As the year winds down, you might be reflecting on what you’ve accomplished this year at work and in your life. Whether you’re looking for a job in research and laboratory sales or pharmaceutical sales or not (yet), it’s a great idea from BullsEyeResumes to start a “Kudos folder” for yourself: think about all you’ve done this year (Christmas newsletter, anyone?), but focus on work and write it down–problems, responses, results. Also, contact people who are familiar with your work and ask if they would send a quick e-mail to you about your work with them. Those become a great source of information for your resume, material for answers to interview questions, and a confidence booster for you.
If you are looking for a position in medical sales, pharmaceutical sales, research and laboratory sales, or pathology sales, always be networking–just keep making connections with people. If you have a few holiday parties or family gatherings to go to, Career Hub has some advice for taking advantage of them to Boost Your Career Search, with a great link to 22 Tips to Use at a Networking Event. The idea is that you never know who your friends and family might have in their network or social circle that would be helpful to you…and if this makes you uncomfortable, remember that it’s entirely possible that YOU might be in a position to help THEM with some information or connection (and try to find out if you can be helpful to them before you ask for yourself).
Yes, meetings are necessary in medical sales, and sometimes can be productive. But I know you’ve sat in a waste-of-time, seemingly endless meeting thinking about how much work you could be doing… Ever wonder how much those weekly/monthly/quarterly meetings actually cost? Meet the Meeting Miser…it’s a new tool developed by PayScale, the Seattle-based compensation research firm, that calculates how much your meeting actually costs based on the median salaries of everyone in the room. (This article will show you not only how much they cost, but will offer links to suggestions to reduce costs and improve meeting productivity.)
I’ve said that if you are interested in a job as a medical sales rep (in pharmaceutical sales, medical device sales, laboratory and clinical diagnostics sales, or pathology sales) you should do certain things: study sales, have some sales experience, and especially do a ride-along with someone who works in the specific field you’re interested in. Well, have I got something great for you: a virtual ride-along (it doesn’t replace the real thing, but it’s a perfect starting point).
Aaron Stahl e-mailed me recently to bring my attention to his website (www.e-shadow.com) that prints interviews with people who work in particular fields. He’s got one with a medical device sales rep and one with a pharmaceutical sales rep. There’s some very candid, what’s-a-typical-day-like information, as well as advice on what steps you can take to enter this field…like taking a few classes in anatomy and physiology or medical terminology if your background is not in science. They also point out how hard it is to get your foot in the door…the pharmaceutical sales rep says that it took him over a year to get hired because of the heavy competition. All the more reason to have The Medical Sales Recruiter on your side! (if I could do Superman music here, I would)
Mind Tools – help with time management, stress management, memory improvement, leadership skills, problem solving, practical creativity, communication skills, and project planning. It’s also mentioned on an interesting-looking site called Some Learning Tips.
The Motivation Tool Chest – workplace motivation tips that are great for people in laboratory and clinical diagnostics sales, pharmaceutical sales, or other medical sales.
Human Performance and Achievement Resources – “provides human performance and self improvement articles, link directories, ebooks, book/products reviews and many tools for improving human performance and productivity in business, career and for personal achievement”.
Again… I can’t guarantee any of these will make you fabulous, but all learning and growth is going to be a good thing for you personally, as well as for your success and advancement at work.
I found a site ( www.alexa.com ) that allows you to see where websites are ranked worldwide (mine is #3,188,312 as of today… that’s much better than it sounds–it’s had a 100% increase in the last 3 months). The cool thing about it for you is that it also has a list of career assessment sites.
The top three:
www.assessment.com is the most popular – it identifies how you fit in the workplace. Here’s an article with tips for how to take a career assessment test.
www.careerplanner.com – Provides an online test and free advice to help individuals identify their ideal career. See if you’re a good match for laboratory sales, pharmaceutical sales, or medical device sales!
www.careerkey.org – Offers a test based on Holland’s theory of vocational choice to help individuals choose a college major or educational program. See their blog page at http://careerkey.blogspot.com/.
There are many more good sites to choose from. I don’t know what their fees might be (if any) and I can’t guarantee their effectiveness for you, but I certainly think they are worth checking out.
STAR interviewing is a well-known behavioral interviewing technique that more hiring managers are using when interviewing for medical sales reps, pharmaceutical sales reps, pathology sales reps, and clinical diagnostic and research lab sales reps.
STAR stands for:
|Situation or Task
|Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.|
|Action you took||Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did — not the efforts of the team. Don’t tell what you might do, tell what you did.|
|Results you achieved||What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?|
Employers want to know more than just your skills and experience — they want to know how you will behave day-to-day and how you will react in unusual or stressful situations.
To prepare for your next job interview, look back at your resume and think of several situations you can describe, keeping in mind the requirements of the job you’re interviewing for (think of instances that will highlight how well you fit this position), and remembering to emphasize the positive outcome that resulted from your actions.
(thanks to http://www.quintcareers.com/STAR_interviewing.html for the chart)
How do you get the attention of a recruiter? Obviously, follow up phone calls are great but one thing that might drive recruiters to call you is to put keywords in your resume that will flag you in their searches.
So if you are looking for a management position within a diagnostics sales force (and you aren’t currently in that position or if your company has some wacky title system), you need to consider putting a list of keywords at the bottom of your resume that would show up when a recruiter runs a keyword search on their ATS (applicant tracking system). For example, “regional sales manager”, “clinical diagnostics”, sales, management, etc, would be a good start.
If you are interested in going into Surgical sales (and aren’t there now) you may want to add OR, “operating room”, surgical, surgeon, physician, etc. Get the idea? You might ask how a recruiter would view this addition to your resume….I can tell you that I appreciate innovative ways that candidates separate themselves from the pack!
If you’re applying for a position in clinical diagnostics sales, pathology sales, pharmaceutical sales, medical device sales, or medical research products sales, here’s some advice for you: don’t quit your old job before you complete the application process.
I had a candidate who had gotten all the way through the hiring process except for the drug screen. Not a problem for someone who doesn’t abuse drugs, so he went ahead and quit his current job. However, he forgot (and therefore didn’t write down) the prescription pain reliever he’d taken 30 days before. He failed the drug screen and didn’t get the job. There’s a happy ending to this story, though: his old company took him back, “drug habit and all.” It’s good to work for a company with a sense of humor.