Pfizer Buy Means Jobs: Make Sure Your References Are an Asset

Published: Feb 19, 2015

Pfizer Purchase Means Significant Employment Opportunities: Make Sure Your References Are An Asset
February 19, 2015
By Jeff Shane for

Pfizer announced last week that it would buy smaller rival Hospira in a $16 billion deal that will transform Pfizer into a leading player in the emerging market for lower-priced knockoffs of costly biotech drugs. The growth stakes in this market are huge: the global market for these biotech-drug knockoffs (known as “biosimilars”) is projected to reach $20 billion in sales within the next five years alone. Clearly, this suggests that companies like Pfizer will be making significant hiring investments over the next few years. Indeed, Pfizer CFO Frank D’Amelio stated that “We have lots of remaining capacity” to do even more acquisitions in the years to come.

If such an employment opportunity appeals to you, what steps must you take to position yourself as the winning candidate? Among the many things you’ll want to assess is the strength of your employment references —they will be contacted by employers such as Pfizer and you will want to ensure that your references will describe you in a positive light.

Here are some key reference-related recommendations to showcase you to best advantage:

After making a preliminary list of prospective references, narrow it down to key contenders.
After you have made your initial reference list, select those that you feel will be most willing to give you an excellent report. A typical list of references should include five to ten names, depending on the amount of experience a candidate has accumulated.

Contact each reference personally.
Send each reference a note (visiting them personally, if possible, is even better) stating that you are seeking new employment and asking them if they would be willing to serve as a reference. Be sure to share with them your current resume and let them know of the position you are applying for, as well as the type of qualities the company is likely seeking. Give them the impression that their reference is critical to your obtaining the job.

Also, review your past responsibilities and remind them of tangible successes you achieved with them/the company. Review with each reference what they will say in response to questions regarding your strengths and weaknesses. Try to learn what your references are going to say about you.

Communicate with your references at “crunch time.”
When a specific offer is imminent, let your references know the company involved and that you will be using them as a reference. They will feel more comfortable giving out information about you or to return a prospective employer’s call in a more timely fashion if you have forewarned them ahead of time.

Follow up with your references.
When you get your new position, make sure you call each reference and thank them for the role they played. Going forward, keep them posted about your career —they will appreciate your staying in touch and will be more likely to serve as a reference once again at a later date.

Check your references professionally.
Beware leaving the impact of your references to chance. If you are not 100 percent convinced that your references and past employers will relay positive comments about you to prospective employers, have them checked out. A professional employment verification and reference-checking firm can either put your mind at ease, or supply you with the critical information and evidence that has been blocking your job searching efforts.

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