Lessons from a career workshop

It’s taken me a few days to actually sit down and write about a career workshop that I attended on Monday. The conference schedule was so jam packed and rich that I’ve been running from one talk to another resting only to look at some posters and socialize with fellow students.

Stepping into Joe Tringali’s workshop, “Beyond the bench: preparing for your career transition in the life sciences”, I had expected to get a list of employment opportunities in the private sector – which I did get (more on that below). But more interestingly, I got a broader lesson in good old advertising from Tringali, a veteran employment firm owner in the New England area.

The key message of his workshop was: tailor and reinvent your professional image for the employment of choice.

While this statement is wildly abstract and has the ring of an age-old adage, it still contains grains of truth and deserves a moment of thought.

Tringali walked his audience through the logical and chronological flow in this tailoring process. The first step is to decide on a career path, arguably the most important and variable. Once this decision is made, Tringali offered some general advice and actions for crafting a professional image.

Show initiative in the field of employment

  • Joining professional associations
  • Taking related courses
  • Enrolling in a certification program
  • Even taking related unpaid projects.

Think from the employers’ point of view

  • Highlight only experiences relevant to the job post
  • Clearly state the reason for career shift
  • Emphasize your potential contribution to the position
  • Assure the employer of your interest in the company by conveying your depth of knowledge in the job position and company

Communicate your career interest to others

  •  Enunciate your career intents to references and recommenders
  • Talk to people currently in the careers of interest

Tringali also gave a list of PhD careers that are currently in high demand. You can imagine applying these broad guidelines of tailoring your professional image to any of these careers.

  • Regulatory Affairs
  • Medical Communication
  • Medical science liason
  • Sales/business development
  • Pharmacovigilance/drug safety
  • Project management
  • Tech transfer
  • Clinical operations
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