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If history repeats itself, the first 4 months of any calendar year seems to be the ideal time to investigate changing jobs and evaluating your career strategy. A few factors come into play.


First, most pharma/biotech and medical device companies award performance bonuses from the previous year, during this 3-4 month stretch. Most folks tend to wait for their payout before investigating new positions with other companies. As an example, it was common 10+ years ago, if you resigned in 2017, before the 2016 bonus was actually paid, a check was mailed to you. In today’s corporate environment, to receive bonus payout from the previous year, the individual must be fully employed by the company.Sounds a little unfair, but now that’s standard policy for almost all healthcare companies. So historically, when you receive the bonus payout, you are apt to be more inclined to investigate new job career opportunities.

Secondly, new headcounts get approval to start the calendar year and hiring managers want new staff on board ideally before the scheduled national sales meetings begin in mid-late 1st Quarter. Therefore, positions are posted and need to be filled. It’s like running a track meet: You want all of your runners in place to start the race!
One of the most common questions most often asked during coaching calls is: “Why should I explore job opportunities right now?”
Does this sound familiar? As a pharmaceutical/biotech executive search firm, we hear it a lot. Whether it’s an incoming direct call asking for additional information, or an outbound call to a perspective candidate, this question has become one that we expect to hear.


Here are 3 points to ponder if (or why) investigating new job opportunities is right for you:

1. Evaluate all department opportunities within your group. If somewhat ‘stuck in neutral’ in your current position, explore the next position with a focus of learning something new, stretching yourself before changing jobs. We all go through stages of disappointment, discouragement, rejection, and missing out on that key promotion. When it happens, right away we want to flee, instead of fight, for recognition. Remember, attitude is everything! It’s important to take things in stride and remain positive.

Take a good look at your current role on the team and evaluate how you are coming across to your boss and peers. Are people asking you questions? Did your last project turn heads? Are your recommendations moving forward? Step back and take a look at how you are perceived. We are all in different phases of our lives: Some are moving fast forward; others stagnant, and still some are drifting behind from the rest of the pack. Which one are you in? The answer could suggest what your next step should be.

2. Consider what is the next planned promotion based on most recent performance evaluation. This is key. Normally your supervisor needs to hear from you, as to why moving to the next level is deserved. Too many times we don’t plant the seed for that next level promotion, and skip along with the status quo. Make your intentions known about that next career step. It’s a bold, and even uncomfortable move for some people, but it shows initiative.

3. Make sure bonus percentage and salary increase are in line with your performance. Many companies routinely ask their supervisors to write out their own evaluations to justify the salary increases, etc. This is ideal, and to your advantage. Be honest in the evaluation and highlight accomplishments as well as things you want to improve. Detail supporting documents and projects to help support your facts. Once completed, your boss will meet you face-to-face to discuss it. Be ready with supporting information of your past projects and campaigns. In that meeting, you are “selling” something that is truly important: YOU.

If any two of the three scenarios above are in question, then it may be time to look elsewhere for new career opportunities. It never hurts to investigate a perspective call from a friend, recruiter, or an old boss. I hope these suggestions get you on a faster career track in the 2017!

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