Medical Sales Job Search Report — January 2021

Medical Sales Job Search Report _ Feature
As we turn the page on 2020 and dive into a new year, the world has reason to feel optimistic. With the approval and rollout of multiple COVID-19 vaccines, the end of the pandemic–and a return to life as we once knew it–seems to be in sight. However, in the US, the rocky transition of power, concerning unemployment numbers, still-rising COVID cases, and slow vaccine distribution have many wondering if and when the economy will fully recover. 
Of course, the healthcare industry has felt the impact of the pandemic in wide-ranging ways. Despite overrun emergency rooms and ICUs, hospitals have lost billions of revenue due to canceled elective procedures and uninsured patients. On the other hand, health insurers and certain manufacturers report increases in revenue. In an effort to measure the impact of all of this on the medical sales job search, MedReps continues to ask our members the following questions to gauge the status of the average medical sales job search.

How long does it take to find a medical sales job?

How many job applications?

How many interviews? 

Our job search research began during the summer of 2019, with the first report published in October of that year. In the year and a half since we began asking these questions, some of the indicators have shifted slightly but overall have remained remarkably stable.

What does a successful medical sales job search look like?  

  • Found a job
  • Still looking

25% of respondents recently found a job.

The average length of their job search was 125 days, approximately 4 months. This is 2 weeks longer than the reported average time to find a job in the third quarter of 2020 but in line with the average time reported last January. These respondents had an average of 9 phone interviews and went on face-to-face interviews with an average of 5 different companies. 39% received multiple job offers.  

Successful Job Search Averages

  • January 2020
  • April 2020
  • July 2020
  • October 2020
  • January 2021

Response Time


Length of Job Search

These graphs show the averages reported by users who found jobs since we began publishing the data. The time it takes to find a job has remained relatively steady–between 3 and 4 months. However, the number of job applications submitted by job seekers varies. The number peaks in the first quarter (recorded in the April report) then declines as the year progresses, then climbs again in the last months of the year (recorded in the January report). The number of phone and face-to-face interviews has remained steady, though the number of days it takes to hear back from a job poster peaked at 14 days.

How long does it take to hear back from the job poster?

14 Days

After submitting an application, successful job seekers
waited an average of 2 weeks to get a response.

How many jobs should I apply to?  

37 jobs per month

Those who reported successfully finding a job reported significantly lower numbers.

The number of jobs applied to per month by those who recently found a job was 37–50% more than the number reported by successful job seekers last quarter. Those who are employed and looking applied to an average of 11 jobs per month –a decrease of 50% over last quarter. Consistent with previous findings, unemployed job seekers applied to 22 jobs per month.

The takeaway? The latest numbers reinforce the prior conclusion that if you want to increase your chances of getting a job, you should increase the number of applications you submit. 

How many of my applications will get a personalized response? 

Nearly 1 in 4 applications received
a non-automated response.

On average, job seekers reported receiving a non-automated, personalized response to 23% of their job applications.

In the age of automated replies, how many applications received a personalized response? The response rate for all respondents averaged 23%, however, the rates reported by the 3 groups ranged from 11% to 33%, with the group that found a job reporting the lowest response rate (11%). These figures suggest the successful group perhaps cast too wide of a net–possibly applying to jobs where they weren’t a great fit.

The takeaway? While applying to a high number of jobs is a great tactic, make sure you don’t waste time and effort on jobs you are not qualified for. Focusing your efforts on the most relevant jobs will increase your response rate.

How long does it take to get a response?

13 days to receive a response
after submitting an application.

The average waiting period ranged from 9 days for the unemployed group to 16 for the employed group.

Those who recently found a job reported a shorter waiting time to receive a response–8 days. The “employed but looking” group reported waiting 12 days and the unemployed group said it took 19 days to hear from a job poster. This quarter’s research shows an improvement from 16 days (in Q2) to 13 days (in Q3) in the overall average time it takes to hear back. The average for the first quarter of 2020 was 15 days.

The takeaway? Candidates should not feel discouraged if it takes a couple of weeks to hear from the job poster. Two weeks may feel like forever, but this is standard and even slightly better than average for 2020. 

What are my odds of being contacted?

65% were contacted as a result
of a resume database.

The number of people reporting that they had been contacted as a result of a resume database has declined from 82% in the previous quarter.

A majority of job seekers upload their resume to a database so that recruiters and hiring managers may see their resume and reach out about an opportunity. For those that upload, an average of 65% reported being contacted by someone as a result. The average for those who successfully found a job was 78%.

The takeaway: While the average was down slightly in the 4th quarter, the fact remains that you will significantly increase your odds of connecting with recruiters and hiring managers by uploading your resume to a well-regarded database. 

Where should I look for jobs?

In addition to MedReps (which all survey respondents used), LinkedIn and Indeed continue to be the most popular job search tools.
MedReps 100%
LinkedIn 79%
Indeed 30%

Who took this survey?

When looking at the different types of respondents, the group that successfully found a job was more likely to have medical sales experience. However, of those who had experience, the successful group had slightly fewer years of experience than the unemployed and employed groups. They also reported a lower average salary. This suggests that those earlier in their career are more likely to accept a new position. 

Medical sales job search data

The Takeaway

Despite the uncertain times, our research suggests the medical sales job search is relatively stable. We know from the number of medical sales jobs on MedReps that medical sales companies and pharmaceutical companies are still hiring, and active job seekers are finding and accepting new opportunities. Job seekers, both active and passive, must stay informed about what is happening in the industry and take steps to advance their medical sales career.

Be persistent in applying to jobs
and patient with the process

While much about the job search may feel out of your control, stay focused on the things you can control–uploading a resume to the database, applying to jobs, and following up with recruiters where possible. If medical sales job seekers are proactive in applying to jobs and flexible in the unusual hiring process, they are likely to find success.  

Data from January 2020 Report was collected October-December 2020
Data from October 2020 Report was collected July-September 2020
Data from July 2020 Report was collected April-June 2020
Data from April 2020 Report was collected January-March 2020
Data from January 2020 Report was collected September-December of 2019