How to Break Into the Medical Science Liaison Role
Learn the secrets of success from hundreds of MSLs and Managers.
If you are struggling to break into the MSL profession and aren’t sure why, this program will guide you step-by-step on what it takes to successfully break in.
Even for highly qualified candidates, becoming a Medical Science Liaison is a challenging endeavor!
It’s nearly impossible to achieve on your own without the proper preparation and guidance.
This one of a kind 15 hour program will guide you, step by step, how to successfully search for, apply, interview, and ultimately land your first MSL role. The program reveals how to address your lack of MSL experience, strategies for standing apart from the competition, what MSL hiring managers look for when considering candidates, and what gets the right candidates hired.
This eLearning Program is based on the following
Amazon #1 Bestseller The Medical Science Liaison Career Guide: How to Break Into Your First Role
The Amazon #1 Bestseller The Medical Science Liaison Career Guide: How to Break Into Your First Role book has received over 170 5-Star Amazon Reviews and helped countless aspiring MSLs launch their careers. The information provided in the original publication has been updated for this program.
Insights from 185 MSL Hiring Managers
The MSL Society conducted the first-ever global MSL hiring survey in which 185 MSL Managers participated and responded to 39 questions related to what they are looking for in MSL Candidates including: appropriate length of CV, most relevant information on CV, the importance of cover letters, reasons for not moving a candidate forward in the phone and in-person interviews, behavioral-style interviews, qualities they look for, and a presentation checklist.
22 Interviews with 14 MSL Leaders
In addition to the multiple techniques you will learn throughout the program, you will also learn from 14 MSL hiring managers and MSL recruiters who have volunteered their time to participate in the program to share their insights, tips, and advice for aspiring MSLs over the span of 22 interviews. These leaders provided their perspectives on the topics covered in each module.
Here’s What You’ll Learn
This first-ever self-paced online eLearning training program will teach you exactly what you need to do to successfully break into the highly competitive Medical Science Liaison career!
Understand what 185 MSL Hiring Managers want and look for in successful applicants
What is an MSL and what is the purpose of the role?
What does an MSL do and what are the typical activities of MSLs?
How to effectively network with MSLs and hiring managers
How to format and what to include in your CV so it gets noticed by MSL hiring managers
How to succeed in each step of the interview process including virtual interviews
How to address and overcome your lack of MSL experience
How hundreds of MSLs broke into their first role
How to research the role, companies and hiring managers
Why most applications get rejected and what you can do about it
What salary to expect as a new MSL
How to effectively work with recruiters and understand contract MSL organizations
PLAY SAMPLE CONTENT FROM THIS PROGRAM
What some Aspiring MSLs Are Saying About The Program
Brian Hoglund, MD
Orthopaedic Trauma Research Coordinator
Bay Medical Sacred Heart
A STELLAR and Phenomenal learning experience!
I recently completed the training, and if I had to describe it in one word, it would be “STELLAR”! Truly, it was a phenomenal learning experience, extremely comprehensive, masterfully designed, and artfully executed. The quality and depth of the information was unbelievable, and I cannot even fathom the amount of time it took to produce such a fantastic product. Thank you VERY much for all of the time the MSL Society invested in implementing the online training, because it was ABSOLUTELY worth every second I invested in time and money in taking it! Really, bravo!
Jorida Coku, MA
The University of Pennsylvania
A Must to all Aspiring MSLs!
“If you have a genuine interest in becoming an MSL, then “Breaking into the MSL Career” training is the best educational resource and investment you can make for yourself. As an aspiring MSL, I found it to be imperative to the understanding of this career path and to thoroughly preparing to break into this role. The course is very comprehensive, well designed, excellently narrated and easy to follow. What brings immense value to it, are the built-in interviews with experienced field MSLs who provide invaluable advice. An outstanding learning program highly recommended as a “must” to all aspiring MSLs!”
Kartik Angara, PhD
University of Minnesota Medical School
Diligence, Integrity, and Simplicity!
Breaking into the MSL Career, MSL Society’s first-ever eLearning Certificate training program is a resource hub and information powerhouse for aspiring MSLs. I have completed the training program and found all the 10 modules incredibly useful. Dr. Samuel Dyer and the entire Medical Science Liaison Society (MSLS) team have put together this program with exceptional diligence, integrity, and simplicity. The self-paced style of the program is just so convenient. What adds value to this program is the invaluable interviews Dr. Dyer conducts with the highly influential people in Medical Affairs. Highly recommended for all the aspiring MSLs!
Senior Site Manager
Precision for Medicine
This training program is like the “Holy grail” of how to break into the MSL Career!
I had applied to a couple of MSL job openings and was surprised that I could not get past the “We appreciate the time and effort you have invested in this process. After careful consideration, we regret to inform you that we will not be progressing with your application at this time”. Now I know why!
This training program is like the “Holy grail” of how to break into the MSL Career. A lot of time, effort, and research went into the production of this program. It covers and guides step by step all that is needed to know to break into an MSL role. Instead of gushing on and on about this, I would strongly advise and recommend to anyone to take advantage of this opportunity of golden nuggets of wisdom.
I appreciate the thoughtfulness of Dr. Samuel Dyer for wanting to give back and putting this together.
Faisal Shakeel, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
University of Michigan, College of Pharmacy
An excellent resource and one-stop shop for everything to know about breaking into the MSL role!
Breaking into the MSL Career” online program is the best resource out there and investment you can make towards your career. The program is well thought of with a self-paced design significantly reducing the learning curve about the MSL role and all that there is to know about breaking in. As an aspiring MSL, I really enjoyed the concise nature of the program providing incredible insight. The inclusion of interviews with industry leaders was a fantastic incorporation adding significant value to the program. I would highly recommend this program to all aspiring MSLs!!
Abdah Siwfi, PharmD
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
The Best program for all aspiring MSLs!
I highly recommend the “Breaking Into the MSL Career Training Program” for all aspiring MSLs! There is nothing else out there even close to what this program covers. This course was extremely helpful to understand the role of MSL and the career path and has given me confidence in what I need to do to successfully break-in. The modules are easy to follow and provide a thorough understanding of the hiring process and key strategies on how to land the first MSL role. Thank you, Dr. Dyer and the team of the Medical Science Liaison Society, for such a tremendous job.
Alisha Aggarwal, MD
Research Assistant, University of Nebraska Medical Center
A major step on the ladder to success!
The ‘Breaking Into The MSL Career Training Program’ is a great learning tool for anyone aspiring to be an MSL. The course is self-paced in addition to being extremely detailed, well designed, and easy to follow. What makes the entire training program really helpful are the interviews conducted with several Field Directors and Senior MSL’s by Dr. Dyer.
The 10 modules in this program enhanced my knowledge and understanding regarding every important aspect required to break into the first MSL role.
I would highly recommend this program to all aspiring MSL’s.
What’s Inside This Program?
This comprehensive training program includes 10 modules and 22 interviews with 14 MSL Hiring Managers and Recruiters covering every aspect of applying and interviewing for the MSL role.
Within and at the end of each module, there are several assessment questions of newly acquired knowledge on the topic covered. These assessments will help you master the material and in doing so, increase your chances of breaking into your first MSL role.
Overview - What is a Medical Science Liaison?
- What to expect and how to use the program
- What to expect on your journey to becoming an MSL
- Defining the MSL role and who is a suitable candidate
- How and why the MSL role is crucial to the success of a company
The MSL Role: Past, Present, and Future of the MSL
- The history, evolution, and future of the MSL role
- What is an MSL and what is their primary purpose
- What is a KOL and their importance
- The most common terms for Medical Science Liaisons and Key Opinion Leaders
- Regulations related to pharma (OIG, etc.)
- The importance of the OIG Guidelines on the MSL role
- Reporting structure of MSL teams
- What MSLs do (typical activities of MSLs)
- Guidelines for MSL activities
- The typical academic background of MSLs in the U.S. and globally
- MSL/KOL Scientific exchange and education
- The growth and expansion of the MSL Role over the next few years
- MSL hiring managers’ experience and willingness to hire aspiring MSLs
- Interviews with MSL hiring managers
The MSL Role: MSLs Discuss How They Got Started
- Success factors for breaking into the MSL role (based on multiple surveys)
- Global survey results from hundreds of MSLs reveal:
- The typical academic background of NEW MSLs (with less than one year of MSL experience) in the U.S. and globally
- Most successful sources to find MSL roles
- MSL salary expectations for new MSLs
- How long it typically takes to break into the MSL role
- The average time required to break into your first MSL role
- Average number of roles interviewed for prior to breaking in
- The importance of networking
- The importance of demonstrating knowledge of the company and/or company product(s) during the interview process
- The importance of demonstrating effective communication and/or presentation skills
- MSL managers reveal how long the typical MSL interview and hiring process lasts
- Interviews with MSL hiring managers
MSL Job Search Strategy: The Importance of Research
- The importance of researching the role, the industry, and companies, before applying to MSL roles
- The 4 keys to successful research in order to break into the MSL role
- What managers expect and how to demonstrate knowledge of the company and company product(s) during the interview process
- How to integrate knowledge of company products into your interview answers
- The MOST common reasons that prevent MSL hiring managers from moving an applicant forward in the hiring process
- How to define, identify, and research target companies
- The best online resources to help you understand and research the pharmaceutical industry and companies
- Key information you need to know and be able to discuss with a hiring manager about a company and their product(s)
- Interviews with MSL hiring managers
MSL Job Search Strategy: Professional Networking
- Understand how networking is an essential component of any successful MSL job search
- Identify strategies to network online
- How to use social media to build and communicate with your MSL network
- How to use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to build an online presence
- How to network as an aspiring MSL
- What works and what does not
- Passive vs active networking
- MSLs reveal how networking was important to their success and how aspiring MSLs should network
- How to maximize your efforts of networking
- Goals for networking with MSLs and managers
- Most effective ways and how to approach MSLs and managers to network with
- What sources MSL managers utilize most to obtain applicants for MSL positions
- Platforms that MSL managers utilize to review and evaluate MSL applicants
- How often MSL managers use social media to research/evaluate applicants
- How to effectively use LinkedIn, create a profile, network with MSLs and managers and mistakes to avoid
- Strategies for using Twitter, creating an appropriate professional profile, network with MSLs and managers and researching target companies
- How to use Facebook to search for jobs or for professional networking and four options for maximizing its impact and mistakes to avoid
- Techniques on using other tools including google, blogs, discussion forums, publishing articles, YouTube to increase your chances
- Interviews with MSL hiring managers
MSL Job Search Strategy: Crafting the Perfect CV and Cover Letter
- The essential elements that a qualified MSL CV must possess
- The 3 primary reasons an MSL CV is rejected
- The importance of and how to match your MSL CV to the employer’s needs
- What MSL managers think is the most relevant/important information on a CV/Resume
- What MSL managers think is the appropriate length for an MSL
- How to use keywords and which keywords to include on your CV
- How to structure and format an MSL CV, what sections to include and what NOT to include
- Do’s and don’ts for each section of an MSL CV
- How to list relevant disease state experience, accomplishments and other key information
- An MSL CV template you can use
- How to improve the chances that your CV will not be immediately eliminated
- What mistakes to avoid when writing an MSL CV
- The 3 successful strategies to get past an applicant-tracking software to increase your chances that your CV will land in front of an MSL hiring manager
- The importance of a cover letter and when to use one according to MSL hiring managers
- Guidelines for formatting an MSL cover letter
- Do’s and don’ts for each section of an MSL cover letter
- How a cover letter can be used as a way to distinguish yourself
- Interviews with MSL hiring managers
MSL Hiring Process: The Phone Screen and The Phone Interview
- The primary purpose of the phone screen
- What to expect during a phone screen
- How a phone screen is different with someone at a company vs a recruiter
- Typical questions you will be asked and the questions that you should ask during a phone screen
- Recommendations on how to prepare for the phone screen
- Successful MSLs reveal the importance of researching the individuals, the company, and the company’s pipeline that the MSL position supports prior to the phone screen/interview
- Tips for effective communication during the phone screen
- How to effectively end a phone screen
- The primary purpose of the phone interview
- What to expect during a phone interview
- MSL hiring managers reveal on average, how long they typically speak to an applicant during a phone interview
- Differences in format between the phone screen and phone interview
- The importance of preparation and tips for effective communication skills during the phone interview
- Strategies for a successful phone interview
- MSL managers reveal a very important quality they expect applicants to demonstrate during a phone or in-person interview (often overlooked by aspiring MSLs)
- Typical questions you will be asked and the questions that you should ask during a phone interview
- The difference between traditional and behavioral style interviews
- MSL hiring managers reveal how often they use behavioral style questions
- MSL hiring managers reveal the most common reasons that prevent an applicant from being invited for an in-person interview
- Essential tips to effectively end a phone interview
- Successful MSLs reveal how often they write a “Thank You Letter”
- The importance of the “Thank You Letter” according to MSL hiring managers
- Guidelines and template on how to format a “Thank You Letter”
- Interviews with MSL hiring managers
MSL Hiring Process: The In-Person Interview
- The primary purpose of the in-person interview
- MSL Managers reveal how many applicants are typically selected for the in-person interview
- How to prepare for the in-person interview
- Who you will typically interview with (not just the hiring manager)
- What to expect during an in-person interview
- The typical process of the in-person interview
- What interviewers will be evaluating
- The typical length of each interview during the day
- MSL hiring managers reveal who ultimately decides if an applicant will be offered a position
- Typical questions you will be asked and the questions that you should ask during an in-person interview
- MSL hiring managers reveal how important it is for an applicant to demonstrate strong presentation skills when making a hiring decision and how to prepare
- Strategies to prepare for and be successful during an in-person interview
- MSL hiring managers reveal how often applicants are required to deliver a scientific presentation and the topic of the presentation during the interview
- MSLs reveal how often they were required to give a presentation during the interview process
- MSLs reveal the typical length of the interview presentation
- Tips for a successful interview presentation
- The most common mistake to avoid when creating the interview presentation
- Guidelines on what to wear during the interview
- Strategies to prepare for and be successful during virtual interviews
- Best practices to follow before and during the in-person interview
- MSL managers reveal a very important quality they expect applicants to demonstrate (often overlooked by aspiring MSLs)
- MSL hiring managers reveal the most common reasons that prevent them from moving an applicant forward in the hiring process during the in-person interview
- Essential tips to effectively end an in-person interview
- MSL hiring managers reveal the importance of receiving a “Thank You Letter” after an interview
- Guidelines for when to send a “Thank You Letter”
- 10 tips for successfully preparing for a virtual MSL interview
- How to effectively handle 4 common unexpected scenarios encountered during virtual interviews
- Interviews with MSL hiring managers
MSL Hiring Process: The Offer and Salary Expectations
- What to expect during the offer stage
- How to respond to a verbal offer
- The components and details of the typical written offer
- Factors that are utilized in determining what starting salary you will be offered
- Researching MSL salaries utilizing accurate and reliable sources
- MSLs reveal the starting salary for experienced and NEW MSLs
- MSL hiring managers reveal how often the base salary offered to an applicant is negotiable
- New MSLs reveal how many negotiated their most recent base salary offer
- New MSLs reveal how much of an increase they gain by negotiating
- 6 key steps to successfully negotiate a higher starting salary
- The final job offer process
- Interviews with MSL hiring managers
Working with Recruiters and Understanding Contract MSL Roles
- New MSLs reveal how many found their first role through a recruiter
- Understand how MSL recruiters work
- How to work with MSL recruiters
- Understand contract MSL organizations and contract MSL roles
- How to work with a contract MSL organization
- Interviews with recruiters and a contract MSL organization leader
MSL Leaders and Recruiters Featured In This Program
Samuel Dyer, PhD
CEO and Chairman
JR Rizkallah, MD, MSL-BC
Judith Vensak, MS, MBA
Field Medical Team Director
Elizabeth Kupferer, PhD
Regional Director, MSLs
Ralph Rewers, PharmD
National MSL Director, Anti-Infectives/HCV/Virology
Davida White, MD
US Oncology Field Medical Alignment Director
Ellen Shannon, PhD, RN, MSL-BC
US Head of Medical Affairs
Linda Traylor, PhD, MSL-BC
Vice President, Clinical Development & Medical Affairs
Belinda Gist, PhD
Director, Medical Affairs Learning & Development
Cherie Hyder, PharmD, MSL-BC
Medical Excellence Lead
Larry Dollar, PharmD, MS, MSL-BC
VP of Medical Affairs
Susan Giacalone, MSN, MSL-BC
Senior Director, External Research & Medical Strategies
Medical Affairs and MSL Recruiter
Director of Recruiting
Senior VP, Global Medical Affairs
3 additional unique benefits included in this program!
Live Q/A with MSL Hiring Managers
Program participants will be able to attend one live program and ask any questions you want to 2 – 3 different managers.
These managers will share what makes a candidate successful, and what does not. They will provide their perspective on what it takes to successfully break into your first role and what they are looking for in a successful candidate.
This is a unique opportunity to ask ALL your personal questions directly to MSL hiring managers and gain immediate feedback!
There are essential elements that a qualified MSL CV must possess before it’s ever even considered by HR or an MSL hiring manager.
A downloadable CV template with these essential elements is included as an additional feature in the program to help increase the chances of standing out and being noticed. This template will help you create the perfect CV that helps you highlight your relevant background and match your experience to the role.
In the program, you will learn what MSL hiring managers look for when reviewing a CV and what the most common mistakes are to avoid.
Official Certificate of Completion
All participants who complete the program will be awarded an official certificate of completion from the MSL Society that can be added to their CV and LinkedIn profile.
This is an excellent way to demonstrate to hiring managers and HR your gained level of knowledge.
What Some MSL Leaders Are Saying About This Program
Victor Sastre, MSc, MSL-BC
Head of MSL Bone and Inflammation
All the important and relevant information that an aspiring MSL needs to know!
After completing the entire “Breaking into the MSL Career” program, I highly recommend it for all aspiring MSLs! It covers in very clear detail, all the important and relevant information that an aspiring MSL needs to know to successfully break into the role including job search strategies, the specific hiring processes, and the opinions of MSL managers and MSL recruiters. This e-Training program is also fully updated for the reality of applying and interviewing during the pandemic. It is also packed with real examples of our day-to-day work hand in hand with some of the most relevant leaders in our profession.
Kenneth Kupersmith, MBA
Carlyle Search Group
Incredibly detailed and thorough with a lot of data and examples!
I just completed “The Breaking Into The MSL Career Training Program” Offered By THE MEDICAL SCIENCE LIAISON SOCIETY and loved it!
MSL Society provides an excellent MSL training platform that helped me to explore and understand more the MSL role, the past, present, and future of MSL. Each module was very helpful. This program is very well done and is incredibly detailed and thorough with a lot of data and examples. Although English is not my mother tongue, it was easy to understand and easy to follow both the modules and the excellent interviews. Even being an experienced MSL, throughout the 15 hours of training I learned a lot including the input from the hundreds of MSLs and managers that were included. I not only recommend this course to aspiring MSLs but also to experienced MSLs for its value it provides.
Martina Riosalido, MSc
Medical Science Liaison
I was amazed at the depth of credible information!
Having just completed the new eLearning course by the MSL Society, Breaking into the MSL Career, this content should be mandatory for aspiring MSLs, it’s that simple. As an Executive Recruiter that specializes in the placement of BioPharma Medical Affairs roles, especially the MSL role, this course is the comprehensive fountain of knowledge of all of the information that I need my candidates to understand and utilize during the interview process. I was amazed at the depth of credible information in the course detailing both what to expect and how to perform (including comprehensive lists of expected challenges and solutions throughout the process, i.e. Questions you may be asked and the best way to use your experience to respond). The audio interviews with MSL Hiring Managers were “drop the mic” answers to most any hurdle throughout the process from actual decision makers. If more MSL candidates took this course, my job would be ten times easier! Enroll!
Sarah Rodriguez, PharmD, BCPS
Senior Medical Science Liaison
The program is very well done, comprehensive, and would be very valuable for anyone aspiring to become an MSL!
One of the most common things I’m asked since I became an MSL is how to break into the role. After reviewing The Medical Science Liaison Society‘s “Breaking Into the MSL Career” training program, I have a clear resource to recommend. The program is very well done and comprehensive. It provides not only an introduction to the role, but also how to network, position yourself optimally from your CV to the interview, and even how to work through the offer process. I especially liked that the information provided in each section is supported by numerous interviews from industry leaders and surveys of MSLs across the globe. I truly enjoyed the program and thought it would be very valuable for anyone aspiring to become an MSL.
Alyson Evans, DNP, ACNS-BC, MBA-HM, MSL-BC
Associate Director, Medical Science Liaison
A must-have for anyone trying to break into the role!
“I thought that this was a fantastic program! Easy to follow and very thorough! I wish I would’ve had this when I was breaking into the industry. A must-have for anyone trying to break into the role.”
* Student level membership required. Join Now!
- MSL SOCIETY MEMBER*
* Professional or Organizational level membership required.
* This price includes a 1-year Professional level membership which will be activated upon purchase of the program.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I have access to the program?
You will have access to this eLearning Program and all materials for one full calendar year from the day you register.
Is there a limit to the number of questions I can ask during the live Q/A session with MSL Hiring Managers?
No, there is not limit on questions, however, questions should be focused on the MSL role, hiring process, etc. Keep in mind not all questions may be answered live during the event. If this is the case, we will reach out to you following the session to answer these questions.
What is the difference between a certificate and a certification?
A certification is often confused with a certificate, which is often promoted as certification. However, there are key differences between the two. The primary purpose of a certificate program is to simply provide training.
In contrast, the primary purpose of a certification is to assess and evaluate one’s acquired knowledge, skills, and competencies related to a particular role. Another key difference is that after an individual passes a certification, they will be awarded a professional credential that will be recognized and used to highlight their certified status.
A credential is awarded following an advanced level examination that follows rigorous exam development protocols and standards which is psychometrically validated.
Furthermore, unlike a certificate program which is typically a one-time training, certifications have routine requirements over time which must be met in order to maintain the credentials.
According to the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), certificate programs and certification programs are designed to meet different needs.
When will I receive the Official Certificate of Completion?
Upon completing all the course modules, passing the final assessment with a minimum score of 70%, and completing the course evaluation, an official Certificate of Completion will be issued by the MSL Society immediately.
How often are the live Q/A sessions with MSL hiring managers scheduled?
These will be scheduled as frequently as needed but likely will be scheduled at least quarterly.
How do I display the certificate of completion?
You can display the Certificate of Completion on your CV and LinkedIn Profile by simply stating the program under “Licenses & Certifications”.
Name: “Breaking Into the MSL Career”
Issuing Organization: “Medical Science Liaison Society”
Credential URL: “https://www.themsls.org/breaking-into-the-msl-career/”
Can I attend multiple Q/A sessions with MSL Hiring Managers?
No. Program participants will be only be allowed to attend one live Q/A session. During the session you can ask any questions you want to 2 – 3 different managers.
How can I submit questions for the MSL hiring managers participating in training?
You may submit questions during the registration process, as well as throughout Q/A session. Please note: not all questions may be answered live during the event. If this is the case, we will reach out to you following the program to answer these questions.
How do I enroll in the live Q/A sessions with MSL hiring managers?
Program participants will receive an email with a link to register for the next upcoming scheduled live Q/A session. Program participants will only be allowed to attend one live Q/A session.
Will this program really help me break into the MSL career?
Although we can not guarantee this program will help you break into the MSL career, it will certainly increase your chances because the information taught in this program is not available anywhere else and is facilitated by those that have actually managed and hired MSLs.
The aspiring MSL training programs offered by the MSL Society work!
In fact, over the last few years we have helped launch hundreds of MSL careers. For inspiration, here are over 115+ MSL careers we have helped launch.
A personal note from Dr. Samuel Dyer
Before considering enrolling in this program or any other, it’s important to understand that you absolutely do NOT need to spend any amount of money in order to break into the MSL career!
You can definitely break into the MSL career on your own through a lot of research, networking, preparation and persistence. However, our goal with this program, through unique resources, data, and insights from 15 MSL leaders who have actually hired, managed, and interviewed MSLs, is to significantly reduce the learning curve, time, and frustration the typical aspiring MSL experiences when trying to break in.