Ask Elizabeth – Q & A on how to land your first MSL role
As a specialized MSL job search coach, I am frequently asked for tips on how to break into the MSL role. Most aspiring MSLs face similar challenges: No MSL experience, getting past recruiters / HR, finding entry level jobs, and struggling through interviews if you land them. I have the benefit of seeing what works in the job search and who gets hired since I coach clients from the first step, writing an effective resume, to the final step, the interview and job offer. My plan is to make this discussion part of an ongoing series and address a couple of questions each week. My responses are based on what I see in the current job market.
Question – How many pages should my resume / CV be?
Answer – There is no set rule on length, but my target is two pages of job related content with additional pages containing publications and presentations as needed. I do recommend using a professional resume as opposed to an academic CV. The resume should outline your experience as well as highlight areas that may relate to the MSL role.
Question – Job postings almost always list existing MSL experience as a requirement, where can I find entry level MSL jobs?
Answer – Companies have to develop baseline standards for job postings and that usually includes existing MSL experience. That does not mean that the candidates who are hired for the position actually have experience. As a matter of fact, I can attest to the fact that companies do hire MSLs with no experience, even if the job posted states experience as a requirement. There will always be specific jobs where a higher level of existing expertise and experience is required in that role, but that is not the case for every job posted.
Question – Do companies train new MSLs?
Answer – Yes, companies train new and experienced MSLs. All newly hired MSLs go through a structured training program specific to each company. It is normally a combination of home study, in-house training (most likely with other MSLs new to the company), and ongoing field training.
Do you have specific questions regarding the MSL role or job search process? Email Elizabeth@clinicalstrategist.com. Elizabeth Danford specializes in MSL resume writing, job search coaching, and interview preparation. She is the co-author of “Launching your MLS Career – the job search guidebook” which is available at www.clinicalstrategist.com.