Great advice for getting started as a medical writer

I’ve been meaning to post a link to “Chain the Wolf“, a great blog about Medical Writing, for a while now.  I’ve emailed back and forth with the author a few times over the past few years, and I was thrilled when she started putting some of her thoughts about her career path in medical writing and medical education to screen.

In her own words,

I’m currently a full-time freelance medical writer and consultant (2.5 years and counting). Most of my clients are medical communication companies and the projects are usually in the area of oncology, although I also dabble in neuroscience from time to time.

But how did I get here and why do I have this blog? I really struggled at a few points before getting to where I am now. (. . .)

I eventually thought about medical writing, so once again I had to seek out information. How does one get a job in that industry? Would it or would it not be a good career for me? I did everything from post angst filled questions on a forum board (Hi Ask Metafilter!), conducted many informational interviews, and after taking a few more steps, I was hired at a medical communication company.I still wasn’t quite happy as my real goal was to eventually become a freelance medical writer. For some reason, making the leap from fulltime employee at a company to an independent freelancer was difficult. Sometimes it was facing a fear. I also had to learn new skills and few people have training in how to run a business, even if it is simple. I was able to successfully make the jump but again, I do wish there had been useful resources for me. I still look for “how to run a business” type resources, and there isn’t really high quality information out there.

So I am creating this blog as a resource for people who like me, had questions; in a way, I am trying to pay it forward and put up this information for other people like the old me.

‘Chain the Wolf” (a phrase which refers to managing your fear) is fairly new, but has already featured many useful posts on getting started in medical communications, freelancing, and alternate career paths for PhDs.  It’s a great resource and I am very happy to recommend it.

Posted: August 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Chemistry job prospects getting better in California

A recent article at Chemical & Engineering News summarizes some encouraging indicators that the job market may be picking up for scientists with a chemistry background, at least on the west coast:

the employment picture for some chemists on the West Coast may finally be brightening. Although growth in job volume for chemists was “flat to declining” last year, it is now “definitely picking up,” according to Alan E. Edwards, a senior director for the Americas Product Group in the scientific arm of Kelly Services, a staffing services company. “I would say that California is climbing back and is now well out of the trough it was in.

According to a 2011 survey of biotechnology CEOs, a majority of firms in this area plan to increase their workforce over the next two years.  However, many of the jobs will be short-term in nature, so chemists may need to get used to the idea of jumping from contract to contract. And while the demand for analytical and quality control chemists is increasing, medicinal chemists still find themselves competing with cheaper, internationally outsourced labor.  As a result, many are exploring ways to take their skills from the benchtop and are looking at other career prospects, such as business development.  As one says, the switch to a technical sales support role

“has been a great learning experience and helped to broaden my skill set—something that is critical to my career,” he says. “The landscape of R&D and manufacturing is changing faster than ever, so the ability to wear multiple hats and contribute across classical departmental boundaries is key.”

Posted: July 1st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Chemistry | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »