May 8, 2024

Life Sciences Recruiter vs. Career Coach

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
Get the proven strategies your boss or HR don't want you to know that are proven to work (even with budget cuts, restructuring, and if you've been told "no")
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When you are looking for your next career move, you might not be sure if you need a Career Coach or a Life Sciences recruiter to help you find your next opportunity.

Coaching and recruiting are two different services. In this episode, I am breaking down the differences and how I work with Life Sciences recruiters to help you get the benefit of both. I’m sharing how they are both valuable, how to use them, and how to know which is best for you right now.

What you’ll learn:

  • The difference between a Life Sciences Recruiter and my service as a Pharma/Biotech Career Coach
  • How to use both services to easily get you the best career as fast as possible
  • Guidance to decide what you need right now to get a new job or promotion 


  • Get a new job, get promoted, or improve your current role inside Beyond the Ceiling – a group coaching program for women in Pharma/Biotech. Learn more
  • Looking for private 1-1 career and leadership coaching? Learn more and schedule a consultation
  • Want insider tips, access to new trainings, behind the podcast details and first-to-know information from Melissa? Join the free VIP Email Insiders


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Welcome to Your Worthy Career, a podcast for women in Pharma and Biotech with me, Melissa Lawrence. I am a certified career and leadership coach with a master’s in Organizational Psychology who has worked in talent and learning development in biotech to large pharma, from non-clinical to commercial. I help women in pharma and biotech create a career worthy of them. Whether you want to get clear on what you want, get a new job, get promoted, or be effective as a leader at any level, this is the place for you. Every week, you will get practical career strategies and mindset shifts to help you overcome the problems you experience at work so you can reach your goals feeling better than ever. Your up level begins now. 

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. I’m so happy to be with you. How are you? How has your week been? I have been deep, deep in my Beyond the Ceiling group this year between opening up the second cohort, which kicked off in March. We’re about six weeks into it right now. And I’m always identifying ways to get my clients better results. I have so many ideas.

I have to tame them a lot of the time. My clients already love the group and the results that they get from the clarity in their career path to feeling confident, communication and influencing skills, so work is so much easier, getting new jobs and promotions, all of these things. But like you, I am a high achiever, and I’m always evaluating how to get them faster results, even more results that delight them and are unexpected. It’s so fun for me when my clients come in wanting a certain result and they get that and so much more, and they tell me that their life has changed, that their career will never be the same. That is what I’m always striving for. It’s just so much fun. I love my clients and this work that I do so much. I don’t take it lightly that they put their trust in me to help them. So I’m always going to shoot to overdeliver. And then thinking about the next round and how I can add even more touch points, one-on-one feedback, even though we’re in this group setting. So you can have the experience of the group, which everyone loves.

There’s no place like it when you have women in the industry who get what it’s like all working on the same things that you don’t work with necessarily and are from all different companies, titles and departments you get exposed to so much. And there was someone I was coaching who was looking to get into a large pharma company who has a specific target area that they wanted to work in. So it was extremely narrow what they were looking for when they came into the group. And we just happened to have 2-3 other people on the call who work at companies that meet that criteria that she never would have even known about, if not for this group. And that’s just a tangible ripple effect of being in this space. But it was very strategic and intentional that I curate every woman that comes into this space. And so they all support and help each other and build these long term relationships and even friendships. And it’s just so amazing to be a part of. So anyway, I have been working behind the scenes on how to get results faster, get their career protocol done even faster so they know exactly what they want and what jobs and companies to target as soon as possible, because that is going to give them a luxurious amount of time on the implementation to work on other goals, to make changes, to dig deep into the things that are struggling or that they are struggling with.

And I’ve been thinking even about how I can maximize this support because there’s so much support within this group and everything that I designed in this space was intentional. There’s nothing you don’t need, and everything is intended to help you feel so supported and get results as fast as possible. So we have two calls each week, a community for questions and coaching in between calls, a process for submitting their career protocol once we go through that process, and they have a draft so I can review it personally, and provide a video back with personalized feedback. And I’m going to be adding some more things that are going to allow for even more or one-on-one feedback. Think of a career coach hotline in between calls. I’m so excited for this. And I’ve already been working with my assistant, who is fabulous, to automate and systemize the onboarding and offboarding so it’s seamless and easy on our back-end, too. Because as I’ve grown, as you can imagine, I’ve been doing this for four years now. I can’t believe it. And in the last year, to have been doing more groups. And as these groups grow, I want to be able to have the infrastructure in place to just make it as pleasant of an experience.

Customer service is a top priority for me. My assistant actually told me when she started working with me that she’s never worked with a coach, a provider like I am, that for one, doesn’t take all clients, that clients can come to me and want to work with me. And it doesn’t mean that I will accept you as a client because we need to be a good fit. And I’m also, I’m invested in your best interests. If I can’t help, I’m going to tell you. If I don’t think you’ll be a good fit for whatever reason within the space. If we’re not, we don’t have good chemistry, I will tell you that. So she hadn’t experienced someone that will actually turn people away if they’re not a good fit. And really, before even being in a paid relationship. I am looking at the best interests of the people that they serve, but also just the amount of customer service that I put into anything that I do. It’s important to get fast response times so that you have a really seamless onboarding experience that when you come in, you’re immediately getting access to programs and materials that you can go in and get results right away, so that you don’t have to wait.

You don’t have to be like that phone thing where you call the cable company and you’re pushing all these numbers and you’re looking all over for things. I want it to just be so easy and so supportive for you. And so that’s something that she also shared with me when we started working together, was just how much intention that I put into the spaces that I create in my coaching containers. So anyway, just like your company does, when we are automating and systematizing, we’re able to cut back on costs. We’re able to produce better results easier and less cost overall. We’re able to help clients get better results, have a better experience. And that is my goal, is that I have a company that doesn’t ever have complaints. And so far I am there. My clients get results, everything is going great. And it’s because of the intention and work that I do behind the scenes and because of the skill that I have as a coach. But I always want that to be the case. And of course, as I grow, there’s going to be problems that come up. There’s going to be obstacles that I can’t even foresee, just like all of us will experience as we grow in our careers.

But I want to problem-solve for those things as proactively as much as I can and to just delight my clients as much as I can. So I’m going to be making the group even more accessible because women in the industry need this space. I am so convinced from all of the women that I’ve helped over the years and then seeing this group now in its second cohort and the impact that it has, the community that it builds. As many women in pharma and biotech need to be in this space as possible, need to come in and get access to these tools, the resources to get access to the coaching so that you can create the career that you want and you can really have it all. And I show you how to do that. And when you do that, you’re a role model for that for everyone around you. It changes the experience of women at work in our industry. It changes our daughter’s perception of work. It just changes everything. So I’m really, really passionate about that. So I’m really excited to continue to work on these upgrades behind the scenes and to make this group as accessible as I can.

I just can’t wait. So there’s more to come. Our next enrollment is going to be July 23rd, so that’s when you’ll be able to join and apply. And then we’re going to get started in August. And I time that to be right around the time kids get back to So get on the waitlist so you can be the first to know of enrollment details and be ready to join us. You can get that information on my website. We will make sure to put a link in the show notes so you can easily grab it. Because this is the program. It is the program for ambitious women in the industry who want to clarify their unique career path and build the communication and self-advocacy skills that they need to get a new job, a promotion, or upgrade their current role. So these are women that have goals that all overlap but are slightly different. So some want to know exactly what they want in their career path. Some want to get a new job. They know what they want and they’re just not getting any progress in getting it. Some want a promotion. Some want career coaching and support because they have a difficult boss or a challenging work environment or they don’t have the work-life balance that they want or they want to be more effective.

They have difficult stakeholders. They just want to hit it out of the park and feel good. They want to build their confidence in their leadership role. They want to plan for their future. There are so many different things that each of these women that I’ve worked with in the group so far have wanted to prioritize. And we get to work on all of them together. And that means everyone gets to rise up together because you get access to solutions to things you wouldn’t even think to ask or might not be a priority right now while also working on the things that are really important to you. So whatever you want to be different in your career, we create it. So I could obviously talk all day about this group. I love it and the women in it so much. I’ve just seen how we are changing the pharma and biotech industry one woman at a time. But that’s not what this episode is supposed to be about. Let’s talk about our topic for the day. We are going to talk about the difference between working with a pharma or biotech career coach like me and a life sciences recruiter.

So when you are looking for your next new job, you might not be sure if you need coaching or do you need a recruiter to help you get into the next job or get promoted? I’ve had this question before, and so I thought, why not talk about it here on the podcast? I haven’t really seen anyone else talk about that before. And so I’ve been having that conversation privately, and let’s have it here on the podcast. So coaching and recruiting are two different services. Recruiters are invaluable, especially ones specific for the life sciences industry. I have built relationships with so many different recruiters, especially more so since I’ve been in my company, since I started my company four years ago. And there’s so many talented, caring recruiters in this industry that can help you. They can open doors for you, give you feedback on your resume, know what jobs are out there, help you get interviews and conversations with the people and the companies that you’re interested in But they can’t help you if you don’t know exactly what you want and you’re not able to communicate your talents with confidence. They also can’t get you the job if you’re not qualified.

They can’t ensure that you talk about your transferable skills or interview in a compelling and effective way that makes you that no brainer candidate that gets job offers. They can’t guide you on hidden doors or opportunities at your company, which, let me tell you, are always There. I help my clients with this all the time. There are people that will tell me they know exactly what they want. They’ve tried all the things and I still find something missing that needs to be fixed. I still find an opportunity they didn’t pursue. So they can’t get jobs created for you. Recruiters aren’t going to lobby for you to have a job created for you that doesn’t exist. Their job is to help the company that hired them, hire talented, qualified people. They have inside information about companies and trends. They can assess your skills. They can forward your resume to the right person or even make it more likely for you to get an interview. They are so valuable. And I suggest that you have relationships with recruiters in and outside of your company. 

I’ve had Jeff Caskey on the show.  I’ve had BioBuzz on the show. And you can check out those episodes to hear their perspective and hear what they do, connect with them. And there’s so many more. But you have to go to them knowing what you want and be able to sell yourself as the best candidate. So if you’re not getting interviews or bites right now and you’re struggling to get the job that you want, chances are that you have a bigger problem that needs to be solved and a recruiter isn’t going to be able to help you with that. And keep in mind that recruiters work for the company that hired them. Just like your HR at work, works for your employer. So they aren’t working for you. This is where coaching comes in. As a pharma/biotech certified career coach with a background in HR, that’s me. I help you know exactly what you want before you make the move through my career protocol process. I am also hired by you. So I am as invested in your success as you are, right? I’ve built a successful business, and that’s not just because I’m a nice person, it’s because I get clients’ results.

At the end of the day, my clients pay me to get them results. And so I am very invested in your success that impacts my success. And I’m in this business to help you. That is why I started this business. This is why I left the industry. I set up coaching programs in the industry when I worked at AstraZeneca. And I left because HR had to be involved. Your boss had to be involved. We wanted you to stay with the company. And it didn’t feel like it was fully in service of you. And that’s how, if you really follow me or if you’ve been around a lot, I talk about hidden opportunities, getting jobs created for you, my career protocol process. I have these things because I know the secrets of the industry. I know how HR works, and I know how to navigate pharma/biotech. And I’m going to tell you the things that other people are going to tell you because I’m working for you. We are in a partnership together and my success is your success. And that’s how our relationship is. I’m very invested in your development and that you get the results that you want.

So we build your skills in interviewing, communication, self-advocacy so you can effectively influence others and get the job that you want. I help you tap into hidden opportunities at your current job and externally. We use both angles when we can. You would be surprised how many people I’ve worked with that told me their boss already said no to their promotion. There aren’t opportunities where they work. They already tried. And we end up getting them promoted or getting a new role created just for them where they’re writing their own job description. I’m actually helping two of my clients do this right now. I also make sure that you don’t make the wrong career choice. You don’t want to run away from something you don’t like only to be just as unhappy someplace else. I’ve had clients who tell me with certainty they know exactly what they want, that they want to work in this specific department at this specific level. I had someone in the last run to be on the ceiling like this. We go through my career protocol process and they actually don’t want that, but they didn’t know it. And it saves you from making such a big mistake.

So instead, with that person, we were having a new role created for her. We took the parts that she did want because there were certain things that were attractive to her about what she thought she wanted. We took those things and made a business case to add them to her current role, take some other things off her plate, create a new value proposition for the work that she does and get a role created for her at a higher level. So it just works so much better. And just like that example, when you don’t really know that you don’t know what you really want, when there’s those little blind spots, that impacts how you interview and your chances of getting a job offer, which is why that person who knew what she wanted, did The comments in that department, did so many things to get that job. She did all the right things that people on LinkedIn will tell you to do, but it wasn’t working. And she didn’t actually want it. And so she was able to build the skills, the influencing communication skills she needed to actually get that job that she was trying to get, but we were also able to get her a new job that she actually wanted.

So in coaching, you become confident in who you are and what you want and how to handle any career obstacle. So you don’t just have the job you want now, but you’re able to navigate any work challenges and advance your career on your terms for the rest of your career. You no longer doubt yourself, stress out, and overthink your decision. You have effective work relationships with everyone, even the people you don’t like. You don’t have to like them to have a good relationship with them and for them to do things for you. You have energy when you get home for your family. You literally can have it all. You get to decide what having it all looks like, and then we create it. So you get a successful career to feel good about yourself without sacrificing your family or your values. And this is what Coaching with Me gets you. Life sciences recruiters are more transactional, but we are both here to help you. We just offer different services to get you the result. This is why I love partnering with recruiters in the industry. I have several partnerships with recruiters within companies and in their own firms, and I leverage those relationships for my clients.

It’s a little bit of a secret sauce. It’s the best of both worlds. So my recruiting partnerships and relationships that I’ve built, I talk about relationship building and beyond the ceiling and why it’s so important. Here’s another example of it, is I have relationships and we help each other. They connect me to people who need more clarity and/or skills. I connect them to my clients when they are clear on what they want and they’re ready for the move. And because I’m sending them, they’re getting my vouching behind them and my relationship that they get to leverage, they’re not strangers and they often get priority treatment. And I’ve had so many past clients reach out to me and thank me for those relationships. The partnerships get you the dream job so much faster and easier than doing it alone. So when you have coaching, working with me to get you clear on what it is that you want and the strategy, building the skills, and then you have recruiters, whether they’re your own recruiters at your own company, allies at your own company, or that you’re getting through relationships in the group or for me, you’re able to help them help you, right?

They want to help you and you make it so much easier by working with me first. So it’s a win-win. Now, I hope this helps clarify for you the differences between life sciences recruiters and career coaches. Specifically me, since I’m the only career coach for women in pharma biotech that does what I do. So if you have any questions, you are welcome to message me on LinkedIn. Let me know what you thought of this episode, or if there’s any clarity that you need on helping to decide which is right for you, I’m happy to help you make that decision. Have an amazing, amazing week And I will see you here next week. 

Hey, the episode is over, but I want to let you in on a secret. There are four hidden ways you can use to advance your career as a woman in Pharma or Biotech that your boss or HR doesn’t want you to know about. These are strategies that are proven to work even after you’ve been told no. Save yourself so much time and advance your career on your terms by downloading the strategies at my website, They’re completely free. Go get them now.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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