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We are excited about 2017! The economy has improved and GDP is forecasted to be higher than previous years. All good stuff.

In my coaching calls this past week, I gathered that many of you are now looking to explore new opportunities. The job landscape overall appears very positive. Frankly, these past couple of years have become much more of a collaborative and challenging conversation whereby assessing one’s career path and where it could lead, versus where you want it to go. So, I think now is a very favorable environment to make a change.

Last year, I got a lot more questions regarding “what-ifs”. Questions like: What’s the job market like? Is it slowing down or picking up? Who’s hiring? Who’s downsizing? If I take this job, do you think the company will be acquired in a few years? These are all fair questions.

There may not always be “right” answers, but the more information you gather, the more equipped you are in making effective decisions.

In my coaching discussions, I help unwrap any anxiousness and point out some key strategies you may want to consider. You need to be in-the-know as much as possible and have an edge on the landscape ahead. Staying informed will help you understand the company, your role, and know what to anticipate.

The job market is ever-changing. Job roles are becoming more diverse and employers are expecting more productivity in their employees. Twenty or so years ago when I was in corporate life, it was predictable on what your next job would be. It was a little less stressful because we pretty much knew the next career step. No real surprises.

In 2017, we will witness a healthcare industry on the verge of changing again. Hopefully more simplistic, less sophisticated, and easier to get implemented. The complexity and “tyranny of the urgent” forces us to be ready for anything.

As a career coach, let me recommend three basic key steps in maintaining the edge to get noticed, score a promotion, and stay on the right career track:

1. Be honest with yourself. Are you working strategically and intelligently? Are you too complacent? Take a minute and step back. Evaluate your own job performance. Break out the job description outlining your current role. Are you performing all that is required? Because if you are taking short-cuts, it will eventually show. Be thorough and be effective. Master the basics first, then work to go above and beyond.

2. Better understand your 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 mid-level executive last week who mentioned he wasn’t getting the visibility he deserved. Turns out he was partially working on another department project that was not his direct responsibility. Regroup and do the proactive assignments that get you noticed while maintaining your responsibilities and department objectives

3. Appeal to your creative mind. Yes, think ‘out of the box’. Everyone has creativity. Some better than others. We all offer different views and perspectives. A key ingredient, and requirement, is understanding the work landscape – your stakeholders, the environment, your competitors. For example, when in the midst of a product launch, what factors are involved? Is it price, positioning, competitive intelligence? Lean on past projects and accomplishments to help scope out a new strategy. Invite your colleague to give you candid and honest feedback on your contributions and performance. Recommend new, innovative ways to test an idea or product or analyze quantitative results that stretches beyond an obvious result. Creativity will stir new opportunities. There’s risk in every reward, but moving up will follow.

Companies want employees to creatively contribute and be impactful. Follow these recommended steps and you will be on track to impress and excel in 2017 and beyond!

Make it count,

Steve Kane

President, PharmaOne Search


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Just when you think about making a career change, you do just that: You think about it. It isn’t a quick or easy decision. There are many factors and non-tangibles to consider.

In my coaching calls, common concerns seem to center around job stability and security. Other concerns are: a new company with new colleagues; new daily commute, and, how will the new job or ‘challenge’ really work out?

My recommendations are focused mostly on strategic and best ways to be addressed, i.e., when is the right timing; the overall details of the compensation package, career promotability, and the timeline. Another concern I hear is “Will there be a fallout from leaving a company too soon?” These are all legitimate reasons to consider before you make a career move. So, let’s look at some factors to evaluate a career change and then we will summarize at the end.

It has always been a good practice to evaluate your career options. You may be a little hesitant, but generally speaking, it helps your long term career to make a change. Oftentimes, people tend to get ‘stale’ in the monotony of the everyday work week. In today’s pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device industries, they are all consolidating at a consistent pace. Let’s break down the obvious concerns and stark reality of making that career change:

1.   Reality of Job Security is Going Away – It used to be the longer you stayed employed with one company, you had ‘job security’. That doesn’t seem to be the norm any longer. The rules have changed – jobs are being outsourced, companies downsize, retirement pensions are eliminated and once the economy fluctuates, upper management feels the need to tighten budgets and headcounts too. These factors govern future decisions we are forced to make. You must be ready to act at any time, and decisive about your choices.

2.   Stay Current with Industry Trends – When we get so busy, we ignore the larger picture at our current company. Priorities can change quickly, and we get buried in projects that have the least impact, unbeknownst to you. But you must stay connected. Know what your boss’s plans are (financial, tactical, and operational priorities). Don’t assume your boss is well-informed enough to keep you ahead of a potential downsizing trend. Take the time to read those internal emails, and set up Google alerts on your own company so you don’t miss any news of new initiatives that could affect your job. If the trees are shaking, it’s time to explore and see what’s out there. If a recruiter calls, definitely listen. You may like what you hear with potential opportunities elsewhere.

3.   More Challenging Future Ahead – If you are like most people, there comes a point in the workplace where a new challenge is warranted. Do you ever keep doing one thing over and over? Unless you are wired to be complacent, it drives you crazy, or makes you uncomfortable to be ‘unchallenged’ and insignificant. Making a lateral move to another company will certainly be acceptable, even if a bump in title is what you originally wanted. Discuss this with your recruiter. They often have some ‘inside tips’ to share that may help you sort out some unanswered questions.

My recommendation is this: As long as total compensation is on the rise, it’s normally a move to seriously consider. Company culture also seems to play an underlying factor in making a career move. Everyone wants to know what it’s like over there, but there’s no real way of knowing until you get there. While it’s true that corporate politics can get ugly, just stay true to your gut and don’t get caught up in water cooler gossip. It could drown you later on, and in most cases, you won’t even realize it until its too late.

We looked at a potpourri of situations and circumstances. The bottom line is to evaluate the current situation, contemplate the factors to make a move, and seek some outside counsel (recruiter, friend, spouse) to gather additional facts you had not thought about. Advice is very important. We may think that we don’t need it, but when it comes to packing up and uprooting habits you are familiar with, you need that help in sorting through the noise.

Visit our website for more information:

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If you’ve read your fair share of résumés like I have, then you have probably ran across the description “team player” more often than you care to remember.

While being a team player is certainly an important and desirable characteristic of prospective employees, it is essential to understand what it really means and how to show rather than tell your potential supervisor about your experience working within a group. Certainly we all know the difference, but do we exercise professional discernment and humility? This usually speaks volumes to others. Let’s be more specific:

What is a team player? In a competitive work environment, it can be easy to put yourself #1 and forget about ‘your colleagues in the next office’ But others will almost always notice if you fail to recognize your fellow employees for their contributions to your project. In fact, one of the most beneficial things you can do to catapult your presence is, for example; offer a strategic focus, contribute to a research report, participate in a focus group as a part-time facilitator – all without taking direct credit. The recognition will come during roundtable discussions with brand team directors, dept heads, etc.

Give Credit Where Credit is Due: If you participated in a project that got a thumbs up, or even if you didn’t do anything at all to add to the finished result, give a public congratulations. If you see a project that was well done, well-executed or one that produced great feedback, be sure to publicly acknowledge your opinion and shake the hand of the participants.

It feels good to have your efforts recognized by anyone outside your team, and even within that team. Recognize the leader and the key players in the project. What you do behind the scenes may go unnoticed at first, but your ability to see the bigger picture of helping the company and not just yourself will surely be noticed (and eventually rewarded).

Be Supportive with Your Ideas and Your Feedback. In company and/or department meetings, do you share your ideas to make the project even better, to go smoothly, or avoid costly mistakes? Be sure to share these publicly in the discussion of the meeting but don’t just say something that’s obviously meant to patronize, embarrass others, and/or elevate you personally. Share your creative ideas with sincerity to help, not hinder or stall the process moving forward. Ultimately, everyone wants to avoid mistakes and giving encouragement helps everyone.

If it is too early in the initial meeting to share ideas about specific details of a new business plan or marketing project, be sure to make your own notes about your predictions, additional plan ideas and budget concerns, and keep a record of it. In the initial meeting there may not be a full discussion of all of the parts of a new plan for the department, and you may need to wait until it is clearly defined to share specific ideas until each step is identified. Keeping good notes until the time is right will insure that your ideas will be met with full attention and impact.

Show and Tell, As it Pertains to the Situation. Some may consider it cliché to include the term “team player” on a résumé, but I think it’s a wise move if you are prepared to verbally articulate 2-3 specific examples of how you have specially contributed to a team project.

A better way of saying that you are team player is to highlight your dependability within a group, how well you are able to communicate within a team, and how quickly you are able to collaborate to complete projects. This strategy can’t be written on a resume. One has to articulate by giving the interviewer real world scenarios.

So, be sure to keep a record of successful projects that you have taken part in and keep notes on how you participated. You will need it sooner rather than later. I promise you!

For more information on job search strategies go to:

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The phrase, “4 on, and 4 off”, sounds a lot like a sports mantra or a board game.

What it means, is this: On any given day, ‘Spend 4 hours looking for a job and 4 hours doing something fun.’ The fact is, we never fully realize how mentally worn out and discouraged we become when we put all of our daily energies into searching for a new position. Even if you are currently employed, or just laid off looking for a new job before the ‘severance’ runs out, it’s frustrating doing a job search. It’s important to maintain a balance in your day.

If you lost your job, are changing jobs while you still have one, or if you are awaiting a promotion, it’s important to plan ahead and ‘re-energize the focus’ to find the right career opportunity for you.

Here are four areas where it makes sense to follow this ‘4 on, 4 off’ regimen when exploring new job opportunities:

1.      Work Diligently and Avoid the “Brain skips”.

Very often, as we feel our brain really clicking, its full steam ahead. When you’re in that groove, productivity and ideas are flowing! Tasks get accomplished, the right decisions are made, and things get checked off. But the human brain just wasn’t built for the extended periods of time that is expected these days – especially when we feel anxious exploring the ideal promotion or search for a new job. Focusing hard on multiple tasks for a long time isn’t something we’re going to be good at for very long. Mental breaks are important.

2.      Pace Yourself.

To help alleviate being mentally stale, take 4 hours working hard, then 4 hours doing something fun and active. Ideally, start the job search mode in the morning and go at it with gusto. We are at our best at the beginning of our day. If you read any study, it is statistically proven that regaining our focus, sharpness, and motivation come from getting things done and enjoying that well deserved break. Afterward, the senses are revitalized so you can be refreshed and productive.

3.      Eliminate the Distractions.

When you are focused on the 4 hours on, make sure the environment is ideal and comfortable for you. A home office is fine, but getting away from the daily responsibilities of being home can benefit your mental focus. Get out to a local library, an empty conference room in your local downtown municipality, or the campus career center at a local college.

4.      It’s a Numbers Game.

We’ve heard this many times, ‘The harder you work, the luckier you get’. Looking for a new position is a process. It takes time. Attention to details, follow up, more follow up, and disappointment. But its important to maintain consistency. In my coaching calls, I emphasize staying with it. Make that extra call or connection before you take a break. You can always work 5 more minutes when you think you need a break. Try it. It works. Sooner than later, you will get some results, your confidence will build, and you will feel good about things progressing.

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This year’s job growth has been relatively steady, but at times, seasonally unpredictable. It has proven to be an active and busy year – both in client demand for top-tier candidates as well as an exciting attraction for those individuals seeking a new career opportunity in the fast-paced, highly demanding, and competitive pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device industries.

With 2017 right around the corner and companies strategizing for next year’s marketing plans and targeted campaigns, PharmaOne Search anticipates further candidate headcount expansion. Here are some reasons we think there’s a continued strong demand for talent in this healthcare pharma sector:

1. The Job Market is Candidate-Driven

In business cycles, anytime you experience above average growth in any one niche industry, the result is a healthy selection of “attractive” open positions. As one candidate remarked, “I have multiple offers, and a tough decision to make. It’s a good problem to have!” Corporate recruiters have seen a “skilled labor shortage,” especially noted in the data analytics area, and this area of growth seems to be growing faster than others. In a candidate-driven market, multiple job offers are almost inevitable.

2.  Employers Desire Strategic Input

It is now expected that new employees not only perform at their highest level of competencies, but also have a ‘seat at the table’ when it comes to strategic input and interpretation of what, for example, the data is ‘actually saying’ as it relates to formulation of an effective ‘product strategy or rollout’. Marketing teams need this input and while not always mutually agreeable, it is valuable to get new perspectives. In short, having options makes for better strategic decision-making.

3. Pharma Client Profits are Steady

Company profits from these corporate entities have been consistent and solid all the way around. New products with or without co-promotion partners are being introduced with robust pipelines to facilitate the demand. Product teams are delivering, and sales forces are expanding. Simply put: their profits could be part of your reward in terms of job leads and new job placements.

4. Candidates and Clients are Becoming More Sophisticated

Yes, career-wise, we are becoming a “more selective – willing to wait” type of candidate. Clients too, seem to be waiting longer for a particular candidate to be that “right fit”. When the wait is finally over, and the job is accepted, this gives added job security and personal fulfillment by knowing that you were a great fit for the job you chose.


To learn more about the perfect job for you in pharmaceutical, biotechnology and/or medical device areas, visit our website:


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Landing an interview is a great accomplishment to be proud of, but how can you ensure that you will be remembered as the best candidate for the job? You may be one of two, three or even five final candidates in the pool of applicant hopefuls – all seeking the same position. By the end of a long day of interviews, most candidates’ responses and resumes will likely run together in the mind of the interviewers. So what can you do to stand out?

To make yourself memorable, and valuable to the position, consider these tips:

 1. You can’t re-do first impressions

A first impression happens within 7 seconds of meeting someone, so remember the drill: eye contact, sharp dress attire, a firm handshake and smile, and speaking directly to the interviewers and hiring manager by addressing him or her by name. Your enthusiasm (or lack thereof) will not go unnoticed. And of course, always follow up after the interview via email (in #3) or phone call to say thanks for the opportunity to interview for the position, which is also the perfect time to restate why you would be the attractive choice.

2. Pretend you already work there

That’s right. If you want to stand out from the other candidates who will likely be interviewing in the same chair, break out of the mold of the typical interview by asking the hiring manager, and perhaps the interviewers,.. “what are the two biggest challenges in your dept?” Most likely, the hiring manager will briefly share. If so, respond with a recommendation(s) but only if you have encountered similar challenges in previous jobs. If you are not sure, then listen and make a mental note. You can use that recall to mention possible recommendations in a follow up email after the interview.

3. Avoid sending an email follow up with “all flap and no throttle”

As noted above, a follow-up email (or phone call perhaps) is practically expected at this level of seniority. Most individuals on any interview team anticipate it. Ensuring that each interviewer recalls your discussions, it is recommended you follow up by specifically stating what topics talked about – studies, strategies, challenges, solutions, etc. – in that 30-60 minute interview time frame. In the body of the email list 3-4 bullet points that stood out. This tactic promotes depth and breadth of your thinking. Sure you can thank each person for their time but it gets to be redundant by stating the obvious. Dare to be proactive and different. Creativity in any situation is golden! I promise you will stand out above the rest.