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What Medical Sales Professionals Must Do to Stand Out in a Crowded Job Market


The downside of a healthy economy is that people previously too nervous to consider leaving their job are now feeling daring. In the world of medical sales, this translates into an increasingly saturated market, where you must do much more than speak with one or two recruiters or post online to land interviews.

The bottom line? To get more interviews, you must be ready to apply the skills that have made you successful in sales to your job hunt. Here’s how:

#1 Targeted Research

In pharma and device sales, a big part of your job is conducting research to understand your market, industry, and competitors. When applied to the job search, these same skills can help you evaluate companies, organizations, and people worth targeting. 

The results of this effort? You will be crystal clear as to your next ideal role and who you can go to ask for help getting in the door.

#2 Establish Trust & Relationships

As a sales professional, you know what it takes to identify and forge ties with prospects. Your Step One research should have identified people of interest in target companies and (hopefully) medical sales recruiters.

Your next move? Reach out and get connected! Keep in mind, however, that just like the gatekeepers at physicians’ offices, people get busy and don’t always remember to reach out when opportunity arises.

Increase your changes by keeping in touch — striving for that ideal balance that presents you as persistent and conscientious but not annoying.

#3 Know Your Value

In medical sales, the top reps always know, inside and out, the value of the device or product they are selling.

Apply this same tactic to selling yourself. What is it about you that has landed you in past roles? How have you made a mark or moved the needs in these jobs?

When your response blends hard skills that speak to your sales expertise with soft ones that define your character, you can clearly communicate what you can do for a company and why they should consider you for their sales force.

#4 Incorporate Keywords and Phrases Into Your Marketing Documents

When it comes to the job search, what better way to make sure your value is articulated than spelling it out in your print and online career marketing documents (resume, LinkedIn, etc.)?  

I recommend identifying qualifications and expertise in the form of key wording and phrasing mentioned most often during your Step One research (HINT: Job postings from target companies are a great place to find this). Incorporate it along with details unique to you in your career marketing documents.

This will accomplish the following:

  1. Ensures readers can connect the dots as to how you are ideally suited for the company and role.
  2. Increases your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which helps your LinkedIn profile rise to the top during sales recruiter searches as well as when your resume gets scanned online by Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software (more on ATS and the online job search later).

#5 Optimize Your Job Hunting ROI

Many successful sales professionals live by the 80/20 rule: focusing 80 percent of their efforts on the 20 percent of customers most likely to generate the most revenue. Why? Because this strategy yields the greatest return on investment (ROI) in the shortest amount of time.

I recommend embracing this mindset in your job search, which means devoting your efforts where they will yield the greatest ROI. While it’s true that many pharma and medical device roles are available online, most get sourced, interviewed, and hired through inside channels and networking.


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– By Virginia Franco, NCRW, CPRW

Virginia Franco Resumes | www |