When transition from academia to pharma industry, you will be hired to solve problems.
There is a reason that they are looking to hire someone. The company has a problem of some type. Maybe it’s because that they have more work than can be completed by the staff at hand. Maybe it’s because projects have gone in a direction such that they require new skills, new expertise, and or new view.
You are that new skill, expertise and view point. You need to see yourself from that perspective. You are an agent of positive change and value. When interacting with pharma professionals, while it is important to describe how you can fit into the culture and norms of the company, you need to understand that you are a unique value to the company.
An important way to communicate this is to highlight your ability to solve problems using your analytical skills. Your ability to analyze data and solve problems will help you stand apart from the pack. But it is important that you know how to describe your analytical skills.
Understand that your greatest asset is your ability to think critically, period. It is not your publications, grants, awards, etc. Those are indicators of your ability to think critically and add value. It is what we use to assess and determine value. But you must understand that by itself, it will not help you in your transition because whatever you have accomplished adds no value to the current work.
It is most likely that you will not be asked to solve the exact same problem that the company has. What companies are hoping for is that your ability to think critically about problems in the past will help them solve their current problems, and that your skill set will be a close match to what they need.
As a result, your greatest asset is the process you used to analyze problems and how it leads to solutions. You have learned to do this during your graduate school and postdoc training. Now, your challenge is to best communicate this to pharma professionals. You should bring that talent and skill with you to pharma so that you can add value. So when talking pharma professionals, it is your ability to describe the process you went through to solve the problem, not the impact factor, or the publication itself.
Finally, you need to bring your creativity with you to pharma. I define creativity as the ability to see relationships between your previous experiences and the task at hand. It is your ability to see a problem from a different filter, or to see a process happening from a different perspective. It is the ability to apply your academic and scientific training in new and exciting ways. You should try to describe the creativity you added when solving the problems in your grants and papers from academia. Was there a novel way to view a particular process that was important in your publication? Was it a novel technology you used? What problem did you face and how did you solve it creatively?