Advice for Candidates:
1) Act Now. Don’t wait until January 1 to start looking for a job. That’s when everyone hits the job boards.
2) Be Social. Attend lots of corporate parties (there’s no better place to talk business then a corporate party, and if you’re lucky, the festive cheer will lead to referrals, phone numbers, and a new job in your stocking.
3) Enjoy The Season, but Not Too Much. If you’re a candidate, now is not the time to put that jingle bell message on your answering machine or cell phone.
I am not sure that letters of recommendation are really that valuable. Sometimes, my candidates don’t get to use them at all. But other times, they can help land the interview (when the hiring manager isn’t sure that the resume is a fit for the position). This is generally an issue when you (the candidate) are trying to make an industry leap. Otherwise, they make nice filler in a brag book.
So I guess….yes!
Nonsterile has some good tips on getting letters of recommendation, including: ask your customers. I love this tip for people in medical sales, clinical diagnostics sales, medical device sales, pathology sales, and pharmaceutical sales, for obvious reasons. Customers offer a unique (and critical) perspective on your sales abilities that would be helpful and might give you an edge in the job hunt.
I ran across a great post on Blue Sky Resumes about keeping track of your career accomplishments as they happen. Great idea! Trying to remember all the impressive things you did during your tenure will be impossible (hopefully). If you’re in medical sales, laboratory sales, or pharmaceutical sales, think increasing sales numbers, new customers you added, etc.–you get the idea. If you write them down as they happen, you have a record worth it’s weight in gold that will make your resume-writing and interview-question-answering a snap. You know you’ll change jobs at some point–everyone does–so be prepared.
I have said before that people of all sales backgrounds can be successful at pharmaceutical sales, laboratory and clinical diagnostics sales, pathology sales, and medical device sales because selling processes can be transferred to many area. I do believe sales reps in the healthcare arena do have to step it up a notch or two in their work efforts. There’s an article on Pharmaceutical or Biopharmaceutical Sales on BioJobBlog that points out the additional difficulties:
1) You need to know your product “backward and forward”, keeping in mind that price is not as much of a consideration as safety and efficacy.
2) You’re going to need to be able to understand the science behind the product in order to sell it effectively. Training is (and should be) intensive.
3) In addition to the science, you’re going to have to “have a firm understanding of the regulatory practices that guide drug development, manufacturing and sales in the U.S.”
Even though you don’t have to have a scientific background to break into medical sales, you need to have an interest in it which will translate into a willingness to do the work it takes to be successful.
I hope you all have a happy, relaxing Thanksgiving.
In the meantime, there are two more days in this workweek–don’t waste them. Life in medical sales, pharmaceutical sales, pathology sales, clinical diagnostics sales, and research lab sales is competitive, and going the extra mile is what’s going to get you (or keep you) on top. How to Be Productive at Work This Thanksgiving Week points out that the short work week relaxes the rules for everyone, and makes them more talkative than they normally are. Take advantage of that by building your sales relationships, or maybe getting in to talk to someone who is usually difficult to reach. Stay focused for just two more days, and you can bask in the knowledge of your job well done while you chow down on your turkey.
Someone asked me whether I would let company car vs. car allowance vs. mileage reimbursement influence my decision to take one job over another. The answer is no – at least not as a key influence. Frankly, I have client companies (clinical diagnostics, pathology, histology, chemistry, microbiology, genetic and molecular based product lines) that provide company cars and client companies that do not. But companies with company cars may actually pay less commission. And companies without company cars may actually pay more commission. And with more commission the company car piece should become less important. For example, I have a candidate who currently has a company car that I am trying to recruit for a client that doesn’t offer a company car. What should she do? At first, she told me that she would not go to work for a company that did not provide a car…..I said that was a shame. She said why? I said “I can think of 15,000 reasons why” – that is the difference in overall compensation (my job paid that much more than her current position).
Aside from money there are many other factors to consider:
Management Style, Career Opportunity, Continuing Education, Location, Work Requirements, etc……Choose the company, not the car.
Just for fun, see The Top Five Signs Someone Is Driving a Company Car.
Sales people working in medical sales, pharmaceutical sales, clinical diagnostics sales, or laboratory sales tend to be, let’s say, outgoing people. Don’t get me wrong–that’s a good thing. Many times, it takes that outgoing personality to be willing to get out there and talk to people (and face rejection) in such competitive fields. However, sometimes they talk too much and lose the sale…and don’t know why. The Sales Hub’s post The Talking Trap hits on why sales people tend not to listen well…because they are thinking about what they will say next to get the sale, instead of listening to what the prospect is telling them.
“It is no wonder so many sales calls “fall apart” after the salesperson missed a key point made by the prospect and consequently lost or never got the order.”
If you don’t listen, you might miss critical information that will help you close the sale.
Today marks a turning point in hiring history. From this point in time forward, video interviews will become more and more prominent in the hiring process. Because I feel so strongly about this, I am offering the opportunity for all of my candidates to do a video interview!! For free!! This will allow me to show a hiring manager how my candidate communicates verbally and non-verbally. What an opportunity! This is a value add service for my client and the candidate. I will give more details in the weeks to come.
Have any of you done a video interview? How did it go?
Creating a sample business plan is an outstanding way to distinguish yourself from the competition in a medical sales, laboratory service sales, medical device sales, pathology sales, clinical and research laboratory sales, and pharmaceutical sales job search.
I have received dozens of requests for how to write a sample business plan….please see my previous series of posts that give you ideas and suggestions for the 30-day plan, the 60-day plan, and the 90-day plan. (Or, I’ve got a 30/60/90-Day Sales Plan with a template and my personal coaching video that takes you through the whole thing from creating to presenting your plan in the interview.)
Remember, the kind of business plan I’m referring to is nothing more than you researching your specific position in the medical sales field, analyzing what it takes to be successful in it, and writing a “to-do” list for yourself.
Goals, in other words. Yes, it is hard work to take on before you even know if you’re hired, but that kind of effort will absolutely get a hiring manager’s attention and increase your chances of success once you do get the job.
I found an article on writing a business plan for business owners that might get you thinking in the right direction. I know you’re really not a business owner – but your job is essentially your own business, and the thought processes are similar. His top tips:
- Know your market – size, competition, and risks. (what kind of pool are you swimming in?)
- Know your financial condition – top line, bottom line, and cash flow (company financial situation, commission structure)
- Know your operation – sales, marketing, manufacturing, and administration (how do different departments support each other?)
- Know your story – who, what, where, when, how, and why your business exists (what’s so good about you and this company?)
- Invest the time if you want someone else to invest the money! (in hiring you)
Bottom line: Think about how you’ll be successful in the job you want and write down the incremental goals that will get you there.
Need more help? I’ve got some great options for you (choosing one is great, choosing all is better!):
- Learn a LOT when you come to my FREE training webinar on How to Answer Interview Questions. We will talk about strategies, tools, and tips for a great interview.
- Save time by getting the kit that practically writes your business plan for you: The 30/60/90-Day Sales Plan
- Give yourself yet another boost when you come to my medical-sales-specific free webinar: How to Land a Job in Medical Sales
- Get super-serious about setting yourself apart with some personal coaching from the Medical Sales Recruiter.
Choose one (or all) and get started winning your new medical sales job!
I just had a qualified candidate for pathology sales who made it through all levels of the interview process but failed to get the job. Why? The reference that he listed on his application was very negative. As the HR person said…”what a shame, I wonder why he would include that person on his reference?” Expect to have your references checked.
Listen and learn:
- Have a buddy check your references before you give them to a potential employer if you even think that there might be a negative reference.
- Prep your references with details about the position that you are seeking – what might be of interest to the employer that could benefit your application.
- Keep references updated and keep in touch. Don’t expect someone to remember you 7 years later, if you have not talked with them since.
- Keep multiple references for different companies in case someone falls off the grid or dies (this happens).
- The time to work on great references is before you are looking to change jobs.
- Offer to be a reference for others – even if you aren’t their supervisor. Hopefully, they’ll reciprocate and you’ll build a great network. You don’t want to be in my candidate’s place…