On The Job Sales Tips

5 Mistakes Keeping You From Top Paying Sales Jobs in Healthcare

5 Mistakes Keeping You From Top Paying Sales Jobs in Healthcare

Nobody ever said your job search would be easy. But are you making it harder than it has to be? If you’re spending endless hours searching for jobs online without any results, chances are the competitive job market isn’t the only culprit. Could you be making mistakes that are hindering your chances of being contacted for the top paying sales jobs you want?

We’ve compiled a list of common mistakes made by candidates looking for top paying sales jobs or high profile marketing jobs in healthcare. These critical errors can thwart your efforts in the search for pharmaceutical and medical sales jobs. Read on to ensure that you aren’t making these mistakes, but if you do find yourself guilty – don’t panic. Make a change now and get your job search back on course.

1. Searching Without a Strategy
2. Not Asking the Right Questions
3. Not Targeting Your Resume
4. Putting Too Much Faith in Medical Sales Recruiters
5. Applying for the Wrong Jobs


Job Search Mistake #1: Searching Without a Strategy

You’re spending hours on your job search, but do you even know what you’re searching for? Sales rep jobs in the medical field of course, but exactly what type of sales rep do you want to be? And at what kind of company? Are you looking for a job selling medical devices? Sales jobs in pharmaceutical or biotech? Capital equipment sales or marketing? Maybe you’re looking for entry-level pharmaceutical sales jobs or a sales support role. Do you hope to work for a Fortune 500 company or a startup? You may be open to any of these opportunities, but you’ll be more likely to land a top paying sales job if you identify the types of positions you are most qualified for and create a strategy to market yourself for those specific roles.

Your job search strategy should include a targeted resume for each type of job you are pursuing as well as a list of companies you hope to work for and any contacts you have there. Be sure to document all communication including job applications, voicemails, emails, LinkedIn messages, Twitter conversations, and any other channels you might use to make contact.

Spend part of each day adding to this list – finding new contacts at the companies you are pursuing, following up with existing contacts, or adding new companies to the list. To do this, you can use job boards, social networking sites, or individual company websites, but make sure your strategy includes time offline as well. Join professional associations and attend networking events and job fairs to meet people face to face and expand your contact list.

Revisit your job search strategy periodically to make sure that it doesn’t grow stagnant. Remember to stay focused on your goal – whether it’s entry-level pharmaceutical sales jobs or top-dollar capital equipment sales jobs. If you find yourself spending endless hours surfing the web for sales rep jobs without any tangible results, it may be time to reevaluate your strategy.

Job Search Mistake #2: Not Asking the Right Questions

You’re not shy about wanting a top paying sales job. You’ve asked everyone you know for help. You’ve announced it on LinkedIn, Facebook , and Twitter. Everyone you know is well aware that you’re looking for jobs in pharma and medical device sales. So why aren’t you getting anywhere?

It’s not that your friends don’t want to help you – they do. But you need to tell them what they can do for you. Don’t just ask them to keep you in mind if they hear about pharmaceutical or medical sales jobs. Ask them to review your resume and tell you three things you can do to make it better. Once it’s polished, request that they forward it to someone in their network. Ask them to search their connections for people who hold jobs in pharma or medical device sales and introduce you to them. Once you’ve been introduced, don’t just ask that person to help you find a job. Instead, ask them about what they do. How do they spend their work days? Do they enjoy their job? What skills do they think are most important for success? How can you sharpen those same skills? If you establish a good rapport with your new contact, ask if you can shadow them on the job.

Of course, the most important question you’re not asking comes at the end of the medical sales interview. And nine times out of ten the interviewer sets you up perfectly by saying, “Do you have any questions for me?” You may take the opportunity to request clarification on something that was said earlier or ask about the next steps in the hiring process – and that’s fine – as long as you use your final question to ask for the job. Some candidates are too uncomfortable to ask for the job outright, so they won’t. However, it’s imperative that you ask for the job and show the hiring manger that you can “close the sale.” The hiring manger expects you to ask this closing question, and how well you do it in the interview is a good indicator of how successful you will be in the job.

Job Search Mistake #3: Not Submitting a Targeted Medical Sales Resume

Of course your medical sales resume is results-oriented and concisely written, but if it doesn’t include targeted keywords related to the top paying sales job you want, it won’t matter how well it’s written because no one will see it! When you submit your resume for a job, it may go directly into an applicant tracking system or an electronic resume database. So it is likely that your resume will only be seen if it turns up in the search results of a recruiter’s keyword query. So what keywords should you include on your medical sales resume? That depends on the job for which you are applying. It may seem obvious, but if you are hoping to land a job selling medical equipment, the phrase “medical equipment sales” should be on your resume at least once – preferably near the top.

But what if you’ve never held a job as a medical equipment sales rep? How do you work that keyword phrase into your resume? This is where an objective or summary can be useful. Create a concise sentence or two incorporating the appropriate keywords. Of course this type of targeted objective will keep you out of contention for other types of medical sales jobs, so be sure to change your objective depending on the job. You may also want to tweak the wording elsewhere on your resume in order to use phrases from the job post for which you are applying.

Of course, if you are uploading your medical sales resume to a job board’s resume database, you should use a broader objective or summary that includes multiple keywords so it will be seen by recruiters doing a variety of keyword searches. Make sure you don’t limit yourself by exclusively using “medical equipment sales” in the objective if you are open to other types of medical sales jobs as well. This type of phrasing can eliminate you from jobs that you may be interested in.

One other point about objectives. When writing the objective or summary on your medical sales resume, remember to highlight how you can help your future employer. The objective shouldn’t be a summary of your personal career goals; it should convey how you can help your employer achieve their goals. Craft your resume with this in mind and it is sure to grab the attention of the hiring manager or recruiter.

Job Search Mistake #4: Putting Too Much Faith in the Medical Sales Recruiter

You may have heard that the best way to land a top paying sales job is to join forces with a medical sales recruiter. This can be a great tactic, but it is important to understand the medical sales recruiting process so that you know what to expect (and what not to expect) from medical sales recruiters.

It is the responsibility of the recruiter to find candidates for specific job openings. Regardless of whether the recruiter is employed by the hiring company, a staffing agency, or works independently, they are paid to find candidates for jobs. They are not paid to find jobs for candidates. What does that mean for you, the candidate? It means that you shouldn’t hang all of your hopes on recruiters. They will happily take your medical sales resume, but if you are not a fit for the jobs they are currently seeking to fill, it is unlikely that you will stay top of mind.

That being said, you can make yourself more memorable to recruiters by presenting them with a solid, results-oriented medical sales resume. Your resume is likely to be stored in a resume database so it is critical that you optimize your resume for a keyword search. You can cultivate your relationships with medical sales recruiters by communicating with them on their terms whether that’s email, phone, text, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Find out how they prefer to communicate and use that channel to gently remind them why they should present you to hiring managers.

Don’t be discouraged if recruiters do not respond to your communication efforts. Many recruiters do not even make time to acknowledge receipt of your resume much less return a phone call. Don’t waste your energy getting angry at the medical sales recruiting process, just focus your efforts on another recruiter or a different company.

Job Search Mistake #5: Applying for the Wrong Jobs

Is a medical sales career the right choice for you? Most medical and pharma sales jobs require experience in medical or pharmaceutical sales. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get a job as a medical device rep if you don’t have experience, but it does mean you need to choose the jobs you apply for carefully. Focus your efforts on jobs that ask for business to business (B2B) sales experience (if you have it) or jobs that invite new graduates or others without experience to apply.

While the medical sales job market is getting better, there are still plenty of medical device reps and pharma sales reps looking for work. The first thing medical sales managers and recruiters will do to filter the high number of job applications is eliminate everyone who doesn’t meet the basic requirements. So if the job poster specifies that they want an experienced medical device rep and your experience is in pharmaceutical sales, you are wasting your time applying for that position.

Anyone in the middle of a medical sales job search knows it can be frustrating, and no one would blame you for wanting to increase your odds by applying to every attractive job you come across. However, when you apply to jobs in medical sales that you are not qualified for you are setting yourself up for failure and possibly irritating the very people (medical sales managers and recruiters) that you are hoping to impress. Save yourself time and frustration by applying to the jobs you are truly qualified for.


Medical sales will always be a competitive industry, but if you can avoid the mistakes discussed here you will have an advantage over most job seekers. For the most effective job search, you must first identify a job search strategy, create a targeted medical sales resume, and ask your network for the right kind of help. You should also reach out to medical sales recruiters, but don’t expect them to find a job for you. Establish good relationships with medical sales recruiters and hiring managers by applying for jobs that you are qualified for and following up with them using the communication channel they prefer. And finally, once you get the interview be sure to ask for the job! Show them you really want that top paying sales job!