Are you a physician looking for a career change?
Recently, I’ve worked with several physicians as a career counselor and coach. These were doctors interested in further career development by moving on to something in the medical field but not as a practicing MD.
They wanted to transition from practicing medicine into a variety of areas: big pharma, medical writing, and strategic marketing. These were talented, educated, valuable people who needed assistance with the next step.
I worked with them as a physician executive coach on who to contact and what to say as a first step in their job search. We also worked on interview skills that would get them the offer.
Why did we need to do that? Because no matter how talented, educated, and skilled they were, being a doctor is vastly different from what they wanted to do for the next stage of their careers. Interviewing for an MD position is vastly different from interviewing for any other position in the medical field. They were applying for jobs in the $150,000 – $200,000 range, and at that level, employers expect candidates to exhibit certain qualities in the interview process. Your competition is strong, and unless you bring your ‘A’ game, you won’t get the job. I worked with each one for about an hour (a very busy hour), and all are now successfully employed in the position of their choice.
Are you a physician transitioning into a new field who could benefit from career counseling or career coaching? Usually, all it takes is an hour. That’s a small investment that leads to huge gains in your career.
Find out more about what physician executive coaching can do for you here: Custom Career Coaching
What are the 3 most important tips for a pharmaceutical sales resume?
Science, Sales, and Stats.
Pharmaceutical sales jobs are popular, highly-sought-after positions with lots of competition for each one. If you want the job, you need to make your resume stand out and grab the attention of a sales manager. What do they care about? They care about whether or not you can ring the cash register. That depends on your background and your skills.
A science background is only going to help you in pharma sales. If you actually have a Bachelor of Science in say, Chemistry or Biology, that’s a huge plus. If not, that’s OK–but if you can, at least point out any science course work you’ve completed. That goes in your Education section.
Sales jobs are all about sales, right? Can you sell? What have you done? Any past pharma sales jobs are appropriate, of course, but also think about other arenas: retail, B2C, B2B, door-to-door sales, or even fundraising activities. Anything where you went out and came back with sales or donations is proof that you can do the same for this company.
What are stats? Numbers. If you can prove your skills by talking about them in terms of numbers, dollars, or percentages, that’s always going to make hiring managers sit up and take notice of you. For instance, don’t just say, “Responsible for increasing sales.” Say, “Increased sales 18% in 3 months,” or, “Sold X widgets to new customers,” or “Raised $40,000 for ABC Charity.”
Then, put the icing on your resume cake by writing a resume that’s visually attractive and digitally smart:
- Organize your accomplishments using bullet points–never paragraphs. This will make it easier for hiring managers to read (which means that it’s more likely they will).
- Include a strong objective statement at the top of your resume that says what job you want. Make it very clear for hiring managers (and recruiters).
- Pack your resume with pharmaceutical industry-related keywords as much as you can. Keywords help your resume get pulled in database searches for candidates.
- Before you send your resume to anyone, make sure to edit it yourself (don’t just let the computer spell-check it and call it good) and please include complete contact information: name, phone number, email, and address.
This is only the tip of the iceberg of all you can do to make your pharmaceutical sales resume stand out and get interviews for you. If you want more guidance and coaching to create a killer resume, see this resume writing kit. It includes my resume coaching and my free personal review of your completed resume.
Download this free app for your medical sales job search.
This free Apple or Android app from Career Confidential gives you
- A Medical Sales Resume That Gets You The Interview Every Time
- A Cover Letter That Grabs Attention From Employers
- Email Secrets For Contacting Top Medical Companies
- How To Get An Interview Fast With Any Medical Sales Company
- Job Interview Answers That Make You the “Wow” Candidate
- Additional FREE Job Search Tools, Tips, and Resources
You’ve researched jobs and companies, joined social media sites, and networked like crazy to find the medical sales job you want to get. You’ve created, edited, rewritten, and submitted the best cover letters and resumes you have ever made. Now, you must prepare for the scariest, most nerve-wracking, make-or-break step of the whole process—the job interview.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations are in order. Now what?!
You want to look forward to your interview. You want to walk into the interview dripping with expertise so hiring managers know that you are perfect for this position. You want to wow them with your confidence, knowledge, experience, and cool-under-pressure poise. How are you going to do that?
Prepare, prepare, prepare, and prepare some more!
Knowing and rehearsing most of the possible interview questions and answers will get you on the way to acing your medical sales job interview.
Know why interviewers ask certain questions, what interviewers are looking to hear, what key talking points to use, what strategies you can use to answer tough questions, and what you should NEVER say in an interview.
Read Career Confidential’s blog series, How to Answer Interview Questions, for my detailed strategies to answer 101 of the toughest job interview questions.
Or, go to Amazon’s Kindle store to download the entire series as an ebook for only 99 cents: How to Answer Interview Questions eBook
Before I list the names, there are many events going on behind the scenes that require a little research on your part to make sure the company you are applying to fits your needs:
- Is this company going to lose a patent or have a patent expire?
- If so, how much of a market share might the company lose?
- Does the company have any up and coming drugs or patents that can replace the losses?
- What is the average compensation for sales people?
- How do they compensate? Is there a base salary? What are commission percentages?
I’m thanking Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News for this top 15 list, ranked by market cap shares.
1. Johnson & Johnson
6. Merck & Co.
9. Bristol-Myers Squibb
11. Eli Lilly
15. Daiichi Sankyo
** Competition for pharma jobs is tough…give yourself a big advantage when you learn the secrets in my free webinar, How to Get Into Medical Sales. Even if you’ve worked in medical sales in the past, this webinar will arm you with job-getting tips you need.
- Are you trying to break into medical sales for your first job?
- Are you transitioning from pharmaceutical to other medical sales areas?
- Do you have a difficult situation in your past that you have trouble explaining to prospective employers?
- Are you not getting interviews–so you need a stronger resume or job search strategy?
- Are you getting interviews, but no job offers–so you need some interview coaching?
In my experience as the medical sales recruiter and career coach, most medical sales job seekers with issues like these have one or two issues in their way. Together, we can uncover them quickly and get to solutions that deliver the results you need. Who better to give you the inside track to a medical sales job than an experienced medical sales recruiter on your side?
Whatever is holding you back from your medical sales career goals, I can help.
Click here for more => Medical Sales Career Coaching
Looking to break into medical device sales? Got a medical sales interview coming up? Here is an invaluable resource for you, so you can know who the major players are (if you’re just getting started), or begin researching the company if you have an interview soon.
(BTW- If you don’t have a medical device interview but want one, come to my free webinar, How to Get Into Medical Sales….I’ll give you some guaranteed strategies for getting a medical sales job.)
Medical Product Outsourcing has a list of the top-earning medical device companies, which I have published below for you. But if you go to the list on their website, you’ll find that MPO has linked each company name to an extensive page of information on it. It’s a fantastic resource for your medical sales job search.
1. Johnson & Johnson $27.43
2. GE Healthcare $18.29
3. Siemens Healthcare $17.54
4. Medtronic $16.20
5. Baxter International $14.20
6. Philips Healthcare $13.19
7. Covidien $9.85
8. Abbott Labs $9.79
9. Cardinal Health $9.60
10. Stryker $8.66
11. Danaher $8.51
12. BD $7.70
13. Boston Scientific $7.25
14. B. Braun $6.67
15. Essilor $6.59
16. St. Jude Medical $5.50
17. Novartis (Alcon) $5.48
18. 3M Healthcare $5.16
19. Zimmer $4.47
20. Terumo $4.27
21. Olympus Medical $4.24
22. Smith & Nephew $4.14
23. Hospira $4.10
24. Toshiba Medical $3.97
25. Getinge Group $3.72
26. CareFusion $3.60
27. Bayer $3.50
28. Fresenius $3.31
29. C.R. Bard $2.96
30. Dentsply $2.90
How will ‘Obamacare’ affect your medical sales job?
The Affordable Care Act has been causing and will continue to cause changes in all sectors of the medical industry. Medical sales is no exception. However, learning about the repercussions now will help prepare you to navigate these changes better.
Medical sales constitute medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Forbes.com contends that pharmaceutical sales are faring much better in this economy than medical devices. With the Affordable Healthcare Act, with its medical equipment excise tax of 2.3% starting in 2014, medical equipment companies are already taking a hit. If medical equipment sales take a hit, more than likely medical equipment salespeople will take a hit as well.
Why is the medical equipment excise tax such a concern for medical equipment companies?
Forbes.com continues in the above article to focus on the fact that this excise tax is different because the tax is charged based on total sales, not total profits:
“The nation’s medical device industry is vulnerable. It is not comprised of behemoths: 80% of its companies have 50 or fewer employees, the very businesses we are relying on to turn the U.S. economy around. The new excise tax comes on top of increased stringency and delays at both the FDA and the U.S. Patent Office, and at the same time that many device firms are shutting down or moving abroad to take advantage of the more favorable tax and regulatory climate in Europe. The tax is forcing companies to lay off employees, cut back on research and development, and reduce capital investment.”
How large of an effect this will have on medical equipment salespeople remains to be seen. A guest blogger on Health eCareers Network weighed in on the future of medical sales. While some types of medical sales jobs may or may not face challenges, others are guaranteed to flourish. Medical IT sales representatives will have an increased presence due to the Affordable Healthcare Act’s requirement for electronic medical records, for example.
Be informed and this new federal law may open up new possibilities for your future.