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Medical Communications as a Career? June 29, 2012

Posted by qmresearchers in Career Ideas, Career Talks, Employer Events, Science Communication.

Peter Llewellyn of NetworkPharma gave a talk to PhD students and Postdocs at the Blizard on Thursday 28th June. Peter has a website that brings together a number of resources for life science researchers wanting to work in Medical Communications. It really is an invaluable resource if you are thinking of working in Medical Communications. Peter made a few salient points in his talk:

  • Medical Communications is a competitive field and is difficult to break into. However, it is possible and a number of Postdoctoral Researchers from Queen Mary have secured positions in this field e.g. Vilma Graupner as listed in alumni profiles. See her tips for breaking into the field.
  • Find out as much as you can about the field by attending events such as the one on 13th July at The Institute of Education,  London. These events offer a useful insight into the Medical Communications world and you will meet people who are currently working in the sector. Speak to them and find out as much information as you can.
  • If a junior position such as ‘editorial assistant’ comes up within an organisation….take it! Getting a foot in the door will mean you have significantly increased your chances of securing a more senior role in the future.
  • There are two main roles within Medical Communications called Medical Writer and Accounts Manager. Find out the differences between the roles and think about which (if any) will suit you. If you like working face to face with clients and winning business you might be more suited to an Accounts Manager role. If you are a stickler for detail and a pedant then Medical writing might be a better bet.
  • Think about targeted, speculative applications (letter and CV). Different organisations will have different views about whether they accept these types of applications but it is always worth a try.
  • Medical Communication Companies are all very different in their size and culture. Research the company on-line and try to speak to people working in the company to get a ‘flavour’ of what it is like. You can find Medical Communication companies listed on linked in. Use the ‘search company’ tab and refine your search to companies in the UK, in the pharmaceutical industry. Put ‘Medical Communications’ in the search box. You can define the size of the company that you are searching for. Generally, you may have more luck sending speculative applications to smaller businesses than larger ones. There are is also a useful map here showing where Medical Communication Companies are located.

In summary, if you are thinking of a career in Medical Communications there are lots of things that you can do. Start by attending the event on 13th July at The institute of Education.  Even if you come away thinking that this career is not for you, this is an important part of your career exploration!



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