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Becoming a medical writer in medical communications

My name is Jessica and I’m the medical writing specialist here at Paramount Recruitment. I have over four years’ experience working with a range of medical and healthcare communication agencies across the UK, Europe and most recently internationally.

I have a strong track record in placing medical writers at all levels from entry level roles to Editorial Team Leader.

What is Medical (or Healthcare) Communications?

Medical Communication agencies provide consultancy services mainly to pharmaceutical companies to promote, educate or/and communicate about a range of products/ drugs. Medical Writers write, edit or develop content for a wide range of disease-, research- or drug- related information in-line with the client’s brief. You will produce information adapted for various audiences such as patients, healthcare professionals, and the general public.

Medical writing is a very popular career route, and is ideally suited to scientists who would like to move away from bench work, or candidates with a strong science or medical background looking for a change in career. There’s often significant competition to secure your first role, however, there are a few things which will help to increase your chances in this…

What do I need to become a Medical Writer?

- Ideally educated to PhD level or equivalent
- Hold a BSc or MSc but with evidence of writing or editorial experience
- Solid writing skills – able to demonstrate the ability to adapt writing style
- Strong attention to detail
- A good CV – written to a high standard, with no spelling mistakes! List all experience in writing, editing and communicating science.
- Presentation skills – lecturing, conference presentations, journal clubs

What can I do to increase my chances?

- Complete an editorial/ medical writing internship within medical publishing, medical communications or similar industry
- Complete a medical writing course
- Writing or editing in spare time – blogs, university newspapers/ magazines, freelance work, voluntary work

What is life like as a Medical Writer?

“My life as a medical writer is varied, challenging and enjoyable. I spend the majority of my time writing about new therapies, clinical trials and the changing trends within my field of interest – neurology. I am responsible for liaising with clients, discussing their needs and developing a range of promotional materials to ensure effective communication of their key scientific and marketing messages. I also have the opportunity to collaborate with studio designers to develop training and educational materials, such as e-learning programs, iPad apps, and conference presentations. The pace of agency life varies with the needs of the client, but there is usually plenty of projects on the go at one time! In short, working as a medical writer is a challenging yet rewarding job and would suit anyone who is interested in medicine and loves to write!”
Chester, Medical Writer UK 

“As an entry-level medical writer, I am still familiarising myself with the agency’s writing style, including sentence structure, particular choice of diction, inflection and referencing format. The agency provided me with an in-house style guide which I frequently consult. This is important as the writing that I create should always be of a quality consistent with what the agency usually produces.

Life as an entry-level writer also involves shadowing more senior writers, especially at medical conferences and round table meetings. There is a particular way of interacting with KOLs, which may not be apparent to a budding medical writer and hence requires first-hand experience, especially when one is required to take control and facilitate an event. While the learning curve for a fresh writer may be steep, it is a very satisfying profession which presents with continuous opportunities.”
Andy, Associate Medical Writer Hong Kong

There are different entry routes into medical writing but essentially it’s the ability to demonstrate a passion for medicine and writing that will make you stand out from the crowd.  Although it can be challenging to secure your first role in medical communications for the right candidate it will offer a rewarding career with variation, creativity and structured career progression. For further advice, please contact our medical communications team on 0121 616 3460.

Our entry level medical writing roles are updated on our website as soon as they become available. To avoid missing out please register your CV.

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22nd December

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