(And What You Can Do to Change My Mind)
Are you struggling to get the attention of medical sales recruiters? You’re not alone. In a highly competitive job market, even candidates with relevant experience often report being overlooked. To find out what’s going on, MedReps.com sat down with medical sales recruiter and career consultant Linda Hertz, of the Linda Hertz Group. Linda candidly shares what she sees applicants doing wrong, and tells us what they can do to improve their chances of finding a medical sales job.
MR: Nothing is more frustrating for job seekers than applying to medical sales jobs they feel like they’re qualified for and then not getting any kind of response , and yet, it seems to happen all the time. So what gives? Why do some job candidates consistently get overlooked?
LH: I will tell you frankly that qualified applicants with resumes that reflect their qualifications do not get overlooked. However, the main issue is that the job market and the way we find candidates has changed since 2008, so recruiters are looking at a different pool of candidates, who have taken it up a notch so to speak. Social media, combined with niche job boards like MedReps.com, have increased recruiters’ reach to find great talent – and more of it – for each opening. In turn, active job seekers are utilizing those very same tools to find recruiters and our jobs! Someone who submits their resume for a position they feel qualified for must realize there is tougher competition now for each job opening, especially when you factor in the overall stagnant job market.
If a qualified candidate is being overlooked consistently, then it may be that their resume simply does not reflect the skills recruiters want for a particular job. The resume is still our main tool to quickly assess a candidate’s qualifications, especially when we have so many to sort through per position. The resume must be a stand out; they need to remember to tailor their resume for the position.
MR: You’ve written about resume dings that can harm a job seeker’s chances of getting noticed, and yet many job seekers have at least one or two. How can they overcome these resume blemishes?
LH: The number one blemish for me is job hopping. When I see a candidate who has two or three jobs in a row with two or less years of experience, it becomes an issue. It takes time for medical sales people to build a solid resume, so they need to invest time in each job.
If a candidate has a history of job hopping, they really need to take a look at the decisions that they have been making –Are they selecting financially sound companies that are growing their business or are sales in a decline? Look at the quarterlies of a company, what their R&D budget looks like and compare them to their competition – Find others that work at a company and contact them to learn about the company culture and decide if you can work in that type of environment, and if it’s a good place to work. Also, job hopping can often mean that a medical sales applicant has not been performing, which is another red flag. Other blemishes include gaps of unemployment, multiple moves not related to a promotion, no college degree, lack of sales performance and illogical changes of industries. To overcome these types of resume dings they need to make some good go-forward career decisions that over time can eventually remove most, if not all resume blemishes. I am not saying it will be easy, but it can be done.
MR: How much does the volume of applicants factor into one’s chances of getting a response from a recruiter?
LH: You know, if a candidate is qualified, they will get a response. Job seekers should never be discouraged by the competition. It’s like the lottery, but if a candidate doesn’t send out their resume, they will never get a chance to win. It’s also OK to email or call and leave a message to a recruiter to find out if they are qualified for certain jobs. They also, again, need to make sure their resume reflects their relevant skills.
MR: Some job seekers, discouraged by a lack of response, start applying to jobs that they are overqualified for. Is this a good strategy? Are recruiters more likely to call someone if they are overqualified?
LH: If a candidate is overqualified for a job they have applied to, I will still make sure I have their resume on file, because chances are something will come along within a relatively short period of time that will be a good fit.
MR: Why do candidates with a pharma background have trouble getting callbacks for med device jobs? Any advice for those hoping to make the transition from pharma to device?
LH: It’s really more about how their skills relate to the job. However, there are different skills a candidate has to have in order to break into devices. Pharma is all about getting a doctor to write a prescription, but device is about selling a product that has to be sold, purchased, invoiced and payment collected. The transition can work for younger candidates who may need to build up their resume by leaving the industry a bit to get more B2B and outside sales experience.
For older candidates, I tell them to network with people who have made the transition, or perhaps look for device sales within a pharmaceutical company – such as glucose meters or vaccine sales. Vaccines are an example of a product that has to be sold, purchased, invoiced and payment collected by the sales reps at the physician or clinic level.
MR: What about professionals with a strong sales background who are trying to break into medical – what chances do they have of getting a response?
LH: A qualified candidate with solid B2B experience (like Paychex, ADP, Copiers, etc.) with measurable sales numbers will get a call. They will also up their chances if they have top sales awards, experience from a national or international company (not just regional) and have had their own outside sales territory.
MR: Overall unemployment numbers are creeping down; do you think this will have any impact on the medical sales job market?
LH: You know, the medical sales field is really not affected so much by the state of the economy as it is by what’s going on in the industry, such as government regulations and reimbursements, and things like the medical devices sales tax. I think most of the new jobs that are reported in the national job reports are perhaps lower end jobs, I am not an economist, but the positions in healthcare sales that are opening up with my clients are mainly replacement jobs right now, not because of expansion.
MR: Any last piece of advice for medical sales job seekers?
LH: Mainly, if they are not getting bites, or if they are getting interviews, but not landing a job, they need to take a long look at themselves, get help with their resume and make sure they are getting good advice from family, friends and qualified industry experts.
Medical Sales Recruiter and Career Counselor Linda Hertz is the principle owner of the Linda Hertz Group, a medical sales career resource community of over 2,800 professionals from the medical sales industry. Visit the Linda Hertz Group for more insight from Linda, and be sure to check out her medical sales jobs on MedReps.com.