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For the past several years we have witnessed mergers and acquisitions in the pharma/biotech world and with it comes concerns of layoffs and consolidations. But don’t worry, there’s good reason to look ahead…

We all know the pharmaceutical industry is one of the healthiest in the world and has been for decades. The word “consolidate” scares us, but it doesn’t have to. CEOs are paid to reduce costs and increase profitability, develop new chemistries and promise new drug targets. They also have to manage key changes as the industry moves into the 21st century. So what if they shake things up and downsize a bit? Generally speaking, it’s a healthy change, and we need to expect it.

When we do see the word “layoff” it usually encompasses many divisions of a corporate entity (US & Global), it may not affects us to a great degree. But just in case, be prepared to move ahead with new options and plans for your future.

Here are a few ways to prepare for a “downsizing”. When you know you are prepared, you will feel a lot more confident about your job options and career future.

1. Update Your Resume: It will be hard to update your resume when you aren’t going there every day, and are busy with other things. It won’t sound right or contain the most important information if you update it while under stress, a time crunch, or if you are worried about your future. Update it periodically before you even need to, and it will be much easier.

2. Don’t Create Your Final Resume in One Day: Have you ever tried to create or update your resume in just a couple of hours? A lot of us try, but it really doesn’t work. It flows best and contains better content when you add, edit, or specifically ask a colleague or reliable recruiter to take a look. Your resume is the blueprint of who you are and the talents you possess, so make it a priority. Read industry articles, trends, and newsletters for inspiration. Extraordinary new drug developments in enabling technologies are happening all the time in our industry. Find out what the industry is talking about, and what their concerns are. If you want to be viable, they should be your concerns, too.

TIP: I recommend everyone subscribe to First Word ( The basic version is free! It is published daily and sent to your email address as a personalized business intelligence resource designed for the busy pharmaceutical/biotech professional. It keeps you updated on developments affecting the pharmaceutical industry. Get signed up for up to date information.

3. Be proactive in your current position: Go the extra mile, do the extra project and/or analysis. Be deliberate and collaborative with your recommendations and responsibilities in your role with the company. Fact: Executive management want team-oriented employees that make a difference and go the extra mile; are engaging, and make strides to increase profitability. It’s that simple. Be thorough, honest, and hard working. Feels good to be thorough with a job well done!

Lastly, if your company sends out a notice of new company plans for a re-structure, a new business plan for the future, or a planned merger or acquisition, it doesn’t mean that it will affect you. Most of the time its 6-12 months afterwards when the shake-up occurs. Changes do work for the best, sometimes. In any case, you will feel better if you are prepared with your own plans. It doesn’t hurt to look at what is available or be ready in case you need to look elsewhere. By updating your resume now, changing it a little at a time, and by staying up to date on industry announcements, you can be ahead of the game and have a plan already in place. It works.

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