7 Tips for Using LinkedIn to Search for a New Medical Science Liaison Role

Samuel Dyer

A successful MSL job search will require you to utilise an array of tools involving both passive and active strategies. While online job boards and networking remain popular methods of searching for new roles, social media can prove to be very valuable in your search.

The most commonly used social media site for the business community is LinkedIn.com. Now with over 100 million members in hundreds of industries around the globe, it has become the site to build your business network.  Hiring managers, recruiters and employers from around the world are active on the site. With a LinkedIn profile you can build a network by connecting directly with hiring managers, recruiters and other decision makers.  This provides you with a target-rich forum in which to identify potential employers.  Although the service is free, you can upgrade your account so that they have the opportunity to contact those who are outside your immediate network.

What follows are 7 key tips for using LinkedIn to locate a new MSL job. These tips will be most useful if you already have an account and have added twenty connections.

1.                 Spread the word. By having a LinkedIn account you can easily spread the word regarding your job search.  LinkedIn has a status update feature that lets your network know about your employment status and that you are seeking a new Medical Science Liaison role. The more people who know of your search, the greater your chances of connecting with someone who can help.

2.                 Build a résumé. LinkedIn enables you to build a résumé-like profile that highlights your past work experience and specific accomplishments. By inserting appropriate keywords appropriate to the MSL role, hiring managers will be able to find you when they have appropriate openings. Using LinkedIn can be a very effective method of tapping into Medical Science Liaison roles that are not advertised.   

3.                 Enhance your Personal Brand. The key to personal branding is to enhance your unique value proposition to employers. You can do this by creating your profile so that it highlights your most relevant accomplishments. For example, you can highlight any specific therapeutic area or disease state in which you have developed an expertise (HIV, CV, Oncology, etc.).

4.                 Post Employer Recommendations. Posting recommendations from former supervisors and colleagues to your profile is a great way to highlight your past accomplishments to potential employers.   

5.                 Identify employers in your specialty area. You can locate these employers by typing the most relevant keywords for your specific therapeutic or product area in the Advanced Search bar. For example, if you specialty is Oncology you can type in such terms as “Medical Science Liaison Oncology,” or “MSL Oncology” into the search bar to identify those companies with a focus in this area.

6.                 Identify the Hiring Manager. Jobs that are listed as “two degrees” away, means that one of your direct contacts is connected to the person who posted the job.  In many cases the person who posted the job is the hiring manager or key decision-maker and you have a direct link to this person through your mutual connection. Another method for identifying hiring managers is to scan the “Companies in Your Network” list on LinkedIn’s Job Search page.

7.                 Build Your Network. Having a strong network is important regardless if you are looking for a new MSL role or not actively looking. With LinkedIn you can build a network by connecting with people in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, as well as by joining groups related to specific interests or research areas. You can locate groups by typing in certain keywords on the group’s page (e.g. “Medical Science Liaison”, “MSL”, “Pharmaceutical”, etc. There are a number of groups dedicated to the MSL role, Medical Affairs and other relevant areas. 

LinkedIn can be a highly effective tool to search for MSL jobs and build your network within the MSL community. Utilising all the features of the site can aid in your MSL search.  The more connections you are able to make the greater the chance you will be successful in discovering new opportunities so that you can advance your MSL career.