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What Role (or Roles) Does Social Media Play in Your Career?  

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Dick Woodward
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July 22, 2019 10:49 pm  

As Dave Jensen recently pointed out, this forum has been around for almost 25 years, and a lot of things have changed. As I was mulling over some thoughts on new topics, I realized that there is one thing that barely existed in the early years of the forum – social media. This got me to wondering – how do the graduate students, post-docs and professors of 2019 use social media? How do you use it to help your career - e.g. networking, job searches and the like? How is it (or is it) used as an adjunct to your research? I think that it would be useful for the forum readers to share their ideas on best practices for the various social media platforms.

The question about the use of social media in your research has triggered another question. Some time ago, I heard a story (possibly apocryphal) about a patent application being disallowed because someone involved with the project was posting information about the project on a social media account (Facebook was mentioned). The upshot was that the patent application was rejected because of public disclosure prior to the application, which in the US will prevent the patent from being awarded. While I could not confirm this, I did find an occasion where a patent application was rejected due to prior disclosure archived by the “Wayback Machine” (see Ex Parte Shaouy).

So – I have three questions for our readers:

  1. How do you use social media to advance your career?
  2. How, if at all, do you use social media as an adjunct to your research?
  3. What sort of intellectual property training have you received from your institution in terms of confidentiality, prior disclosure and the like? (This may turn into a topic of its own if there is sufficient interest.)

I look forward to some interesting comments.

Dick

This topic was modified 11 months ago 2 times by Dick Woodward

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Dave Jensen
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July 23, 2019 3:06 am  

Hi Dick,

Great question. I hope that the forum community can come in with viewpoints on this one. The problem for me is that I don't have any perspective on the Intellectual Property aspects of social media, other than it does make sense that you don't "talk about your work," whether it be giving a seminar or posting on Facebook. I hope this is drummed into young scientists. When in the interview process, I'll sometimes find client companies a bit too eager to ask candidates about their work, and candidates a bit too eager to show they are a fit, and sometimes that's a bad combination for the confidentiality of the work being done. Do something like that in a Facebook post and it's the same as posting it publicly, I would think!

But with regards to careers, social media has changed the job search dramatically. You can put up profiles of yourself (LinkedIn), or set up automated emails from job sites when positions are advertised that may fit you. Dick, I'm sure you had to thumb through journals to find your job ads ... sure is easier now. 

I would like ask the forum though, aside from LinkedIn, is there another place to put profiles and to garner possible job leads? For a while, I was getting invites to other "LinkedIn wannabe's" and that has died off completely now. Is there any competition? Anyone sense that there's a better way to do things?

 

Dave

Dave Jensen, Founder and Moderator
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Dick Woodward
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July 23, 2019 2:52 pm  

Dave:

Actually, I did not have to thumb through journals at all. As best I can remember, I got all of my jobs (even my first one) through my network - either directly (through someone I knew) or indirectly (someone gave my name to a recruiter).

Networking was important even back in the Dark Ages!

Dick


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DX
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July 29, 2019 3:28 pm  

For me, LinkedIn is the be all end all to social media and career.  I have had 3 jobs from recruiters who contacted me on LinkedIn. 

Now for the rest no. But be advised the rest is a gray line.  Behavior on Social Media is one that is looked at by employers, beyond LinkedIn. Easy, and simple as a google name search.  There is good and bad.  Bad if one is posting things that are not in the interest of the company - hell its a reason I remain Anonymous - I speak the truth and many won’t like it - yes the sad, fearful, coward corporate vail.  

Not to say us on the corporate side can’t engage social media one just had to be careful how and ensure it is done constructively in the eyes of a future employment field and sector. You can but .. cautiously. 

As pharma company’s see social media as super high risk many have it super regulated and processed to the point where the boundaries of innovation with digital and social media can be killed. Yes you see posts but understand those posts have been legally reviewed and processed 1000 times before posting.     My partner works for one of the largest employers in the world.... guess what she can’t do..... click “like” on any company posting on Social Media.  Again one of the top 5 Pharmas in the World.  

So that said, beyond LinkedIn - my advice - caution on social media.

 

dX

 

 


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TFinn
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July 29, 2019 10:20 pm  

My experience is similar to Dx's----linked in is where it's at for pharma and communication jobs.  Perhaps not the only outlet, but the only one I spend time on. On the flip side, it's a resource that many recruiters will cultivate to identify and reach out to potential job candidates.  It would be interesting to know what people of varying job roles with an advanced degree in a basic science use--or if they use anything at all.  I am generally of the opinion that most people ignore the request of recruiters until they really need them.  I've started listening to everyone.  I don't need a job right now.  But I also didn't need a job when I applied to my current position.  The most interesting positions seems to come about when you're not expecting it.  I've also heard that physicians prefer to use twitter more than linked in for job stuff.  I have no idea how that works, but then again, linked in is really the only social media I use.  

I think corporations are really confused about what to do with social media. I work for the largest company in my industry---I would mention it, but I'm prohibited from doing so (lol!) on any form of social media---and we're just starting to dig into twitter, facebook, and linked in. What's fun and interesting for the individual when it comes to expressing his or herself, is resulting in very challenging questions at the corporation/company level.  The effective use of social media tools is an ever evolving experiment.  

 


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DX
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July 30, 2019 2:52 pm  

Hi TFinn,

well few points.  A couple months ago some old dear friends visited me, one, a full professor at a US University.  We hadn’t seen each other in 15 or so years and we discussed the LinkedIn website.  He noted for his career it was useless so much so he deleted his profile - there were other “channels” that was more beneficial to him as an academic to include you old fashion conferences and emails (he only 10 years my senior)- I related how important it was and is, for my career.  Maybe he’s not the best example but consider we diverged on paths him a bit earlier than me - he’s at the top of his ladder and well for me, I’m exactly where I want to be so top of my ladder and where LinkedIn was not key for him but for me.

Regarding Pharma, look I’ve been on many brand teams, Lead my own and dive my own work streams and functional strategy.  The digital question of social media comes up ALL the time and at least at product / brand level well it does not go far.  For many reasons - one is risk, for example cowardly views of managing negative experiences and views of brand and even company.  Another is Pharmacovilegence (ie monitoring and thus acting on potential adverse events).  Then the issue of ROI, and a problem we run into here is no one can agree on what the key objective of such social media engagement is , then everything falls apart from what CSF and KPIs that can be looked at.  Then, there is cost.  Social media is not cheap on many fronts and well if one can’t define what a good KPI is hell i fear for the Brand Manager who goes back an says I had 1000 clicks and can’t speak to the relevance of it ROI wise after spending 80 K.  Well I was that Brand Manager and trust me i analytics the “fecal matter” out of the metrics.   There are other issues amount far to many to list , thought yet another is organizational structure - and so and so on.

Now some companies and teams have it right - they have a clear objective . And most importantly they have a tolerable amount of risk they are willing to take - and they do good.  So it can be done - at cost and Lower risk acceptance - all with -‘... knowing what one wants.

Now another fact, Pharma wise, social media is not as impactful as the standard channels of communication such as a sales rep call or a MSL contact or a Congress - kinda called like an impact equivalence, so trying to benchmark the value of a touchpoint if a channel say to a standard like a congress - then you see social media way down. So back to, if you have limited budget do you invest in social media project or sales rep tooling up project? I’ll take the latter.  But depends as mentioned.

Corporate people who have leveraged social media for career have done so by the backing of the company and sometimes limited to more higher ranking folk who find themselves in the spotlight but certainty not early in career and depends on role etc etc etc. Point is they are not solo.  Communications controllled by that legal team.

Now some are active on social media on wider non company things - so one can comment on data disclosure of another company or other industry items - for example, I know a head of function that does this well -  all constructive and if critique very very very clear and crisp as to why - he’s great actually and it has not stopped him from advancing well in his career.  But I knew him when he was just rank and file so he earned it and he delivered his career.

Hope this helps 

 

DX

 

note to the edit; and yes I agree messed up on policies that limit employee social media engagement . 

 

 

 

 

This post was modified 10 months ago 2 times by DX

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Dave Jensen
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July 30, 2019 5:38 pm  

DX,

I think your Professor friend is wrong. I've filled two academic postings (senior staff, Directorships, Department heads, and so on) in the last few months. I wouldn't have found my candidates if they had not been on LinkedIn. 

LinkedIn is essential. There's no other word for it. You're not on LinkedIn, you don't exist.

 

Dave

Dave Jensen, Founder and Moderator
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TFinn
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July 30, 2019 6:26 pm  
Posted by: DX

 

Regarding Pharma, look I’ve been on many brand teams, Lead my own and dive my own work streams and functional strategy.  The digital question of social media comes up ALL the time and at least at product / brand level well it does not go far.  For many reasons - one is risk, for example cowardly views of managing negative experiences and views of brand and even company.  Another is Pharmacovilegence (ie monitoring and thus acting on potential adverse events).  Then the issue of ROI, and a problem we run into here is no one can agree on what the key objective of such social media engagement is , then everything falls apart from what CSF and KPIs that can be looked at.  Then, there is cost.  Social media is not cheap on many fronts and well if one can’t define what a good KPI is hell i fear for the Brand Manager who goes back an says I had 1000 clicks and can’t speak to the relevance of it ROI wise after spending 80 K.  Well I was that Brand Manager and trust me i analytics the “fecal matter” out of the metrics.   There are other issues amount far to many to list , thought yet another is organizational structure - and so and so on.

Now some companies and teams have it right - they have a clear objective . And most importantly they have a tolerable amount of risk they are willing to take - and they do good.  So it can be done - at cost and Lower risk acceptance - all with -‘... knowing what one wants.

Now another fact, Pharma wise, social media is not as impactful as the standard channels of communication such as a sales rep call or a MSL contact or a Congress - kinda called like an impact equivalence, so trying to benchmark the value of a touchpoint if a channel say to a standard like a congress - then you see social media way down. So back to, if you have limited budget do you invest in social media project or sales rep tooling up project? I’ll take the latter.  But depends as mentioned.

Corporate people who have leveraged social media for career have done so by the backing of the company and sometimes limited to more higher ranking folk who find themselves in the spotlight but certainty not early in career and depends on role etc etc etc. Point is they are not solo.  Communications controllled by that legal team.

Now some are active on social media on wider non company things - so one can comment on data disclosure of another company or other industry items - for example, I know a head of function that does this well -  all constructive and if critique very very very clear and crisp as to why - he’s great actually and it has not stopped him from advancing well in his career.  But I knew him when he was just rank and file so he earned it and he delivered his career.

Hope this helps 

 

DX

 

 

I think regarding social media and pharma, it ultimately depends on your goals and target audience. Direct to HCP is very different than direct to patient/caregiver. Certainly sales reps and MSLs still exist for a reason. In my world of medical education, pharma still spend hundreds of thousands to support education to a comparatively (vs online only) small number of practitioners, many of which already know what your faculty are going to discuss.  The metrics side of things is pretty interesting--click rates, time on page, etc.  There are a lot of clever ways that social media can be used.  Your medical affairs folks (as opposed to product-specific people) at pharma are often involved in the multiple outlets.  Perhaps those bigger companies where people are siloed off would benefit from more intradepartmental communication.  


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TFinn
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July 30, 2019 6:32 pm  
Posted by: Dave Jensen

DX,

I think your Professor friend is wrong. I've filled two academic postings (senior staff, Directorships, Department heads, and so on) in the last few months. I wouldn't have found my candidates if they had not been on LinkedIn. 

LinkedIn is essential. There's no other word for it. You're not on LinkedIn, you don't exist.

 

Dave

From my own experiences, I agree with you Dave.  Having said that, the medical congresses I go to (American Academy of Neurology annual mtg, Consortium of MS Centers Annual mtg, American Headache Society annual mtg, etc) are still choc full of employment offers for hospital/clinic/research work--literally paper fliers on bulletin boards.  When I was doing bench work, the large Society for Neuroscience meeting was the same way---not sure if it has changed.  In addition, when you get to a certain position in certain fields, you will often know everyone of importance, so the linked-in presence isn't such an advantage.  I personally like linked in because I don't know everyone, I don't plan to know everyone, and I'm a bit of a horizontal (or at least diagonal!) job hopper.  I'm always looking for something engaging and interesting, not so interested in being VP or group head of a job I've done for a while.  Linked in is a fantastic way to get things moving in areas where your experiences may not be obvious to hiring managers.    


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Dave Jensen
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July 30, 2019 6:47 pm  

I wish it weren't the case, believe me. LinkedIn now that they are owned by a monster conglomerate is an abusive, egotistical operation that makes you feel like you're fighting some kind of bureaucracy whenever you have an issue to deal with. It's a nightmare. But, even in areas where you're reached the top of the heap, there are reasons to be there. For example, in a small but global scientific niche. If you consider plant breeding, for example. Go to the PAG meeting in January each year and there are a zillion postings of jobs. And, everyone in their niche whether its strawberry breeders or maize breeders, knows the key people in THEIR field. But these organizations often can't fill positions despite the major names they have working for them . . .so, they hire contractors to either research the field and provide names or actual recruiters to go get them. And then when they are involved, the first place they're going to go is LinkedIn. And they'll find good candidates there. You can be the biggest big-shot in strawberry breeding the world over, but if a recruiter is doing the work and you are not on LI, you stand a really big chance of not even getting a call about it. Hence . . . EVERYONE needs a LI profile, even the gurus.

Dave

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DX
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July 30, 2019 9:55 pm  
Posted by: Dave Jensen

I wish it weren't the case, believe me. LinkedIn now that they are owned by a monster conglomerate is an abusive, egotistical operation that makes you feel like you're fighting some kind of bureaucracy whenever you have an issue to deal with. It's a nightmare. But, even in areas where you're reached the top of the heap, there are reasons to be there. For example, in a small but global scientific niche. If you consider plant breeding, for example. Go to the PAG meeting in January each year and there are a zillion postings of jobs. And, everyone in their niche whether its strawberry breeders or maize breeders, knows the key people in THEIR field. But these organizations often can't fill positions despite the major names they have working for them . . .so, they hire contractors to either research the field and provide names or actual recruiters to go get them. And then when they are involved, the first place they're going to go is LinkedIn. And they'll find good candidates there. You can be the biggest big-shot in strawberry breeding the world over, but if a recruiter is doing the work and you are not on LI, you stand a really big chance of not even getting a call about it. Hence . . . EVERYONE needs a LI profile, even the gurus.

Dave

Hi Dave,

whether he is wrong or not is specific to his career and stage of life. Consider he is full professor - tenured - knows who who in his field that’s relevant (he’s among top in his narrow field), has multiple funding sources and has zero interest in uprooting his family and or going anywhere but where he is - so as noted he can careless about being hunted or visable. 

I didn’t say I agree but I guess if you’re a person like him one can care less.  Go figure.

 


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DX
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July 30, 2019 10:20 pm  
Posted by: TFinn
Posted by: DX

 

Regarding Pharma, look I’ve been on many brand teams, Lead my own and dive my own work streams and functional strategy.  The digital question of social media comes up ALL the time and at least at product / brand level well it does not go far.  For many reasons - one is risk, for example cowardly views of managing negative experiences and views of brand and even company.  Another is Pharmacovilegence (ie monitoring and thus acting on potential adverse events).  Then the issue of ROI, and a problem we run into here is no one can agree on what the key objective of such social media engagement is , then everything falls apart from what CSF and KPIs that can be looked at.  Then, there is cost.  Social media is not cheap on many fronts and well if one can’t define what a good KPI is hell i fear for the Brand Manager who goes back an says I had 1000 clicks and can’t speak to the relevance of it ROI wise after spending 80 K.  Well I was that Brand Manager and trust me i analytics the “fecal matter” out of the metrics.   There are other issues amount far to many to list , thought yet another is organizational structure - and so and so on.

Now some companies and teams have it right - they have a clear objective . And most importantly they have a tolerable amount of risk they are willing to take - and they do good.  So it can be done - at cost and Lower risk acceptance - all with -‘... knowing what one wants.

Now another fact, Pharma wise, social media is not as impactful as the standard channels of communication such as a sales rep call or a MSL contact or a Congress - kinda called like an impact equivalence, so trying to benchmark the value of a touchpoint if a channel say to a standard like a congress - then you see social media way down. So back to, if you have limited budget do you invest in social media project or sales rep tooling up project? I’ll take the latter.  But depends as mentioned.

Corporate people who have leveraged social media for career have done so by the backing of the company and sometimes limited to more higher ranking folk who find themselves in the spotlight but certainty not early in career and depends on role etc etc etc. Point is they are not solo.  Communications controllled by that legal team.

Now some are active on social media on wider non company things - so one can comment on data disclosure of another company or other industry items - for example, I know a head of function that does this well -  all constructive and if critique very very very clear and crisp as to why - he’s great actually and it has not stopped him from advancing well in his career.  But I knew him when he was just rank and file so he earned it and he delivered his career.

Hope this helps 

 

DX

 

 

I think regarding social media and pharma, it ultimately depends on your goals and target audience. Direct to HCP is very different than direct to patient/caregiver. Certainly sales reps and MSLs still exist for a reason. In my world of medical education, pharma still spend hundreds of thousands to support education to a comparatively (vs online only) small number of practitioners, many of which already know what your faculty are going to discuss.  The metrics side of things is pretty interesting--click rates, time on page, etc.  There are a lot of clever ways that social media can be used.  Your medical affairs folks (as opposed to product-specific people) at pharma are often involved in the multiple outlets.  Perhaps those bigger companies where people are siloed off would benefit from more intradepartmental communication.  

Hi Tflin

Absolutely right,  (FYI I’m a TA Medical Director).   And yes we spend a lot of money on a narrowed albeit targeted reached but as you know there is a reason and strategy behind  that.  So to your point - as Med Aff strategy and operations owner (and budget holder) I’m refraining on spend for social media or other digital channels at HCPs based on my prior experience as a Marketeer - as you noted - all then impressions and clicks and blah blah did not impress my management - that was working with a very very very very big Medical Education provider that you’re probably aware of who would not give me the metrics I was asking for.  Patients and caregiver, I agree, a  different story and I have budget applied there - and with a 3rd party vendor Im trying to move forward - I can tell you it’s slow going.  My task force (I Lead it as it’s my activity includes Legal as well as Ethics and Compliance) so far even though I have what I’d say is OK support - it’s still a hurdle - OMG reviews and process and ... it makes me regret that  I engaged in that.   Hell, i much prefer focusing my clinical studies, pubs, congresses, organization training (including MSLs) and reviewing and approving the stuff Marketing is doing.... including feeble attempts at digital.   Hence my view I live this everyday. And I did it on both sides commercial and medical. 

But for my career I’m not using the social media to Advance myself right?  It may be possible that i may not be even able to click “like” on a tactic that I’m driving!   Corporate veil.

So LinkedIn - I always advocate for it as noted it got me jobs... including my current one!

DX

 

 

 


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TFinn
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August 1, 2019 2:10 pm  
Posted by: DX

 

Absolutely right,  (FYI I’m a TA Medical Director).   And yes we spend a lot of money on a narrowed albeit targeted reached but as you know there is a reason and strategy behind  that.  So to your point - as Med Aff strategy and operations owner (and budget holder) I’m refraining on spend for social media or other digital channels at HCPs based on my prior experience as a Marketeer - as you noted - all then impressions and clicks and blah blah did not impress my management - that was working with a very very very very big Medical Education provider that you’re probably aware of who would not give me the metrics I was asking for.  Patients and caregiver, I agree, a  different story and I have budget applied there - and with a 3rd party vendor Im trying to move forward - I can tell you it’s slow going.  My task force (I Lead it as it’s my activity includes Legal as well as Ethics and Compliance) so far even though I have what I’d say is OK support - it’s still a hurdle - OMG reviews and process and ... it makes me regret that  I engaged in that.   Hell, i much prefer focusing my clinical studies, pubs, congresses, organization training (including MSLs) and reviewing and approving the stuff Marketing is doing.... including feeble attempts at digital.   Hence my view I live this everyday. And I did it on both sides commercial and medical. 

But for my career I’m not using the social media to Advance myself right?  It may be possible that i may not be even able to click “like” on a tactic that I’m driving!   Corporate veil.

So LinkedIn - I always advocate for it as noted it got me jobs... including my current one!

DX

 

 

 

Well, this just got interesting.  One of the benefits of supporting CME in particular is the potential to get a rich data set of outcomes.  Not just the very generic online metrics that rule non-accredited education/communication (or worse, random social media posts), but detail about what people think about the education, an opportunity for feedback from individual learners, and objective information about knowledge gain.  Depending on the spend and nature of the education, it's also possible to link outcomes to medical records (like QI and/or PI initiatives).  You don't get that level of metrics with many other forms of communication. 

If you're talking about large CME providers, I work for the largest in the US.  So you may be referring to my company. If it is my company, I am surprised to hear about your problems in getting outcomes. I would need to know more, but the bottom line is, if you pay for a certain level of outcomes you should get them.  The data isn't always pretty, but you paid for it and should see it.  If there is a PM function on this site, I'm happy to take this conversation offline as they say.  

As an aside, I've always been interested in the medical affairs side of things and am hoping to make a jump to that side at some point.  I'm not in need of a job, and for CME, I have a pretty sweet gig, but I'd make the jump ASAP if something interesting came my way.  I've spoken to several recruiters, but I don't think they are generally very skilled in speaking to the cross suitability of candidates from other areas of the communication world---it's likely just easier to keep people in the industries where they currently work.  


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DX
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August 1, 2019 3:18 pm  

Ha ha TFinn, small world!  Yes ha ha maybe the same online  CME provider - if so you aware probably well aware of some fustrations your clients have had.   I did this about 3 years ago now so check the records to see if it’s your company.  But I’ve discussed this throw a few teams and some folks in other companies and many shared my experiences on getting metrics. Aye aye won’t discuss further. 

On the European side where I am CME is a bit fragmented to say best certainly nowhere near where the US as one country is - different companies have different policies to how the support education via varied   CME outlets (including universities), my last company was quiet liberal where as my curent is quiet restricted - being in Global and being ex US one can find oneself explaining the merits of CME providers/channels - fear of lost of control of communication messages is one recurring issue for the misinformed teams. or those with poor KOL relationships, you do find Medical Directors in the Pharma with very poor relationship compencies amazingly enough c’est la vie. 

You can make a leap of course, your in a communications role I would say so leverage your strengths there. In the US CME can be part of a isolated/independent corporate function often linked to grants administration. Try there.  Or look for Medical Communications roles where at first Publications Management is not in scope for the job role and responsibilities as that has some technical intricate details that need to be learned if you were to progress there.  Or good old MSL route to get your customer facing box checked.  You are right recruiters in general are not very good in my experience with cross function or sector jumps. They are too focus finding a person with the exact same profile for the job.  Sooooo.....Try networking directly with those who are in the role you want.  

As you say you like where you are the n that good! Plenty of good things to be done on your side and certainly a nice spot to land for science careers.  And seriously enjoy it!  If you have no pressure to go and you’re developing - camp out for a bit.

DX

 

 

 

 

 


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DX
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August 1, 2019 3:26 pm  

Ha ha TFinn, small world!  Yes ha ha maybe the same online  CME provider - if so you aware probably well aware of some fustrations your clients have had.   I did this about 3 years ago now so check the records to see if it’s your company.  But I’ve discussed this past  a few teams and some folks in other companies and many shared my experiences on getting metrics.  Well we question the impact of this specific provider on our impact map.  Aye aye won’t discuss further. 

On the European side where I am CME is a bit fragmented to say best certainly nowhere near where the US as one country is - different companies have different policies to how the support education via varied   CME outlets (including universities), my last company was quiet liberal where as my curent is quiet restricted - being in Global and being ex US one can find oneself explaining the merits of CME providers/channels - fear of lost of control of communication messages is one recurring issue for the misinformed teams. or those with poor KOL relationships, you do find Medical Directors in the Pharma with very poor relationship compencies amazingly enough c’est la vie. 

You can make a leap of course, your in a communications role I would say so leverage your strengths there. In the US CME can be part of a isolated/independent corporate function often linked to grants administration. Try there.  Or look for Medical Communications roles where at first Publications Management is not in scope for the job role and responsibilities as that has some technical intricate details that need to be learned if you were to progress there.  Or good old MSL route to get your customer facing box checked.  You are right recruiters in general are not very good in my experience with cross function or sector jumps. They are too focus finding a person with the exact same profile for the job.  Sooooo.....Try networking directly with those who are in the role you want.  

As you say you like where you are the n that good! Plenty of good things to be done on your side and certainly a nice spot to land for science careers.  And seriously enjoy it!  If you have no pressure to go and you’re developing - camp out for a bit.

DX

 

NB to the edit:  also for your career and you expertises , if if the biggest fails I have seen, if you come to Global or International is thinking US CME views and practices apply ex-US.  That goes for a lot of things US but don’t make that mistake - in my last company we had a new Global Med Ed function, got a US CME expert and well that person was a fail, couldn’t get thier US mindset modified.  They didn’t last long.  

 

 

 


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