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I have often heard from our candidates interviewing for various positions that a great boss/supervisor will “seal the deal” or “springboard my career.” It’s true, they might. An effective boss gets the most out of his people. Great bosses make great mentors too.

Most bosses want to be great, and be effective leaders too. So you ask, “how do I hit a home run with my boss?” Here are three things you should know.

  1. A great boss will expect performance, but will also be fair. Effective leaders push their team members in order to maximize their skill sets and core competencies. Do you wonder why companies are so critical to get sharp, experienced people? Great bosses try to surround themselves with the best people to do the best job for the team and the company. Therefore, do what you say and say what you do. Be consistent. Produce quality work all the time.
  2. A great boss will delegate responsibilities. Having vision is key to effective leadership. So listen to the vision. Soak it up. Accept constructive criticisms (or what I used to call, “teaching moments”) and enjoy your “5 minutes of fame” on a job or project that is well done. A great boss will expect responsibilities to be carried out properly and effectively. So always do the best job the first time.
  3. A great boss will not forget the little things. We all know that feeling when someone remembers and recognizes your birthday, anniversary, or big accomplishment. Well, the boss who remembers the day you stayed late to help with a board presentation or finish up a proposal always makes a mental note and recalls those details when performance evaluation comes around. These are all good signs that your boss is paying attention to you, and your work.


So remember, a great boss can’t be ideal or perfect all the time. He or she can be tough on the outside and it is their job to produce for the company. Keep in mind you can hit that home run by developing consistency, trust, and of course hard work. Performing at your best will always yield top-notch results. Be up to the task, be sharp, and don’t give up.

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Getting Past Those Obvious Mistakes

If overlooking a resume mistake has you upset, ease up on yourself. We are not all perfect – even though we want people to have that perception. Sometimes being imperfect can be beneficial, if you know how to handle it during a job interview. It’s called “thinking-on-your-feet” syndrome. Here are some “stop-gaps” to assist in restoring that mistake-free image on your resume and eventually in the interview:

1. Get a friend, spouse, or trusted colleague to look over your completed resume. Having another set of eyes proves worthy in spotting a grammar mistake or a phrase that just doesn’t sound right. Spell-check doesn’t always find everything.

2. Always tailor your OBJECTIVE statement to be simple, direct, and appropriate for the job. Pharma hiring managers want a clearly defined career objective. They are picky because the talent is out there. Gear your objectvie toward the career path you are looking for and want to pursue.

3. Customize your resume to fit the job description. Without transforming the content, a simple highlight of certain skill sets and core competencies will narrow the focus to impress the hiring manager. This does work. It will get you noticed!

4. In the interview(s), be prepared to explain in detail at least two recent projects or accomplishments. Hiring managers are impressed when you verbally express your work and talent without using notes. Thinking on your feet is priceless. It is notable and impressive. Client companies want confident and verbally skilled employees, especially in the competitive pharma/biotech, and medical device industries.

5. Bring a few extra resumes with you during the interviews. Sound basic? You’d be surprised how many of us forget, and we are sitting there trying to recall everything. During this blunder, recall specific accomplishments, verbalize your role, and tie it into the interviewer’s responses throughout the interview.

While we can’t always be guaranteed success, being prepared with a solid resume that is refined will make going to the next step of the interview process all the more comforting, and effective.

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In the early months of 2012, we continue to witness a healthcare industry constantly changing and getting more sophisticated. In our discussions with “insiders,” the feedback we get consistently raises the question, “How do I strengthen my current position in my company and keep my career on the upswing in a down economy?”

Here are three key steps we have uncovered in maintaining the edge to get noticed, scoring a promotion, and staying on the right career track:


1. Be honest with yourself. Are you working strategically and smart? Take a minute and step back. Evaluate your own job performance. Break out a job description outlining your current role. Are you performing all that is required? Because if not, and if you are taking short-cuts, it will eventually show. You may look good in the short run, but it can and will come back to bite you. Be complete; be effective. Master the basics first and build lasting impressions.

2. Better understand company and department objectives. Working in a vacuum is dangerous. You may “feel” you are on-track, but are you? I was listening to a Sr. Product Manager last week who complained he wasn’t getting the visibility he deserved. Turns out he was partially working on ad agency tactics that were not his responsibility. Regroup and do the proactive assignments that get you noticed while maintaining your responsibilities and department objectives.

3. Appeal to your creative mind. (Oh yeah, right!) Yes, think out of the box. Everyone has creativity. We all offer different views and perspectives. A key ingredient is understanding the landscape – your environment, competitors. For example, when in the midst of a product launch, what factors are involved? Is it price, positioning, efficacy?. Lean on past projects and accomplishments to scope a new strategy. Invite your market research analyst/consultant to confirm/deny what you need to know. Recommend new, innovative way(s) to test a pre-launch or analyze quantitative results that stretches beyond an obvious result. Creativity will stir new opportunities. There’s risk in every reward. Tracking ahead and moving up…priceless!

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Right next to an effective resume, the phone interview is the most important step to securing momentum for the all-important invitation to a face-to-face interview.

You would be very surprised how often we encounter clients who determine a candidate did not prepare properly for the phone interview. And likewise, the candidate complains he/she didn’t get a “green light” to be invited to the next step.
Being prepared for your all important phone interview requires these simple, yet effective points:

1. Know the company, their key brands – even pipeline activity – and the therapeutic category you are looking into. Company websites are full of informative facts.

2. Study your resume. Know what’s on it. Recognize relative skill sets/core competencies related to the job description and ask your recruiter to forward a copy of the job description to you for prior review.

3. Be prepared to briefly describe or “walk-thru” a project, strategic plan, or research study that you feel comfortable with and can be discussed without disclosing proprietary information. Hiring managers especially are looking for a thought process – how do you think, approach challenges, etc. Do well here and you are “rounding the bases”!

4. Ask your recruiter for help. Review, rehearse, rethink. Pick his/her brain about any issues, hot buttons, background on the company, interviewer(s), etc.

5. Smile, yes smile while you are on the phone (practice in the mirror!) and be a regular person. Companies want a fit in personality as well as skills and knowledge. Don’t be bashful in brandishing your “human side”. You can be professional and serious and still score points with a fresh, interpersonal, and relational side of yourself.

We have seen these 5 key phone interview steps be valuable assets to the advancement of candidates in the interview process. We trust it will help you as well.

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Several colleagues of mine, working in various pharma/biotech companies have been impressed with the level of talent in recently submitted candidates for their open positions.

Right now, it is certainly a very strong candidate-driven market in one of the most healthy industries in corporate America – pharmaceutical/biotech and
medical device.

How can you further become that “top-level based candidate” that every company wants?


1. Confidence, not arrogance –
There is something to be said of being confident and collaborative vs. a “know-it-all” on every topic. Supervisors are fully aware of a person’s talent without playing an over-confident role that can lborder on perceived arrogance. For example, stating a legitimate strategic point in a meeting with support data/criteria is enough especially when your reputation for completeness is your forte. Upper mgmt likes consistency, especially when you deliver, but not over-deliver.

2. Keep your resume current, and updated –
You never know when a recruiter will call with an opportunity that you are interested in pursuing. Attempting to update your resume in one evening is tough. You will certainly not remember every single achievement, etc. It takes a tedious mindset and refinement which could take more than a few days.

3. And finally, become VISIBLE in the workplace –
Offer to lead a group from your dept or office to a lunch or dinner meeting. Network at conventions, association conferences, off-site meetings, etc. This will help build presence and also credibility amongst your peers. VISIBILITY (in the proper mode) equals increased CREDIBILITY in the workplace.

Three basic but important points in further defining your career and laying the groundwork for moving up the ladder.

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Making a stellar first impression during any face-to-face meeting is key to moving the process forward.

Here are five (5) “sure-fire” DO’s to make your positive impact in the interview:

1. Make eye contact, smile, give a firm handshake, and anticipate the first question with a solid answer. These simple first steps relax the nerves for both parties.

2. Engage in collaborative conversation. The comfort level of the interviewer and his/her control of the interview promotes a positive atmosphere.

3. Be prepared to briefly explain a study/project that captivates an influential result or achievement that YOU controlled or for which you received credit.

4. Adjust your personality to make the interviewer feel in control. If you both get off topic and it’s the interviewer’s lead, go with it; but you be the one to bring the conversation back on track to continue the intended purpose of the interview.

5. Conclude by listening for “buying signals”. For example, “when can you meet with the rest of my team?” or “I would like you to come back next week to meet with my colleague(s).”

Now, you’ve made an impact! Consider these DON’Ts when preparing for an interview:

1. Never appear you are “running away” from your current company. If it is a bad situation, don’t let it influence your responses to the interviewer. Be positive about why you desire this new position.

2. Avoid giving yes and no answers. If an interviewer asks a closed-ended question, respond with “yes, but let me tell you….” Always respond with a brief, but informative answer.

3. Don’t look at your watch or the wall clock. Doing this promotes a feeling of “I’m not interested” to the interviewer. If you are late for your next interview, so what. The schedule will always vary somewhat so relax and concentrate on scoring points with the person across the desk.

4. Don’t leave until you have thanked your interviewer. His/her time is valuable. Offering a thank you means you are sensitive to the time and energy the interviewer has given you. That’s appreciated.

5. Never fail to make direct eye contact when the interview is over. That last glance and impression will stay with the interviewer if he/she is deciding to invite you back for the next round, or even make you an offer.

These simple, yet important steps can lead to landing that job you really want. You’ve got the experience, the skills, the desire for the job. Now go make a great impression!