Even medical sales is not free from ageism, or discrimination based on someone’s age and not objective performance criteria, according to a 2014 MedReps article — but in my experience, it’s absolutely surmountable.
I’ve been fortunate to work with countless numbers of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers who have landed meaningful employment in the world of medical device, capital equipment, and pharma sales.
In my opinion, their success rests on the idea that even in this day and age of Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software, real live humans are still making hiring decisions. This means that a quality medical sales candidate who has a compelling resume and LinkedIn, a strong networking strategy, and can express their value in an interview will win out in the end.
5 Musts for After-50 Medical Sales Job Seekers
#1 Know Your Deal Breakers. Before diving into the job search waters, do some self-examination. How many hours do you want to work a week? How often are you willing to be on the road? Are you open to local, regional or national travel? Do you prefer 100 percent commission or base?
#2 Understand Your Value. The value you can offer a prospective employer is critical to your employment chances. As part of your self-reflection, figure out what sets you apart from the others.
#3 Know Who You Know. Because you’ve lived longer, your network is likely larger than that of a millennial. I recommend spending just 20 percent of your time scouring job boards and applying to positions online, and devote the remaining 80 percent to reaching out to your network to start talking.
Apply the same networking strategies you use to sell products, solutions, and devices — but this time you are selling YOU!
#4 Take a page from Your School Days. Be sure to research companies and people with whom you will be speaking, and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE to be poised and eloquent when communicating your value in interviews and with networking prospects.
#5 Don’t Let Your Documents Age You. Your resume is neither an obituary nor a blueprint. Focus on the achievements from your post-Y2K sales experience and not a list of every responsibility you’ve ever held.
If You Haven’t Needed a Resume in Years . . .
Chances are you’ve always been recruited into your medical sales roles and never needed a resume… until now. If it’s been awhile since your last job hunt, here’s some guidance on how resume writing and reading has changed — and what you can do to ensure your resume appears as current and relevant as you.
Today’s skim-reader spends six to 10 seconds on the first pass and is most likely to only take a peek on a screen — upwards of half of will open it up on a mobile device.
Here are three solutions to facilitating a skimmable, online read that is a must for standing out:
#1 DENSE TEXT
The human eye can’t easily digest long blocks of text while screen reading — it’s just too hard. When something is tough, there’s a chance it won’t get read.
Pare your paragraphs/bullets down to two to three lines with at least .5 points or a half-inch of white space in between to facilitate skim, online reading.
#2 OUTDATED SUMMARY
A summary that describes you with fluffy adjectives and keywords (“results-driven medical sales professional with a strong track record of results”) went out of style once the recession finally ended. Replace yours with a branding paragraph that shows the reader how you’re ideally suited for the role.
Start by reviewing a series of online postings. When you come across similar qualifications, you have hit on what a hiring manager is looking for in a candidate. Weave this in with experience that speaks to your unique offerings.
#3 BURYING THE LEAD (LEDE):
Don’t make the mistake of burying your achievements below a list of responsibilities. Today’s skim readers seldom get passed the first bullet in the interview.
Instead, create an impressive and eye-catching achievement by asking yourself what you were proudest of in each role — and try your best to quantify it. Lead off with this as your first paragraph or bullet.
New Times Call for a New Battle Plan – and New Techniques
While age-ism is certainly a real issue facing baby boomer and even Gen Xers in the medical sales industry, it can be — and is — overcome every day.
With a plan that includes establishing strong documentation, a robust networking strategy, and spot-on interview skills, you will be able to maintain a competitive advantage against sales candidates of all ages.
NCRW, CPRW, the founder and chief writer at Virginia Franco Resumes, offering customized executive resume and LinkedIn profile writing services for the 21st century job seeker. VAFrancoResumes@gmail.com |http://www.virginiafrancoresumes.com | Call/text 704-771-8572