Adding a reference to your application is like adding gravy to a Sunday roast. It isn’t essential, but with it, everything seems to go down smoothly. Given the pharmaceutical industry is one of the largest, most profitable and technologically advanced in history, and with so many fighting for the chance to be involved in the next revolutionary cure, it’s crucial to back your profile with a potent reference. Below we’ve given five excellent examples of people whom you can contact to boost your application. Remember, every application is unique, and so is the opportunity. So if you’re applying for a position at niche biotech focusing on oncology and you’ve just finished a PhD on specialising in the prophylactic and therapeutic application of messenger RNA, it makes sense to use the first reference on our list.
PhD, Masters, and further education are highly pertinent when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry. Being so competitive, having a bachelors degree might not be enough to get you into a sort after position. Having a solid academic background – especially if you tailored your dissertation or thesis to the companies’ therapeutic area – is complimentary to your application. Therefore, a teacher or advisor can supplement the skills you picked up during your studies, whether that’s your unrivalled enthusiasm or passionate personality.
Mentors can be from any walk of life, but those that have helped you in the workplace are perfect for giving a reference. As someone who actively seeks to better your career, they’ll do their best to write you a great review. Naturally, mentors tend to have experienced more than you and can help guide your decision making. If you’re applying for a role that steps you up the career ladder, they may know what’s worth focusing on and shout about how you’ve got this in abundance.
An excellent way to demonstrate your ability to work well within a team is through a past work colleague, rather than spewing the generic CV profile spiel or planting platitudes in your covering letter about how you work well in a team and independently. Why not demonstrate your independent value during your interviews and let someone else express your ability to work well with others. A colleague vouching on your behalf about the achievements you’ve reached together is an honest way to support your application.
It’s common to see recommendations from clients on LinkedIn, so why not use them as a reference? Partnerships are the foundation of the pharmaceutical industry. Drug companies frequently outsource work to contract research organisations. These sponsorships are breeding grounds for quality references. If you’ve smashed a client’s expectations out of the park, allow them to do the same for you.
The first person to spring to mind might be your former manager, boss or a direct report. Be careful to choose someone with articulate communication skills and with your best interests at heart. A former promoted colleague who’s now in a senior position can be the perfect reference. They will be able to empathise with your situation and will work to bring you to their level. Finding the balance between a friend and a professional is key here.
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