Written by Nicole M. Palmer and Dante Alducin
6 months ago, I did a poll on LinkedIn, and I asked, “How did you break into the TMF industry.” Do you know that more than half responded with NO EXPERIENCE! I am living proof that if I can do it so can you. I will always advocate for a fresher with no experience and here’s why. I know what it’s like to get rejected due to a lack of experience. But I’m here to tell you that someone with no experience in the TMF industry will work hard and will do a great job because they want to learn. It is not just a job it is the start of their career. Candidates with no experience tend to stay with a company longer than those who have 5-10 years of experience. Just because someone has experience doesn’t mean they will do a great job or will be committed to the company. Candidates with no experience are hungry, motivated, and perseverant. They will do what it takes and will not give up. Why? Because they want it.
Dante and I are going to share with you today 10 tips on how to get your foot in the door and land the TMF job you deserve.
1. Gain Clarity
What do I mean by this? Know exactly what you want. Make sure that you truly want to work in the TMF. When you reach out to someone DON’T ask them if they have any openings for CRC, CTA, or CRA. These are 3 very different positions. This also shows that you are desperate and will take anything. It also shows that you haven’t done your homework and you don’t understand the different positions and you aren’t committed to the TMF. Instead, research the role and make sure that it is a good fit for you. Once you’ve decided that the TMF industry is what you truly want, you now have gained clarity and can send a well-written DM.
2. Tailor your resume to the job description
An employer is looking for someone with a set of skills and you want to show them that you have what they need. If they are looking for someone who:
· “Knowledge and familiarity with industry workgroups and initiatives such as DIA Records Management Community (TMF Reference Model)”
Research the DIA and the TMF Reference Model and become very familiar with them. Go to their website and look at the resources tab. Now you will be better prepared for an interview by doing your due diligence.
3. Attend a webinar
There are so many webinars out there sign up for one so that you can add it to your resume. But don’t just sign up for anyone, look for one that is specific to the TMF. After you attend, update your resume under Professional Development. Attending webinars shows the hiring manager that you are committed to learning, investing in yourself, and you are willing to stay up to date with an ever-changing industry.
Technology has made it so easy to network. Did you know that there are approximately 830 million LinkedIn members, and about 200 countries/territories WORLDWIDE! Read that again. There is no excuse as to why you can’t network. Getting a job in the TMF can be as simple as word of mouth. Tell everyone you are looking to get into the field. All it takes is for someone to know someone. Send the DMs. Follow-up. Don’t give up. Remember, working in the TMF you must be strong on follow-up for missing and expected essential documents. This is one way you can show this skill by doing exactly that.
5. Lead with Confidence
Research and prepare for your interview so that you will feel confident. Research the company, role, guidelines, and regulations. Ask lots of questions. This will show you are serious about the position, and it will help you feel more confident. Being confident is a skill that you must practice. If you feel confident in yourself and your TMF abilities, the hiring manager will feel confident that they made the right decision in moving forward with you.
Dante, this is your specialty! What are 5 more tips that you would add to help someone who is looking to get into the Trial Master File industry with no experience?
6. Back to the basics
Carefully read the job description and look for the simplest idea in each bullet as in the example:
“Responsible for performing activities in compliance with applicable Corporate and Clinical Operations Policies, Standard Operating Procedures, and Work Instructions”
That could be translated as: “Being able to accurately follow written instructions”. Maybe you don’t have previous experience in this industry but when in your previous working or academic experience have you been involved in following instructions in a rigorous way?
Maybe following a basic research protocol, writing production processes, following steps for any regulatory submission…
7. Be the purple cow
Very hardly in every job position you apply for you will be the only candidate, then you must be “the purple cow”. This expression was coined by Seth Godin, and he says that a company, as well as individuals, have to be different from their competitors to be successful.
Most candidates tend to express the same things always in the same way and that becomes generic. There are many ways to be different from your competitors but one of the most powerful is through storytelling: That is helpful because if you frame your experience with stories, you will gain credibility and you will be easier to remember by the recruiting staff.
For example, many people say they are “Team players”, well everybody can say that and maybe is true but just maybe.
Now, try this other angle: “Last year I was left with my team very little time to update all the filing backlog before an audit. So, I must gather all my team and I assigned them specific tasks. I had to coordinate them and do the work as well. We worked in full capacity for two days, but we didn’t just finish, we made it one day before the deadline!”
Do you see how everything changes after a brief story? Use this formula to express with confidence your strengths:
Task to do + Challenge + Solution = Positive outcome.
8. Play the detective
Every company has specific needs, even if the position is the same. In some cases, they need somebody to cover a member on leave, maybe there is a TMF audit around the corner, or maybe the sponsor wants somebody exclusive for the study that is about to start in the next 3 months.
Every example will change how you will be evaluated for the position and to say it short, you need to find what is the “specific pain” in the company and show them how could you help them.
Use the following questions to know more about the company during your interviews:
– What is the main TMF challenge in this position and in the TMF department?
– What is a typical day like when working in the TMF?
– What do I need to accomplish to be considered a valuable part of the TMF team?
– What do you like most about your job?
After you have that information use the storytelling technique to show them how you fit in the job.
9. Anne needs Bruce…
…As much Bruce needs Anne. That means a company needs you as much as you need the company and that gives you something called “Leverage” or negotiation power even if you don’t have any experience.
Opening a new position is expensive for companies, so they must have good reasons to do it even if is an entry-level job and because of that, you are able to negotiate many things with them.
It is very important to say that you must feel well compensated in your job because that will make you enjoy it, as a result, your performance will boost, and you start advancing in a fast mode.
Never attend an interview if you don’t have in mind the average salary for that position, the ideal compensation you want, and the minimum amount that you are willing to accept and still feel well compensated.
The moment when you will lose money during your professional career is during a bad negotiation and preparation in advance is key to being successful.
You can check the average salary for some positions on glassdoor.com
This is a technique that I always recommend to my students to do after every selection process in the industry:
Write a list of those things you think went well and very well during the process and then write a list of those things that went wrong. Think about how you could do better those things next time and put them into practice immediately.
If you do it after every selection process, you will achieve better performance in a very short time.
As always, if you have a question or want to leave a comment, please feel free- I am happy to help and love to hear from you.