What does it take to succeed in the medical sales job search?
The medical sales job search can be daunting, and insider advice can make all the difference in finding success. Last month, MedReps sought out medical sales interview tips from Denise and Randy Wilkerson, the authors of two medical sales books about interviewing. INTERVIEW with DESIRE and GET HIRED! is an educational and entertaining interview book about how to get the job you want. Their second book, HIRE with FIRE, offers medical sales interview advice for hiring managers.
As the leaders of Global Edge Recruiting and Careers in Medical Sales, Denise and Randy Wilkerson have advised countless medical sales professionals on how to win the medical sales interview, but their expertise extends far beyond that topic. Below you’ll find their thoughts on the current state of the medical sales job search and how candidates can increase their odds of finding success.
MedReps interviewed Denise and Randy, authors of two medical sales books, to get their take on the medical sales job search right now.
What can you tell candidates who are struggling to get their resume noticed? How can they increase their chances of getting an invitation to interview?
Your resume is your brochure. It is a tool to sell your abilities to an employer. It should sell you within a few seconds to the reader. Create a power statement – often called “Summary of Qualifications” – that describes who you are and how your skills will benefit the employer.
If possible, keep the resume concise. This usually means no more than two pages. However, if you have many accomplishments, more than two pages may be appropriate.
To get noticed, use bullets to highlight your sales accomplishments, territory growth, awards, and leadership activities. Put all of your accomplishments on your resume, not just in your “brag book.” Remember, if it’s not on your resume, the interviewer will not know about it and you may not get an interview.
Do you have any advice for candidates hoping to break into the medical sales field?
Become passionate about it. Getting a job in medical sales takes desire. That’s one of the reasons we named our book, Interview with Desire and Get Hired! There are many roads that can lead to a job in medical sales. Some candidates can be hired right out of college; others may have started on a different career path and now are in a medical sales role. While there is no sure-fire way to get into medical sales, the requirements that seem to be the most prevalent in those that get hired include past sales success and knowing how sell those past successes to an employer.
Some specifics would include:
- Gain sales experience from the B2B sales world if you don’t possess it already. Interviewers like to hire individuals with a proven track record.
- Understand and educate yourself within the industry. There are training resources and designations that may be sought.
- Network amongst friends and associates that are already in the industry.
- Maintain your visibility as a candidate by using job boards, recruiters, and direct contacts. Try to obtain a direct contact at the companies in which you would like to work. Once successful, let your contact submit your resume for consideration.
- Develop a cover letter that aligns your past successes with a current opportunity. Submit this with your resume.
- Understand that you may have past transferrable skills and learn how to market those.
- Persevere in your job search. Don’t give up. It takes time.
What would you say is the toughest part about the medical sales job search right now?
The ability to stay motivated and enthusiastic during a job search can often be a difficult task for job seekers. Getting the dreaded rejection letter – or even worse, never hearing back from a company – can weigh heavily on any person during a job search. Searching for a job can be daunting even in the best of times. With the global pandemic happening right now, it’s understandable that many people may not be as hopeful about getting a position in medical sales. However, there are still jobs available.
Many companies are currently assessing their immediate needs and figuring out how the market will look post-pandemic. For some organizations, this has created hiring delays or freezes. However, it is important for a candidate to maintain visibility in front of potential employers and not to let this “lull” impact their outlook.
This may be the time to work on your personal professional brand. Polish your resume, cover letter, and brag book. Learn more about the medical sales industry and how to network. Reach out to other medical sales representatives on LinkedIn and find local groups to join.
Denise Wilkerson is the founder and CEO of Global Edge Recruiting Associates, LLC. Randy Wilkerson, her husband and business partner, is the Vice-President of Executive Search and Recruitment Services. Founded in 1997, Global Edge Recruiting® is a nationally recognized executive search firm specializing in the recruitment of medical device, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, dental and veterinary sales and marketing representatives.
The Wilkersons also offer professional career coaching through Careers in Medical Sales, a career resource for entry-level and experienced sales professionals who are seeking careers in medical sales. Specializing in career coaching and consultation, they offer key medical sales career management strategies to assist job seekers specifically interested in careers in medical device sales, pharmaceutical sales, biotechnology, veterinary and dental sales.