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career shift

PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:20 am
by K.T.C.
Dear scientific seniors,

If there are good exmaples of scientific career shift in companies?
I was working as a academic researcher for 3 years, more recently I am working as a part-time medical writer for 4 months. Would be possible for a medical writer shift career to scientist at R&D/pilot department or as a clinical trial assistant or regualtory affair in the future?

Or the next job must be highly similar?

Thank you for reading me and sharing your knowledge.

Re: career shift

PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:05 am
by PG
Career shifts in companies happens all the time. Going from bench positions to non bench positions are more common than the other way around and is potentially easier to achieve. However you only have 4 months of not doing lab work so this might not be an issue. For some reason I think that people sometimes believe that you forget how to do even basic labwork. As an example always when I suggest to someone that I should take care of their cell cultures when they have vacation they end up either finding someone else or putting them in the freezer.

Going from medical writing to for example a starting regulatory affairs position doesnt look like a huge step to me and I believe that would be very possible to do. Doing this within the company you are already working with might be easier than changing company.

Re: career shift

PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:32 am
by Dave Walker

PG is right -- it happens all the time. The most important advice I would give you is to find where you want to go next. At first don't worry about how hard it would be, ask yourself what you want the most? You mention scientist, clinical trial assistant, and regulatory affairs. Those are all VERY different. You should learn first; learn about all three (or however many you have in mind), and then focus on one.

I say this because moving from medical writing to regulatory affairs seems straightforward; to clinical trial assistant, that's doable; to scientist, that's hard but I have seen it done. So if you really want to be an R&D scientist, just make that your path. Seek out others who have transitioned, and get advice.

And when you mention all three careers in the same sentence, it sounds like you are still "shopping" for a career and unsure of what you want to do. If you worry about how hard it will be, you may end up taking a less-satisfying next job because it's available...this never goes well.


Re: career shift

PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 2:56 pm
by Ana
Most carriers outside of academia are nonlinear and going from medical writing to RA sounds indeed fairly reasonable.

You ask for a career shift “in companies”. Do you mean within a company? indeed changing roles within the company that you are already working for is the easiest option. I think the best for you to gain some clarity into what you would like doing and what type of backgrounds get there is to talk to people doing those jobs. These are called informational interviews. Search this site and others for additional information on what these interviews are and how to get the most out of them.

Re: career shift

PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 2:08 am
by K.T.C.
Hi seniors, thank you so much for your advice. I have learnt from you. You are correct. Maybe it is easier to make this happen in the same company.

To my experience, I attended a job interview for a regulatory affair position at another company, the manager selected the candidate who has the exact experience. . Therefore, i doubt if i should have done the right thing at the very beginning...when i started my first industry job.

I took this part-time medical writer position, because of my health condition. now i am fine again, guess i should change my job asap until it is too late..

Thank you again.

Re: career shift

PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:21 am
by PG
First do what Dave said. Decide what you want to do. If you want to be a bench scientist I believe that switching will become more difficult with time, however if you want to do RA switching back to bench science now is likely to make a future shift to RA more difficult.

Once you know what change you want to do it is likely that networking is going to be key to success. If you apply for an advertised position the probability is high that you are competing against candidates that has more experience in the field you are applying for a position in (this would have been true also if you for example already had been working in RA). However if you can network and have someone understand that you fulfill the requirements they have and will be able to bring value to the department they will also be willing to provide trainingto bridge any gap in your previous experience.

Re: career shift

PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 2:18 am
by K.T.C.
Thank you for the great posts to everyone here. I totally agree with you, PG. I have shifted myself from QA to academic researcher, 10 years after, I also gave a try to shift back to QA to be in industry,I found it difficult. I have learnt from you and need to be career wise.