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3 Tips to Get You In the Medical Sales Door During Low Unemployment


NOW is the time to dive into a medical sales career — with or without direct experience. This exceptional window of opportunity is a result of declining unemployment rates, which hit 3.7 percent in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As unemployment rates continue on a downward trend, employers struggle to fill open roles with top talent. Luckily for medical sales employees, the job market is wide open and they’re thriving. In fact, according to our latest report, The Truth Revealed: Is Low Unemployment Causing a Medical Sales Job Shortage?, nearly 70 percent of medical sales candidates recently received a job offer in three months or less. That’s impressive compared to the 36 days SHRM’s respondents noted as the average time to hire in a recent report.

Even though medical sales job seekers have the advantage, breaking into the field remains intimidating for those with little to no experience. Employers are notorious for continuing their search for and wooing already-established medical sales talent away from competitors.

If you’re hoping to break into medical sales, this is not an excuse to give up, but rather a reason to apply an even more critical eye to your job search. With a determined mindset and these tips, you can take advantage of the low unemployment trend and prove to employers that you’re exactly what their companies need:

Dress-up your resume

When you’re deep in the job search process, the topic of resumes may make you want to run in the other direction.

The truth is, resumes are critical in all job searches, especially when you’re an entry-level medical sales applicant. Actually, even with advanced technology, 87 percent of medical sales recruiters say a candidate’s resume and cover letter are most important when considering qualifications, according to our report In With the Old and In With the New: Here’s What Medical Sales Recruiters Want.

In addition to presenting qualifications, resumes are often your initial form of contact with employers. Of course, the last thing you want is for them to take a five-second glance, see your minimal experience, and move on.

Avoiding this outcome, however, goes beyond updating your credentials before applying. While this is important, you also need to focus specifically on the appearance of your resume. Separate your resume into various sections, including education, experience, impressive goals or awards, and even personal interests.

Creating these columns draws employers’ eyes around the page, rather than to one specific section. You’ll keep their interest longer as they’re able to easily scan through. You may even catch their attention with hobbies or achievements made in a former sales role.

Don’t try too hard

Recruiters want to see the most authentic you. It’s this authenticity that made you successful in your previous roles, so don’t stray from it now. Remember this as you’re writing out your resume and cover letter, specifically. Jamming your resume full of keywords, specifically those you don’t fully understand, will leave you and employers blindsided during a phone screening or in-person interview.

Rather than going on a wild Google chase for medical sales keywords, step back and look at your work experience. As you go through the list, have a piece of paper ready in front of you. Write down each moment, triumph, and trial that makes you proud.

Once you’ve completed a thorough list, reword it in terms that relate to the medical sales field. Even if you don’t have direct experience, impressive sales numbers, breakthroughs with challenging clients, and being able to stand tall through unexpected changes are all traits and skills any sales company will find impressive.

Detail a snippet of your experience

Low unemployment rates create a stressful environment for medical sales employers. Their positions are opening, but many talented reps are already employed. Take this into consideration before meeting with recruiters or hiring managers.

As they worry about finding a sales rep who can fill a former employee’s shoes, steer clear of jumping from one experience to the next. Instead, give them an in-depth look into one specific moment of your work history. Focus on the events leading up to you topping the sales board or the discussion you had with a customer who was ready to jump ship.  

These defining moments give them a clearer picture of your personality and who you are as a sales rep. Their insights into the successful medical sales rep you could be will grow immensely, intriguing them into spending even more time with you.

In the battle to secure a medical sales role, what has been your top struggle? Share them with us!