There is definitely a cyclical nature to hiring Medical Science Liaisons and Medical Affairs professionals. Typically, peak season for recruitment and hiring is from March to June, which is the time-frame in and around which MSLs collect their annual bonuses. However, Medical Science Liaison hiring continues throughout the year, regardless of the seasonal highs and lows. As we enter the summer months and intense hiring activity tends to slow down, one question you may be asking yourself is, “How do I continue to maintain a productive job search during this slower period?”
To help answer this question, I polled the Medical Affairs recruiters on my team at The Carolan Group to gain a variety of firsthand insights from them, including best practices and advice for active job-seekers that they would give to MSLs to be successful.
It is important to stay focused on your goals. Set time aside to scour the internet for openings and stay organized. If there are certain companies you’ve had on your radar, make those your starting point before branching out. Additionally, the slower summer months can be a great time to think of your job search as more of a networking opportunity. Sending out connection invites to MSLs or Hiring Managers at those companies and interacting with their LinkedIn posts could be a great way to stand out from the crowd.
Best advice for those navigating a job search in the summer months is to exercise patience. Maintain a mindset of diligence and be sure you level set expectations that people may not share your same level of urgency. Remember to do your part by being responsive, engaged, and do your best to keep the process moving. Follow up promptly with thank you notes, express continued interest and ask about next steps after each round.
Be consistent and maintain good job search habits. Just because it is the summer, don’t let that change the way you navigate your job search. Whether it is January or July, maintain a consistent daily effort of job search activities that will keep bringing you new opportunities and potential next steps in the process. Don’t be influenced by what others may say or do. Hiring never ceases so keep researching roles, networking, speaking to recruiters and of course applying to positions consistently until you land that next role.
The summer months are an ideal time to thoroughly edit all of your interview/resume materials and make sure you are well-prepared to apply when that perfect job comes along. Make sure that your resume is 100% up-to-date and accurate – check your dates, add any responsibilities that you’ve acquired in the past few months or year, and edit your Professional Summary if you’ve gained any new responsibilities or experience. Summer is a great time to take a step back, do some self-reflection on what you truly want in your next job, and to make sure your materials are prepared – this way, you’ll be ready to apply to the right position when it surfaces.
It is extremely important to network and connect with current MSLs, including those in your home city, as well as colleagues from current or previous organizations. Check LinkedIn to see who has started at a company recently to see if they may have any connections to new opportunities. Lastly, because there are a finite number of positions available, be selective. Don’t just send your resume into the “black hole,” i.e. any ATS system or LinkedIn job posting out there. Make sure you are really tailoring your application and CV to each job if you have the relevant experience. It can make a big difference in your response rate.
Excellent advice from a talented group of experienced Medical Affairs and MSL recruiters. If I can add, timing is EVERYTHING. We never know when that perfect role is going to come along, so even though there are peak hiring months for MSLs, the ideal position could very well come along in July or August. I agree with all the great advice from my team and certainly wish all the Medical Science Liaison job-seekers out there a very safe and successful summer. Happy hunting!!
Is there a reason to postpone or hold off on a job search?
That question can only be answered individually. It is really up to the person to decide how badly you want to find a new role. It is important to keep in mind that if you are searching for a new position in the summer months, you will likely wind up with a start date of July, August, or September – maybe even October. In which case, unless your new employer offers a sign-on bonus, you may be walking away from your annual bonus which you have already worked at least half the year towards.
Forbes.job Founding Recruiter Tom Caravela has 30 years of pharmaceutical industry experience and is the Founder and Managing Partner of The Carolan Group and Host of the MSL Talk podcast. Founded in 2002, The Carolan Group is a leading pharmaceutical and biotech search firm specializing in Medical Affairs and Medical Science Liaison recruitment. Mr. Caravela is responsible for leading a team of expert recruiters and account managers in client expansions for various levels of field-based and in-house Medical Affairs professionals including Medical Science Liaisons, MSL Leaders, Managed Care/HEOR Liaisons, Medical Directors as well as various other medical and clinical affairs roles. With almost three decades of pharmaceutical industry experience, he is a frequent speaker and Medical Affairs Consultant for clients, advisory boards and industry meetings. Mr. Caravela’s strategic interests focus on hiring, retention and career development for the field based MSL role.
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