How to get a Clinical Trial/Research job without experience
by UProtege Inc. | 2021-02-17
Corporate demand in employees’ skills, experiences and knowledge is ever increasing in today’s job market.
So how do you compete in today’s job market? The answer is your strategy.
In this article, we’re going to explore the Clinical Trial/Research industry’s current landscape and go over powerful tactics to help you get a job in this industry without experience!
The Industry Background
Before applying any job, the best way is to really understand the current landscape of the Clinical Research/Trials Fields .
As most of you already know, Clinical Research/Trial is an industry which specializes in analyzing, researching and studying medical data to diagnose, detect, treat and prevent diseases.
Governments, Pharmaceuticals, Hospitals and even the United Nation’s World Health Organization interact and connect with Clinical Research/Trial firms to achieve collaboration in the medical field.
Whether you are aiming to become a Data Scientist pursing to practice with machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), taking SAS certifications/training in SASCrunch to further your SAS knowledge or aspiring to become a Statistician, the world of Clinical Trials/Research brings your interests in SAS, data analytics, ML and AI, statistics and advanced algorithms all together.
In fact, to top it off, you’ll also be able to make meaningful contributions in the medical field.
Did you also know that- the global clinical trials/research market is expected to reach $69.9 billion USD by 2027 .
The average salary of a Clinical Research Associate in Canada is $135,000 CAD or 105,000 USD . Facts speak louder than words. This is a lucrative field!
Here are some common jobs that you’ll also see in this industry especially when you are looking for entry-intermediate levels and their required expertise commonly found in job descriptions:
Job Title: SAS Programmer Analyst/Associate
Job Title: Biostatistician Associates/Jr Biostatisticians
So what is the strategy to help you land a job without experience?
Well the best way is to understand your current situation and devise strategies that maximizes your chances of your chances of getting an interview.
Therefore having a structured approach would be your strategy.
This strategy allows you to consistently apply just the right amount of required effort for the desired amount of reward. Here is the 3 step approach to help you get started:
Step 1- Understanding your strengths and weaknesses
One of the most important aspects of the job search journey is first understanding your current strengths and weaknesses relevant to the industry.
These two elements are important because it allows you to identify areas that you are lacking while also enabling you to identify attributes that makes you stand out from other candidates.
Strengths- A simple way to quickly determine your strengths in the field is to really review your own resume.
Glance through your resume and note down specific things you are good at that is relevant in this field. Here are some examples of different strengths that you may not even be aware of;
Weaknesses- To determine weaknesses, review job descriptions of the jobs that you are applying to (ie SAS programmer etc) and list out the required skills, education, experience etc.
From this list, take your strengths and map it towards the required skills. Any gaps would then likely become your weaknesses or area that you may need to consider improving on.
Therefore for these weaknesses, you should spend some time to identify and rank weaknesses by priority to focus your improvement/skill gap.
For example, if you’ve noticed that 80% of the all job descriptions for a “SAS Programmer” role requires SAS Base/SAS methods as a defined skill and you lack expertise in this area, this gives you a hint that you should take courses or training to improve this area
Step 2- Tailoring your resume and cover letter
After determining your strengths and weaknesses and obtaining the requirements for your weaknesses, it is time to tailor your resume and cover letter.
Tailoring a resume and cover letter involves adjusting your resume and cover letter such that it aligns with the job description which can then maximize your chances of getting job interviews. Here are the key steps:
Colour, theme and style all matters especially in an environment where Hiring Managers and Recruiters spend only an average of 30 seconds to review candidate’s resume and cover letter.
One of the best ways to increase your chances of having your resume chosen/remembered out of the hundreds or even thousands of applicants is by having an attractive template.
Here are some general rules when templating your resume and cover letter;
If you are creating your own template for your cover letter and resume, it is important to choose the right color such that you do not over do or make it unnecessary.
A common mistake that Do It Yourself (DIY) individuals make is that they tend to over do their resume and cover letters with too many colours.
The best way is to keep a maximum of 3-4 colours on your resume and ensure that the right contrast/hue and shades compliment each other. One way to determine the best choice of colour is through the utilization of colour wheels.
To learn more about colour combinations, you can read more at Canva .
The form and shape of the resume component is generally derived from the template itself.
However regardless of the template, it is essential to always have some key sections such as; your contact information, your education/certifications, your experiences and technical/softskills at the bare minimum.
Other sections such as projects, achievements, publications, extracurriculars can be chosen at the discretion of the candidate.
Another aspect of styling is that templates generally display sections in different formats and styles.
For example, you can display your skill level in a variety of different forms. Let’s take a look at how some technical skills are displayed:
As you can see, depending on the resume template/form, different “sections” of the resume can be displayed under a variety of different ways.
The key is to choose a style that works for you and compliments your entire resume’s theme.
Fortunately, there are a variety of different resume and cover letter templates that are both free or paid for you to choose and decide.
In most cases, the templates already have built in designs and formats that compliment the overall theme. For free templates, here are some links for you to explore:
B) Choosing the right words
Choosing the right words isn’t just important in helping the Recruiter/Hiring Manager visualize your experience and job duties, it can also help with automated filtering.
In most HR platforms, resumes are generally screened by automated tools to search, match and filter the documents with the right key words.
Therefore, if your resume captures the right words, it can save itself from being ‘filtered out’.
One of the best strategies of having the right key words is to review the job description and the job nature to understand what are common words.
For example, if you are applying for Clinical Trial/Research or SAS Programmer roles, key words may include;
Another way to help Recruiters and Hiring Managers visualize your experience is through the use of active words.
Active words are verbs that make you sound more assertive and confident to a reader. Below are words that you may consider using or revising for your sentences on your resume and cover letter.
When crafting your sentences, it is also important to reword your sentences such that it matches the job description’s nature.
For example, if the job description outlines that this requirement “Perform quality control on data sets submitted by the team” and your current sentence bullet is “validating data sets to ensure completeness and accuracy”, it may be best to reword the sentence such that it is explicitly called out.
“Performing quality control on data sets’ completeness and accuracy through validation procedures“
Importance: Be truthful and honest in your experiences and credentials.
Step 3- Choosing the job search strategy for you
After crafting your resume and cover letter with the right words and templates, the final stage that you should take right before you apply is understanding the different strategies for your job search.
We all have a limited of 24 hours a day and blankly applying for jobs without considering the right strategy will only yield limited results. Below we will explore and list 8 job search strategies to maximize your chances of landing an interview.
Passive strategies are methods that you can use to obtain potential job opportunities without much effort besides the primarily investment. You can watch this video to learn more!
Active strategies are methods that require you to actively submit, reach out or connect with individuals to obtain potential job opportunities. These include:
List and Apply:
This is the most standard way to apply for jobs. List and Apply involves you simply listing companies that you want to work in/have heard of.
In order to do this, you should create a spreadsheet containing all of the companies/brands that you know or have heard of.
From here, organize the spreadsheet by creating columns such as; status, position, date, link etc.
Once this is created, simply navigate to the corporate website of the company and simply search for roles that you are interested (ie SAS programmer, Biostatistician etc).
If a job opening does not exist at this time, simply move on to the next. The idea is to create your own internal tracking system/list of jobs to apply. This overall you structure your method but also tracks your success/performance.
LinkedIN Cold Calling:
LinkedIN is used by more than 260 million users per month. Recruiters, Candidates, Hiring Managers and individuals all use this social media platform.
One strategy of potentially getting interviews is through contacting new individuals to learn about their company, day to day role and potential opportunities.
The benefits of using this strategy is that individuals that accept your request to talk/share information with you can share information about the company/team you are interested in, may become your referral and at the best case scenario, provide you with an interview.
Generally free in North America, recruiting agencies are companies that help candidates connect with employers and propose interview opportunities for you.
Recruiting agencies can be big or small and agents would review your resume/cover letter and your background before they propose potential roles that may fit your profile.
The benefits of this is that recruiting companies largely does the work for you after you’ve reached out.
The initial active searching involves you identifying recruiting agencies and having the initial conversations with them.
One way to look for recruiting agencies is simply by searching “recruiter”, “recruiting company” etc on LinkedIN and go from there.
Using search engines would also likely yield companies that operate in your geography.
At the end of the day landing your first job in Clinical research/trial without any experience isn’t a magic formula or spell.
It does take effort and time like any other competitive jobs in the industry. However, with the right approaches mentioned above, this can maximize your chances for potential interviews and eventually job offers.
In life, success only comes to those that are prepared.
Are you ready to manage your career?
Additional resources that may help you include in your journey:
UProtege Inc - A start up tailored to helping students, new grads, young professionals and experienced hires in their career. UProtege provides resume/cover letter edit and design services along with mock interview sessions custom to your needs.
UProtege Inc also provides career coaching whereby you are matched with individual(s) in your field/area of interest to further propel you in your career.
For SASCrunch students, subscribers and followers, 10% discount is automatically provided when you sign up for any of UProtege services. Simply mention “SASCrunch” when registering for a service. www.uprotege.ca
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A course that takes you from end to end in the job search journey.
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