Diploma Clinical Research & Medical WritingMedical & Scientific Writing

First Steps to Becoming a Medical Writer: Think Creative!

Many young graduates who want to become medical writers often face a “Catch 22” situation. They are often puzzled by the question: ‘How to become a medical writer?’. Although the number of advertisements for hiring medical writers are increasing they are at the same time asking for writers experienced in medical or pharmaceutical industry writing. How can one gain entry into this profession when no one is willing to offer you a position due to lack of experience? This is a question that many want to ask! The only way one can counter such a situation is by thinking differently and by approaching your job hunt from a new perspective.

Even though advertisements for various medical or regulatory writing positions may ask for experience in that area, this should not stop you from applying. Often employers are willing to hire candidates with knowledge of a particular therapeutic area and a proven academic track record. If an advertisement does not specify any therapeutic area preference, visit the employers website to know more about them. You may be surprised to find a match between your own and the prospective employers expertise. After applying for the position, always call the contact numbers provided and discuss how your academic and research background (if any) compliment the position that has been advertised. Also send across any sample writing or publications that you may have to support your application.

Many pharmaceutical and contract research companies in the UK offer limited duration internships to qualified individuals to obtain the required industry experience. Visiting the website of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) may prove helpful in this regard as they have a database of companies that offer such placement support. It pays to plan early for such placement opportunities, so start as soon as possible.

You must also think of volunteering for writing support jobs which may provide you an opportunity to learn more about editing and proofreading. In such jobs you can get familiar with many documents related to the pharmaceutical industry. Many employers arrange for regular training sessions for their staff and should this be the case with you, take full advantage of such programs and keep all certificates that you may obtain. Update your resume with all training’s that you may attend.

If you have time and funds, invest in a medical writing training program. Having this on your CV will exhibit your commitment to a career as a medical writer. Based on your preference you can choose between online medical writing training programs and one to two day workshops. Many workshops are organised by the European Medical Writers Association (EMWA) as well as the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). You must regularly visit the websites of these associations as many vacancies are often posted on them.

Should you be one of those people looking for their first position as a medical writer, do not be disheartened by the requirement for experience which you may come across in many job adverts. Due to lack of skills and unawareness of this domain not many people are available to fill all medical writing positions being advertised. If you have an eye for detail and a passion for writing, careful planning and efforts in the right directions will surely turn your dream into reality.

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