You found a great opportunity on your medical sales job search that firmly fits within your long-term career goals and you’re determined to land the job. But there’s one major problem. You’re wildly overqualified for the position.
The old adage, “one step forward and two steps back” consistently rings true. Sometimes, our career paths require us to take a step backward so that we can continue on a progressive path. But overqualified candidates often get a bad rap.
The assumption is they’ll assume they’re entitled, ask for raises, and won’t be content until they move up. So how do you rise above that stereotype? And how do you apply for the role, land an interview, and join the team without downplaying your experience and success?
You need to show recruiters exactly what they’ll get from you — how your experience and motivation will benefit them in a long-term, growth-focused way. Here are a few tips to get you started on your medical sales job search:
Show your commitment to the role and belief in the company’s mission.
You see your future in a company that is doing work you are passionate about. Illustrate your enthusiasm for their mission and your excitement for the impact they’re making on patients and the medical community.
In fact, go further than that. Show them WHY you’re interested in their field, specifically, and how you have worked to position yourself to step into the niche that lights your fire. Let them know specifics about products and innovations they’re working on that interest you most, and emphasize your desire to learn more about all facets of the company and its impacts.
Prove your eagerness to learn from those in similar roles.
Learning from team members in all avenues of the business will be paramount to your success in the company. But everyone wants to shadow the CEO. Show your readiness to learn from the bottom up and glean as much information as you can from those in similar roles. Use that knowledge, not just to move toward fast advancement, but to do the job you’re hired for well.
During the interview process, ask about mentor opportunities and continuing education that directly relates to both your goals and the company’s specific market. They already know you have more than enough skills to do the job well. So let them know where you see potential for improvement, what skills you don’t yet possess or that you want to master, and what you need a refresher course on.
Humility and an honest desire to never stop learning — even from those who aren’t as advanced in their careers — will position you in a positive light.
Emphasize how your experience will be mutually beneficial.
It’s not about being a know-it-all. It’s about mutual learning and your willingness to approach situations with both humility and the ability to help others grow. According to our MedReps Best Places to Work Survey, more than 50 percent of medical sales reps said that team building and collaboration are the most important qualities in an employer.
You know how valuable it is to share ideas with your colleagues and you appreciate the insight of others as you move through wins and losses. The arsenal of tools you accumulated through your experiences will be an asset you can share with your less-experienced colleagues. Show that you’re willing to use your knowledge to build others up.
While on your medical sales job search, it’s important to note some recruiters may see your elevated experience as a threat to a young, less-experienced team. They need to know you’re willing to work alongside others, collaborating and participating in the give and take that helps the most successful teams grow. Humility, in this regard, goes a long way.
With balance, be prepared to discuss both how you can use your experience to contribute to your team and what you still need and hope to learn. Show your commitment to collaboration – not just your ability to lead.
Don’t downplay your long-term career goals.
It’s no secret the medical sales industry experiences rampant turnover. Recruiters and companies don’t only have to evaluate your qualifications, but the best ones are also thinking about cultural fit and long-term growth. It’s more hiring the “who” than the “why,” the personality instead of the talent.
They already know you want to work up — be clear about why you want to work with them. You need to illustrate your commitment to the long-haul, your dedication to their mission, and your motivation to perform well as you work toward your goals.
It’s important — again — to practice humility. While it will be a big positive that you’re showing interest in long-term employment, overeagerness for a promotion reads as disingenuine with regard to the position for which you’re applying. Be sure to highlight how the experience you’ll get in the role and the company’s natural progression for advancement are in line with your focus for the future.
Address the elephant in the room.
They’ll see it on your resume. From your first communication, let your potential new employer know you acknowledge the backwards step you’re taking professionally. Frame it honestly. Address the fact that your knowledge and experience has more than prepared you for this role, but you’re excited about the opportunity to learn the nuances of a job and dig back into the basics.
Discuss why you’re applying for a job below your experience level, what you hope to gain from it, and how it will ultimately move you toward fulfillment and satisfaction. Talk about how you have grown professionally through your career and how your experience has prepared you to repeat a step with more attention, care, and precision.
It’s not impossible to get the offer for the job you’re too qualified to do. But it takes a bit of introspection and an honest and humble approach to the medical sales job search, application, and interview process for your intentions to be seen as genuine. Define your motivations, acknowledge the uniqueness of the situation, and communicate your desire to never stop learning from everyone around you. The right company will notice and you’ll fall right into place.