Saturday, May 5, 2012

Getting your first job in medical writing.

A lot of people ask me how to get a FIRST job in medical writing.

I often hear two questions.

The first question is: "I want a job, but they tell me that I need experience. And they won't give me a job, because they want experience. So, how am I supposed to get experience if they won't give me a job?"
The second question is: "If I take a Medical Writing course, how long will it take me to get a job? Can I get a job right away?"

Allow me to share the answers I share with such inquiries.

First, there's no simple formula of "Do this, and you'll get a job." Getting a start as a medical writer, even if you are an MD PhD with years of work experience, takes consistent and never-ending work.
But there are three efforts you can put forward which do work consistently over time. They are easy to remember, and take some work to do.

First: Get Trained. Pick your writing specialty and get trained in that specialty. You need to know the basics, the formats, the protocols, to be able to compete with other candidates.

Second: Get Experience. Write articles for your own portfolio, so you can offer writing samples when asked. Work for free or reduced cost to get started. Take a low level position to get into a company, and then move up. You CAN build your own experience. I've heard such great stories from people just like you who don't wait for a job, but start building their experience and creating their own opportunities.

Third: Get Known. You have to get your profile out there. Build a complete profile with work and education history and photo on the Medical Writing Network. You really need a photo... the photo helps create connection. Participate in social media discussions anywhere. Develop an email list and send emails. Become familiar to people so that you are top of mind when they have a need. Make an impression online. So many recruiters and employers search online first, so be there when they search.

Remember these three imperatives for starting out in medical writing:
Get trained.
Get experience.
Get known.

They take some work on your part. With time, these efforts pay off!!

Jonathan Marx is Senior Vice President of InQuill Medical Communications and an expert in medical writing, medical writing training, medical marketing, and CME. - CME medical writing and accreditation. - Online, affordable medical writing training - Network of 2000 medical writers.


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