Still thinking you’ll never be able to land a nonclinical job?
Ready to have the confidence to know you can, and you can even negotiate for a higher salary or a better package?
Listen as I cover three inspirational success stories that prove a career transition is possible.
In this episode of The Career Rx we’ll discuss:
- Landing a pharma role without research experience – and without taking a pay cut
- Getting into a pharma career fresh out of residency training
- Negotiating an even better offer, yes – even without prior pharma experience
Today I’m sharing some success stories of three physicians I’ve been advising or working with, who have had amazing transitions from their clinical to industry careers in either biotech or Pharma. Physician expertise is of very high value in biotech, medical device, and pharma.
I’m sharing this information, because I know that it helps actual people out there achieve their dreams and their goals. And if you are a listener and you enjoy it, I want you to know that you can take action and get some results from it.
Special announcement: My course, Industry Insider, is now accredited for up to 12 CME credits. Learn how to land an exciting and impactful role as a physician in the world of pharma, biotech, or medical devices, AND how to do that even if you think you’re not qualified, don’t have any connections, or concerned about a pay cut… I’ve got you covered!
In this Episode:
[2:13] Private practice psychiatrist to pharmaceutical medicine
[6:00] US physician turned biotech company employee – with salary details
[8:45] The path to Medical Affairs using niche clinical backgrounds
Links and Resources:
Industry Insider – 12 CME hours – learn exactly how to land a rewarding nonclinical career without a new degree, connections on the inside, prior experience, or a pay cut
The Branding Rx – 18 hours of CME, mastering digital strategies for advancing your career, building your business, and growing your professional brand
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The Branding Rx – 18 hours of CME, mastering digital strategies for advancing your career, building your business, and growing your professional brand
The Speaking Rx learn the business of professional public speaking to establish yourself as a thought leader you are, and get paid for your speaking expertise
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Thanks for joining me on this episode of The Career Rx!
TRANSCRIPT: Episode 100 – Success Stories: 3 Physicians Land Industry Jobs
Hey there, I’m Marjorie Stiegler and you’re listening to The Career Rx podcast, where we tackle the important things they don’t teach you in medical school. Like how to treat your career, like the business, it really is, with strategies to accelerate the kind of success that you want, because you deserve a career you love, and a career that loves you back. Are you ready? Let’s get into it.
Hey there, welcome back. On today’s episode of The Career Rx, instead of answering a particular question, what I’m going to do is share some success stories of three physicians that I’ve been advising or working with, who have had amazing transitions from their clinical careers, to the industry careers that they wanted, and either biotech or Pharma.
And in the interest of their privacy, I’m going to just, you know, use an abbreviation for their names, but I’m going to give you some of the details of their backgrounds, and what they were able to position themselves to successfully do so that you can have the confidence and inspiration, or whatever it is that little, you know, jolt of enthusiasm, to reassure yourself that anyone can do this, and you can do it too.
Before we get into that, I want to remind folks that if you need some help with this kind of career transition, please come on over to my website, Industry Insider, is accredited for 12 hours of CME and it will take you from end to end from exploring your interest in pharma industry, all the way through to how to network, how to apply for position with that resume, and that interview.
That’s all all set all the way down to evaluating offers and signing the deal. So come check that out on my website. There’s also The Branding Rx, which is 18 hours of CME and really helps your professional branding and how you position yourself and some other courses that may help you as well as some potential coaching opportunities. So if you need some help, I can help you come to my website, check the show notes for these links.
Now, let me tell you a little bit about three amazing success stories. All right.
The first I’m going to tell you about is Dr. B. Dr. B is a private practice psychiatrist. She has been practicing for about eight years and contacted me because she was really interested in moving into pharmaceutical medicine. She found an opportunity as a contractor, as a medical monitor, which we’ve talked about in prior episodes.
If so, if you don’t know what a medical monitor is, go back and listen to my episode about pharmacovigilance. Like many of you, She did say she has really no prior experience in clinical research and no prior experience in pharmaceutical medicine. The position she ended up landing is a fully remote position, which I know a lot of people are especially interested in here in the post COVID or peri COVID. I mean, we’re still in COVID.
In the COVID world, people are very interested in remote careers. So she managed to land herself a fully remote career with a large pharmaceutical company, whose name is certainly a household name.
Like many of you, she told me that she was concerned that especially because it was a big pharma company, she really expected to hear the objection or to be rejected because she had no experience in the pharmaceutical industry. And that was unsurprisingly, one of the things that was listed in the job description as a requirement.
But as I’ve said on this show, and in many places before, it’s really never a requirement for an entry level role. So she and I had some back and forth advising. And she also spoke with some other people that she located via LinkedIn, which is always one of my favorite strategies in order to really be sure that she understood the role and was getting a competitive salary for that role.
And when it was all said and done, she got an offer, she got an offer that she felt like she could even negotiate and bumped that offer up, which is something that I always just love that especially when someone is getting their first industry job.
Because people have this mindset shift really that goes from, I can’t do this, I’m not qualified, I’ll never be able to, you know, get a position at all, let alone, you know, negotiate for a higher salary or a better package. But she did indeed do that.
And then let me I’ll just read you verbatim the great news that she then shared with me. She writes, “Dear Marjorie, they accepted my negotiated offer. I got the job and I start as a medical monitor and safety physician consultant in just a few months. I can’t thank you enough for your amazing career podcast. It has really shifted my mindset to start believing I was valuable. And it got me this exciting new opportunity, which is in fact not a pay cut but an upgrade in terms of salary.”
So to me, this is really just so thrilling really, really gratifying a great story of somebody who has gone from private practice clinical psychiatry, to a pharmacovigilance career in a major pharma company with no prior clinical experience. And without taking a pay cut, which you know, is one of those things I say all the time, right?
That’s not it’s not necessary. Every single specialty can get their foot in the door, there is an opportunity for literally anyone, even if you don’t have that prior research experience, even if you have no pharma experience, and for most people, not a pay cut. This is really fantastic. So I hope her story is inspiring to you. And now I’ll move on to share another one.
Okay, let me tell you the story of Dr. L. So Dr. L is a US physician, just two years out of training, he reached out to me and then had been trying to get involved in clinical trials, to try to sort of get a foot in the door and get to understand a little bit about what pharmaceutical medicine is all about. And to begin to be able to build on a CV, to get ready for a transition, he was able to get an interview with the head of a division in his specialty.
Now, I know it seems like I’m leapfrogging ahead here, but the you know, the how to go about doing this is all obviously already covered in this podcast and in Industry Insider. So the people whose stories I’m telling here have have gotten this information on how to go about networking, how to go about making those relationships, how to go about finding the job opportunities, how to go about presenting themselves in a way that’s compelling, even when they don’t have any experience, both for their resumes, and then for the interview when they have an opportunity to do so.
And at this point, when he reached out to me to tell me that he had this conversation, right, it was, you know, an interview, he was just very, very excited, didn’t expect to get the job, but said that what it really did was give him a boost of enthusiasm and confidence that it was possible to demonstrate his value outside of just being sort of a cog in the wheel.
He’s in a fairly highly paid specialty. So like many of you, he had some concerns about whether or not you would need to take a pay cut. This is always, always seems to come up, I know it’s important, you got to pay off those loans, you’ve got to pay the bills. So if we skip ahead, he managed to get a couple of different interviews in both clinical development as well as pharmacovigilance.
And ultimately, he accepted a role that was offered to him from a biotech company that he described as being really an awesome offer. Now I know people like to know details about salary, so I’m going to share that in total. And he described his first year… and again, this is an entry level role, first year compensation package at about $400,000 with a $90,000 signing bonus, and some additional perks in terms of student loan repayment.
And he goes on to say that he could not be more excited, and that he’s been thinking about this at every stage of his education, but really didn’t think that this was a possibility for him, and certainly not at this time in his career. And he said what he learned from me was absolutely invaluable in helping him.
So that makes me just really, really happy. And I share this with you. Because, you know, this is the reason that I do this, right? I’m on this podcast sharing this information, because I know that it helps actual people out there achieve their dreams and their goals. And so you know, if you are a listener and you enjoy it, I also want you to know that you can take action on it, and you can get some results from it.
Okay, the final success story that I want to share with you is Dr. H, in now Medical Affairs and again at one of the major top pharma companies household name, that you would recognize for sure. She previously had no pharma experience, which is again, always the case and that’s why I’m sharing these with you, so that you’ll be aware of that.
My favorite part about her success story is again, her ability to negotiate even from a starting position where she had no prior pharma experience.
Now, in her case, although she had no prior clinical research experience, no prior pharma experience, she did have some pretty specific and niche clinical experience, that specific background was highly desirable.
And we talk about this all the time, because as you know, the prior to stories I’ve shared their clinical background was not material to the jobs that they eventually got. They were not hired because of their clinical specialty.
In this case, this physician, I think that was a factor. So I’m sharing this really just for, you know, to show different types of experiences where you know, it doesn’t need to hold you back, but sometimes it can be an advantage.
And in particular, it probably helped her in her negotiation, because she had gotten an offer and In the room, when she and I were discussing her offer, she felt it was a little bit low. And that she had had some initial negotiating conversations, where they said it might be pretty hard to get her up to, and match, you know, parity with what she was making clinically.
And I’m going to take a little sidebar here for the moment to remind people that many of us, when you’re working clinically, are working 60 70 80 hours a week. So although your total compensation may be very important to you, almost every client or colleague that I have, does factor in, you know, what is this sort of not exactly on a per hour basis? But what is it in terms of how much of your life are you giving to your work, and for what salary versus their, you know, their clinical work, and that salary is very often a much bigger time commitment.
So in this case, she’s negotiating back and the hiring manager is saying, probably not going to be possible to get there, but would do their best and get back to her. So we were having some conversations about, you know, what that might look like, and what could be negotiable, and how to really be prepared for whatever did come back.
And we thought about a lot of the things that we’ve talked about on this podcast before number one, money isn’t everything. And number two, if you’re really interested in a career transition, sometimes just getting that first job is extremely valuable. And even if you do have to take a pay cut, it may still be well worth doing that.
But thirdly, that most of the time, most people don’t when you factor in the way that the total compensation is structured, including salary, but also, you know, the five, six other buckets of compensation that go into standard industry compensation packages.
So we did the math, looking at what she’d initially been offered. And it really actually was, it was not lowball at all, it was a pretty fair package. But it was less than her clinical income. And again, so we were in the waiting period right now waiting to see what they came back with.
And her target, she was looking for around $400,000 a year because that’s roughly what she was making. In the end, both she and I were totally blown away that the offer that she got gave her a total compensation package of close to $500,000 a year, plus a $50,000 sign on bonus. So that felt really, really great. It felt great to her. And it felt great to me to hear about it.
And I think her example is just one of, you know, that could be really, really inspiring for people who think, again, that not only can they not get a job, but that they have really no bargaining power. It’s so important to understand that, you know, physician expertise, really, regardless of specialty is of very high value.
Not surprisingly, in biotech, medical device, and pharma. They do want physicians and they want to have really great talented and smart physicians and they want to be able to hire you and retain you. And so they do want to compensate you well. And they want you to love your job so that you will stay.
So I hope this is just a quick inspiring episode for you to hear the stories of three different physicians and in three different specialties, at various points in their careers with different levels of clinical expertise, but none with pharma experience, none with clinical trial experience and all getting roles of different times within pharma and pharmacovigilance medical affairs, clinical development, all really excited about these roles and all with compensation packages that really blew their minds because they were so good. It’s amazing and exciting news. I hope it makes you feel inspired and motivated.
And if I can help you beyond the scope of this podcast, either with Industry Insider or some one on one coaching, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I would love to see the same kind of outcome for you.
That’s it for today. Bye for now. Before you go, please review, share and subscribe to this podcast. Your support makes all the difference and it truly helps this information reach someone who may really need it. Until next time, thanks for listening.
Before you go, please leave me a review on Apple Podcasts, share and subscribe to this podcast. Your support makes all the difference and it truly helps this information reach someone who may really need it. Until next time, thanks for listening.