competitive job market, make yours count by tailoring it and keeping it succinct.

As well as thinking about your individual skills and experience, this means finding out more about the company and demonstrating an understanding of their business, their challenges and the broader sector in which they operate.

Step 4: Don’t give up
Rejections happen, especially when you are applying for a lot of jobs at the same time. Try not to get disheartened but instead think about why you might have been rejected, and how you can improve your application for the next job.

If you have made it past the first stages of the application, ask the hiring manager for feedback.

Applying for your first job is not easy, but remember, once you have found that dream graduate role, all that job-finding stress will be long forgotten about.

Search for jobs on CK Science

Visit our Careers Zone

Posted in Articles, Candidates, Careers Advice, General, Home Page, Homepage, Homepage Candidates, News

7 Alternative Career Paths for Scientists

What happens when you have worked so hard to get a science degree and even a Ph.D., only to realise that you don’t want to follow the expected research trajectory, and instead you want to try something new?

The good news is scientists are not confined to the lab anymore. In fact, candidates with a science degree and a science background are becoming increasingly desirable in other fields.

We’ve compiled a list of seven popular alternative career paths for scientists looking for a change.


  1. A career in scientific writing

Writing requires many of the same skills you learn whilst studying a science degree; analysing a lot of information and presenting it in a way that is easy to understand.

The best writers are the ones who know first-hand about the topics they discuss in their writing. Consequently, writers with a science background are always in high demand for scientific writing.

Writing opens up a world of opportunities including journalism and writing about science and science novelties for the general public, or technical writing and presenting science findings for patents and authority bodies.

Alternatively, if you love reading and writing, a science degree can help you get a job for a specialist publisher such as Bloomsbury Sigma or IOP, whether that be in production, editing or proof reading.


  1. Working in intellectual property law

If you are interested in the legal side of science, becoming a patent attorney could be an interesting option. Patent law is already a well-established career path for scientists, as companies recruiting trainee patent attorneys usually ask for a degree in science or another STEM subject. This is because to draft a patent, you need to understand the research and technology behind it.


  1. Turning to consultancy

Moving into consulting is another popular move for scientists looking for a more client-facing role.

Big consultancies such as BCG, Accenture and Deloitte will have a dedicated science department recruiting analytical candidates with science backgrounds, to head projects for clients in the science and clinical space. Alternatively, there are also opportunities at a number of specialist scientific consultancies like IQVIA and Alacrita.


  1. Working for a funding body

If working in an office seems more appealing than working in a lab, but you still want to stay up-to-date with the latest science news, then working in funding could be a great option. You might want to look at organisations such as Research Councils UK (for example, the BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC and the STFC) and major funding bodies like the Leverhulme Trust and the Wellcome Trust.


  1. Sales and marketing for Pharmaceutical companies

Why not explore different areas of the value chain, and look at jobs selling and promoting products, rather than creating them?

Being knowledgeable on the product you are selling is particularly useful when presenting products and answering client needs and questions. These jobs tend to be less about pure selling and more about becoming a product expert.


  1. Recruitment

If you enjoy using your people skills, then specialist recruitment companies like CK Science are always looking for recruitment consultants with science backgrounds.

Good knowledge of the science world helps recruitment consultants not only understand the jobs they are recruiting for, but also understand which skills are needed and which types of candidates would be better placed in each role.


  1. Teaching

Science teachers at all levels are in high demand right now in the UK, as great initiatives are being taken to close the current STEM skill gap. So, if you have a passion for science and sharing your knowledge, teaching might be something to consider.

Thinking of trying out something new? At CK we offer a range of different jobs for experts with a science background. Why not have a look at our jobs here or get in touch for recommendations.

Posted in Articles, Careers Advice, Homepage Candidates, News

How to increase your chances of finding a job at a careers fair

Autumn is renowned for being careers fair season. Whether you are a graduate or more advanced in your career, careers fairs are a great way to discover new opportunities and to ask employers questions directly.

If you come prepared, a careers fair can also significantly enhance your chances of gaining a job, as representatives of companies will be on the look out for potential recruits. To increase your chances, we have come up with our top tips to help you make a lasting impression.


Know what you are looking for

First and foremost, in order to get the most out of a careers fair you need to do a bit of introspection and understand what exactly you want to achieve from it.

Looking for your first job? Or looking for a change? Think about the following questions:

  • What types of roles are you looking for now?
  • What is your 10-year career plan?
  • What skills and experience do you have to offer?

Based on our experience, the candidates who stand out from the crowd are those who come up to a stand and know exactly what they are looking for. It helps both the employer and candidate alike to find the right fit.


Do your research

Take a look at which companies are attending the fair, and which you find interesting. This information is normally available on the career fair website.

Once you have made a shortlist, research your favourite companies and have a look at what types of jobs they offer.

The main benefits of career fairs are that they give you the chance to ask employers questions directly, so make the most of it. Prepare a list of questions you want to ask each company– this could include questions about the business, the specific roles, what they look for in employees, progression opportunities and about the recruitment process.

If a company you like the look of doesn’t have any relevant job openings, it might be worth asking them how often opportunities do become available.


Come prepared

Prior to the event update your CV and print copies out ready to hand out. You could even go a step further and create some tailored CVs to specific job openings that you found during your research.

On the day it’s advisable to dress professionally as if you were going to a job interview. And don’t forget to bring a notepad and pen to take notes.


Prepare your elevator pitch

Exhibitors will have spent the day speaking to hundreds of candidates just like you. Make an impression and speak with confidence by preparing what you want to say in advance.  

Your pitch should be no longer than a minute long and should include a brief outline of your past experience and what you are looking for now.

Be prepared with personal, sincere answers to questions the representatives are likely to ask you. These will most likely be centered around the kind of research you carry out, your technical skills and training and why you are interested in their company.


Keep focused

On the day you will have a lot of talking to do in what seems like very little time. Use a map of the fair to plan your route, aiming to talk to the companies on your shortlist first and allowing enough time for questions and note-taking in between stands.

If you plan on arriving early, this allows you to talk to your favourite employers before they get too busy. However, staying until the end also gives you the opportunity for more one-to-one conversations, after most other candidates have gone home.

A good tip is to ask for business cards or write down the email addresses of the representatives you got on with the best. This allows you to have a direct way into the company when applying.


Keep an open mind

However, once you have done the rounds and spoken to those companies which originally caught your eye, take the time to investigate other opportunities and ask questions to those you haven’t necessarily considered. You never know – the smaller, niche companies can sometimes surprise you!


And remember to follow up

The careers fair is only the beginning. Afterwards take the time to follow-up with an email and a tailored copy of your CV to the representatives of your favourite companies. As mentioned before, this allows you to have a direct way into a company, sometimes allowing you to skip parts of the corporate application process.

Posted in Articles, Candidates, Careers Advice, News, Research and knowledge

Is it time to call it quits?

You spend on average a third of your life at work, so making sure you enjoy your job (most of the time!) is essential for your well-being.

Work can sometimes be stressful and hard, but when it gets unsatisfying it may be time to say enough is enough. But this is easier said than done.

Are you undecided about whether to stay or go? We’ve come up with the following list of questions to help you make that ever-so-important decision.


Are you working towards certain aims?

Having a goal to progress towards is vital to keep yourself motivated.

Whether it is working towards getting a promotion, a bonus or aspiring to move abroad with your company, having these aims will stimulate you to keep trying your best.

If your company doesn’t offer opportunities or progression, your work life can get monotonous pretty quickly, leaving you feeling deflated.

Furthermore, being in a job that isn’t helping you progress can stunt your career path, and the longer you stay the harder it will be in future to get back on track.

So ask yourself – is your job repetitive, unchallenging and not leading anywhere? Maybe now is the time to reconsider.


Do you feel passionate about what you are doing?

To be successful you need to be passionate about what you are doing.

If that passion has faded over the years and you no longer feel enthusiastic about your projects, it may be time for a fresh start.

Whether you just need a change of scenery to regain your passion, or whether you need a complete career switch, finding a new job could help you rekindle your passion.


Do you feel like work affects your mental health?

Do you spend your weekend dreading Mondays? Do you come home feeling depressed or exhausted on a regular basis?

Feeling down because of work can lead to mental health issues such as depression. To avoid this situation it is essential to spot the warning signs early on and make a change before it is too late. No job is worth sacrificing your health for.


Is your job affecting your relationships?

Following on from the point above, if you are suffering because of your job this can also have some seriously negative affects on your social life and relationships.

If you are hardly at home or are stressed when you are, this can put a strain on your relation with your partner, children and friends. Is your job really worth it?


Do you appreciate your peers, boss and management team?

When you spend so much time with your peers, it becomes very important to be able to tolerate them. They create your working environment, and if you don’t appreciate the way they do things maybe it just isn’t the right environment for you.

However, above all, getting along with your boss is vital. Your boss dictates your projects, your success and your progress. If you feel disappointed by their actions you can be left feeling demotivated to work for them.

Likewise, if you don’t trust your company’s management team you can easily start wondering why you ever worked there in the first place.


Do you have faith in your company?

Another good reason to be questioning leaving a company is if you think it might be on its last leg.

Companies are not invincible, and only a third of small companies survive over 10 years. If your company is suffering it may be worth leaving before the bitter end.

A few signs to look out for: management suddenly gets very fussy about expenses and starts having a lot of closed-door meetings.


Of course, these are not the only reasons you might quit a job, but essentially the question to ask yourself is ‘are you happy?’.

Life is too short to waste time at a job that doesn’t satisfy you.

If you think the grass is greener on the other side CK is here to help you make that next move. Whether you just want to browse jobs and see what’s out there, or whether you need advice, why not visit our website. You can also sign up to CK + to easily get access to any new jobs relevant to your requirements.

Posted in Articles, Candidates, Careers Advice, News

Workplace Advice from CK Science

Here at CK Science we want to ensure that you are as happy and fulfilled in your science jobs as possible.

So, we have written the following workplace for you.  Please click on the links below!

Careers Advice

Are you looking for a new science job? Click here for our latest careers advice.

Meet the CK Science TeamMeet our team:

The specialist scientific Recruitment Consultants here at CK Science are here to help you find the perfect science job for you. To meet them, please click here.

Posted in Careers Advice, NewsTagged in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Interview Advice Bulletin – May 2012

Do you have an interview for a job in science? Here are a few tips from CK Science to help make sure you ace that interview and land that perfect science job:



Are you looking for a new science job?

Click here to search and apply for our current science jobs online now.


Posted in Careers Advice, NewsTagged in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Like us on Facebook!

Like us on Facebook to improve your job hunt and help you find your next job in science.


By liking CK Science on Facebook you can chat and network with other job seekers who are also looking for a new science job at the moment.

But it doesn’t stop there, by liking CK Science on Facebook you will also get the opportunity to really get to know the team here at CK Science and ask us any questions you may have regarding your job hunt.

In addition, you will also gain exclusive access to our latest science jobs, photos, videos, polls, careers advice and industry news.

Sound good? Click here to like us on Facebook now!

Not on Facebook?

You can also find us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Posted in Careers Advice, News, Social NetworkingTagged in , , , , , , ,

Thinking of returning to a previous employer?

So you’ve left a great company and now want go back? You’re not alone – 74 per cent of us would consider doing the same!

Here at the CK Group, we have recently conducted a Linkedin poll asking, ‘Would you consider returning to a previous employer?’ With an impressive, 688 responses, 74 per cent of those said they would consider returning to a previous employer.

However, before making the jump, we recommend that you consider a couple of things first:

  • Be realistic: Are you simply looking back at things with rose tinted glasses? Take time to think back to the reasons why you left the company in the first place. We recommend that you draw up and pro’s and con’s list to help you make a balanced and reasoned decision. It is important not to delude yourself into thinking that your old job was more fulfilling and exciting than it really was.
  • Are you making a snap decision? Have you given yourself enough time in your current job to really assess factors such as work-life balance, job satisfaction, career development etc. It is important that you give yourself enough time to adjust.

For more information regarding our poll, please contact Catherine Gutsell on 01438 743 047 or email cgutsell@ckagroup.co.uk.

Posted in Careers Advice, NewsTagged in , , , ,

How to plan the journey to your interview

How to plan the journey to your interview effectively…

Victoria Walker, Consultant at CK Science gives advice as to how to plan the journey to your interview effectively.


1. Check and double check that you have the correct details:

A couple of days before your interview, check that you have the correct name, address and telephone number of the company you will be interviewing with. Make sure you double check these details both with your Consultant and on the company website.

2. If you are travelling by car…

If you are travelling by car and will be using a sat nav, please ensure that you have the correct postcode. It is also a good ideas to print off back-up maps (e.g. from Google Maps or AA Route Planner).

3. If you are going to be using public transport…

If you are going to using public transport, make sure you check the train connections and bus times prior to your interview. If there is  going to be a walk from the bus or train station to the company, try to find out how long this will take. If you need to take a taxi to get there, find the numbers of a few local taxi companies and call them prior to your interview to find out how long the journey will take and fare prices.

4. If you have any questions…

If you have any questions about the company or the interview, please contact your Consultant as they have all the resources to answer any queries for you.

5. If  you’re running late…

If you are running late? Please do call your Consultant as soon as possible as they will be able to advise the company of the situation quickly. If you interview is out of hours, your Consultant will be able to provide you with a phone number so as you can contact the Interviewer directly yourself.



Posted in Careers AdviceTagged in , , , , , ,

Watch our latest careers advice videos…

Every week, CK Science creates a new careers advice video to help you in your search for a new science job. Please see below for videos we have uploaded in the past month.

How to apply for the RIGHT roles for you…


How to get the most out of your recruitment agency


What do recruitment consultants look for on your CV?

Top tips for telephone interviews

Posted in Careers AdviceTagged in , , , , , , , ,

How to apply for the RIGHT roles for you…

1.       Read the job description

Read the job description in detail, from start to end. Are the location and salary right for you? Is it a contract or permanent role? Many candidates we deal with will apply for contract positions when they are only looking for permanent roles, simply because they haven’t read the job description in full.

2.       Do you have the right skills and experience?

Always check that your skills and experience exactly matches those detailed on the job description. When a skill or experience is listed as ‘essential’ on a job description, it means it’s essential!

If your CV does not mention the essential skills and experience listed in the job description, you are not suitable so do not apply. If you do apply, this could tarnish any future job applications to the company.

3.       Tailor your CV and cover letter

Highlight the skills and experience mentioned on the job description on your CV.

4.       Chase up your application and get feedback

Posted in Careers AdviceTagged in , , , , , , , , , ,

Want a new science job? Read our helpful tips

Looking for a new job in science? Here are a few helpful hints and tips to help you on your way…

Careers Advice


Workplace Advice


For more helpful advice speak to one of our professional scientific recruiters, contact the CK team.

Alternatively take a look at our current scientific vacancies now.

Posted in Careers Advice, NewsTagged in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Job Hunting over the Bank Holiday Weekend?

Are you going to be job hunting over the Bank Holiday weekend? Here is some useful careers and workplace advice from CK Science to help you get started…

Careers Advice


Workplace Advice


For more helpful advice speak to one of our professional scientific recruiters, contact the CK team.

Alternatively take a look at our current scientific vacancies now.

Posted in Careers Advice, Mobile News, Workplace AdviceTagged in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Careers Advice from CK Science

So you’re looking for a new job in science? Here are some great careers advice articles from CK Science to help you on your way:

Posted in Careers AdviceTagged in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Interview Tips: The STAR Interview Technique


One technique that is used throughout both technical and competency based interviews is that of Behavioural Questioning. This is designed to get practical examples from interviewees as demonstrations of particular skills or competencies.

In order to prepare for this during your interview preparation you should identify examples of situations from your experiences on your CV where you have demonstrated skills and competencies that you feel are relevant to the role – please refer to the Job and/or Person Specification as well as the companies website for these.

During the interview, your responses need to be specific and detailed. Tell them about a particular situation that relates to the question, not a general one. Briefly tell them about the situation, what actions you took, and the positive result or outcome. One proven way to structure your answers is using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result or “STAR”) format (please see below).

Situation or Task: Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.

Action you took: Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did — not the efforts of the team. Don’t tell what you might do, tell what you did.

Results you achieved: What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?

Posted in Careers Advice, NewsTagged in , , , ,