Industry Transition Spotlight: Sarah Yunes, PhD, Medical Writer
Industry Transition: An interview With Sarah Yunes, PhD, Medical Writer
1. What is your name, your full job title, and the name of the company you work for?
I’m Sarah Yunes, and I am a Medical Writer for Argenx.
2. What is your favorite part about working in industry?
It’s a very supportive work environment. My manager is supportive, helpful, and honest. The team I work with is friendly and we’re able to collaborate really well together.
3. What does a typical day at work look like for you?
Many of my colleagues work in Belgium, so most of my mornings are spent in meetings, to work on resolving open issues with the current project. In the afternoon, I do most of the writing. I have a standard 8 hour day most of the time and I spend about half of most days writing documents for submission to the FDA.
4. How is your current industry position different than your academic postdoc or experience as a graduate student?
It’s a night and day difference from my time in grad school. In my PhD, I felt I had no support moving my career forward. My advisor was only interested in what work I had put in towards my research and, even though I had to teach pretty much the entire time I was there to get funding, I was expected to not prioritize my teaching. I was expected to figure it out on my own. In my current role, my manager is incredibly supportive. While my initiative to solve problems is still very much appreciated, my manager and team have been helpful in getting me up to speed with my new role and solving problems that I have. I meet with my manager every week and we talk about how to move forward in my work. She advises me on how to move forward in my career and how my company is different from other companies in terms of the role. For the first time in a very, very long time, I feel like I know what I’m doing, that I can achieve my goals, and have a plan to progress further in my career.
5. If you could go back in time, to before you received your job offer, and give yourself one piece of advice or encouragement, what would it be?
Believe that you are actually worth it. I spent too much of my time being hard on myself for not doing more job searching.
6. What was the most important thing you did during your job search that enabled your success?
Practicing for interviews! I always thought it was awkward and time consuming, so I figured if I understood how I was supposed to answer interview questions that would be enough. I was very wrong. Practicing for interviews was critical for me to be confident and to answer the questions well. I was able to be myself during the interviews and not feel like I was faking it.
7. What is the most memorable moment for you (so far) as a Cheeky Scientist Associate?
It’s all been so wonderful, but I think my most memorable moment was getting my LI profile reviewed during one of the CSA members only webinars. I got feedback from Isaiah directly and it definitely made me feel like I was heading in the right direction. It was probably the earliest moment that I felt really confident leaving academia.
8. What do you see as the next step in your career?
Right now I’m focusing on getting well-established as a medical writer, but my hope is to be promoted to the senior medical writer within a year.
9. How can the Association and the Association’s members help you continue to achieve your career goals?
I’m struggling to stay on top of my networking without the urgency of needing a job, so that’s something I need to work on. I also want to learn more about medical writing and regulatory affairs to prepare for a potential promotion in the future.
10. Now that you’ve spent some time working in industry, what is the biggest piece of advice you’d like to share with those Associates who are still executing their job search?
I think it’s easy to be afraid of changing lanes and trying something you’ve never done before. If you’re not happy doing research, you can move away from it. It took me a long time to get comfortable with choosing to pursue medical writing. You are absolutely not restricted to working in the lab or in the field going forward. A PhD is so much more than a pair of hands at the bench and you can do so many things with it. I’m so happy I never have to sit at a tissue culture hood ever again. Let yourself explore options outside of the lab and you may find that’s what will make you happy.
Ready to make your own industry transition? The Cheeky Scientist Association is the world’s largest PhD-only industry job search training platform and PhD-only industry job referral network. When you become an Associate, you get access to our proven job search blueprint, which includes 200+ training videos, interviews with industry PhDs working in the most popular 100+ careers for PhDs, lifetime access to a private job referral network of 8,000+ PhDs, and much more.
You get instant feedback from our trainers 24/7 on any job search-related question so you can be 100% confident in your decisions about your job search and your overall career. To learn more about how to make your own industry transition, including instant access to our exclusive training videos, case studies, industry insider documents, transition plan, and private online network, get on the waitlist for the Cheeky Scientist Association.