Welcome to my 4-part “Pimp Your Career” series.
This post will be about your personal brand. When people think of you, what do they think? Sales guru, marketing manager, computer geek, public-relations person, etc… This is your personal brand. If the answer you get is different from the one you want, you have some work to do. There’s a lot out there right now about personal branding. You need to know what that means for you, and you need to know how to take maximum advantage of it. Your personal brand is what makes you special. It’s how you distinguish yourself from everyone else in medical sales, healthcare sales, lab sales, pharma sales, pathology sales, imaging sales, clinical diagnostics sales, and sales of cellular, molecular, and biotech products. It’s how you market yourself.
Think about how corporate brands market themselves. They are everywhere, and you should be, too. By that, I mean:
1. Have a Facebook page
2. Create a profile on LinkedIn
3. Interview On Demand offers a CareerView profile for jobseekers that not only includes your resume, but also a video where you can answer a few interview questions and include a “why should you hire me” summary. It’s a great tool to add a little kick to your resume, and it’s more professional than YouTube.
4. Do some blog writing— on your own blog, or as a guest contributor on one that’s related to your field.
5. Have a personalized signature on all your e-mails, so that when people see it, they think of you. Have a logo. Even on personal e-mail accounts.
6. Keep up with your network through phone calls and e-mail. Don’t lose track of people who will be great references for you.
If you’re having trouble defining yourself, ask others what they think is special about you. What makes you different from others in your field? Go to Dan Schwabel’s blog. It’s THE source for info about personal branding.
Think about personal branding in terms of your elevator pitch. It’s the answer to the “what do you do?” and the “tell me about yourself” questions. Your personal branding statement is going to highlight your best attributes, and be quick, focused, and memorable.
Seth Godin points out that people make decisions based on little scraps of information all the time:
It’s not fair but it’s true. Your blog, your outfit, the typeface you choose, the tone of your voice, the expression on your face, the location of your office, the way you rank on a Google search, the look of your Facebook page…
I’m going to spend the next few posts showing you how to jazz up your job search and career…step it up, trick it out, be outstanding (like “Pimp My Ride”). As a medical sales recruiter, I am aware that competition is fierce in healthcare sales, pathology sales, imaging sales, pharmaceutical sales, laboratory sales, and all sales involving cellular, molecular, biotechnology or biotech products. The candidate who will be hired will have taken a little more time and gone to some extra trouble with his resume, worked on his interview skills, and will have a great network of people in the industry that he/she knows to leverage. There will be four parts:
I. Pimp Your Personal Brand
II. Pimp Your Resume
III. Pimp Your Network
IV. Pimp Your Interview Skills
And they will be in that order, because that is the order that you should work with for maximum success. So, sit back, buckle up and get ready to take your career off the blocks, on high octane, with full-on bling!! I hope it will be helpful for you.
You should always put your best foot forward in a job interview, but some things should still be kept to yourself. I had a candidate who was supremely qualified not get the job because too many of her “assets” were showing. Cleavage in a job interview is only a good idea in a very limited selection of industries…but never in medical sales, imaging sales, pathology sales, clinical diagnostics sales, research products sales, pharmaceutical sales, or medical device sales.
Here’s a link for you to go to to read about developing an effective professional presence, so that you give the interviewer a great first impression.
I have warned healthcare sales candidates about being too free with their Facebook or MySpace pages, because of the very real possiblity that potential medical sales employers will go looking for all the information they can find on candidates they’re thinking about hiring. The other day, I found an article about employees turning the tables on employers by researching the company, the hiring manager, and future co-workers to dig up any dirt you might need to know before you commit. It’s got a laundry list of sites to use to get information, and plenty of “nightmare” scenarios to scare you into looking.
I did post a comment on this article, but the gist of what I said is this: This kind of dirt-digging is more likely to muddy the interview waters than clear them up.
1. Hiring managers from the companies I work with are too professional to post any negative or positive thoughts on specific candidates in such a public forum.
2. The kind of candid information candidates would be looking for on sites (like http://www.cafepharma.com/and http://www.biofind.com/for my industry) is likely to have been posted by disgruntled employees or those who have been already fired! They don’t have a job, so they spend their time bashing their past employer or any other employer that represents “the man” that is holding them down! I know of a fantastic company in the clinical diagnostics arena that is haunted by one poster who has a sole mission in life of saying outrageous statements about their former employer (including sexual harrasment allegations, illegal activities, etc.). Because of the anonymity of these sites, there is no recourse for the employer. I would hate to have any candidate turn down an opportunity with this company because of one bad egg.
There are plenty of helpful, professional and comprehensive sites for medical sales candidates to use when researching companies they are interviewing with. I suggest you stick with those.
We keep hearing bad news everywhere: recession, job cuts, recession, outsourcing, recesssion. One of the great things about working in healthcare sales is that it tends to be recession-proof, some fields more than others…clinical diagnostics, research lab, medical device, pathology, and imaging sales are always going to be more stable and less dependent on the economy as a whole than pharmaceutical sales.
Or what if you just need your boss to agree with you that you deserve a raise?
Learning to toot your own horn at work without being obnoxious about it is a skill you can learn. There’s a great article about how to do that called You’re Bright and Talented–Toot Your Own Horn that gives some great insight on how to do that…like, associate with other great workers and stay away from the gossiper/slacker crowd. Or, be ambitious, but don’t over-promise. Always be able to deliver what you say you will, and try to make sure you can deliver a “wow” result. Letting your boss know what you did is just keeping him or her informed.
Other advice on marketing yourself at work goes along with that. Be a great worker. Go above and beyond what’s expected. Take responsibility for yourself, help others, network relentlessly, and keep a list of your accomplishments so that you don’t forget all the great things you’ve done.
If you really are concerned about your job, Career Advice in a Recession reminds you to go for projects with some visibility that you can be successful at, and to KEEP NETWORKING. Having an extensive professional network is a virtual safety net, in case you need it.
Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.
I can’t read or watch Stephen King because my imagination is too vivid and I can’t get it out of my mind…but I know success when I see it, and this quote is an excellent one to keep in mind when hiring for medical sales, pathology sales, imaging sales, clinical diagnostics sales, research lab sales, or pharmaceutical sales.
I get asked sometimes by healthcare sales, clinical laboratory sales, pathology sales, and imaging sales job seekers whether or not it would help their chances of getting a job or advancing in their field if they got a graduate degree. (The MBA seems to be the most popular possibility.) The Little Red Suit has some interesting comments on the decision whether to attend grad school: Grad School 101: The Truth About the Top Six Grad School Myths. The most relevant one (to me) is the idea that a graduate degree is your “ticket to the top.” What she points out is (and I totally agree) is that while a graduate degree certainly won’t hurt, what’s most critical to your success is your relationship with your boss, your work ethic, and the product you produce. Put in medical sales terms, that’s your sales skill, rapport with customers, and what kind of revenue you produce. In other words, it’s not necessarily what you’ve got, it’s what you do with it that matters.
I found some blogs that are very specific to our industry and wanted to share them with you:
http://labsoftnews.typepad.com/lab_soft_news/ – this one is sponsored by Siemens, McKesson, SunQuest, SCC, Beckman Coulter and TechniData Software. It’s an “An Idea Factory for Pathology Informatics and the Clinical Laboratory.” LOADS of information here. There are recent posts on everything from Micro-blogging to a directory of Lab InfoTech Summit 2008 PowerPoint Lectures.
http://pathtalk.org/ – “a weblog about pathology,” with some great articles from a variety of contributors, and a great series called Grand Rounds, a compilation of the “week’s best from the medical blogosphere.”
http://biohealthmatics.blogspot.com/ – “The Biotech & Healthcare IT Blog.” Stories gathered from all over the net which include info on how healthcare organizations are making IT adoptions to improve services and reduce medical errors.
http://www.tissuepathology.typepad.com/weblog/ – sponsored by Aperio. “A weblog for the digital pathology community and laboratory professionals.” It includes things like top stories affecting clinical laboratories, and information on new vendor products.
I know you will find these helpful for your success in healthcare sales, pathology sales, and clinical laboratory sales.
I had the opportunity to speak with Cliff Mintz who authors the BioJobBlog. Cliff has an extensive background as a BioCareer professional. He has been a management consultant to a number of emerging and publicly-traded biopharmaceutical companies and has held a variety of positions (medical school professor, professional recruiter, and medical/science writer). He and I have agreed to re-post some of each others articles in order to provide diverse and interesting topics and opinions for our readership. So here is one that I think you will enjoy. Below is a recent article that Cliff wrote about some creative thinking on the part of Takeda!
Millennium employees find themselves in an enviable position that most pharmaceutical and biotechnology employee would die for! Shortly after Takeda announced that it would buy Cambridge MA-based Millennium Pharmaceuticals for $8.8 billion, it offered many Millennium employees retention bonuses to stay at the company for 12 to 24 months until the acquisition is completed. These bonuses will be in addition to cash that many of Millennium’s 1,000 employees will get by exercising their stock options (Takeda is paying a premium to purchase all of Millennium outstanding shares of stock).
While offering retention bonuses to employees of a company that is going to be acquired is unusual it is not unheard of. Retaining key employees during an acquisition typically makes the transition a lot smoother. Further, it signals to extant employees that management values their services and that their continued presence at the company is vital to its success. Finally, it serves to reduce the stress and uncertainty felt by many employees when a company is sold.
In my opinion, offering Millennium employees retention bonuses is a very bold and smart move by Takeda. Unlike other pharmaceutical companies who have acquired biotechnology companies for their approved drugs or investigational medicines in their pipelines, this is Takeda’s first foray into the biotechnology business. Put simply, Takeda executives lack the expertise and requisite skill sets necessary to successfully compete in the biotechnology arena. Encouraging and retaining employees who helped to make Millennium a success is a brilliantly crafted strategy that will permit Takeda to quickly learn how to compete in the biotechnology space in a fiscally-responsible manner.
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome after an acquisition is merging the corporate cultures that existed at the two companies prior to acquisition. One possible solution to this problem is to restructure the acquired company and terminate many or all of its employees. Another solution is to determine (over time) which employees are or aren’t vital to operation of the company. Although this approach is not as draconian as the first option, it requires an inordinate amount time and money to implement. Ask any Pfizer executive about this the utility of this approach (I think that they are still trying to recover from the Warner Lambert and Pharmacia acquisitions that took place in the mid to late 1990s).
I think the Japanese got this one right. Maybe we Americans can learn or thing or two from them?
Until next time…
Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!!!
And send it to the other recruiters, hiring managers and networking partners you are working with…..I had a product management job (marketing position responsible for determining what next products within the research laboratory arena the client company should pursue) and had a candidate that was not a great fit approach me about the job. She was looking to move to the area of my client company and really wanted an opportunity to get in front of them. Spoke with the client company about her…they were reluctant to spend any time with her (didn’t see the fit). I asked the candidate if she would go to Interview on Demand’s website and under the jobseeker tab – sign up for and complete a CareerView. It doesn’t cost a penny. Two days later I get the link with the candidate’s CareerView. It was a one page profile of the candidate that included a short video of her answering a few interview questions, her resume and a short “why you should hire me” summary. Here is a sample CareerView. I forwarded the CareerView to my client. In less than 30 minutes I received an email asking me if the hiring manager could forward the clip to another hiring manager that had a specific need for this type of person!
So who is happy here? Me – the recruiter (did not know about the other job, did not know the other hiring manager and now I have a candidate in play and a whole new job order), the candidate – (could not have interfaced with the manager without the help of this tool, could not have interfaced with the other hiring manager – job isn’t posted), and the client company (they get to “see and hear” a candidate with minimal investment and they think that this is great technology and since most of their hiring is remote, they think that using video job interviews is definitely something they need).
I know that candidates don’t think that they get attention from recruiters and hiring managers. At least not as much as they want. Here is a new, fresh way to get the attention you deserve!