When you’re hoping to land an entry-level medical sales job, a gap on your resume can be a nerve-racking challenge to overcome. Regardless of the length or reasoning behind your hiatus from work, the added level of stress can spiral into a disastrously long job search experience.
Take comfort in the knowledge that employment gaps are incredibly common occurrence — one the Bureau of Labor and Statistics found 90% of people have experienced. So it’s not a career killer if you take some time away.
There’s hope. Even without a trail of experience to back you up, there are strategies you can implement to prove you’re the next best entry-level hire:
Connect gaps through transferable skills
Even though you may not have been working, you were acquiring new skills along the way. Prepare yourself to confidently talk about how you’re able to connect your past professional experience with the skills you gained during your employment break. Think of both technical learning and soft skills you acquired, and position those strengths so that they’re in line with the duties of the entry-level medical sales job for which you’re applying.
When submitting your cover letter for open positions, spell out this connection, revealing the ways in which you continued to use and develop your skills during your professional absence. Show how you continued to focus on personal development, and illustrate the ways in which your skill sets will transfer to medical sales success.
Offer an honest explanation
Recent research from ResumeGo found that while employment gaps aren’t as devastating as they used to be, job seekers that were candid about their time off landed 60% more interviews than those who hid them.
Providing a valid excuse while highlighting learning and career-building that occurred during your gap time will help employers see past false pretenses of laziness that can sometimes stem from a resume gap. Your candid approach will illustrate your self-awareness and help build trust.
Prepare to prove relevant experience
A focused and well-positioned cover letter isn’t unique to the medical sales industry. But what will set you apart is your ability to prove your skills aren’t only transferrable — you need to focus on how they’re directly relevant to the entry-level role.
An addition to the traditional interview process, job auditions are a relatively new concept, but they’re gaining momentum with many medical sales organizations. If they’re not a requirement of the company’s standard hiring process, request one. Then, use that time to prove you’re more valuable than your resume might show by illustrating the relevance of your experience.
Demonstrate how social involvement makes you a better fit
A study by Leadership HQ proves that cultural fit matters more than technical skill. Coachability, emotional intelligence, and motivation are proven to be the difference-makers in new-hire success. Your personality will be your biggest selling point, especially since cultural fit has evolved from a fancy hiring buzzword into a true company standard. In an entry-level medical sales job, passion and the ability to build genuine connections is an essential trait for success.
Highlight any time and energy you committed to causes that could potentially align with the company’s values, product, or culture. It will show that you already embrace the things they care about and likely possess the soft skills that will make you a successful new member of their team. Good hiring managers know they should hire for fit first and train the hard skills later.