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.
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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
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.
Your medical sales cover letter must be attention-getting and company-specific. Hiring managers who read your cover letter must feel you wrote your cover letter for them only. This is your official introduction to this company.
Generic cover letters will not do. You must write your cover letter to the company and to the position you want. Remember, your cover letter is supposed to get medical sales hiring managers to want to learn more about you, and what you can do for their company.
Use these tips to write a great cover letter:
- Personalize your cover letter. It takes some time, but it will be time well spent to show hiring managers cover letters and resumes that are geared toward them. Don’t have your first impression be one that shows you don’t care enough about the company to research it.
- Research, research, research! Why are you applying for a job with this particular company? What do you have to offer them? Make your cover letter addressed to someone, not “to whom it may concern.” All the research you do will not go to waste, especially if you are invited to interview.
- The hook of your cover letter should be your medical sales experience. Grab their attention by summing up their need, and how you can fill it. Don’t just cut and paste from your resume. Summarize it, point them to highlights in it, or mention one or two of your most impressive accomplishments.
- Get inspired by their job opening information. Summarize their terms and requirements in your own words to show how well you’ll fit.
- Quantify your medical sales with real numbers, dollars, and percentages. Don’t oversell yourself or exaggerate. Remember, you’ll have to back them up in an interview.
- Be polite, be quick, and professional.
- Spell check and check again. The smallest error will reflect poorly. Sometimes other eyes can see things you don’t, so get another opinion as well.
In closing your cover letter, leave them invigorated with a call to action. Give them a next step, like your phone number to call, or a time in the future you’ll follow up with a call.
If you are sending your resume by email, then your cover letter IS the body of the email....never an attachment.
For more detailed tips and guidance, see Career Confidential’s free Cover Letter download.
No matter what your medical sales specialty and no matter how long you’ve been in medical sales, you’ve got to have a special resume that pops, begs to be read, brags sufficiently, and can’t be put down by hiring managers. Otherwise, how good are you at sales if you can’t sell yourself?
Your medical sales resume is more than just a chronological list of your career history. It is your salesmanship on trial.
Follow these tips to make sure your resume reflects your ability to sell:
- Brainstorm your skills and accomplishments in your medical sales specialty. Don’t leave anything out no matter how small you think it is. You can always cross out or change anything throughout this process.
- Develop a strong objective statement that includes the job you want and why you’d be great at it. Objective statements are so important to communicating to hiring managers how you’ll fit in with their company and help them accomplish their goals. Think of your objective statement as an extremely abbreviated cover letter. (Pretend they won’t read your cover letter…what is most important for you to communicate about your value for this job?)
- Use your brainstorm list to create bullet points detailing your career accomplishments that reflect your ability to sell—don’t embellish or minimize.
- Quantify your accomplishments—don’t just tell what you did, tell what your accomplishments did for companies. Sell yourself by detailing the numbers and statistics that matter to medical sales hiring managers. How much have you sold of what? What was the increase in sales from your work? Where did you rank out of how many on your team, or in your company? How many new customers did you bring in? Your resume should be packed with this kind of information.
If your resume consistently gets you calls for interviews, great. If not, make it stronger using these tips. If you know you need more direction and coaching (along with samples and a perfect selling resume template), check out Career Confidential’s Extreme Resume Makeover Kit. It’s the fastest and easiest way to make sure your resume reflects today’s best practices in medical sales resumes and gets you interviews.