There are plenty of people who think that a LinkedIn account replaces traditional methods of job-hunting. While this might work for a few, this is not really the concept that propels the existence of this professional networking site. The purpose of LinkedIn is to provide a means of connecting with other people in the context of career opportunities…that’s why there are groups to join, Q&A sections, testimonials, and more for every area of medical or health care sales (medical device sales, clinical diagnostics sales, laboratory sales, imaging sales, pathology sales, pharmaceutical sales, etc.).
LinkedIn can be a valuable tool even when a resume is already in place. In fact, these two concepts should be used in conjunction with each other to produce the best results. It is a misconception to think that they are mutually exclusive. One of the ways to view this is to consider the differences and purposes of LinkedIn and resumes.
First, LinkedIn provides a way to establish connections. Your LinkedIn profile is not expected to contain all your work responsibilities and past employment experience. In fact, the best profiles are the ones that contain only the highlights. Just like with other things over the internet, people tend to scan over profiles instead of examining them carefully. Your goal should be to make it easy for them to skim and still catch your best or most unique qualities. It’s a general outline. On the other hand, a resume is more comprehensive and includes references that can be of interest to the company. Although resumes should be no longer than two pages, there is enough space to provide more than just a snapshot.
Also, LinkedIn is important even when there is an existing resume because they are useful in different environments. LinkedIn allows you an additional venue (the internet) in which you can showcase your career accomplishments. Access to it is greater compared to resumes, which should only be sent to a specific set of people—a targeted audience for specific circumstances, like a job opening. In essence, LinkedIn can appear to a larger audience compared to a resume, which should be customized to fit a specific company or position.
Your LinkedIn profile has it’s own purpose, just like your resume, your 30/60/90-day plans, or your brag book. Each document tells different parts of your story in a unique way, and each have an intended use they are best fit for. When they are all honed and polished to a shine, they will combine to give you the best possible results as a candidate, and in your career.
There are tricks of the trade when it comes to creating your LinkedIn profile. To find out what they are, check out our LinkedIn Profile Tutorial for jobseekers.
If your LinkedIn profile hasn’t gotten you the results you want in your job search, it’s time for you to consider some LinkedIn Ninja tricks on bypassing HR and getting the job.
Chris Norris and Kraig McKee (two sales managers) talk about how you (the guys) can buy a suit that will sell you without going broke!
Of course, since Chris and Kraig are in medical, healthcare, and clinical diagnostics industries, their perspective is really relevant to us.
If you are in a different industry, there may be another way to look at it.
If there is a topic that you would like to address, let us know in the comments below.
As any medical sales job-seeker can attest, finding a great position in laboratory sales, clinical diagnostics sales, medical device sales, biotechnology sales, imaging sales, pathology sales, pharmaceutical sales, or other healthcare sales has always been challenging because of the competitive nature of the industry, but today’s business climate makes it even more difficult. The good news is that it is not an impossible task. There are some tools that you can use in order to increase your chances of landing a great career opportunity.
One of these tools is LinkedIn, a professional networking site that connects individuals to a wealth of career resources. It can refer you to people or companies that are looking to hire someone new. In order to maximize the power of LinkedIn, your profile must be well-constructed. What are some of the things that make for a great profile?
Pay attention that your profile follows a consistent structure when it comes to grammar and format. For example, if you use the third person in one section, then it should be maintained throughout the entire profile. If you start out using bullets to list down your accomplishments, do not switch to numbers later on. Following a consistent method makes it easier for people to read your profile.
Look for Testimonials
Utilize the recommendations that are given by other people about your work. These are so important. An objective testimonial can make a greater impression than any achievement that you have placed on your profile page. It also provides an insight into how you work and your personality instead of just focusing on the end results. These recommendations are influential to potential employers (and medical sales recruiters).
Remember to Focus
The profile page should focus on the industry that you are interested in (whichever segment of medical sales that is) instead of being cluttered with unnecessary details—just like a resume. You can either arrange them by chronology or significance. What is important is that people can get an idea of your capabilities and thus pique their interest in hiring you at a glance.
Your LinkedIn profile is important enough to your job search and online presence that it’s worth putting some significant effort into shining it up. It’s the first impression that hundreds or thousands of people in medical sales will have of you. Make sure it’s the best it can be.
If you aren’t absolutely sure that your LinkedIn profile is top-quality, click here for a LinkedIn Profile Tutorial for jobseekers.
If you’ve done everything you can to create an outstanding profile, but you aren’t getting the results you want in your job search, consider some LinkedIn Ninja tricks for bypassing HR and getting the job.
Employers want to know about more than just your skills and experience–they want to know how you’ll get along day-to-day. How will you react in stressful situations? What will you do when a customer gets cranky, or there’s some issue with the product?
One way for hiring managers to get to that information is to use behavioral interview questions, sometimes known as the STAR technique.
STAR stands for (thanks to http://www.quintcareers.com/STAR_interviewing.html for the chart):
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?|
What this does is, it provides the manager with real-world detail about how you do your job. You can’t just get by with “standard interview answers” here. But it also gives you a fantastic opportunity to set yourself apart from other candidates and demonstrate why you’re the best candidate for the job.
You should always be prepared for these kinds of questions in your job interview. They really are a great way for you to highlight your experience, and many hiring managers in medical sales, laboratory sales, medical device sales, pathology sales, imaging sales, pharmaceutical sales, clinical diagnostics sales, and biotech sales like to use them because they’re so effective. Your best way to prepare for your interview is to think back over your career. What situations can you think of where you resolved some issue, or successfully addressed a problem? Make a list. As you’re preparing for your interview, think about which of these stories best fits the requirements of the job you’re interviewing for (since you always tailor your answers to fit the job–just like you’ve tailored your resume). Be sure to emphasize the positive outcome that was a result of your actions in each situation. Here’s a link to an article with an example of how to create a STAR Interview story.
Rich DeMatteo has a really great post that covers a little more for you: How to Survive a Behavioral Interview. One of his tips that I like is that you shouldn’t be afraid of a little silence in the interview. If you have to think a minute to frame your answer, that’s OK.
Also, don’t miss this transcript of my interview with a sales manager, sales trainer, and a vice-president of sales and marketing. We discuss behavioral event interviews in-depth. It’s a great resource for you.
Rest in peace Joseph Juran. Inventor of the 80/20 rule.
Your 80/20 rule saved many careers.
How can that be?
If you managed for any period of time and were an effective manager, you have used the 80/20 rule.
Simply stated, the 80/20 rule says that 80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts.
If you have 10 people on your team, 80% of your results or production will come from your top 2 reps (20%).
If you own a restaurant, 80% of your revenue will most likely come from 20% of the time you are open.
If you have 10 accounts 80% of your revenue will come from the top 2 (20%) of your accounts.
The beauty of the 80/20 rule is that it applies in a myriad of industries, settings and applications. When you first hear it, you may be a bit skeptical, but is really true.
How can I get 80% of my revenue from 20% of my accounts? As many times as you challenge and question the rule, you’ll find it still holds true. Sure there may be a few exceptions, but it most cases it rings true.
Ok great, I understand the rule, how does it apply to line management?
I already mentioned the rep application. You have 10 people in your region and 80% of your revenue will come from two reps. Wouldn’t that mean that it would be wise to spend your travel time with your top performers, the 20% producing the 80%? The obvious answer is yes. You may have heard this rule stated another way “Feed the eagles and starve the turkeys”. The eagles represent the top 20% of your team and the turkeys the balance.
What about looking at the 80/20 rule from a time perspective?
You spend 80% of your time on 20% of your tasks. To make the math simple, let’s think of a week (5 working days).
The rule says that you will accomplish 80% of what needs to be done that week in one day. Does that mean you get to take the other four off? Not really.
Look at it this way.
The most important task you have as a manager is to achieve the corporate goals. These goals are normally a mix of performance/financial goals and MBO’s (Management by Objective) set by your boss. If goal attainment is your top priority, then most of what you do should be directed towards achieving that goal. I am a strong believer in weekly check in/funnel update calls to keep a pulse on the reps mindset, expand my relationship with that rep and update the sales funnel and forecast. Every week, that time with the reps was a priority.
Back to the example with your region and ten reps. Doing check in calls (budgeted at about an hour each) will take all of one day and some of the next morning. So doesn’t that work out to you spending 20% of your time (one day) to accomplish 80% of your goals/objectives? Yes it does.
I know you could split hairs (as you can with most rules or theories) about the exact numbers, i.e. , is it really 20% or it is closer to 25% and if I did that would that really reflect 80% of my productivity or closer to 60%? The answer is all of the above. Kinda.
As a manager meeting production goals and hiring and developing future leaders for the organization are your only goals. All of the other things you do in pursuit of those goals are a “means to an end”. Certainly, the things you do on the other four days of the week are important and contribute to your success, but if you did all of those other things without spending 20% of your week on check in calls, would those other things you did they other four days of the week put you 80% of the way on the path to success?
The answer is no.
By spending 20% of your time you will put yourself 80% of the way “there”.
Here’s another great article for you from Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter. They’re great sales tips for you to use when contacting customers over the phone, but I want you to also look at these as great tips you can use in phone interviews for medical sales, laboratory sales, pharmaceutical sales, imaging sales, biotech sales, medical device sales, or any health care sales job. Think of your job interview the same as you would a sales call–only here, the product you’re selling is you. You want the customer (the hiring manager) to buy your product (hire you). Keeping this kind of perspective is extremely effective.
Phone Sales Tips:
Phone Sales Tips When Contacting Customers
Never ask if it’s a good time to talk. This gives the other person a perfect excuse to end the call. If you are unsure if the person has time to talk, then state up front that the phone call will only take 3 minutes. When you give the person an exact time be sure you time the call. After the allotted time, tell the customer you’re at the end and ask them if they would like to continue or reschedule. Using this practice allows you to demonstrate how much you respect their time.
Ask questions. People will never hang up on themselves.
Use the person’s name at least 3 times in every phone call. Who doesn’t like to hear their name said?
When greeting people on the telephone, avoid using their last name. It makes the call seem too formal. Your objective should be to have a casual conversation, in the same way you would talk to a good friend.
Use visually descriptive words to help paint a picture of what you’re saying. A phone conversation doesn’t have to be boring and stale.
When starting a new telephone conversation, always give your first and last name. Never assume the person you’re talking to is going to recognize your voice or think you’re the only one with your first name.
Watch your facial expressions by placing a mirror in front of you when you talk. It’s amazing how they come through over the phone.
Add energy to your phone calls by standing up. Nobody likes talking to a “blah” person. People who have good posture tend to come across more enthusiastic than those who don’t.
When you end a conversation, always summarize it in the same way you would end a live meeting. By doing so, you can prevent misinterpretation of your discussion.
Always allow the other person to have the final comment or question. Just because you’ve asked all your questions doesn’t mean the other person has asked all of his.
Avoid negotiating over the phone, use it as a means to introduce information and to follow up or confirm information. It’s impossible to truly read body language over the phone and thus you lose a major negotiating tool. A phone call however can be an excellent way to introduce a new idea you would like to receive some feedback on. Many times it will allow feedback to be gained in a less threatening manner than if it were to occur in a traditional sales call.
Never use a speaker phone with a customer even if they say it is fine with them. Speaker phones add to the perception the conversation is not important enough to capture 100% of the person’s attention. (Only exception of course is if there is a group involved.)
Mark Hunter, “The Sales Hunter”, www.TheSalesHunter.com, © 2007
What a difference a space makes. LinkedIn is vastly different from Linked In, which implies that it is something that you just plug into. That’s definitely not what LinkedIn is all about. Instead, this particular site is a powerful networking tool that allows people to get in touch with other professionals from around the world. It necessitates a proactive stance rather than a passive one.
LinkedIn is a networking tool that requires the cultivation of relationships in order to be effective. Making a profile does not mean that you get to sit back and relax. You have to work at creating an impression for other people and thus create more business or employment opportunities for yourself. You must continually update your profile, actively create connections, join online groups, and provide recommendations for others. In other words, you must participate.
A word of caution: LinkedIn should not be used as a spamming tool. It has tools that flag those who are prone to spamming and it will diminish your chances of getting results. Instead, LinkedIn can be loosely compared to the way the cold call process works. You get in touch with the company in the hopes that they entertain your proposal. The opportunity can swing in two different ways: success or rejection. One way to increase the chances of getting noticed is by customizing the spiel that you have when you reach out in order to build rapport.
Bottom line: make sure that you engage in LinkedIn in a manner that goes beyond simply creating a profile. Try participating in discussions and answering questions other people may have posted in the groups. Being on LinkedIn means that you are willing to be a part of a community so act accordingly. You’re networking. Just like in the real world, online networking is a two-way street. You have to give in order to get.
If you need more help to make LinkedIn work for you effectively and present you well, get the LinkedIn Profile Tutorial for jobseekers.
If your profile hasn’t gotten you one phone call or job offer lately, you need to think about this: LinkedIn Ninja Tricks that will help you bypass HR and get the job .
What to wear to the interview? Chris Norris (Sales Manager formerly with GE, CCS, Bayer) and Kraig McKee (Sales Manager formerly with Ventana Medical, Transgenomic, Bayer/Chiron) chat about what to wear to the interview and how to think about it:
Two medical sales managers chat about interview dress and other presence issues.
If you have a topic that you would like a manager’s perspective on, let us know in the comments below.
I can’t keep up with all the requests on LinkedIn, Plaxo, and now Naymz. Which one is the most important? Can I let the others slide?
I get this question all the time. Jobseekers in healthcare sales sometimes think, “if one online profile is good, five of them must be great”. Not true–it’s more important to have one really great, active profile than several mediocre ones you can’t keep up with. I really think that LinkedIn is the best social network for jobseekers. Then Facebook. But as a medical sales recruiter, I consider LinkedIn one of my best resources.
Here’s my LinkedIn page: Www.linkedin.com/in/peggymckee
And my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/peggy.mckee
Yes, I do have a Twitter handle @salesrecruiter and a MySpace page, but I just don’t think the value is there for the jobseeker.