Job Search Resume

Resume Tips from a Medical Sales Recruiter

Sales Resume Tips

With competition in the healthcare sales job market growing, candidates rely more and more on a strong resume to catch the attention of hiring managers at medical companies. MedReps sat down with Lisa Manley of Joppa Medical Recruiting to find out what sales professionals can do to boost their chances of finding a new medical sales job. Joppa specializes in the medical device, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. She also leads a team of resume writers who are available to assist members.



MR: Lisa, what’s your advice for job seekers looking to transition into the medical field and find healthcare sales jobs?

LM: First, a candidate should always make sure they match their skill set to a specific job description. Say, if a person worked for Coca Cola as a sales rep, they need to not just emphasize what they did, but how they did it. A lot of those qualifications will translate into the medical field, but oftentimes job seekers don’t really talk about details like their staff ranking, quotas and budgets. If an applicant is a good salesperson, they typically will make a great healthcare sales rep too.

MR: Regardless of the type of experience a candidate has, what do you think will make him/her stand out over other applicants?

LM: Number one really is ranking, quotas, call points and what types of positions they have held in the past. If a person worked for a smaller, specialized company, then that’s something a potential employer is interested in. Next is what type of products did they sell and to whom. If a person’s top client was say, Massachusetts General Hospital or Johns Hopkins, that’s very different than if they were dealing with a smaller community hospital. Hiring managers want details.

MR: What types of specific things are recruiters looking for on a medical sales resume? Can you give us some examples?

Resume Tip #1

LM: I cannot stress enough how important it is for candidates to talk about clear sales numbers. I often see job seekers whose resumes have more about what they did in their previous jobs, as opposed to what they actually accomplished – which is really what hiring managers want to know.

MR: How is a job in medical sales different than most sales positions?

LM: As a recruiter and a previous medical sales professional, I think the business as a whole is much more interesting than a lot of other industries. People with biotech, medical device or pharmaceutical sales jobs have an opportunity to learn about cutting edge technology and product development often times even before doctors do! They get to learn about things like managed care, what’s going on with the insurance side of things that a person who sells copy machines never would. I find it to be a really fascinating job, and people who have interesting work tend to be happier overall.

MR: What are some of the biggest mistakes job seekers make on their resume?

The biggest piece of advice is to not write a book. Hiring managers don’t have a lot of time to read an entire resume at first, so it needs to be clear and concise with only relevant details. No more than two pages.
Resume Tip #2

MR: What can a candidate do to improve their resume as far as skills and qualifications go?

Most of the time when I come across a resume that doesn’t include industry keywords, I don’t even bother looking at it. Candidates should know what’s trending in the field and use those type of buzzwords to grab a hiring manager’s eye. They should not only be using words like consultative sales, managed care and medical reimbursement – but they should also know what they mean and why they are important. Also, I don’t want to know general things like if a candidate is a good people person, I want to know their skills and accomplishments.

MR: How can a job seeker stress their soft skills on their resume?

LM: Well, it kind of goes back to the last question. They need to not just say that they have certain soft skills – I’m a good team player, I’m a good people person – I want their resume to show it. One good way is by listing awards and industry titles. Also by listing a territory or department size, for example, I will be able to see if a job seeker is a good people person.

MR: With so many job seekers competing, what are your thoughts as far as video resumes or extras on a resume such as graphics – are there any general rules?

LM: I say get rid of it – literally just dump it. For me all that stuff is just too distracting. If you consider that most recruiters are looking at resumes online – for example on medreps – they really only take about 12 seconds to decide if they want to learn more about that candidate. They want to see industry key words and a simple format.

Resume Tip #3

MR: What does a candidate need to know about the industry as a whole in order to land a sales job?

It’s very important that they do their homework. If they are looking at medical device or biotechnology companies, they need to know what their products are, as well as the industry. Candidates should remember that an interview is as much for a manager as it is for them. They should be ready to ask a lot of questions based on what they already know about the company.

MR: Any advice as far as what types of companies candidates should be targeting in their search?

I see future growth in biotech and medical devices. It’s also good for job seekers to know who’s investing in which companies, what their pipelines look like and how deep their pockets are. Also, I would say mid- to large-size companies. They have excellent training programs for new recruits and most have been in business long enough to have established products. If a candidate can get into a larger company that can set them up with good training, they will mostly likely have a successful long-term career in healthcare sales.

Want to leverage Lisa’s expertise to improve your resume? Find out more about the Resume Review and Rewrite service from