How to Improve the Likelihood of a Job Offer After a Interview

Posted in Uncategorized

It is interview season for many recent college graduates and veteran jobseekers looking for  new opportunities. To ensure success, there are a few things that a jobseeker can do to improve the likelihood of a callback after a phone interview or a preliminary face-to-face one.  Some of these techniques are well outlined in an article in today’s NY Times Business section entitled  “Had a Job Interview but No Callback? Here’s What to Do Next Time”

While some of these recommendations are fairly obvious, I highly recommend that you review the list of things to do to improve the likelihood of success which is either to get to the next interview level or secure a job offer. Personally, the best advice that I have to offer is to have a positive attitude, exude confidence and do whatever it takes to impress an interviewer so that you can move to the next level. Frequently, many jobseekers have doubts about a job that they may be interviewing for.  In these instances, it is a good idea to forget about those doubts and be totally invested in a winning performance.  Do not tank a job interview because you may not like an interviewer or you have some doubts about whether or not the job is a good fit for you. If a job is not right for you, you can always refuse an offer if one is extended.  The goal of any job interview is to get to the next level or secure an ofter!!!!!!!!

Although US unemployment is at record lows-4.3% (lowest in 16 years), securing a new job is still highly competitive.  To that point, my son, a recent college graduate, is on his third interview (phone screen, face-to-face interview and now a skill-based assessment). Put simply, it’s still tough out there to get a new job.  Therefore, it is incumbent on all job seekers to use whatever tools that are available to them to impress interviewers and move to the next level!

Until next time,

Good luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!


Trump’s Corporate Tax Holiday Proposal Will Hurt Job Creation

Posted in BioBusiness, BioJobBuzz

The notion that corporate tax holidays– congressional orders that allow corporations like Apple, Microsoft, Pfizer and others to bring overseas profits back to the US without penalty–create jobs is misleading and, based on previous such tax holidays mostly untrue.

According to an article in today’s NY Times Business section (a reliable source of real news), corporate tax holidays typically result in mergers and acquisition that typically result in job cuts.

…the last time Congress initiated a tax holiday, in 2004. The top 15 repatriating companies brought home $150 billion but reduced their work force by 20,931 jobs, according to a 2011 study commissioned by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

In the coming months, Trump and his minions will be pushing for a new corporate tax holiday so that new jobs can be created. While this is certains to send shivers down the spines of most Trump supports, any jobs that will be created or not lost will not be the ones that midwestern small town employees or coal mines will benefit from. For example, the  corporations with the largest amounts of overseas monies are Apple and Microsoft, two technology companies that are unlikely to create new jobs for coal miners, service employees or blue collar workers.

While many Trump supporters believe that Barack Obama and the Democrats were responsible for manufacturing job loss in the US, the real reasons for their loss was mechanization/robotization and globalization. The lost manufacturing jobs are never coming back–despite Trump’s assertions that they are—and the only way unemployed factory workers will find new work is through retraining or moving to urban centers where jobs for unskilled workers appear to be on the rise.  Corporate tax holidays, income tax cuts and reduction in social programs will not lead to new job creation but to job loss.

Don’t let Trump destroy the economic recovery that President Obama brought to this nation.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting

New Report: High Job Anxiety Amongst Pharmaceutical Employees

Posted in BioEducation

A post today on the fabulous Pharmalot Blog revealed that a recent poll conducted by Pharma IQ showed that about 44 percent of all pharmaceutical employee respondents worry that they may become redundant (corporate speak for dispensable) over the next year or so. Further, 50 percent believe that staffing levels will remain the same for 2012 whereas 32 percent expect more layoffs to occur. Only 19 percent of the 535 pharma employees surveyed believe that hiring will increase this year.

Roughly 48 percent of respondents indicated that their groups/departments had not been downsized. However, 61% of respondents—who indicated that downsizing had taken place in their department— reported that their job functions were being performed by fewer numbers of employees. Twenty-five percent report that the job functions performed by layed off employees were outsourced. Of those, 10 percent said that the jobs were outsourced to emerging markets like China, India, and Brazil etc.

Interestingly, a whopping 71 percent believe that the massive layoffs that have taken place in pharma are a result of the recession. While this is what big pharma wants its layed off employees to believe, the bottom line is that the pharma industry began shedding jobs in 2001 mainly because of anticipated lost of patent expiry for many of its blockbusters and the lack of new molecular entities discovered by internal R&D programs not because of cash flow problems. To wit, a quick perusal of cash reserves indicates that most major pharmaceutical companies have roughly $5 to 35 billion in short term cash reserves. Simply put, the recession conveniently provided pharma execs with a legitimate excuse to downsize.

To be fair, big pharma companies will be losing substantial revenue streams because of loss of patent protection for blockbusters like Lipitor, Zyprexa, and Plavix etc. And, that some belt tightening may be in order to remain competitive. However, most pharma execs realized way back in the mid 2000s that they could no longer justify such large workforces in the wake of thinning pipelines and a much lower than expect ROI from internal R&D activities. Consequently, they had to layoff large numbers of R&D and sales employees to keep their stock prices stable and in some cases to retain their jobs. The fact that a majority of the current pharma employees surveyed believe that the massive pharma layoffs that have taken place over the last decade are a result of the recession suggests that these employees are still drinking the Kool-Aid freely offered by their employers.

There are a lot of other interesting statistics and tidbits in the report that may be worth a look. However, it is important to note, that it is highly unlikely that pharma will ever replace many of the US and European employees who lost their jobs. Recent moves made by most major pharmaceutical companies clearly indicate that they are betting on their growth in both R&D and sales to take place in emerging markets. Sadly, the future of the US life sciences workforce is no longer bright. In fact, it is quite dim!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!


Job Search Strategies for the Unemployed

Posted in BioEducation

Many people lost their jobs during the recession for reasons that were unrelated to personal skills and performance. Nevertheless, many hiring managers cling to the wrong-headed notion that long term unemployed persons are unemployed or layed off because they were less than adequate or under performers in their previous positions. Therefore, it is important for unemployed persons to pursue strategies that ensure that they remain strong job candidates for prospective new employers.

An article by Eilene Zimmerman entitled “Out of Work but Staying a Strong Candidate” offers some good advice for the unemployed. First, unemployed persons may have to reconsider the way in which they network to look for new job opportunities. To that point, people in your old network may feel guilty that they are employed and you don’t have a job. Because of this, they may feel sorry for your or see you as injured or defeated and possibly avoid interacting with you or including you at industry events. To obviate this, it is a good idea when networking with them to offer an article or blog post that may be temporal and relevant to your industry or mentioning a professional opportunity that they may not know about. Also, it is a good idea to stay abreast of important and current things happening in your industry (or an industry that you are interested in breaking into). This shows people that you are still engaged and interested in other professional opportunities that may exist. Finally, maintain your membership in professional societies (even though you may not be flush with cash) and consider volunteering on committees in these organizations. This shows other industry professionals that you are active and engaged. Also, professional association members frequently hear about or learn of unadvertised jobs or career opportunities within an industry.

There is no question that losing your job can be devastating and emotionally distressing. However, just because you are unemployed, it doesn’t mean that your standing or stature in your industry needs to be negatively impacted. To that end, keep your certifications, professional credentials and licenses up to date and participate in other activities that make use of your professional skills. Finding part-time or contract work in your industry is also a plus as is volunteering or doing unpaid work for charitable organizations.

Another popular strategy is to start your own consulting firm. While your previous employer may have layed you off to cut costs, it does not mean that they will not considering hiring you as a consultant (they don’t have to pay benefits, bonuses or contribute to a 401K and can write off your services as 1099 work). Landing one or two small gigs may be able to tide you over until you find a new fulltime position.

Most unemployed people are rightly-concerned about the employment gap that will appear on their CV or resume. Unfortunately, there is no real way to hide it! One way to manage an employment gap is to add a Summary of Qualifications or Profile section to your resume. This section can be placed at the beginning of the resume (underneath your name and contact information) and should be crafted to extol your skills and qualifications for individual jobs. This means that every time you apply for a new position, the Summary of Qualifications section must be tailored and optimized to show prospective employers why you and not the other 1,000 applicants ought to be considered for the job. Also, as suggested in Ms Zimmerman’s article, you can change the title of the section “work experience” to “experience” and describe any contract, part-time or volunteer work (which was unpaid) using the same language; which focused on your results, strategies used to get there and your contributions to the organization during your tenure.

Finally, and perhaps most important, unemployed persons must learn to deal with and come to terms about unemployment history during job interviews. Nobody likes admitting that they were fired or layed off but, as a rule of thumb, it is best to be as honest (as possible) because most industries and networks are small and job candidates who are less than truthful almost always get caught! For example, if you were part of a large layoff at your previous employer, then it is a good idea to explain the circumstances to the interviewer and also indicate that you were not layed off for performance reasons. Further, it is not a good idea to apply for or interview for any job that may be available at a particular company or organization. If you are overqualified or not the right fit for a job, many employers will not even consider you for the job because they fear that you will leave as soon as something more appropriate comes along. That said, it is important to only apply for jobs within your industry that represent a good fit with your skill sets and experience. If that fails to yield positive results, then you may want to consider a different industry; but recognize that you may need additional training to acquire the skills or experience even to be considered for entry level positions in that industry!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!


GlaxoSmithKline Will Reorganize Its R&D Operations To Cut Costs

Posted in BioEducation

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) today announced that it will reconfigure its R&D operations to cut operating costs. Interestingly, the company hopes to reorganize and not lay off any of its employees—yeah right!

According to a press release, a small number of employees will be affected at Research Triangle Park, NC GSK’s US base of operations, although a spokesperson refused to be more specific. Further, those affected workers are expected to remain in R&D but in different capacities.

For all of 2011, GSK generated $44.09 billion in sales and net income of $8.14 billion. However, fourth quarter revenues dropped 2 percent to $11.24 billion.

It seems like there is announcement like this every day from a big pharmaceutical company. It is no longer a secret that investing in R&D has not provided many big pharma companies with their expected return on investment. Consequently, there have been massive layoffs in R&D at every major pharmaceutical company over the past five years. This strategy is seemingly paradoxical; to wit, how can companies that have to regularly discover and commercialize new molecular entities remain in business if they continue to shed the employees who are responsible for making the discoveries? Sadly, big pharma’s strategy to remedy the paradox is to outsource R&D, establish R&D centers in emerging markets where wages and operational costs are much lower than in the US and other part of the developed world and to look at purchasing companies that have new drugs in late stage preclinical or clinical development.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Trouble in Big Pharma Land: Lilly Freezes Employee Salaries

Posted in BioEducation

The Pharmalot blog reported today that Eli Lilly & Co one of the more progressive big pharma companies to experiment with crowdsourcing and social media to generate new R&D opportunities today announced that it most company employees and executives will not receive base pay increases this year. The company did not announce a freeze in bonuses, however.

In a sign of solidarity with the 99 %, John Lechleiter, PhD Lilly’s outspoken and sometimes controversial CEO, requested that he not receive an increase to his $1.5 million annual salary and incentives. Interesting, as Ed Silverman cogently points out in the Pharmalot post, Lechleiter’s bonus target is 140% of his base salary which put his total compensation for the upcoming year at around $16.4 million!

Last week, the company disclosed that it missed analyst’s stock price estimates and its leading product Zyprexa (antipsychotic) yielded lower than expected sales revenues because of generic competition. Zyprexa sales dropped 44 percent in the fourth-quarter to $749.6 million.

Don’t be surprised if layoffs are next. It may be time for Lilly employees to dust off those CVs and resumes.

Until next time…


AstraZeneca Sheds 7,300 Jobs

Posted in BioEducation

After announcing its quarterly earnings and a 24 percent increase in 2011 profits, AstraZeneca (AZ) today made public its decision to eliminate another 7,300 jobs. Earlier this week there was speculation that job cuts were likely but the exact numbers were not disclosed. 

The reasons given for the layoffs despite increased annual profits? Government spending cuts for healthcare and stiff generic competition for several of its blockbuster drugs including Seroquel XR (depression), Atacand (hypertension) Crestor (cholesterol-lowering) and Symbicort (asthma); all of which have lost or will be losing patent protection in the near future. According to a company press release generic competition cut revenues by $2.0 billion in 2011 whereas government price interventions cost the company another $1.0 billion. The announced job cuts are expected to save AZ $1.6 billion by 2014—great news for shareholders but not so much for the employees who are losing their jobs!

Most of the cuts will take place in R&D. To that end, the company will close its facility in Montreal and layoff staff at its Soedertaelje site in Sweden. Interestingly, the company plans on focusing more on neuroscience and intends to hire 40 to 50 scientists in its new Innovative Medicine unit which is partly based in Boston, MA and Cambridge in England.

While layoffs at AZ were expected, the size of the current layoff does not bode well for other pharmaceutical employees. It is becoming increasingly clear that big pharma companies are getting out of R&D and focusing their efforts on M&A and licensing deals to fill their thinning pipelines. Also, while shedding R&D and sales jobs in developed markets, big pharma companies are investing heavily in building facilities and hiring thousands of R&D and sales personnel in emerging markets. From my perspective, it appears that big pharma has consciously decided to abandon developed Western markets where sales growth is in the single digits in favor of emerging ones where double digit growth is expected for the next decade.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!


Monthly Pharma Layoff Report

Posted in BioEducation

Thing have been quiet in the pharma layoff space during 2012. I guess that is not so surprising since we are only one month into 2012. However, there was a post on yesterday’s Pharmalot blog which indicates pharma layoffs may resume in earnest over the next few weeks. 

According to the post, AstraZeneca (AZ) is poised to shed thousands of more jobs after the company announces it earnings later this week. As you may recall, AZ recently announced that it would lay off 400 employees at its US headquarters and eliminate another 1,150 jobs from its US sales force. Like other pharmaceutical companies, things have been tough for AZ as three of its blockbuster products Crestor (cholesterol lowering), Nexium (acid reflux) and Seroquel (antipsychotic) lose patent protection and face stiff generic competition.

The Pharmalot post also reported that:

“Between 2007 and 2009, AstraZeneca eliminated 12,600 positions, a move that saved $1.6 billion annually, although that figure rose to $2.4 billion by 2010. The cuts announced that year were designed to save $1.9 billion annually by 2014 It is not clear how much the drug maker hopes to save with still more cuts, but some $3 billion may be spent on a stock buyback to bolster shareholder confidence.”

It is important to note that the massive downsizing that has taken place in the pharma industry over the past decade has little to do with the recession and everything to do with the loss of blockbuster revenues due to generic encroachment. Put simply, most pharma companies grew too large too quickly and subsequently realized that could not sustain their vast infrastructures if the loss of blockbuster sales revenues could not be replaced by new products. To wit, if you look at the P&L statements of many pharmaceutical companies, most have $5 billon to $30 billion of readily-available cash reserves on hand to “play” with. Sadly, the downsizing that has taken place had little to do with the present and everything to do about the future profitability of big pharma companies.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!


More Biotech Downsizing

Posted in BioEducation

Cambridge, MA-based Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, one of the many companies founded on the promise of RNAi technology today announced that it will reduce its current workforce by 33 percent to focus its financial resources on its leading RNAi treatment for hemophilia. Alnylam currently employs 173 persons which means that about 59 employees will lose their jobs as the company reorganizes itself.

Alnylam CEO, John Maraganore, PhD hopes that the downsizing and reorganization of the company will result in a $20 million savings for fiscal year 2012. Despite the hype, RNAi is still not ready for prime time as commercializable products and will likely be little more than an R&D tool.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!!


Is There Really a PhD Glut–You Betcha!

Posted in BioEducation

My colleagues over @ sent me an infographic (these things are very popular these days) explaining why there is a glut of PhDs on today’s job market and how it is affecting undergraduate education in the US. 

Surprisingly, the glut is not restricted to the life sciences; it appears to be universal!  At some point, the education bubble will burst and it is certain to have a marked effect on graduate programs. While I am proud of my PhD degree, I am not sure that getting a PhD degree is a wise career path unless you truly love what you are studying and cannot see yourself doing anything else for the rest of your life. If you have any doubts, I recommend finding a job or world travel before you decide to take the PhD plunge!  

The bottom line: earning a PhD degree is a very personal decision and it does not guarantee you employment at the end of your training!!!!!!!!!!

PhD Job Crisis
Created by: Online PhD

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!