Pharma, Biotech and Medical Device Careers

The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries both produce medicines, but the medicines made by biotechnology companies are derived from living organisms while those made by pharmaceutical companies generally have a chemical basis. Furthermore, biotechnology provides products and technologies to combat debilitating and rare diseases, reduce our environmental footprint, feed the hungry, use less and cleaner energy, and have safer, cleaner and more efficient industrial manufacturing processes. (Adapted from Biotechnology Industry Organization.)

Meanwhile, the medical devices industry consists of articles, instruments, apparatuses, or machines that are used in the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of illness or disease, or for detecting, measuring, restoring, correcting, or modifying the structure or function of the body for some health purpose, per Wikipedia.

Information Gathering

Read trade magazines, newsletters, and popular websites in your industry area. Places to start include BiotechNOW, BioSpace and FierceBiotech. Subscribe to blogs and newsletters, follow industry insiders on social media, and research the types of positions that are available in those fields. Company websites, O*NET, and the Occupational Outlook Handbook are equally helpful resources. You must show not only an interest, but also knowledge about the industry.

Select Resources

Making Connections

Attend employer information sessions, industry events – on and off-campus, and connect with popular professional organizations regionally and nationally. The most relevant professional associations in biotech and pharmaceuticals include the Harvard Biotech Club (check out the annual career fair), and American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. Local professional associations include the Maryland Tech Council (see events and conferences) and virginiabio. Professional associations host a variety of professional development, educational, and networking events. If the cost of membership is prohibitive, contact leadership and ask if there are discounted prices for students. Volunteering for a conference, educational, or social event is another great way to connect with leaders in the industry.

Another way to make connections and potentially find employment is to search NIH databases to learn where research is being conducted around the world. The NIH’s clinical trial website and NIH RePORTER can help you identify privately and publicly funded clinical trials by various factors, including location, study area, and more.

Develop a LinkedIn profile that communicates your personal and professional brand. For help building your profile, use LinkedIn’s profile checklist (PDF). Joining groups on LinkedIn related to your industry is a great way to meet new people, find mentors, contacts, and ask questions. Also, reach out to alumni through Hoya Gateway and Georgetown’s alumni page on LinkedIn. Our website provides helpful guidelines on networking and informational interviewing.

Making Connections at Georgetown

Georgetown offers a number of opportunities for Hoyas to get involved. Joining a school club is an excellent way to learn more about the industry, develop your skills, and get hands-on experience. A few biotech-related clubs include AcademyHealth and STEMME.

Increase your research skills by joining a lab around campus. The Center for Research and Fellowships offers the Georgetown Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (GUROP). Participate in research and get published in the peer-reviewed Georgetown University Journal of Health Sciences. You can also participate in a group based on a personal interest and develop your professional skills. For example, develop business or communications skills for a student group that interests you. For more student club information, visit Campus Groups. On and off-campus jobs are another excellent way to build skills valued by employers.

Preparing Materials

To better understand what skills you need to highlight on your resume, check out internships, fellowships, and entry level positions in these industries. Your resume should be one page. Use strong action verbs and focus on your skills and accomplishments to show (not just tell) an employer that you have the required abilities. Be concise. This guide from biospace provides tips on writing resumes and cover letters, in addition to networking and interviewing advice, specific to the life science profession. See our resume section for more tips and advice. Be energetic, intelligent and aware when writing cover letters. Use specific examples to demonstrate your skills and abilities. The purpose of a cover letter is to convince someone to interview you. For more on cover letters, see our cover letter tips.


For listings beyond our campus recruiting platform, Handshake, visit biotech-careers for internships, for full-time positions, and for both internship and job opportunities.

Select Employers

  • Government: Center for Disease Control | National Institutes of Health | Food and Drug Administration | National Center for Health Statistics
  • For-Profit: Abbott Laboratories | Amgen | Celgene | Eli Lilly | Genentech | Gilead Sciences | Johnson & Johnson | Merck | Novo Nordisk | Pfizer | Schering-Plough