Although times are tough for job seekers all over, it’s not as bad for medical sales candidates (with the exception of pharmaceutical sales reps) because of the largely “recession-proof” nature of the business. But, having said that, medical sales job seekers are still feeling the pinch. Because it’s such an attractive career area, many candidates are transitioning in and the overflow of displaced pharma reps are adding to it. All in all, it’s an employer’s market here, too. When there are thousands of applicants for jobs posted online, it’s virtually impossible to get noticed. But there are proven strategies you can use to take control and land the job. We started with Tip #1, Rethink Your Job Search, and today’s tip is:
Tip #2: Turn Social Media into Your Job Search’s Best Friend (not its worst enemy)
Online social networks are both underrated and often misused as a job search tool. Facebook and Twitter can be amazing avenues to network or follow job leads, but it’s easy to forget that socializing with your friends can lead to comments or pictures that will kill your chances when the hiring manager sees it. Sanitize your pages—you will be Googled.
But the Big Daddy of online networks, and the place you need to spend most of your time, is LinkedIn. You must be on LinkedIn, with a high-quality profile that includes a business-appropriate photo. (Career Confidential offers a LinkedIn Profile Tutorial for this.) There are over 70 million professionals on LinkedIn—that’s a lot of job leads. And, at least 80% of employers and recruiters use LinkedIn to look for potential hires. You can’t afford to miss this.
You can join LinkedIn groups specific to your field and learn tremendous amounts of vital information, make connections to grow your network, and make a name for yourself by joining discussions and contributing useful comments. Companies maintain pages that are invaluable when researching for your interview. Perhaps most importantly, you can get ahead of the job-searching crowd and find “hidden jobs” by contacting hiring managers directly on LinkedIn.
Here’s another tip for you to make the most of LinkedIn:
Online social media is a fantastic tool for job hunting. The Big 3 (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter) each have their own unique style that you can
utilize in different ways for your job search. But while you’re working these sites to land the perfect medical sales job, employers and recruiters are looking for you, too. And if you get their attention in the early stages of the job interview process, they’re going to be actively searching for more details about you. According to one survey, 70% of hiring managers and recruiters have rejected an applicant based on what they found online. Have you Googled your name lately to see what they’ll find out about you?
You can manage your online identity to control your reputation and your image in the job market in these 5 ways:
- LinkedIn: Take the time to set up a professional LinkedIn profile, join some groups, and get active. LinkedIn is the primary business networking site for professionals. It’s a tremendously powerful resource for you to research companies, keep tabs on the hidden job market, and contact hiring managers about jobs. A well-crafted LinkedIn profile will showcase your job history, your skills, and your recommendations.
- Facebook: Although this can be a great, casual place to network socially, it’s important that you don’t get too comfortable. No trashy pictures, bad language, or any controversial religious/political comments. It’s still a public forum, and you really don’t know who might end up seeing something you’ve said, even if you’re trying to be careful of your privacy.
- Twitter: Twitter is a terrific place to be in the conversation on just about anything. Again, watch what you say. Keep it professional. Ask questions, and try to help others. An employer will be impressed with someone who’s engaged and relevant.
- Show up in unexpected places: In addition to interacting on the social sites, think about writing a guest post for a relevant blog, or start your own. Comment on other writers’ articles with something of value. Think about contributing to medical/healthcare/laboratory presentations at conferences. Newsletters or other publications aimed at laboratory work, medical device, or other health care industry areas would be great.
- Be consistent: Get a professional photo (it doesn’t have to be professionally done; it should just be a formal, businesslike pose) and use that photo every time a photo is called for. Make sure your name is consistently written so that it shows up in a search.
Ultimately, you decide how people will see you. Since you know they’ll be looking, be proactive. Make sure they see the confident, competent professional they want to hire.
Your personal brand is nothing more (or less) than the image you project to others. It’s the whole (although abbreviated) picture of who you are and what you do–professionally. Online, it’s the sum of the parts. A large (maybe the whole) purpose of creating and maintaining an online brand is so that people who don’t know you (employers or potential clients/business partners) can find you, evaluate whether they want to meet you/work with you/recommend you. And that’s why it’s a big deal.
Your online brand is your first impression for people, job leads, or opportunities that you might miss if it’s not everything it could be. And, it’s definitely a piece of the puzzle for those who have met you in person and are looking to find out more. If you don’t think a hiring manager is going to look around online for more information about you before they make the offer, you are seriously misguided.
So, what can you do to make sure your online brand identity is a strong recommendation for why someone should hire you?
1. Use every opportunity to establish a presence. Although LinkedIn is my favorite online networking site, you should also incorporate Twitter, Facebook, Visual CV, and others. (One article says that you should “cybersquat as much social real estate as possible” to both strengthen your online brand and to combat social identity theft.) Make absolutely certain that every site provides a professional profile with dynamic words that describe who you are and what you do.
2. Make sure your photos are professional and consistent. Attach a head-and-shoulders professional photo to each of your online pages. Having the same photo on all sites will help those who don’t know you recognize you. And please remove the too-personal photos of you with your friends at the party, or you at your political function, or anything else that could cause controversy. If you’re trying to land a job in medical or health care sales, you want potential employers to concentrate on your job skills without anything else getting in the way.
3. Participate. Join groups and discussions, and try to share something of value to help others. Always keep your brand in mind as you contribute your thoughts and ideas. (It’s not hiding the “real you,” it’s simply keeping a public face that’s separate from your private one. Or, to put it another way…there’s a lot you wouldn’t say in front of your grandmother that you wouldn’t hesitate to say in front of your friends. Think of cyberspace as your grandmother. ) You decide how you want people to see you, and develop a consistent theme. It presents a unified, clear, positive image to the rest of the world that will pay off for you in your career.
What’s keeping you from getting the job?
It could be the same thing that trips up others: you don’t understand (yet) that the job search is a sales process.
It doesn’t matter what career you are involved in (although it ESPECIALLY applies in medical and health care sales): to get the job, you have to sell yourself to the hiring manager. That means that you’re the product. You’re trying to get the hiring manager to pay you a salary to do work (or, to buy the product to get a benefit).
Watch the video and I’ll tell you how to change your thinking so that you understand the job search as a sales process, and how to understand your role in it. Then, I’ll explain how that breaks down for you in terms of your job hunting strategy, your elevator pitch, and ultimately, how successful you are in your quest to land the job.
If you’re unsure about how to implement this idea in your own job search, get some marketing help in the form of a career coach. A career coach can help you pinpoint what makes you unique as a product and how you can stand out in the marketplace–so you can stop wasting time and get your dream job.
Jennifer M. tells all about how a career coach (that would be me) made her dream job come true (even in this economy)!
I worked with Jennifer mid July. We fixed her resume, worked on her social media skills, helped her target hiring managers (and gave her the secret of what to ask for when she contacted them), and smoothed out her rough interviewing edges (don’t say “I hope”, “I believe” or “Hopefully”, or other negative statements). And within 6 weeks, she called me to say that she had landed the job of her dreams.
Here is her version of the story:
If you want someone in your corner that really has the inside scoop, go check out my custom career coaching page.
Life is short and you will only get one run through it (as far as I know), so why would you wait to grab your dream job?
You should be on linkedin and you need to have your profile all shined up:
(Need help with your LinkedIn Profile: Click here.
Or if you haven’t gotten one call/interview in the last month, you may want to think about this:
Ninja Tricks for Jobseekers)
Need help with your LinkedIn Profile: Click here.
Or if you haven’t gotten one call/interview in the last month, you may want to think about this:
Ninja Tricks for Jobseekers
It’s common for me to get questions from folks in higher-level sales positions or semi-supervisory positions (maybe National Accounts Managers, etc.), maybe interviewing for Regional Accounts Manager positions, who want to know how to differentiate themselves so that they will be the ones who get tapped for promotions. There’s a lot of advice out there about these kinds of things, and certainly your sales performance has to be solid to even put you in the running. I provide custom consulting at this level, too, but to get you started, here are 9 ways to raise your visibility within your organization and build your personal brand:
1) Always be over-prepared (for everything). Always be on time. Always send thank-you notes. So, if a VP of Marketing travels with you, send him a thank you note immediately – within 24 hours. The thank-you note shows your appreciation, and separates you from the pack. It’s all really just basics– good manners and good work ethics. Simple, but you’d be surprised how many sales reps get caught up in their own “stuff” and forget these simple things.
3) Offer to do projects or tasks that no one else volunteers to do. Be the “go to” person.
4) If the president or CEO wonders about something in a discussion, go find the answer and respond to him. It will show that you are paying attention to him, it will show your initiative, and it will set you apart in personalization.
5) A lot of people work very hard for certain events like Regional Sales Meetings. Decisions like: Where will we have it? What are the topics? Who will speak? What will we eat? Who’s going to eat where? What projects will we do? These issues take a lot of time and energy, and the ones who set it up often don’t have much administrative support. They’re doing it all. Remember to thank them when it’s over. Thank the Regional Sales Managers, the sales team, the trainers, and the people from the home office who fly out to speak with you. That’s huge.
6) Gather information on competitors. Any time you see something that might be of interest to anyone in your organization, whether it’s marketing, technical support, or anyone, send them a quick e-mail with a link to the pertinent information when you can. You can set up Google Alerts to let you know about any developments in your company or within your industry, any key people you have a rapport with or need to develop a rapport with, any information on your competitors, product areas (genomic testing, FDA-approved tests, point-of-care, microarrays, etc.—you get the drift). Set up those alerts that let you know every day about what’s going on, send relevant information on to whomever it’s relevant to, and if they ask how you saw it, tell them about the Google Alerts. It sets you up as a SME (Subject Matter Expert). You’re not necessarily an expert, but it does show your fluency with the computer/internet, your creativity, and your initiative in forwarding information that will help your company.
7) Ask if you can be a mentor within your organization. Lots of people want and need one and are afraid to ask. But, if there’s someone (like you) who’s volunteering…it becomes more likely that they’ll take it. Spending 20-30 minutes on the phone once a week with them will really benefit them, and it will show in their growth. And if you have taken the initiative to set it up rather than participating after you’ve been asked (if the company even has a program), it shows you as the leader that you are.
8) Be willing to do a presentation on a product, a competitor, or sales training. Meeting organizers often have trouble finding content. If you are willing to provide some of that content, it increases your profile, positions you as a subject matter expert, and helps you build your personal brand.
9) Sharpen the saw. Keep up with your reading in sales or motivation, talk to people about them, and send the books you read along to others in your organization. That’s a very cool thing. It makes people feel that it’s a personalized gift, you’re trying to help them learn something, and you’ve already read it so you know it’s good. There are a lot of great books out there. I love the Malcolm Gladwell books, and here’s a link to a few more.
These are some pretty significant ways to impress those higher-ups in your medical sales organization, so that when the next opportunity for promotion comes available, it’s all yours.
“In the grocery store of life, you have to figure out why someone would pick you up off the shelf,” says Andrea Nierenberg, president of the Nierenberg Group, a business communication-consulting firm in New York. “Are you new and improved? Are you repackaged? What are you doing to get that competitive edge? What you want to do is position yourself as you would a product.”
I LOVE this. If each of us spent as much time thinking about our career as much as the major food manufacturers think about product placement on a shelf, what could be the consequences? (Do you even realize how much thought and energy goes into exactly where that box of cereal should be in your line of vision? It’s mind-boggling.)
Personal branding works the same way. What’s the first impression people have of you? Why should a hiring manager choose you over the other brand? How can you market yourself in your industry so that others know who you are? Personal Branding Basics is a great place to start thinking about how to make this work for you.
In all areas of medical sales, laboratory sales, biotech sales, clinical diagnostics sales, medical software sales, medical equipment sales, medical device sales, hospital equipment sales, imaging sales, pathology sales, DNA products sales, and pharmaceutical sales, you need to think about where you are (and where you want to be) in the market.
As a medical sales recruiter, it’s my job to find the perfect candidate for my client companies in medical sales, laboratory sales, pharmaceutical sales, biotechnology sales, clinical diagnostics sales, imaging sales, pathology sales, hospital equipment sales, medical equipment sales, medical device sales, surgical supply sales, cellular or molecular products sales, or one of the other many niches in healthcare sales, management, and marketing. That’s a lot of looking, and it can get pretty specific, so I often conduct internet searches…through Twitter (and I’m not the only one), Facebook, LinkedIn, and sometimes, just a basic Google.
If you’d like a chance to be contacted by me (although this applies to any job-seeker in any industry), here’s a piece of advice:
Please make sure your online photo is professional.
Not necessarily professionally done, but that you appear to be a professional in it.
I’ve posted before about the necessity of cleaning up your Facebook pages for public consumption, especially if you’re in a job hunt, but this is one step further. Your online pages are often your first opportunity to make a great impression. Use it wisely.
Meg Guiseppi has some nice thoughts on making sure that your online photo sends the right personal branding message. She thinks you should put some put some effort into getting a great photo and then using only that one across all social media, so that it becomes an established part of your brand message.
Speaking of personal branding, Dan Schwabel also has some good tips on using social media to get a job. Click and read. He writes that you should be both proactive and reactive…meaning be active and look, but also position yourself online where people can find you, and make yourself a candidate that recruiters want to call.
I get a lot of great comments from my readers, which I love. One of these was a response to MySpace Killed the Candidate…critical job interview tip, in which I told the cautionary tale of one of my candidates leaving too much information on her MySpace page and losing a job opportunity: avoid such issues by “setting your social networks to private.” I agree that it is best to set your social network sites to private, and be careful who you accept as a friend.
Still, there are things to keep in mind: like, how much of your stuff automatically gets shared when you interact with a new application? And…even if you are vigilant about keeping up with your privacy settings, your friends can inadvertently share your private information with third parties very easily. Mary Madden has a great discussion of issues like these in Securing Private Data from Internet ‘Zombies.’ There’s also a great stream of comments to go with it. I highly suggest you read it.
Online social networks can be great for boosting your career and job search, so I’m not saying “don’t use them,” I’m just saying “use them wisely”. Aside from the biggies like FaceBook and MySpace, LinkedIn is tailored for career networks and job-searching applications. Tech Crunch’s article Nine Ways to Build Your Own Social Network offers a list of nine up-and-coming “white label” social networking platforms and explains what each of them does. They could prove very useful.
Critical advice: you should Google yourself (with all the possible versions of your name) once in a while to see what’s out there about you. Is your online identity sabotaging your executive job search? explains that employers and executive recruiters will Google you, and you need to know what they will find. What kind of online presence do you have? Ideally, you should have a positive one, with the number of search results correlating with your years of experience. (It’s a personal branding issue.)
(This information applies to everyone in medical sales, laboratory sales, clinical diagnostics sales, pathology sales, imaging sales, medical device sales, medical supplies sales, pharmaceutical sales, DNA products sales, molecular products sales, cellular products sales, biotechnology products sales, or any area of healthcare sales, marketing, and management.)