How Do I Know If Healthcare Communications Is Right For Me?
Often, starting working in a Healthcare Communications Agency is a great way to find out if you are suited to a career in healthcare communications.
Agency roles are well-paid, challenging and the work is varied. While it is true that agencies like to hire people with agency experience, the shortage of talent means that they are looking for people with transferable skills and experience. If you are passionate about health, science or communications and willing to learn fast then this could be a good next move.
Some people stay in agencies throughout their careers and may eventually be on the senior team or running their own company, some move to in-house positions, largely in pharmaceutical companies and others may move into the not-for-profit (charity) or public sector.
When working in an agency it’s in everyone’s interest that you learn fast and move up the career ladder. The best agencies offer both on-the-job and structured training. If you join at a mid-level you will have a line manager who will work with you to get you up to speed quickly. You need to be prepared to put in the extra effort to ‘catch up’ with the nuances of agency life, understanding how the agency business model works and why things like time sheets are vital. There are plenty of structured courses available, including HCA courses, conferences and training run by agencies themselves.
Core competencies in agency life include good attention to detail, an ability to manage your time and juggle priorities, good writing and listening and people skills. As you become more senior you will be managing other people and will need to develop your commercial understanding of how agencies make money. Because you will be working for clients it’s also important to be able to build relationships, understand what makes your client happy and appreciate the pressures that they are under. Sometimes deadlines can be tight or may be brought forward so you need to be calm under pressure. Good team-working with your colleagues will help but you will need to be resilient and self-confident.
The best thing about working in an agency is the variety of work you will be involved in, which is why it’s a great place to learn. Every week is different with new challenges, new projects and new people to work with, whether that’s your peers, clients or external stakeholders. You need to enjoy people and enjoy health. That’s it.