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Employment tips for chemistry graduates

So you’ve just graduated with a 2:1 chemistry degree, what next?

Maybe graduation isn’t for a few months yet, but it’s never too early to start looking for your first real job. Laura Durechova talks to the Graduate Recruitment Bureau chemistry consultants about what they typically look for in a fresh chemistry graduate.

Which sectors do chemistry graduates often find work?

The typical career paths that GRB find chemistry graduates go into are

  • Research and development
  • Scientific analysis and investigation
  • Product and process development
  • Education
  • The media and administration

Where does the Graduate Recruitment Bureau typically place chemistry graduates?

We often place chemistry grads into analytical roles such as data analyst, risk analyst, consultancies (management, strategy).

What does the GRB look for in a chemistry graduate?

We deal with graduates that have a 2:1 or above and it all depends on what the client wants. For analytical roles, we look for analytical capabilities such as how much quantitative data handling you’ve had, how much exposure to modelling etc. It all depends on whether the client wants specific modules or subjects or whether they just want numerical graduates. Requirements will vary from company to company so it is a good idea to check your suitability before you apply.

What’s the biggest turn off for dealing with a chemistry graduate?

You have a first and all the theoretical knowledge, but you’ve had no practical experience! Most clients want at least a six month placement before hiring. Many of the large companies offer a structured two-year training programme for graduate entrants.

Competition is fierce…

It is more common for those wishing to enter research and development work to study for a PhD but in large companies it is possible for first-degree graduates to progress in a research career, although having an MSc or PhD may be an advantage for longer-term promotion and professional development.

Laura Durechova is a second year History and American Studies student at the University of Sussex and the Online Content Journalist at GRB.

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About Dr Allison Kirsop

Co-founder of the KirsopLabs project, and Editorial Manager of Neuroendocrinology, a peer-review Medical Sciences journal. Writing for a science blog is a great way for students to get published early in their career and great for a CV. Drop me a line if you'd like to discuss how to get involved with the KLabs project.

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