A career in clinical research is a fantastic one, so how do you go about getting one - this piece shows you.

1. Make Sure Your Resume Is In Top Shape

As mentioned before in an earlier publication, the two major reasons why clinical research associates fail to get jobs are inadequate experience and low quality resumes. Your resume is a major component of your identity during an interview and acts as your professional portfolio. If your resume or CV is not top shape, you may fail to qualify for interviews or flop on the interviews that you do get. You should ensure that you include all your professional credential and qualifications in your resume and preferably customize it to suit the requirements of the particular job you are applying for. When interviewing for a clinical research job, your past experience is very important. You can use the job description to gather some hints on what parts of your resume to give more information. If you have a field where you are not that good at, you should not over embellish it your resume.

2. Be Honest

On top of getting your resume in top shape, you should also make sure that you remain honest about your experience. Your honesty should not only be reflected in your resume but also during the interview. Currently, competition for job opportunities is very stiff. This fact can tempt you to exaggerate your experience a little both in the resume and during the interview. However, we strongly discourage this. It is very easy for you to be caught lying about your experience during an interview. When this happens, your chances of getting hired can be completely ruined or, even worse, you could get hired and then end up failing to perform tasks that you claimed to be experienced in. Being honest can cause you not to get the job but you do not want to get a job which you will not be able to do.

3. Prepare, Prepare and Prepare Some More

Prior to your clinical research job interview, you should allocate some few hours to consolidating your thoughts and ideas. First, ensure that you are aware of the people who will be interviewing. You can try to find these people on LinkedIn in order to get some specific information about them. You can then establish their personal credentials, qualifications and areas of specialty so that you can easily create a rapport with them during the interview.

Next, jot down a few questions that you intend to ask your interviewers. The questions should be clear and straight to the point. They should be able to show the interviewers that you have a good grasp of the position and company you are applying to join. A good set of questions can be found in our article on ‘Questions To Ask Before, During and After an Interview’. You should avoid asking questions regarding benefits, bonuses and time-offs because these questions can make it seem as if the employer owes you.

Third, make several copies of your resume and place them in a professional folder or notebook. Both you and your interviews need to have copies of your resume. You may be asked about something about your experience in your resume and you fail to remember; you will look unprofessional and unprepared. Everything about you, including your professional experience, is clearly highlighted in your resume. It can be a good resource to reference to during an interview if memory fails you. Also, it is good to have multiple copies of your resume in case an interviewer asks for them.

Lastly, you should makes sure that you note down any important information mentioned during the interview such as names and important dates. Ladders.com says that “jotting down notes during interviews is acceptable and even encouraged”. Many times we assume that they will remember everything important that was mentioned during the interview but in most cases we do not. Taking notes helps you come up with useful references notes as well as personalized ‘thank you’ notes for the future.

4. Do Your Due Diligence

Research or due diligence is important when going for an interview. You should have valid information on the job you are being interviewed for as well as the company offering the position. LinkedIn can help you get information on a prospective company and its staff. With the help of LinkedIn, you can find out information on how long certain staff have been working at the company as well as their backgrounds and qualification. Do not forget to look at the company’s official website and search for any recent press releases. Press releases can contain important announcements or information about new products that the company may be launching.

In order to answer all questions correctly, it is important to be fully aware of the qualifications. We strongly advise that you print out a copy of the job description and go through each and every requirement. For every requirement, take note of your direct or indirect qualification or experience. This helps you to familiarize yourself with the position and establish which areas you are strong at. However, ensure that you do not read the notes you take during the interview. This can do a lot of damage. The notes are strictly for preparation purposes.

Depending on the specific job position, the interviewer may want you to highlight your knowledge on proper protocol and research practices. Looking at these protocols and practices beforehand can help you to be more prepared for the interview.

Last but not least, review all recent news, updates, inventions and discoveries in research in the company’s market. For instance, if the position is of a pharmaceutical clinical researcher, you should view all recent data on the subject market.

5. Review Your Past Research

Your past clinical research is very crucial when applying for a new job. You should ensure that all your previous clinical research projects are in top shape. An interviewer might want to ask you questions about your past research experience so it is important to be well-prepared to answer these questions. Take key note of any challenges or difficulties you experienced when undertaking past research projects. Your interviewer will most likely ask about these and how you overcame them. Have accurate clear examples or real-life scenarios that can help articulate your points better.

Going to an interview with little or no preparation is simply setting yourself up for failure. Preparing for an interview can be strenuous and exhausting but the fruits are very sweet. Consider the above 5 tips very seriously and the clinical research job will be yours.

According to ICON, a career in clinical research is a great thing - so follow these tips and go for it.

Author's Bio: 

Torsi is a professional blogger.