Communication is overwhelmingly significant in sales. So to stand out to medical sales recruiters, you must be ready to prove your communication prowess every step of the way. And that includes using your written communication skills to land the interview.
Naturally, medical sales reps depend more on verbal communication than written to close deals with customers. Yet there are only so many opportunities to prove your verbal virtuosity without meeting with the recruiter face-to-face. That’s where you rely on solid writing in the cover letter, resume, and email correspondence to leave a great impression.
In late 2020, Jobbland analyzed LinkedIn job ads from around the world. The study uncovered that communication skills are more than twice as desirable as any other skill worldwide.
And a NACE study from 2018 found that 82% of surveyed employers value employees with strong written communication skills. Making that skillset a higher priority to them than problem-solving or the ability to work as part of a team.
Here’s how you can take advantage of all opportunities to showcase your written communication skills before stepping into the interview.
Exude confidence in your cover letter
Cover letters require significant time, often stress, and effort to get just right. And if you don’t end up moving forward, it all feels like a waste of energy.
However, recent research from ResumeLab reveals that 83% of recruiters agree that well-written cover letters help them see why a candidate is an excellent fit for the company. And in a separate response, 83% said that a great cover letter could land a candidate an interview even if the resume wasn’t noteworthy.
To ensure your cover letters feature those excellent written communication skills they’re looking for:
Balance authentic voice with professionalism.
Stiff, robotic writing is not good writing. A cover letter is your chance to speak with your voice and reveal a little bit of personality. Using long sentences and large vocabulary excessively makes it seem like you don’t know how to make the reader’s job easy. Write what feels true to you, not what you think sounds smart.
Statements such as, “I know I’d be a great fit for your team,” can be distasteful to some recruiters. The truth is, you’ve not yet met the team or seen how they operate. And, as a result, there’s no way for you to know if what you’re saying is true. So instead, try something like, “I look forward to learning more about the team and what we could accomplish together.” It still implies that you’re a great fit and meet all the representative job requirements without claiming it as a fact.
Focus on the needs specific to the position.
Rephrasing your work experience and piecing it together into paragraphs is not the goal of the cover letter. Recruiters already know your qualifications from the resume. The goal with cover letters is to prove how you can apply those sales skills and experiences to meet the needs of the role and the company.
Be mindful of your resume’s presentation.
The style of writing is very different in resumes than in cover letters. Yet, it still plays a significant role in informing the recruiter about your communication strengths. So proofread with these tips in mind:
Look over the first words in each bullet detailing your work experience. You may find you’re repeating a lot of simple phrases, like “used” or “did.” Create variety by adjusting to words such as “completed” or “analyzed.” Changing to these power words also gives more significance to your past accomplishments.
Prove your attention to detail and organization skills.
Sales recruiters going through so many resumes to find their top picks won’t appreciate one with numerous errors. To them, it would appear that you don’t put enough time into important tasks, can’t recognize inconsistencies, and lack organization. Therefore, ensure the grammar, flow, and verb tense agreement are all up to par. Having someone else proofread your application content can go a long way in finding the smallest of errors.
Customize to your audience.
Stuffing the resume with buzzwords to get through the ATS will backfire. After all, the end goal is that you appeal to the human eyes reviewing top candidates. Therefore, be sure you understand the company’s values and priorities. Then, with that in mind, highlight which parts of your experience and skill set would most directly appeal to what they want in a candidate.
Keep your email correspondence concise.
In our research from last fall, we learned that 60% of job seekers rank personalized emails as their favorite form of communication from recruiters. But for it to be a valuable correspondence, you must be prepared to reply to those emails appropriately.
Here’s what you should keep in mind when asking questions or following up via email:
Anytime you’re writing to someone digitally, remember that it’s a human on the other end of the line. If you’d never met someone, but you approached them without greeting and immediately shared your thoughts, it’d feel off-putting to them. So in that first message, start with a greeting and well-wishes. Then, in subsequent messages, be sure to thank the recruiter for their time and personalized touch.
When you take a long time to get to the point, it can seem like you don’t have a firm grasp of written communication skills. The goal is to be clear, not complicated. Besides, HR and staffing pros are busy, and it’s a big deal that they take time out of their day to address your concerns. It’s much more considerate to keep your messages on the shorter side.
Satisfy your nerves without coming across as nervous.
It’s nerve-wracking to admit you don’t know something or give an answer that you know isn’t what the recipient wants to hear. But giving a lengthy justification to everything you say makes it evident that you don’t feel confident. So instead, satisfy your nerves by framing the statement with a softener.
For example, “I know how X works, yet I need more guidance to fully understand how that connects to Y,” gets to the question quickly and makes you feel less ignorant.
Additionally, “No, I do not have significant experience in Z, but I’m eager to learn” is a simple and effective way to have a perceived weakness not appear as disadvantageous.