Medical Writing Crash Course
Transitioning from academia? As you're applying to medical writing or communications jobs, use these 4 strategies to secure a position.
Medical communications jobs are something of a sweet spot for those who love writing, flexibility, healthcare, and a competitive medical writing salary. If you're transitioning straight out of graduate school to a medical writing position, it's best to prepare in advance as agencies typically weigh past experiences and samples heavily.
So what is a medical writer? A professional who uses their expertise in communicating scientific data to succinctly summarize key concepts and strategies for various stakeholders.
Here's 4 strategies you should follow to get a position.
Maintain a Diverse Portfolio
If you have a couple of publications on your resume - great. However, you have to keep in mind that for the position you're applying to, there's probably 200 other applicants who have the same background as you. Try to diversify yourself with publications that aren't necessarily academia-related. These could include anything from:
Doing a free piece on healthcare reform in your campus newspaper
Freelancing work for a start-up biotechnology company
Writing a popular article on Medium
The more diverse a portfolio is, the better your chances of securing a medical writing gig. Remember that being able to write for different audiences is a skill in itself, so make use of anything that's a little bit different than technical writing!
Get an Online Presence
If you haven't done so already, it's best to set up a personal website for yourself to show off your writing samples. You can easily categorize your samples based on industry, style, or relevance. A website also helps you express yourself creatively through blog posts - these can really help your application gain traction if your personality shines through.
Finally, a website is your very own marketing tool. Use this to your advantage to secure medical writing freelancing jobs that may become available as visitors browse your samples and become interested in your writing.
If you're in planning to be in medical communications, it's always best to join associations, groups on LinkedIn, or local organizations. These help you learn more about the field and what it takes to succeed, secure freelancing gigs, and get your foot in the door for different agencies. Additionally, this can have the added benefit of being able to find or get discounts on the best medical writing certification or medical writing courses. Remember to make a plan for your job search.
Write for Fun
Writing is a skill that needs to be constantly developed. If you're constantly doing scientific or healthcare articles, it can limit your writing breadth. Try to do a short fiction piece at least once a month. This enables you to think creatively when you're writing so that you can apply it to your more professional articles. It's also a great way to find your own voice when writing. For instance, find a painting or picture you like and use it as a writing prompt. Then, try to do both short and long versions of the story.
Thanks for reading! If you're considering medical communications as a career option and want to see if your resume meets all of the necessary criteria for such a position, you may be interested in doing a free resume assessment on The Academic Blueprint's homepage.