10 Essential Soft Skills for Jobs in the Life Sciences

Written by: Lucy Walters
Published on: 10 Mar 2022

10 Soft Skills for Life Science JobsWhen recruiting within the Life Science industry, there is often an emphasis on what candidates can do in terms of hard skills and technical expertise. However, soft skills are becoming more important than ever in the industry, with recruiters now looking at how candidates could fit in with and contribute to the company culture as well as how long their list of qualifications and achievements is.

When applying for your next job in the Life Sciences, you’ll need to talk about both hard skills and soft skills to stand out against your competition. There may be 100 candidates all with the same technical experience or qualification, yet the way you demonstrate your soft skills can really set you apart.

In this article, we look at 10 soft skills which are essential in the Life Science industry

Communication

The Life Science industry is highly collaborative, so maintaining good levels of communication between all the different groups of stakeholders is key. Regardless of whether you’re talking to a colleague, a government representative, or a patient, you’ll need to be clear and concise and know how to deliver different messages to different groups of people.

Although you should have examples of when you’ve communicated effectively ready for recruiters, the way you behave during your interviews and the rest of the recruitment process will also demonstrate how well you communicate, so be aware of this from the minute you submit your job application.

Creativity and Problem Solving

To be a good problem solver in the Life Science industry, you’ll need a mix of creative and analytical thinking to analyse and interpret data and use this to solve unique challenges. You must be decisive yet thorough, know how to use your initiative and be able to produce multiple solutions before identifying which is the best based on your research and findings.

Problem solving is a skill that most roles in the industry require, so make sure you’ve got examples to hand of how and when you’ve demonstrated this skill; including how you approach, work through, and resolve problems both independently and in a team.

Digital Literacy

Having a good level of digital literacy is more than being able to use a specific digital tool or program, and instead relates to how you understand technology and approach and navigate new tools. Digital innovation is transforming the industry at a faster rate than ever before, so you must be able to adapt to new technologies and use them to meet your specific needs.

Have some clear steps in place that you follow when learning something new, and relay this to recruiters to show that you’re proactive and that you understand the importance of using new tools to enhance your work.

Judgment and Decision Making

In the Life Science industry, decision making is more than just being decisive, but is also about being able to analyse and interpret data to draw the right conclusions, with confidence. This is an especially important skill for Data Scientists who work with huge reams of data daily, and who must work quickly yet thoroughly to draw accurate conclusions from which key decisions can be made.

You must be able to explain how you make tough decisions, and what steps you take to ensure these decisions are based on work that you’ve completed correctly and accurately.

Organisation and Project Management

Project management isn’t just for Project Managers, as everyone in a team will have their own responsibilities and deliverables that they must manage. You need to be able to demonstrate how you manage your time, plan and prioritise your tasks, and manage multiple projects simultaneously. Talk about the tools and techniques you use to stay organised, with examples of how you’ve achieved this in the past.

Teamwork and Leadership

The Life Science industry is highly collaborative, and there aren’t many roles which are entirely independent. Being able to demonstrate good teamwork is a must, regardless of whether your experience is working within a team or leading a team to success.

Being a good team player is all about good communication, respect, empathy and being able to draw on everyone’s key qualities to overcome complex challenges. Being able to talk about conflict resolution and how you handle difficult conversations will also help to demonstrate this skill.

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are more commonly known as ‘people skills’ and describe how you communicate with others. Examples of interpersonal skills include verbal and non-verbal communication, listening and leadership skills, empathy, and the ability to build trust.

These skills are especially important for patient-facing roles within the industry, and you must be able to demonstrate your understanding of these to recruiters and be able to explain how interpersonal skills contribute to positive outcomes in challenging situations.  

Stress Management

The industry has been under huge amounts of pressure in recent years, and recruiters will be aware of this. Instead of lying and telling them that you never feel stressed under pressure, you’ll make more of an impact if you’re open about the practical tools you use to handle pressure, with examples ready of where and how you’ve successfully managed this.

Adaptability

Adaptability has become an even more important skill since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has proven just how quickly our working environments can be forced to change. However, adaptability means more than being able to adjust to a new working environment. It also means being able to adjust to new laws and regulations, new products, new technologies and more. You must be able to demonstrate to recruiters how you cope with change, drawing on the tools you personally use to prepare for change.

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is about being thorough, consistent, and accurate in all the work that you do, regardless of the size of the task or project you’re working on. Being able to demonstrate this skill is vital for roles within the Life Sciences, as the industry relies on the communication of accurate data and science across all fields to create safe, effective, and efficient advancements.

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