Learning how to get into medical sales — let alone, back into — is no easy task. No matter the reason you’re unemployed, the toll time off takes on your confidence and mindset is detrimental to future job searching.
I hear you, and I’m with you. And so are a multitude of other medical sales reps.
Actually, 74 percent to be exact. That’s the number of medical sales employees who said that during the last recession they couldn’t find a new job, according to our recent report The Truth Revealed: Is Low Unemployment Causing a Medical Sales Jobs Shortage?. Another 70 percent reported being laid off during this time.
Whether you were one of these people or you’ve heard the horror stories, this fear carries into your job search today. The truth is, though, that gap of unemployment doesn’t have to hold you back from re-entering the medical sales workforce.
The first step is to acknowledge your fears. Then, follow these simple and effective steps to carry you from unemployed to landing your new sales job:
Stop believing the lies
Breaking back into medical sales after being unemployed begins best with an internal discussion. You need to tackle the lies you’ve heard or have been telling yourself during this challenging time.
Here are a few misconceptions you need to squash today:
- Once I’m out of sales, I’ll never get back in.
- I’ve lost both my skills and connections.
- Nobody will hire someone who has been unemployed as long as me.
- Recruiters are looking for sales reps with a better track record than I currently have.
Playing these discouraging statements over in your mind on repeat does nothing but deplete your energy and confidence. Give yourself time with each lie you believe is holding you back. Find the source. Then, dig into why unemployment has made these a deeply concerning issue for you personally.
Keep a journal or take voice memos and go to your favorite quiet spot. Use each ‘positivity session’ with yourself as a form of therapy to rise above and begin seeing your career truths.
Reconnect to the sales world
Unemployment is an uncomfortable and stressful time. No matter your path, you likely needed to disconnect yourself from the medical sales world for a bit. There’s nothing wrong with taking a step back — but now it’s time to plug yourself back into this exciting world.
Reach out to contacts to check-in and catch up. This can be former co-workers, employers, mentors, or even your favorite customers. You don’t need to mention that you’re looking for a job just yet.
Treat this as more of a social call. Dip your toes in to get reacquainted with the relationship-building side of yourself. As you follow up with people, your job status will eventually come up. Now, you have a natural opening to discuss your goals moving forward and passion for having a medical sales comeback.
Update your skills
The sales game is constantly changing. Whether you were unemployed for one month or five years, it’s critical that you update your skills. Even those who are currently employed should be taking advantage of every educational opportunity presented to them.
However, it’s up to you to take charge right now.
Start with a list of skills various companies have posted for your target role. Create a list of skills you want to polish beginning with the most important or frequently listed ones in job descriptions.
If unemployment has caused financial distress, use free and trusted course sites, like Udemy, to brush up on communication and sales skills. However, if you have money to put into education, focus on even more intensive training, like an eight-week course load at Medical Sales College.
Remember, though, your abilities are not limited to the courses you take. Recruiters will see your certifications or updated skill set listed during the time period that you were laid off. This alone shows them you have the willpower and drive to push through any challenge — a skill at the top of any medical sales recruiters’ list.
After being unemployed, what are you doing to get into medical sales? Let us know!