Career Advice: Why Social Media Can Make A Difference!

Posted in Articles, Career Advice, Social Media

Back in the old days, I scolded job candidates for having an active social media presence especially those persons who posted party pics or politically-charged comments on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc feeds.  However, the advent of fine-tuned privacy settings,Snapchat (where things go away without leaving much of a digital trace) and a broader understanding of the importance of social media for those entering job market or looking to transition to the next opportunity has changed the role that social media can affect a career.

While I can drone on about it here on my blog, I highly recommend an article that appeared this Sunday’s NY Times business section. The points that the author maker are valid and I recommend that new job candidates and experienced job seekers take a look at it.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!

FDA Announces Social Media Guidelines–Yawn!

Posted in Social Media

After a very long blogging absence, I decided that it was time for me to begin to write posts on things that continue to pique my interest.  The recent announcement that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally released its long awaited guidance on the use of social media in the life sciences industry including pharma, biotech and med. devices.

While words like long awaited have been used to describe this monumental announcement, I think nobody really cares anymore about what the agency thinks about social media!  Put simply, despite some interested starts and stops, social media is not an integral part of the life sciences industry and likely will never be.  In the beginning (about a decade ago) social media transformed a number of industries by introducing transparency and engaging stakeholders to improve their bottom lines. Unfortunately, the modus operandi in the life sciences industry, by virtue of it business model, is opaqueness not transparency. Further, life scientists and life science employees are not the most social individuals and their use of social media for business purposes is almost non-existent. Consequently, social media and the life science industry are not a good fit!!!! Finally, early players in the life science social media space including Novo Nordisk and J&J have already leveraged what they could using social media and have moved on.

In summary, while it may be a banner day at FDA because the agency finally released its social media guidelines, I do not think anybody really cares anymore. The trajectory of social media is on its downward slope and it is no longer fresh or new (except maybe in the minds of pharma/biotech executives).  In fact, social media is no longer new media and is now considered a standard staple of all communication platforms. While many industries benefited from social media it was never a priority for the life sciences industry and industry executives (and US regulators) did everything in their collective power to ensure that social media did not interfere with the secrecy and intentional opaqueness that dominates the industry.

Until next time,

Good luck and Good Job Hunting

Healthcare and Social Media

Posted in Social Media

I received this infographic from an organization that is promoting a Masters of Public Health program.  It is interesting and I thought I would share it with BioJobBlog readers.
Healthcare and Social Media
Source: Healthcare and Social Media

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!

FDA and Social Media: Much Ado About Nothing

Posted in Social Media, Uncategorized

Since the inception of blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms, many life sciences companies, mainly big pharma, have been anxiously awaiting regulatory guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration on how to use them. Interestingly, FDA did issue some guidance in 2012 on it use last year but many drugmakers felt that it was insufficient and not detailed enough.  Despite the lack of clearly defined regulatory guidance, many companies took the social media plunge anyway. And according to a recent survey of regulatory actions and letters conducted by Mark Senak author of the fabulous EyeonFDA Blog the agency has done very little to thwart the social media strategies implemented by drug companies. In fact, there has been no obvious increase in the number of warning letters or violation letters regarding the use of digital or social media as compared with traditional media violations.

Senak drew this conclusion after analyzing 173 warning and notice of violation letters (advertising and media related) that were issued by the agency from 2008 to 2012.  Of the 173 regulatory letters that were issued, 675 violations were cited and only 43% involved digital media.  And, for the most part, most of the cited violation had little to do with the digital or social media vehicle used but more to do with the message being delivered. For the full report click here.

What does this all mean? While it is difficult to draw any firm conclusion, I believe that the bottom line is that the importance and significant of the long awaited FDA guidance on the use of social media has been overstated. Put simply, if you follow the existing rules guiding advertising and print media, companies ought to be able to craft a regulatory-compliant social media communication strategy without the fear of running afoul of the agency.  Those who violate the existing rules will likely be caught and have to clean up their acts.

The bottom line. Many drug companies have been able to mount very effective social media campaigns without getting into trouble with FDA.  The key to success is following the rules and implementing a digital/social media campaign that has passed internal regulatory muster to insure that everything is in order and regulatory compliant. Companies that have made the investment into digital/social media will be successful whereas others that jump into the game without taking the time to understand the rules of engagement will fail.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!



Jobseekers: When Creating a LinkedIn Profile and Twitter Account May Simply Not Be Enough!

Posted in BioJobBuzz

The advent of social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter have spawned a plethora of articles, blog posts and even white papers on how important these communication networks may be for jobseekers. In fact, many recruiters and career development counselors that I have talked with believe (and publicly espouse) that finding a job without using these platforms will be extremely difficult. While I believe that social media—when used correctly—can be a powerful job hunting tool, many job seekers believe that simply creating a LinkedIn profile and Twitter account will magically result in gainful employment.  Sadly, these job seekers are mistaken and they are setting themselves up for a “rude awakening.”

The key word in the phrase “social media” is social. Being social means interacting and actively communicating with others in the networks that you have built on LinkedIn or Twitter; not creating a profile, remaining silent and then expecting prospective employers to find you!  Networking, whether online or in real life (IRL) is a social not a solitary endeavor!

The main point of a LinkedIn profile or Twitter account is provide users with a mechanism to help them to “stand out” from the rest of the competition and ultimately convince prospective employers that they, not their colleagues, are the right persons to hire into their organizations. People who create a LinkedIn profile or a Twitter account and never use them are kidding themselves if they think that their behavior will result in job leads or possible interviews. To wit, there are currently over 200 million registered LinkedIn users; expecting prospective employers or to spend their time searching LinkedIn databases to identify inactive users as possible job candidates is sheer lunacy in today’s fiercely competitive global job market.  It is tantamount to searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack; who has the time to do that?

I spend a fair amount of time on LinkedIn (because it is a strictly professional network) looking for writing assignments and other business opportunities.  I frequently come upon job posts in the many groups that I belong to.  Invariably I see individual group members interested who are interested in the posted jobs publicly leave messages that read (and I am not kidding): “I am interested in the job opportunity. Please contact me.”

I am shocked that the persons who leave these messages actually believe that most  recruiters or hiring manager are actually going  to look at their LinkedIn profiles to see whether or not they may be qualified for the advertised job!  For the record, the appropriate response to a job posting on LinkedIn is to send a private message to the recruiter or hiring manager and inquire about the job specifics. This ought to provide enough information for a job seeker and recruiter/hiring manager to determine whether or not to proceed further.

The point that I am trying to make is in today’s fiercely competitive job market, jobseekers must be aggressive, interactive and tenacious when networking both online and in real life.  Simply creating profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and exclusively applying for online jobs is likely not going to be enough to land a job these days.  As most recruiters and job counselors will tell you “Finding a new job is really a full time job that requires the same amount of time and commitment” And, like it or not, they’re right!

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!



Twitter: What Is It Good For?

Posted in BioEducation

Vincent Racaniello, PhD podcaster extraordinaire and a BioCrowd co-founder, has long contended that Twitter is an ideal medium to conduct scholarly research especially in the life sciences. Unfortunately, many scientists, who have yet to try Twitter, steadfastly disagree with Vincent. To that end, I received a message from the folks over at alerting me to an article that they published entitled “15 Fascinating Academic Studies Done on Twitter."

While none of the studies mentioned in the post were conducted in the life sciences, they run the gamut from computer science to sociology, music and science education. Twitter, which is still in its formative stages, is clearly emerging as the social medium of choice to track real time events and to stay informed about current events. As the platform matures and more people sign up as users, it is likely that it will become a player for online scholarly research studies in the life sciences and an ideal medium for science education.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Tweeting!!!!!!!!!!


A Christmas Present From the EyeonFDA Blog: Who’s Who in Life Sciences Social Media

Posted in Social Media

The incomparable Mark Senak, author of the EyeonFDA blog and social media enthusiast, offers a gift this holiday season to those of you track social media use by life sciences companies. Mark has assiduously compiled a list of the life sciences companies that use social media and their platforms of choice.

It is a comprehensive list and must have for all of you pharma social media junkies out there!

Happy Holidays!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!!!


An Analysis: Big Pharma and Social Media Usage

Posted in Social Media

A study conducted in November 2011 by Cegedim Strategic Data, a market research and promotional audit firm analyzed the world’s top 100 pharmaceutical companies expenditure on traditional promotional (marketing spends) and then compared that spending with their presence on Facebook and Twitter.

Not surprisingly, Pfizer, Novartis and Merck (the world’s largest big pharma companies) finished in the top three for traditional promotional spending. However, their use of social media i.e. Twitter and Facebook varied widely. For example, Pfizer—the top promotional spender—was first in its number of Twitter followers and third in the number of likes on Facebook. On the other hand, second ranked Novartis was fifth in the number of Twitter followers and in seventeenth position for likes on Facebook. Finally, third ranked Merck was fifteenth in the number of Twitter followers (third for the number of tweets) and in the tenth position for the number of likes on Facebook (but has more pages than any of its Facebook competitors).

Other notable companies included:

  • Johnson &Johnson, eleventh in promotional spending and number two on the number of Facebook likes
  • Roche, number fifteen on the promotional spending list was ranked number two for the number of Twitter followers
  • Proctor and Gamble which ranked a distant 54th in promotional spending was number four on the Twitter follower list

What does this all mean? A whole lot of nothing because nobody can determine what effects the use of social media has on the bottom line for most pharmaceutical companies. Unlike other industries, where social media can be used to sell products, it cannot be used for direct promotional purposes in the life sciences industry. While most people will tell you this is because of the lack of guidance by FDA on the use of social media, the bottom line is that social media will never be allowed for direct-to-consumer advertising in the pharmaceutical industry. That said, pharma and biotech will have to find other uses for social media including clinical trial recruitment and retention, adverse event reporting, employee recruitment and retention and education and outreach.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Tweeting (and Liking)


Some Practical Twitter Advice for Jobseekers

Posted in Social Media

I just returned from the AAPS meeting in Washington, DC and I was very surprised to learn that many graduate students and postdocs have heard of Twitter but don’t know exactly what it is or how to use it! Because of this, I decided to write a post that offered a step-by-step approach for using Twitter as a job search tool for life scientists who may be looking for jobs. However, much to my delight, I found a recent post on the Secret of the Job Hunt website that provides a great “how to” guide on Twitter use for jobseekers. 

The post entitled How to Use Twitter to Find a Job” was written by Erin Kennedy, CPRW, CERW a certified career counselor, resume writer and blogger is a great introduction to using Twitter and she provides insightful tips on how to maximize Twitter’s potential as a job searching tool.

How to Use Twitter to Find a Job

by Erin Kennedy, CPRW, CERW 

For any newbies to social networking, it might seem unusual to use a site such as Twitter to find a job. However, many people can find the right contacts on Twitter to help them to find a job–but it can be a little complicated in 140 characters or less? When using Twitter as a job search tool, it is best to keep content as neutral and professional as possible. Remember, as with anything you write and post online, once you “tweet” it’s out there FOREVER.

The first thing to do when starting up a Twitter account is to choose your user name wisely and word your 160-character bio in such a way that it becomes more searchable, or Google-friendly. Your bio should share a little bit about your career so that when other people look up that keyword, you can gain more traffic to your profile. An avatar will also make your profile more appealing. Choose a professional portrait or a simple picture in which you’re facing the camera and you are not accompanied by anyone else.

A basic rule of thumb when it comes to using Twitter as a job-search tool is to keep content favorable to anyone who might stumble across it – your tweets should balance your work and personal life. If you are looking for a job, you can tweet about the types of jobs in which you are interested. Also, you can tweet about your hobbies or interests so that employers get an idea of what you are like outside of work.

In that same vein, keep in mind that there are many recruiters who actually look to Twitter for new hires because it gives them something of a real-world perspective of what that person is like. In an extremely competitive economy, where plenty of people are qualified for the same job, many companies look at an applicant’s personality to see whether they would be a good fit in the company’s culture. In this case, it helps to follow these recruiters for the companies in which you are interested.

On a similar note, you can connect with these recruiters and industry leaders and show them your interest in their tweets. You can either “retweet” to forward their tweets along or you can address them directly by putting the @ symbol before their user name. By keeping in touch with these people, you will have access to the latest information in your industry. Therefore, when you are called in for a job interview, you will have that extra edge over other candidates by speaking confidently about your knowledge of their field.

Like any real-world networking situation, a Twitter presence cannot be expected to build overnight. It takes time and patience; however, by connecting with the right people, you might very well find your way to your dream career. The key to a successful Twitter profile is keeping it professional with a glimpse of your personality, hobbies and interests outside of work as well.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Tweeting!!!!!!


Twitter is the Social Medium of Choice for Big Pharma And Biotech Companies

Posted in Social Media

Despite the initial pushback against social media by many pharma and biotech companies it appears that Twitter is emerging as the medium of choice for the life sciences industry. The main reasons for this trend are the 140 character world limit and the real time nature of Twitter. Unlike Facebook pages and blogs, where visitor’s comments (of any length) remain for indefinite periods of time, the information contained in tweets is minimal and their exposure time is second or minutes rather than days or months. These features allow pharma and biotech companies to more easily manage information flow and quickly implement damage control when necessary. 

Because of the growing importance of Twitter in life sciences circles, Mark Senak, the intrepid author of the EyeonFDA blog and a self-proclaimed social media enthusiast, compiled a list of well, useful pharmaceutical Twitter lists. Twitter users can subscribe to lists which are a compilation of tweets from persons who belong to the lists. For those of you who use LinkedIn, Twitter Lists are analogous to LinkedIn Groups.

Mark recommends the following lists to those who want to follow the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry

Healthcare Reporters 

Pharmaceutical Manufacturers 

Device  Manufacturers

Medical Journals

FDA Twitter Feeds.

Government Healthcare

Pharmaceutical and Biotech Jobs

To view these lists you must be a Twitter member!

Hat tip to Mark and to John Mack at the Pharma Marketing Blog for the Twitter image!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Tweeting!!!!!!!