Monthly Archives: January 2015

How to Become a Clinical Research Associate (CRA)

Any Clinical Research Associate (CRA) will tell you that the path to get there was not easy! Many CRAs have a nursing or medical background, and in many cases, experienced a steady career progression from the Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) role. While there is no definite career path to becoming a CRA, here are some good tips for CRCs wanting to transition into monitoring.

1. Create a LinkedIn Profile: There are literally thousands of CRAs, Clinical Managers and Clinical Recruiters on LinkedIn and you should connect with them to build your network. If you want to change roles, you have to be found, and building a quality LinkedIn Profile is a great first step.

2. Network with companies and groups on LinkedIn: There are hundreds of targeted Clinical Research LinkedIn groups as well as groups for CROs, Pharmas, Medical Device and Biotech companies. All of these groups have active discussions and job boards. Join these groups and participate! But be careful; if you aren’t perfectly professional in every interaction, your bad impression will cost you.

3. Network with other CRAs: If you are currently a CRC, you have valuable insider knowledge as to what CRAs are specifically looking for when they come to your site. Be sure to network with the CRAs who monitor your clinical sites so you can leverage who they know and what they know.

4. Do Your Homework: Understand the main differences between being a CRA versus being a CRC. For example, patient interaction is a primary focus for a CRC and it is your number one concern to ensure patient safety. A CRA, however, typically doesn’t have that direct patient contact and while the CRA also cares about patient safety, the role is mostly focused on the adherence to the Sponsor’s protocol and FDA regulations. So if having that patient contact is important to you, becoming a CRA may not be the best fit for you.

5. Take Classes: You can become a certified clinical research professional through ACRP and SoCRA. Are you weighing if becoming certified is worth it?

6. Apply to CROs: The “big 5” are currently Quintiles, PPD, PAREXEL, PRA International, and ICON. These companies are well-known for their training programs and after working with them for a couple of years you will be incredibly competitive. You should apply as an entry-level CRA and try your luck!

We do realize how difficult it is to “break” into the CRA role, but it isn’t impossible!

Investing in a Lifetime of Success,

Tough Job Interview Questions You Should Ask To Potential Employers

When interviewing for managerial or professional jobs within the construction, engineering or environmental industries, it’s important to establish a positive rapport with the individual you are interview with.

You need to show that you will be able to work well with others within the firm, discuss your skills and qualifications as related to the position you are applying for, as well as, ask the interviewer a number of questions related to the organization and position you are discussing.

By following these nine suggested questions; although tough ones, they will convey that you have confidence, desire and skills to tackle the challenges of the job successfully.

1. “Why did you choose this company?”

Whether this is a construction, engineering or environmental job, you will want to know more about the particulars of the company making sure it would be a good fit for you. Ask your interviewer about their management style. Will you be managing employees who engage in collaboration or work more individually? Probe a little deeper and inquire whether the interviewer feels excited about his work.

2. “How would I exceed your expectations on a short-term basis, say, in the first 30 to 60 days on the job?”

By asking this question, you are conveying to your interviewer that you have every intention of showing resourcefulness in approaching your job responsibilities from your first day.

3. “What qualities do your best employees have?”

With this question, you should find out what attributes you need to develop in order to be highly valued in the organization. Are you willing to go the extra mile, show initiative, or collaborate with others? You can ask yourself if you fit into this organization.

4. “Can I clarify any information about my background, former careers or skills?”

This is a bold question to ask, but it will give you an opportunity to discover concerns that your interviewer has about your fitness to do the job. If some of his comments are negative, this gives you the opportunity to clarify some parts of the interview or your resume.

5. “Are there opportunities for professional training and education, mainly in new technology?”

Asking this question will show the interviewer that you are willing to extend yourself and improve your skills by taking training classes and/or obtaining certifications.

6. “Does this company encourage entrepreneurial-type projects?”

Employees who are given the opportunity and flexibility to work on projects with limited supervision are generally happier in their jobs.

7. “What types of mentoring programs do you offer?”

You might mention the idea of reverse mentoring – older employees help younger ones with skills like organization and in turn, younger ones can help older employees with technical skills. This also shows you are content having a younger boss.

8. “Is there an option to do contract or consulting work?”

This question would be a particularly good one. Demonstrating your abilities on a project or contract basis will allow you to show you are skilled in performing the work required and allow you to potentially work less hours and probably make more money.

9. “What’s the salary range for this position?”

Asking direct questions about salary, benefits, retirement plans and vacation on a first interview seems a bit brazen, but if done in a subtle way, you can get a general idea.

As you begin to leave the interview, give a firm handshake and show strong body language by using eye contact. Stand and walk straight and tall showing confidence. Don’t forget to write a thank-you note, preferably by hand.

Six Tips to Help You Find More Job Postings

Do you ever reach the point of seriously contemplating changing your job? Most often, it is caused by two factors, one when you are not happy with the work environments, or if the position you are occupying doesn’t suit your personality.

A couple of years ago, I worked for a company that had the motto of keeping their clients pleased. Without being critical of their motto, I realized that it was being detrimental to my health. I was not hardened to working under pressure created by tight deadlines. I wasn’t accustomed to handling large workloads. People around me were as busy, but seemed to manage their affairs better. I feel my present work environments suit me better. You may like to know how I got there. Here are a few steps you’ll find helpful in reinventing your job search.

1. Hold on to your present job while searching for a new job, unless you can’t do for medical reasons. You should understand that finding a new job is easier when you are employed. One reason for that is that you are in the midst of people who may be aware of new job postings. You can’t overlook the fact that people at your workplace form a part of your social network. You need to appreciate that if you quit your present job, you won’t be meeting them anymore and you may be left on your own without many people around. This could make you quite lonely when looking for your next job.

2. Take time off your work to make a note of things you would like to change in your career and life. It may take a couple of hours or a few days to write down your description of a perfect day, including the time you spend at your workplace. Try visualizing what you would like doing a couple of years hence. Where can you see yourself doing that and who are the people around you?

3. Start recognizing those kinds of environments or people through the Internet and patronizing social networking sites. Make contact with people by calling on them or through emails. Once you have established contact with them, simply start asking them what route they took for reaching that kind of position. Think on the lines of widening your field over the next couple of years. Perhaps, you could join some course to widen your horizons. Look for people you could relate to on your subject.

4. Carry on with your research to further explore the recommended courses and actions. Enroll with a course you think beneficial. Don’t think too much about that, just do it! Soon you’ll realize that your priority is the job search and not your present work. Your job wouldn’t look so important now and you won’t get so stressed about it. You may consider looking for opportunities at work or accepting some voluntary work to enhance the skills required for your new profession.

5. Remain in touch with your network of people. Revise your social networking profile by adding your recently acquired additional skills and educational activities. Participate in discussions and keep inching towards your goal. As you begin to feel more confident, start your efforts towards finding work by talking to your network of people.

6. Every day put in some extra effort. Plan your activities for the week and make efforts to accomplish those. Earmark some minimum time for making your plan of action.

Having Difficulties When You Search For Medical Secretary Jobs?

The Internet is undoubtedly the best place if you are looking for Medical Secretary or Medical Office Administration jobs. Most hospitals and even smaller offices that may have a job for you post their requirements online.

Simply Google your job search and browse through different websites and job listings. You should also make it a point to check your local online classifieds for possible job openings. However, care should be taken for not divulging your personal information while posting your resume. You should certainly provide the basic information about the kind of job you are looking for.

You’ll frequently find Medical Office Administration career openings on respective websites of hospitals. You’ll find all kinds of listings on sites specific to your state or province. So you can use an appropriate web search tool and enhance the number of possibly available jobs.

While searching on the Internet, don’t fail to notice ads appearing in the classified columns of local papers, because even today there are quite a few offices working in the old traditional manner, and they don’t advertise on the web. These establishments prefer using local newspapers. Some of the jobs listed there are not advertised anywhere else. That means you can expect the competition to be less severe for jobs advertised in that manner, as many applicants would not be aware of such job postings.

You may also come across many part-time jobs; some are for just one year while others may be for longer contractual periods. One common reason for the availability of such jobs is the receptionist of that office availing of maternity leave. Such jobs surely help you gain experience, which ultimately helps you getting a job in hospitals that will pay more and offer more benefits.

Don’t ignore applying for jobs at neighboring retirement homes and organizations offering long-term care facilities. You should know that your training as Medical Secretary allows you to apply for jobs at your local government healthcare office, alternative health offices like chiropractic, massage and physiotherapy clinics and insurance companies etc. You get quite a few options in case you opt for jobs away from hospitals or doctors’ offices. Though in such cases you may not be able to fully utilize all the skills that you got during you training, you’ll certainly get some exposure and experience of working in commercial organizations, and that can surely help you get a job at the next higher level.

If you are finding it hard to get an appropriate job, it may be a good idea to work as a volunteer with the intentions of gaining experience. Employers also find it appealing, as it demonstrates you are hardworking and dedicated.