If you’re working (or aspiring to work) in Medical Affairs, count yourself lucky! We are fortunate that our industry utilizes LinkedIn to the extent it does, and although social media platforms can be a bit draining from time to time, it’s critical that you keep your LinkedIn profile polished! Of course, this becomes increasingly more important if you’re ACTIVELY looking to make a job change. LinkedIn is a great resource for Medical Affairs for networking, job postings, and news/information; it’s one of the essential tools you should have in your job search toolkit. Can you land a job without a LinkedIn account? I’m sure it’s possible, but you know what they say- “work smarter, not harder”, and using LinkedIn to your advantage is a great way to do just that!
We are privileged to live in the age of technology. You can actively learn about and target companies that work in your specific areas of expertise and interest, AND you can productively market your background directly via LinkedIn without ever having to leave your house and drop off a resume in person. The key is to put the effort into your online presence and make sure it’s working FOR you and not AGAINST you!
Below are a few tips to help get your LinkedIn profile in tip-top shape.
-NAME AND TITLE:
Include your first name, last name, and title. You’ve worked hard to earn that degree, don’t be shy about including it! Caveat here, if you have a million certifications and titles, maybe select the ones that are MOST relevant for the roles you’ll be applying for to avoid it being too long.
If you prefer to go by an abbreviated version or different name, feel free to put that in your title so people know which name is your preference! I’ve seen quotations or parentheses around your preferred name. Either are solid options.
I have a unique name and it can be difficult for some people to pronounce. I felt like it could be helpful to include the correct pronunciation on my profile to make it easier for folks who might be unsure or hesitant to call me because they were nervous to mispronounce my name. If someone incorrectly says my name, I just politely correct them, BUT, I understand how intimidating it can be, especially in a professional setting, and not wanting to botch someone’s name right off the bat if you’re trying to establish rapport. There’s a nifty feature on your profile where you can record your correct pronunciation. On this topic, for people who might be struggling with finding a correct pronunciation, here’s a helpful tip: If someone has a unique name that you’re not certain how to pronounce, just ask! It can really mean a lot if you’ll take the extra initiative to ask and learn how to properly pronounce someone’s name. (YouTube is also a great resource for names/words you might not be sure how to pronounce. Just do a quick search and it’s likely you’ll return several results that can be helpful for you!).
I have included my pronouns in my heading to promote a more inclusive environment and encourage the proper pronoun usage for everyone. The more people who have this information included, the more standard it becomes, thus creating a safer space for everyone to be their authentic selves. Diversity and representation in the workplace matter and this is a small way we can help make a difference!
You should have a photo if at all possible. It helps with the “connection” factor and people like to see who they’re engaging with! Select a professional profile photo (preferably not a selfie!) that still shows your personality. Don’t be afraid to smile, and find a photo that makes you feel confident! Try to keep your background clean/simple so it isn’t distracting. There are a ton of tutorials online for taking a solid profile picture if you need inspiration or need a visual example (just Google or search YouTube)!
Again, you want to be professional, but it’s also great if you can pepper in some of your personality as well. I highly suggest completing the “About” section on your profile as this is a great spot to include your highlights, accomplishments, interests, and anything that might not neatly fit under the other sections. I really appreciate it when people include their therapeutic areas of expertise and interest, quantifying years of experience in those areas. Basically, I compare this to the “summary” section of your resume- you don’t want it to just be fluff and full of buzzwords that don’t really tell YOUR story. Take the opportunity to introduce yourself and make a solid virtual first impression.
Your LI profile should mirror your resume with regard to dates, titles, etc. Hiring managers, potential teammates, and HR ABSOLUTELY compare these things! Inconsistencies can create questions/doubts in your candidacy.
If you’re pursuing certain roles, make sure you include keywords and appropriate language that will attract the right people to your profile. For example, if you’re looking for an MSL role, you’ll want to make sure that “Medical Science Liaison” and “MSL” show up on your profile somewhere. This is where the “About” section can come in handy. If you don’t yet have the experience to list under your job history but want to make it clear that you’re looking to transition your current skillset into the MSL role, you can include those keywords with context in this area of your profile.
It is important to keep in mind that you want everything included on your profile (like your resume) to be clear, concise, and relevant for the roles you’re targeting. Example: If you’re an oncology MSL, including your geography, disease states within oncology/hematology, product you’re supporting, special achievements/awards would all be great info to mention. I understand not everyone wants to go into a lot of detail on their public LinkedIn profile, but just an example of some bullets you can mention if you’re looking to beef up your descriptions.
LinkedIn can be a great platform for sharing helpful resources and exciting updates on pharma and biotech companies. We highly recommend you remain engaged on LinkedIn to enhance your network and online presence! You may not be looking now, but it could come in handy for the future. However, from time to time we see people commenting questionable things on posts, or things that might be borderline inappropriate for this platform. Remember, although LI is a social media site, it’s intended for PROFESSIONAL use, so some things are better left for Facebook or Twitter. 🙂
It is easy to get pulled into the rabbit hole of social media, so be strategic about how you’re spending your time with the site. It can be as beneficial and resourceful as you want it to be, but it can also be a big time-suck if you let it!
If you haven’t yet, please make sure to follow the PharmaFinders page for updates and reach out to connect with me, Ashley Gulledge, CPC, and Heather Barlow, CPC!
I hope you find this is helpful as you might be tweaking your profile, please let us know if there’s anything you might add to the list!