Career advice

Moving from contract to permanent employment in life sciences

Contracting is a popular choice for many professionals within the life sciences industry and many use the variety interim working offers to move from company to company as they move from contract to contract. However, there are occasions where you maybe offered permanent employment at the end of their fixed term, either in the same role or in a different capacity, leaving them with a big decision to make. With aspects such as the introduction of IR35 to the private sector in the UK impacting the contracting opportunities within life sciences, what should a life sciences professional consider when moving from contract to permanent employment in life sciences? Naturally, the choice to move to a permanent position after contracting is a personal one that will be impacted by many factors. As recruiters for both the permanent and interim markets of life sciences, these are some of the core elements we discuss with candidates:Salary vs wages Benefits and flexibilityCompany culture vs. contractor independenceCareer development and job stabilityWhat is the company offering?How will moving from contract to permanent employment impact your income? Contracting jobs generally equate to more income per hour than permanent positions. There are numerous reasons for this: To secure an expert consultant’s time in the competitive contract marketTo cover costs contractors will have that would be covered by an employer in a permanent roleTo match the high expectations of a contract employee to meet deadlines and work to chargeable hours Although a base salary may be less income, permanent companies may offer additional benefits such as sick pay, pension scheme contributions or a bonus incentive. It is important that a proposed salary is in line with your expectations and you’re able to maintain financial commitments and living expenses. It is likely when considering a move from contracting to permanent that you will need to consider if you are willing to lower your salary for the benefits of a stable income and other company-funded financial perks such as sick pay and pension contribution.How do the company benefits weigh up to your contracting freedoms?There is a lot of rigidity within a contracting as hours are chargeable. Yet, contracting provides a great deal of freedom as well. Contractors have more control over the roles they take, the type of work they accept and can often negotiate their contracts around family and life commitments outside of the work place. This flexibility and ability to define their schedules is a common reason that keeps contractors from moving back to a permanent career. However, this independence also means contractors have very limited support, and with IR35 changes soon to hit the UK, clients are even more cautious of the benefits they can extend to contractors. When weighing up the option of taking a permanent opportunity, there are a few benefits to consider: Training and resources – Contractors fund and schedule their own training. Some roles within life sciences, such as biometrics or other digital-based areas, require consistent upkeep with in-demand technologies to keep their skillsets relevant. Would your permanent employer be able to support your personal development through courses and training as part of your employment? Financial schemes and healthcare support – Sick pay, healthcare, maternity or paternity leave, long-term illness cover, and pension schemes are benefits that permanent employees may be entitled to as standard from their employer. It is key to understand the benefits your potential permanent employer offers and how they impact your current or future plans. Holiday and flexibility – While we are seeing demand for flexible working hours and working from home, most life sciences companies, are still adapting to introducing these benefits across permanent employment. What are your current flexible benefits with contracting? Will you be able to transfer these to the permanent opportunity?Could you see yourself in the role permanently? The benefit of a contract to permanent move is that you essentially get to trial your future job before you commit. At some point within your contract period, you have likely questioned whether you could see yourself working in the role or at that company long-term, but it is important to take the time to reposition your thinking and review those thoughts in closer detail. Knowing the temporary nature of contracting, it is easier to appease frustrating aspects or monotonous daily tasks while working through your contract period, subconsciously knowing it is only temporary. Similarly, it’s easier for colleagues and the company to maintain some form of distance knowing the temporary nature of your employment. Inviting contractors to company events can have an impact of their IR35 determination so there can be less opportunities to identify how you’d fit into the team.   Once you start considering a permanent opportunity, take the time to reframe your thinking over the aspects of the job that you may have taken for granted: The team – How close are you with your current colleagues? Would you find yourself fitting into the culture? Would you be comfortable working as part of that team permanently? The management – Will you keep your current reporting structure? What support and development is offered? Where will you fit into the management structure? The company – What are the growth plans for the business? Do you like their ethos, their message and their employee considerations? Would you enjoy being part of their company mission? The role – What is the future of that role? Is it something you could do everyday? How much diversity in the role is there and is there opportunity to create more diversity? What do you dislike and is there room to carve out your ideal role? What is being offered and how does this fit in with your career goals? Before any of these considerations take place, it’s important to know what the company is actually offering you and why they want you to move from a contracted specialist to a permanent employee. Are they offering a permanent role or the opportunity to apply for the permanent position? Policy may dictate that they need to formally interview you for the role. This could be an opportunity to reframe your thinking about the position and get some answers to these questions, or it may be a red flag that you have been offered out of convenience. Perhaps an interview is required because the role on offer is not exactly what you’ve been doing under your contract. Are they offering the same role on the same project or a permanent opportunity on a different team/project? If your responsibilities are going to change, it is key to assess if your reasons behind undertaking the contract job initially still balance with the new opportunity. Similarly, do you want to continue with the project? Is there room to negotiate what type of role you want? Are they creating a new position to keep you? Undoubtedly a flattering offer; these types of moves imply that your skillset and expertise is so invaluable that the company wants to work with you to find you a place on their team. This is a great opportunity to discuss your career aspirations and how this company could help you achieve them, potentially building your ideal job through negotiation. As an independent contractor, you are responsible for your career progression, so it is important that you communicate your future plans and aspirations with your contracted employer and they know what you are expecting, where you want your career to go and the reasons behind you not moving to a permanent position sooner. There are many variables that will impact your decision, whether circumstantial or personal and ultimately, deciding whether to move into permanent employment or continue contracting is filled with many ‘what if’ scenarios. With IR35 impacting the UK and many uncertainties in the global life sciences industry, the option to move into permanent employment may be more prevalent. However, developments across the life science industry continue to create more contracting opportunities amongst employers – demand within the industry is still high, particularly for niche expertise. If you would like to talk to one of our recruiters about the hiring trends and stability of your sector within life sciences or discuss your interest and options between contract and permanent positions, please contact our team here.            Find a recruiter       

Writing a manager CV for pharmaceutical companies

Updating a CV is consistently considered one of the more tedious parts of securing a job, but as the first step and the first impression to potential employers, it is important that it reflects your aptitude and successes appropriately. This is especially key if you are writing a manager CV for more senior roles within the pharmaceutical industry. When writing a CV for managerial role, there is often a temptation to mimic and loosely adapt an existing template. However, a CV for a senior role must reflect different attributes that are not often present in CVs for lower seniority roles. There are some core elements to consider when updating a CV for senior-level jobs that hiring managers and HR will look out for during the initial selection process. By adapting your CV to take these tips into account, your manager CV is more likely to stand-out and be considered for more senior-level positions as part of your career progression through the life sciences and pharma industry. Show results with quantitative data The life sciences industry grounds itself in evidence-based data and this mentality should continue through to a CV for a manager job in pharma. A key differentiator from an early career CV and a CV from someone applying for a senior role is whether they “show” or “tell” their employment achievements. Rather than simply listing your responsibilities in former jobs, hiring managers want to see your results. A CV will stand out if it includes quantifiable data that show examples of achievements. 20% increase in efficiency 12% reduction in costs Delivered over 30,000 units on-brief and within the deadline Phrases like these are much more impactful than a list of daily tasks and demonstrate how your work supports the wider business goals. Remember who will be reading It is key to keep the reader at the forefront of your mind when writing it, especially for more senior positions. Listing tasks you were assigned is useful, but does that tell the hiring managers that they need to hear for a management role? With senior roles likely having a tough application competition, a strong CV will help a strong candidate stand out. If you are writing a CV for a manager job in pharma, then you will likely be looking to lead a team or project. It may sound obvious, but it is important that your CV shows demonstrable leadership experience and thinking beyond your daily tasks to be invited to the next stage of the recruitment process. Keep the content relevant and honest Ambition and enthusiasm are great traits for a potential employee, but it is never advisable to falsify information on your CV. This is particularly important when writing a CV for senior roles as senior managers will be expected to represent and be accountable for the pharmaceutical company that hires them. It’s cliché advice, but in nearly every recruitment process, there are instances where great candidates miss out on opportunities due to inconsistencies in their CV. Exaggerations are much less likely to be tolerated by hiring managers for senior roles and whilst it might make a CV may stand out, it will likely have a negative impact on the remainder of the hiring process. Prioritise your CV space allocation When writing a CV, it is important to keep the reader – HR’s talent acquisition of hiring manger - at the forefront of your mind. Therefore, it is important to consider factors such as the formatting and weighting of a CV. This is particularly key for the large-scale pharma companies, they will receive a lot of applications and may employ a strict initial vetting process to highlight core candidates to consider. CVs for manager jobs in pharmaceutical companies will likely come from professionals with a developed employment history; especially in the pharmaceutical industry, where academic success and external contributions to the field may hold core relevance. CVs are generally about 2 pages long and with potentially hundreds of other applicants, it is more beneficial to focus the relevant experience towards the beginning of the CV. Listing your core achievements and technical skillsets in an executive summary, alongside quantitative achievements and perhaps some testimonials if you have them, will immediately emphasise to a hiring manager the key elements that show your suitability for the role. Early career positions and academic history arguably show growth and career development; however, they should not be prioritised over the recent roles and contributions that will help make you stand out as a desirable candidate. These can be included as bullet points towards the end if you have space or listed within an accompanying appendix.  Tailor a CV to the position By applying for a senior position, you’re looking for more responsibility within a business. If you can tailor your CV to ensure it is representing key points of the initial job description, your CV will not only immediately tick boxes for your relevance to the role, but it shows an attention to detail that many employers will value. When applying for a senior role, showing the difference between a default CV curated for multiple early level positions and a manager CV where you have dedicated time and effort to tailor your CV to the specific role/company highlights your understanding of the recruitment process, experience within the industry and commitment to secure this job as part of your career development. Promote your personal brand in the industry When it comes to senior positions within a pharmaceutical company, it is likely the hiring managers have a strong idea of the experiences, skillsets and personality traits they are looking for to fill the position. Senior roles will still like to see potential in candidates, but experience and specialism are more important to stand out in the application process. Your experience and your successes are all part of forming your place within the industry. Whilst you don’t have to be a key speaker at several events or an award-winning pioneer, promoting your unique qualities and specialist expertise is very important, particularly within pharmaceuticals. Niche skill sets and specialisations such as specific experience within oncology or a unique background in the medical field help make candidates stand out. Clients have a specific brief in mind of what they need so if you can promote your specialisation, you’re in with a much better shot of progressing to the next stage. List technical skills separately Depending on the type of management position you are applying for, your technical and practical skills are not the only qualities hiring managers are looking to find in your CV. If you will be leading a team or project, your leadership, people management and operational experienced will also hold high weighting in the application process. It is unlikely that you will be competing with candidates that do not hold the technical knowledge to succeed within the role, so listing your technical skills separately is a useful way to ensure you have space to highlight your leadership experience within your employment history. In large pharmaceutical companies, there are often multiple stages in recruiting senior-level positions. The initial screening is usually to determine whether your CV contains key buzzwords that make you a relevant candidate. This checklist is not always conducted by a line manager or someone with the same scientific knowledge for the specific, niche role so a list of technical skills is a useful way to highlight your experience and training for anyone who reads your CV to understand and acknowledge.  For life sciences professionals looking to advance their careers and move into management, ensuring their CV is targeted for these level positions is key to getting noticed and moving through the interview stages for more senior roles. The CV writing process for management positions varies from non-management positions mainly in the balance between promoting skillsets, as well as promoting leadership and management qualities. By prioritising quantifiable achievements and demonstrating specialist experience within the life sciences sector, candidates can stand out in the recruitment process and will be more likely to be considered for senior management positions within the pharmaceutical market. Our recruiters work with several candidates looking to climb the career ladder and move into more senior roles. For more information on opportunities within the industry to advance your career, you can contact our specialist life sciences recruiters here.            Send us your CV       

10 Tips to help your CV stand out in the life sciences industry

Your CV is often the first impression a hiring manager has of your professional career. It is important that it reflects your experience to demonstrate what you would bring to a specialist life sciences position. Mastering the art of writing a CV can be difficult enough, but how can exceptional candidates like you make your profile stand out when applying for a role? Hobson Prior recruiters are specialised within the life sciences and see thousands of CVs from professionals with varying experience across pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical devices. We know what hiring managers are looking for, so we’ve collated 10 of our top CV writing tips to help you secure an exciting new job where you can thrive. Our top 10 life sciences CV writing tips Start with a summary With hundreds of CVs on their desks, having a short, impactful summary is a great way to grab their attention immediately. Bullet point your successes, qualifications and experiences. You can explain in more detail further down. Proofread Even if you’ve read it 40 times, read it again and get someone else to take a look. If you’re working with a recruiter, ask them to check it too. You want to present your best foot forward and demonstrate your attention to detail. Keep formatting simple Creative CVs are a unique and memorable way to stand out amongst the crowd, but they are risky. Multiple fonts, text sizes and sporadic use of CAPITAL LETTERS, bold and other formatting make your CV stand out for the wrong reasons. Stick to two pages It can be tempting to include as much detail as possible in your CV to prove why you are a must-have hire. However, hiring managers do not want to read an essay about your career, especially when they have a pile of other CVs to get through. Focus on results Your resumé should demonstrate how your actions led to positive outcomes; that’s what makes you stand out as an efficient and desirable candidate. Including figures and statistics immediately shows a hiring manager the impact you will bring their company. Promote yourself This is your opportunity to let potential hiring managers see that you are a skilled, educated and driven candidate. Many job seekers find it uncomfortable talking about themselves, but that’s the job of a CV. Avoid arrogance or lying, but don’t be afraid to highlight your wins. Ask a recruiter It is always useful to get a second opinion on your CV, especially from specialists. Recruiters help job seekers find great roles every day. They know what hiring managers are looking for and can give you advice on how best to optimise your CV. Plus, once updated, they can make sure hiring managers see your CV. Send us your CV Target your CV Whilst it is logical to list all your previous jobs, it is key your CV focuses on the role you are applying to. Including the fact you used to work at a café isn’t a negative, but be sure to prioritise relevant experience. Get your CV seen  The CV is usually the first round of the job stage process so it important that it gets in front of the right people. The best way to improve your chances of having your CV seen by the hiring managers at pharmaceutical, medical devices and biotechnology companies is to share it with specialists recruiters.  Hobson Prior recruiters work exclusively within the life sciences sector. We partner with upcoming and industry-leading companies to find them top talent like you. By sharing your CV with us, you'll get advice from life sciences recruitment specialists as well as the latest job opportunities from our clients. .find-recruiter, .snip-button-container { justify-content: left; }

The demand for work life balance in quality assurance jobs

Work-life balance is a core value for many of us and its recognition amongst employers is increasing. Silicon Valley figureheads, such as Google and Intel, have implemented various wellbeing schemes and allowances to keep their staff happy and healthy. Whilst some industries have been fast to adopt, the pharmaceutical industry has been slower to offer flexibility. A recent study conducted by the global unified communications company, Fuze, 95% of workers say work-life balance is an important factor when searching for a new job. Similarly, a report from Virgin highlighted that 76% of workers don’t work as remotely as they’d like. With life sciences job seekers looking for more flexibility and pharmaceutical companies aiming to attract and retain talent, is flexible working in quality assurance jobs possible? Hobson Prior’s lead quality assurance recruiter, Steven Fuller, shares 5 core insights into how the quality assurance job market is being impacted by the increasing demand for flexible working and how quality assurance job seekers can make the most of this trend. “The demand is there; I’ve seen candidates reject jobs that don’t offer flexible working hours” Modern life is demanding. The traditional 9-5 doesn’t always apply to QA roles as is, but the ability for QA professionals to balance the demands of work with the stresses of modern life, like appointments or missing their children’s bedtimes, would certainly be well received. As a lead quality assurance recruiter, Steven has seen many senior quality assurance managers and responsible quality persons reject high-paying jobs at global pharmaceutical companies. The head of quality may have parent’s evenings to attend. A QA analyst might have elderly parents to care for. Your quality assurance team leader might have to pick the car up from the garage. “Almost every other industry is offering it; why shouldn’t a quality assurance manager have the same flexi-time as their friends in finance or marketing? I’ve had candidates turn down well-paid roles at world-renowned companies because there is no flexibility offered”. “Start-ups tend to be more receptive, but the larger pharmaceutical companies are listening” It’s always harder to establish a consistent company culture in a global company: if you allow flexible hours for your offices in Cambridge, you’d be pressured to do the same for your site in Basel. Pharmaceutical start-ups are less restricted and more open to flexible working to attract top talent. That said, large pharmaceutical companies want to remain competitive to attract top talent in quality assurance positions. “When a global pharmaceutical company offers flexible working hours for a quality assurance job, the others need to adapt their offerings to be more appealing to attract the best candidates. There’s more opportunity to negotiate work life in quality assurance than you may think”. Plus, with work-life balance becoming an expectation of millennial culture, pharmaceutical companies are promoting flexible hours in quality to encourage the next generation of QA managers, heads of QA and QA auditors more. “Some quality assurance jobs offer more flexibility than others” Whilst many would appreciate the opportunity to adapt our contracted hours to suit our busy schedules, it may not be possible to offer the same work-life balance structure for all quality control and quality assurance positions. “It depends entirely on the role: a QA systems engineer may be able to access the eQMS systems from home, so working from home in QA can be an option. "Alternatively, a senior manufacturing GXP needs to be onsite where the manufacturing and distribution take place. Their company may not be able to offer working from home, but may be able to negotiate flexible hours or a shift allowance to increase work-life balance for their QA team.” Some quality jobs can be fully home-based, such as a GxP quality assurance job that focuses on eQMS and CAPAs. That said, a GCP QA manager would need to visit sites from time to time to ensure quality best practice. Travel commitments are often unavoidable in QA careers, making it difficult to secure a fully home-based role; different GXPs have different options. If flexibility is what you are looking for, a QA recruiter will have the right connections. View the latest quality assurance job opportunities “Pharma companies are being creative to offer more work-life balance” Homeworking is a popular trend across the life sciences job market, but it is not always a feasible option. Pharmaceutical companies have needed to be creative to create opportunities for their QA teams to make sure they can still tackle the demands of QA job with work-life balance. “Benefits packages, such as shift allowance offer an alternative to the traditional Monday-Friday, 9-5 that may suit some QA professionals better. Shifts allow for more control over what days in the week they work, with potential financial benefits for traditionally unsociable hours, whilst also allow QA professionals to have slightly more freedom and flexible working”. “A quality assurance recruiter can help secure flexible benefits” Flexible hours and homeworking in quality assurance are growing, but it is not always as readily available to job seekers. “As the lead quality assurance recruiter for Hobson Prior, it’s my job to understand your career requirements and make sure I connect you to roles that tick those boxes”. Just because a job doesn’t overtly offer flexible working, does not necessarily mean it cannot be included. QA recruiters build relationships with pharmaceutical hiring managers, HR and talent acquisition teams and have a unique insight into which companies offer flexible working and which are more reluctant, saving you time in your job search. “It is often the senior QA jobs that allow flexibility. A senior QP holds a great deal of responsibility and will often need to be available onsite. It can be tricky to negotiate flexible hours in QA management jobs, but it is certainly possible.” Securing a work-life balance Defining a balance between managing demands of work with family and social life is hugely for personal wellbeing. The life sciences industry is adapting to these demands and many businesses are offering new and inventive benefit packages to help keep their employees motivated and healthy. As a quality assurance recruiter, Steven has seen the rise in childcare allowance, flexi-time, shift allowance, gym lunches and working from home opportunities. These are not specific to the quality assurance job market, but we are seeing more requests from QA job seekers and an understanding from companies hiring quality assurance professionals. If flexible hours and a strong work-life balance is something you’re looking for, contact our quality assurance recruitment team who will help you find a QA job that suits your requirements. View the latest quality assurance jobs here.

Five tips for writing a clinical project manager CV and other senior clinical roles

Your CV is often the first impression a hiring manager has of your professional career. It is important it reflects your experience to demonstrate what you would bring to a senior clinical operations role. Mastering writing a CV for a clinical research associate job can be difficult enough, but how can exceptional candidates make their profiles stand out when applying for a senior role, such as a senior CRA, clinical project manager or even a clinical trial manager job? Hobson Prior’s clinical operations recruiters are specialised in helping candidates find permanent and contract CRA, CPM and CTM jobs across Europe. They see CVs from clinical operations professionals with varying experience and understand what makes a senior CRA CV stand out to hiring managers at leading pharmaceutical companies. We’ve collated 5 of their top CV writing tips below to help you secure a senior clinical project manager job. “Put your recent clinical operations management jobs first” Many CV templates recommend you lead with your contact information, followed by your education. In the life sciences industry, a scientific degree or doctorate is often highly valued so is important to include. That said, why would you lead your CV for a senior clinical project manager job with the degree you completed over a decade ago, when you have a wealth of recent industry experience to share? “Most candidates applying for a clinical trial manager job will be educated. Hiring managers will want to know what you’ve done in practice within the industry; make it easier for them and put your recent, relevant experience at the top of your CV”. Morgan Hearty, Clinical Operations Recruitment Specialist at Hobson Prior Key Takeaways Lead your CV with your most recent job and achievements at the top List your experience in chronological order and spend more detail on the more recent and relevant roles Include your education after your previous employment “Focus on showing your results” If you are looking to secure a promotion from clinical research associate to senior clinical research associate or clinical project management, your CV needs to highlight your successes. Your previous experience should demonstrate how your actions leads to positive outcomes; that’s what makes you stand out as an efficient and desirable candidate. Including figures and statistics immediately shows a hiring manager the impact you will bring their company, as well as demonstrating your ability to report effectively, a skill often required in senior clinical positions. “I see lots of CVs for clinical project manager jobs where candidates list their tasks. It’s important that you don’t just tell me what you’ve done, but you demonstrate how your actions lead to positive results. Percentages and successes always stand out more than paragraphs of explanation”. Rachel Hayes – Clinical Operations Recruitment Specialist at Hobson Prior Key Takeaways Add list of bullet points showing the top results you have achieved Percentages and numbers quantify your experience – 220% increase in productivity vs. “I improved productivity” Avoid “telling” your skills, let your results show your successes. “Keep it to the point” If you’re applying for a senior clinical position, you’ll have a wealth of knowledge and experience to discuss. It can be tempting to include as much detail as possible in your CV to prove why you are a must-have hire. However, hiring managers do not want to read an essay about your career, especially when they have a pile of other clinical project manager CVs to get through. Your CV is a snapshot of your career so be sure to keep it focused on the key results and responsibilities. You can include links or an appendix for additional documents and papers that support your career, but don’t overload it with information. Your CV is an overview, plus, you’ll want to reserve some details for the next stages of the hiring process. “Aim for around 2-3 pages maximum for a clinical CV. If you’re applying for a clinical project manager job, focus on your recent CPM or senior CRA experience rather than your very first clinical research assistant experience. This will save you space and keep your CV relevant and will keep hiring managers focused on the experiences core to the job you’re going for”. James Inwood – Principal Consultant at Hobson Prior Keep the CV as an overview of your career A CV for a senior position should be around 2-3 pages long Include an appendix or link to online papers to save space “Make sure your CV targets the right job” A senior CRA job CV should prioritise your experiences as a clinical research associate. Whilst it is logical to list all your previous roles, it is key your CV focuses on the senior role you are applying to and its targeted to supporting your application. Your experience as clinical research assistant is a useful display of your progression, but does not require the same detail as your current role. Weight the descriptions accordingly, ensuring you prioritise direct experience and results over previous, less relevant jobs. “I’ve seen clinical trial manager CVs that still include a write up on their first job. It’s not a bad thing, but if you focus too much on the junior clinical trial jobs you’ve had, you’re wasting space that you could have used for the jobs that promote your suitability for a senior role”. David Chipp – Sales Manager (Clinical Interim) at Hobson Prior Key takeaways Weight your CV effectively to prioritise recent clinical experience Junior jobs require minimal emphasis, you may wish to avoid including them Make sure you highlight the elements in your previous experience that tie into the job your applying for “Keep your format clean and simple” Creative CVs are a unique and memorable way to stand out amongst the crowd, but they are risky. Hiring managers will have to sift through a pile of clinical project manager CVs so adding some colour, your headshot and lots of stylistic choices can sound like a great way to be noticed, but it is crucial not to get carried away. “What hiring managers really want to see from a stack of senior CRA CVs is an easy to read summary of your achievements and career; it makes their jobs much easier to see your CRA experience if it’s well laid out”. James Inwood, Principal Consultant When apply for senior clinical trial jobs, your CV needs needs to match the seniority of the position you are going for. Multiple fonts, text sizes and sporadic use of CAPITAL LETTERS, bold and other formatting make your CV stand out for the wrong reasons. A messy CV layout gives a hiring manager a free pass to discard your resume, regardless of how strong clinical trials management experience is. “You can be one of the top clinical project managers in Europe, but if your resume is hard to read and messy, a hiring manager will likely ignore it to help reduce their pile of CVs.” Morgan Hearty – Clinical Operations Recruitment Specialist at Hobson Prior Key Takeaways Creativity is encouraged, but remember who has to read your CV and how many they have to read There’s a difference between standing out and putting off Keep formatting simple: one font, remove italics and flashy colours BONUS: “Share your CV with specialist recruiters” Senior clinical trial management positions can be difficult to come by and require experienced CRA, CPM and CTM experience. To get the best candidates possible, many pharmaceutical companies and clinical CROs will use a specialist clinical operations recruiter to aid in their search. Senior CRAs and clinical project managers are often headhunted, so it is advantageous to make sure a reputable recruiter has your name on file, whether you’re actively looking for a clinical trial promotion or not. “Many of our pharmaceutical clients use recruiters exclusively to fill senior clinical operations positions so they won’t appear on public job boards. By sharing your CV with a recruiter, you’ll have access to these lucrative and desirable jobs. Plus, we do all the tedious job hunting work for you to find the most suitable senior CRA, CPM and CTM jobs for you.” David Chipp – Sales Manager (Clinical Interim) at Hobson Prior Key Takeaways Many senior CRA and CPM positions are exclusive to recruiters Recruiters have strong relationships with pharmaceutical companies and can connect you A specialist recruiter can help you get headhunted into a senior clinical role that suits you Overall, the key to securing a senior clinical job through your CV is to make viewing it as easy as possible. A hiring manager should be able to look at you CV and see exactly why your current role and former experience makes you the perfect candidate for the senior clinical research associate, project manager or clinical trial manager position. For top tips and guidance on how to perfect your clinical operations CV and make it stand out, you can share your CV with our Clinical recruitment specialist team. They will be able to provide unique insight and experienced knowledge into elevating your CV for senior clinical operations and development positions. View our clinical operation jobs here.

Optimising your LinkedIn profile for job offers

LinkedIn is the perfect channel for employers and recruiters to find out more about you and get in touch. So if you’re looking for your next role, or if you just want to be contacted when a perfect opportunity comes up, it’s important to optimise your profile. There are three key stages a recruiter or HR professional takes when visiting your LinkedIn profile: Finding you Qualifying you Researching you There’s a lot you can do to ease their experience at each of these stages – making it more likely that you’ll get relevant, attractive job descriptions straight to your inmail box. Finding you Recruiters and HR professionals often search LinkedIn for potential candidates, and there are several things you can do to appear in the right searches. Firstly, make sure that your job descriptions and summary include keywords that you want to be associated with. Pick several that are connected to what you’re good at and what you want to do in your next job. Secondly, get connected. You’ll appear higher on employers’ search results if you share connections or groups with them. Thirdly, be active. Comment in relevant industry groups, like posts and update your profile regularly. This will help you catch the eye of recruiters and employers. Finally, make sure you’re easy to identify. Use your full name as it appears on your CV, and your current job title or a concise summary of what you do as your professional headline (e.g. “Bio-Statistician specialising in Osteoporosis”). Qualifying you If you’ve contacted a recruiter or employer about a vacancy, they’ll almost certainly visit your profile. It’s important that job titles, dates and descriptions support what’s on your CV, or you’ll lose their trust. Any gaps in your employment history should be explained, either in your summary or a job description (i.e. “I left this role to travel for six months around Asia”). Recommendations are great for giving you credibility, and much more valued and personal than endorsements for skills. You can ask for recommendations from colleagues, managers and clients by going into your settings and clicking ‘Manage Recommendations’ under the Profile tab. Researching you You’re not confined to a few pages of A4 on LinkedIn, so it can be a great place to expand on projects and achievements mentioned on your CV. Give examples of your best work in the projects section, making sure to include a concise description of the context, goals, actions taken and outcome. You can also add team members to demonstrate collaboration. If you have an interesting report or presentation to share, upload and attach this to the relevant position. The publications section is perfect for listing and linking to articles and papers. However, bear in mind that many people won’t be able to follow links to subscription only journals. Finally, all LinkedIn users can now post blogs. If you have the time to write something valuable, this is an ideal place to show off your knowledge and expertise. It will also increase traffic to your profile and improve your visibility on LinkedIn. Quick tips Always use a professional looking photo Don’t treat LinkedIn like Facebook. Keep updates work or industry related Create a personal URL. Post relevant news articles to show you take a real interest your industry Never leave your job summary blank. Use it for your ‘elevator pitch’. Want to make the most of your LinkedIn Profile? We see a lot of CVs and LinkedIn Profiles so we’ve become experts in how to optimise yours to help drive your career in the right direction. Get in touch with our experts

Do you deserve a rate increase?

As a contractor, your professional identity is a strange mix of business and individual. Unfortunately, this can cause confusion when it comes to rates. While businesses are expected to maintain the same rate for the same service, individuals are paid according to skill-level (meaning their pay increases as they improve). So if you’re both a business and an individual, when is a rate increase a reasonable request? Since you aren’t an employee, you’re unlikely to get a raise for length of service. (Think about a relationship you have with a freelancer, such as an accountant: it would seem silly if they started charging more simply because they’d provided a good service for two years.) However, there are some perfectly good reasons to bump up your fees – here are our top three: #1 - Providing different or additional services Is the scope of your role different to what was originally specified? Perhaps your responsibilities have changed or you’ve taken on more projects? If the nature of your work has changed, it’s entirely reasonable to renegotiate your fees accordingly. #2 - Increase in demand for your services The laws of supply and demand apply as much to people as they do to products. So if your skills become increasingly sought-after, it’s only sensible that you charge higher rates. Changes in supply and demand can be brought about by a variety of factors: Industry trends: for example, new ISO standards have created demand for experts in IDMP and HL7 Organisations: large, multinational companies can have a big impact on the talent market when making cuts or doing a recruitment drive Your own progression: you can change demand for your services by improving your skills and developing new ones #3 – Changes to working arrangements Are your working arrangements as expected? Perhaps you’re having to take fewer homeworking days than originally agreed, or maybe you’re being required to travel frequently all of a sudden. It’s only fair that the client compensates you for lost benefits, or for complying with extra demands. The next step If one or more of the above apply to you, then good news! You probably deserve a rate increase. The bad news? Actually securing it is another matter. Don’t panic though – we have a whole article devoted to this. Take a look at our six tips for securing a rate increase. Need further advice? Contact our recruitment specialists.

Six tips for securing a rate increase

Many contractors happily work with the same client for year after year. However, you’ll eventually find that you’ve outgrown the rates of the original contract. A lot of contractors feel awkward or uncertain about asking for a rate increase – but armed with the right reasons, evidence and tactics, a pay raise is absolutely achievable. With this in mind, we’ve set out six top tips for securing a higher rate: #1 Have a good reason It’s absolutely essential that you have a good, solid reason why you deserve a rate increase. Without this, your request is likely to fall flat, no matter what negotiation techniques you try. Good news though – we have a whole article devoted to reasons why you deserve a rate increase. #2 Time it well It’s best to time your request to coincide with contract renewal, since the client will be most open to negotiation at this point. As a rule of thumb don’t ask before 12 months into your contract, as you’re unlikely to have enough bargaining chips (these being the client’s trust, strong internal relationships and in-depth knowledge of the business). If you’re using an agency, discuss your requirements with them around two months prior to renewal. This gives your recruiter plenty of time to lay the groundwork, negotiate with the client and obtain sign off. It also ensures the client can factor your rates into their financial plan. #3 Arm yourself with evidence It’s not what you know; it’s what you can prove. Have you taken on more responsibilities? List and compare them to those specified in your contract. Has the client asked you to travel more? Calculate how much that time is worth according to your hourly rate. Increased demand is tricky to prove, so ask your recruiter for their market insights. Persuading the client to reassess your value can be the hardest task of all. It’s helpful to quantify your achievements, such as calculating the time you saved by finishing a project early. However, qualitative information can be useful too – for example, you could print out an email containing positive feedback on your work. #4 Use an intermediary Rates can be a touchy subject; if it’s not handled with sensitivity by both parties, there is a risk of damaging your relationship. However, you can minimise that risk by using your agency. By acting as a buffer, a recruiter can protect the relationship. Furthermore, their people skills and market knowledge will improve your chances of success. #5 Know what you’re asking for Rate increases are normally around 3-5%. Whatever you’re aiming for you, be clear and consistent. You should also be able to explain the number – if it seems arbitrary (or based on your needs rather than your worth) you’ll lose bargaining power. Finally, remember that advertised vacancies rates aren’t always a realistic benchmark; the actual rate is highly dependent on skill level and contract terms. #6 Use leverage sensitively Threatening to quit can create negativity and even leave you without a contract. But that’s not to say you can’t use another job offer as leverage – you just need to handle it correctly. Avoid getting personal, and simply show the client that you have to make a sensible business decision. Once again, a recruiter can help you use this leverage to the best advantage. Need further advice? Contact our recruitment specialists.

Three things recruiters wish you knew about job applications

Following the success of our first article on three things our recruiters wish you knew, we’ve put together a second wish list, giving you even more insights into the ‘black box’ of recruiting. This time, we’re addressing common misunderstandings that occur during the application and interview stages. This can be a tense time for everyone, with both parties investing a lot of time and effort. Trust is crucial to making this phase as efficient and stress-free as possible, but in order to put trust in your recruiter, it helps to understand the motives and processes behind their actions. With this in mind, here are the top three things our recruiters want you to know about the application / interview stage: #1 Radio silence frustrates us too Applying for a job is often an intense experience, so after the initial excitement it can be unsettling if everything suddenly goes quiet. Not knowing the outcome is frustrating, and some candidates may even assume that their recruiter has dropped them or is trying to let them down gently. This is never the case with our recruiters – not only because we value openness and long-term relationships with our candidates, but also because it would be counterintuitive to our goal of placing you in a role. If you haven’t been successful with one vacancy, we’ll be keen to match you up with one that’s better suited to you. So in that case, why haven’t you got an answer yet? It’s usually because we haven’t received an answer ourselves. There are many reasons why clients may be slow to respond, ranging from an overload of applications to other work commitments taking priority. These issues are particularly common in businesses with small HR / talent acquisition teams, or where the person doing the hiring is processing applications on top of their usual duties. “We’re diligent about following up, but we also want to ensure the client makes a well thought-out choice rather than a rushed one.” – Thomas Parsons, Business Manager at Hobson Prior Australia. Our recruiters make every effort to assist clients with the administrative work, and to advise them on creating efficient recruitment processes. They’ll also strive to provide you with as many updates as possible – even if it’s just to say nothing’s been decided yet. Radio silence frustrates us too, but we remind ourselves that the vacancy is just one of many tasks on our client’s to-do list. #2 Compliance is a big deal The recruitment industry is governed by strict ethical and legal regulations, which we need to be confident of meeting at all times. This is why our recruiters will ask for things like photocopies of your passport and details of references well in advance of an interview. It may seem like a hassle to get all your documents sorted this early in the recruitment process, but it will save time in the long run and ensure there’s no doubt in the employer’s mind as to your eligibility for the role. “You don’t want the fuss of sorting out paperwork at the offer stage, as it just gets in the way of a smooth process. The earlier the better, for all parties involved.” – Nicola Davison, Recruitment Consultant at Hobson Prior Australia. #3 Pre and post-interview calls are essential Some candidates feel a pre-interview preparation call with their recruiter isn’t necessary, but regardless of experience this certainly isn’t the case. Just as every vacancy and employer is unique, so will your interview be, and you need to have tailored answers prepared. Your recruiter will have a close relationship with the employer, often having filled roles with them before, so they’ll have in-depth knowledge of what the client is looking for and can help you shape your responses accordingly. However, your interview preparation shouldn’t start and end with your recruiter. Before the call it’s important to spend time researching the company and re-familiarising yourself with your CV; afterwards, you should go over what you’ve learnt and practice, practice, practice. Finally, it’s important to contact your recruiter shortly after completing the interview. Again, some candidates may feel this is a nicety that isn’t necessary, but for your recruiter it’s a chance to gain essential information before speaking to the client. Understanding how the interview went and your feelings about the vacancy will enable us to give useful feedback and optimise your chances of securing your desired offer. Meet our team We’re always happy to hear from talented professionals working in the life sciences industry. If you’d like to hear about our latest vacancies, or simply discuss your long-term career plan, why not get in touch with us? Alternatively, visit our Meet the Team page to learn more about our specialist recruitment consultants.

The counter offer: Should you accept it?

Making the decision to leave your current job can be tough, so when you’ve finally worked up the courage to hand in your resignation, receiving a counter offer can throw you into doubt again. Why do employers make counter offers? A counter offer is a more appealing offer than the one you’ve already received. It’s a common response from an employer when a valued employee decides to resign, and can be motivated by a number of reasons: It costs a lot to replace an employee or contractor (e.g. recruitment costs, loss of productivity from the team, loss of working hours when conducting interviews, training costs and advertising fees). It is often easier and more cost effective to increase your salary. Uncertainty of being able to replace you. This is a particular issue in the life science industry, where senior roles are usually highly specialised and increasingly difficult to fill due to a growing skills gap. Your employer may have known you were worth more to the company for a long time, but felt they were able to maintain you within the business under the current conditions. Only after you’ve handed in your resignation does the company decide to act. One leaver can sometimes lead to more. Others in the team may realise what is available to them too, or your absence may significantly alter the team’s dynamic if you are a prominent figure within it. Considering the offer You need to ask yourself if your employer’s reasons for making a counter offer reflect the kind of organisation you want to work for. The promise of more money or a promotion can be both flattering and tempting, but you have to ask yourself why it hasn’t happened already. If it takes your resignation to spur them into action, you’re probably better off at a company with a fairer reward scheme. It’s also important not to lose sight of your original reasons for leaving, and whether those reasons are likely to arise again in the future. Issues with the company’s culture, systems, or training and development opportunities are not going to change overnight; and if your employer promises change, you should question if they’re able to keep to their word. What happens if I accept? If you do decide to accept a counter offer, be aware that you may need to live with the after effects of your resignation for a while. Some employers will be understanding of your reasons for wanting to leave, but others may question your loyalty, which can lead to resentment and a lack of trust. Overall, it’s important to keep your emotions in check when considering a counter offer, and to ensure that last minute promises don’t distract you from your long term career goals. Many candidates who accept a counter soon find new or returning reasons to leave. We estimate that 80% leave within six months, and around 93% within eighteen months. Accepting a counter offer can therefore mean missing out on a good opportunity, only to go through the whole job search process again soon after.  

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