Moving to an area of specialty should be done in your second or third year, if possible. If you wait much longer, it becomes more difficult, as clients will expect you to possess certain industry-specific knowledge and look to you for expert advice and counsel.
One of the key things to ask yourself is, "What am I passionate about?" Is it the science, consumer health education, medical and regulatory issues, or understanding and communicating the data? Also ask yourself, "Do I like Big Pharma or smaller biotech?"
The most critical message to convey is what you can offer the agency, not what you admire about it.
In an interview, highlight your healthcare-related work and be specific. You can talk about other related skills that form the foundation of what makes you a good PR person, but remember, you want to specialize now. The person meeting with you will determine if they think you can translate your skills to become a dynamic, influential member of their healthcare team.
Marc Heft is executive recruiter at Chandler Chicco Agency.
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