MSL and medical sales coach

Real strategies for landing MSL and Medical Sales jobs

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Trying to land a medical sales job? Start by thinking of yourself as a product.

Picture ideaDoes your resume make a strong case for why a hiring manager should pick up the phone and interview you? What features do you possess that make you a better candidate than the other 200 people who also want the job? Are you highlighting the wrong features about yourself? These are all important questions that you should consider when developing a resume. Take an objective look at your resume and ask yourself, what makes me special? How am I demonstrating my ability to help a manager achieve his goals? Is this information easily relayed in 10 seconds or less? Yes, 10 seconds. That is how long you have to grab a hiring manager’s attention.

Once your resume has been opened and passed over, you will never get the chance to impress that hiring manager again. A well-developed professionally written resume will not only help you land interviews faster, it will make the interview process easier. If you are applying to jobs and not landing interviews, it may be time to evaluate your resume. Remember, the hiring manager is comparing you to 100s of other candidates. How confident are you that your resume truly stands out?

Questions about your resume or the medical sales job search process? Ask Elizabeth, the medical sales job search expert.

Elizabeth Danford, resume writer, interview coach, and job search strategist

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Wondering what you can do to land medical sales interviews?

Picture - success in business - femaleIs a new medical / pharmaceutical sales job one of your goals for 2014?  As with any resolution, to achieve the goal requires action and change.  If you have been in a job search, how long is too long before you decide to change your strategy?  Over the last five years, the medical sales role has experienced significant changes.  The way companies hire medical sales teams have also changed.  The job search strategies used five years ago simply don’t work in this extremely competitive job market.

You may feel like you have no control over your search, but you do.  The job search process can be broken down into three basic areas.

1.)     Your resume – it is your foundation.  It is worth investing in professional resume writing services.  A good resume cannot guaranty you an interview, but a bad resume can guaranty you won’t get one.  A good resume will make the interview process easier as well.  It should tell your story as it relates to the jobs you are targeting.

2.)    The job search process – who is seeing your resume?  If you are sending resumes to, there is a 3% chance it will ever be seen by a hiring manager.  Less than 10 out every 600 resumes submitted on-line are seen by a hiring manger.  Even if you are a perfect candidate for the job, the odds are against you.  Sending resumes directly to high level hiring managers will solve this problem.

3.)    The interview – if you find yourself interviewing with more than 2 or 3 companies and not receiving offers, it is time to get interview coaching.  You may be confident in your interview skills, but there is a reason you are not receiving offers and it needs to be identified before you lose other opportunities.  Remember, the interviewer had your resume and knew your background before you walked into the meeting.  If he wanted someone with more experience he would not have taken the time to interview you.

Where are you getting stuck?  Little changes make a huge difference.  Last year was busier than ever with medical sales rep hiring.  Some of the candidates I successfully coached included:

  • A Director from large pharma who had his resume rewritten to interview for an internal promotion.  The revised version brought clarity to his history and helped him land the promotion.
  • A National Sales Director who had been displaced.  He was able to land a new position in six weeks using our coaching strategies.
  • A mortgage broker who had tried to land a medical sales job for over a year.  He received an offer in 11 weeks.
  • A B2B rep landed a surgical sales job.
  • A displaced pharmaceutical rep from big pharma.  Landed in pharmaceutical sales job in four months after looking for over two years.
  • A customer service rep landed a job in sales for a small biotechnology company.

The common thread for each of them was that they decided to take control of their job search.  My expertise is in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and healthcare industries.  My resume writing, job search guidance, and interview coaching services are focused on what works for job seekers in the current job market.  If you are experiencing challenges in your job search, email me directly to schedule a consultation.  My recently published (online) job search guidebook “Breaking into Medical Sales – Your Guide to Success” is available as a PDF file on our website and can be downloaded immediately.

Kind regards,

Elizabeth Danford

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Trying to land a medical sales job? Changing your strategy will help you do it faster.

What does your job search look like?  Do you wake up each morning, check your email, search job boards, complete online applications, check your email again, network with friends, and wait?  Are you being held hostage by lack of results?  Have you ever thought to yourself, “There must be a better way”?

When traditional job search methods don’t work, you begin to feel stuck.  The methods that worked five years ago simply don’t work in the current job market.  The approach companies use to hire new employees has changed dramatically.  This means that the savvy job seeker will change the way they approach the job search as well.  To get noticed you have to be more create with your approach.  If you are trying to find a job in medical sales, demonstrate your ability to get past the gatekeeper by sending your resume to a hiring manager.

Take the time to evaluate the key elements in your job search.

How confident are you that your resume is the best it can be?  (How do you compare to the other 299 people submitting resumes?)

Who is seeing your resume?  (Less than 5% of resumes submitted online make it to a hiring manager’s desk.)

Are you getting interviews but no offers?  (If you hear the same excuses more than twice you should evaluate your interview skills.)

Everyone faces job search challenges.  Don’t let your challenges come between you and your dream job.

Interested in jump starting your job search?  “Breaking into Medical Sales – Your Guide to Success” is now available through our website.

Do you have questions about your resume or job search challenges?, the medical sales job search specialist.

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Congratulations to Jane for receiving her Ph.D. and an MSL job offer in the same week

Picture - success in business - femaleHoliday congratulations are in order.  December has been an exceptionally busy month on the interview and hiring front.  Many of my clients are in the final interview stages for MSL and medical sales jobs, which is a wonderful way to close out the year.  In particular I want to congratulate “Jane”, who received her Ph.D. and a job offer as an MSL in the same week.  Jane decided to pursue Medical Science Liaison positions prior to graduating and contacted me in late August for resume writing and coaching services.  Four weeks later she had her first interview.  Her decisiveness paid off.  She will start her new position in January.  Is your goal a new job for next year?  Just wishing and hoping will not make it happen.  Make a plan now and decide what you need to do to make it happen.

Questions about how to change the direction of your job search?  Contact, resume writer, interview coach, MSL and Medical Sales job search expert

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Should you put your job search on hold during the holidays?

picture - holiday blogIf you have put your job search on hold because you think that companies are not focused on hiring activity during the holidays, you are losing out on opportunities.  Over the last three years I have had several coaching clients who had final interviews and job offers during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Many companies are even more focused on their staffing initiatives to get a jump start on the new year.  Last week 3 MSL coaching clients had first interviews with companies and 2 medical sales clients had interviews with multiple companies.  This week is no different with a Ph.D. who just defended her dissertation going to a final interview for a Medical Science Liaison position.  Don’t let the holiday season lull you into missing great potential job opportunities.

Let’s face it, come January 1, everyone wants to get started with their job search.  Waiting only means more competition!

Is it time to update your resume?  Contact Elizabeth, resume writer, interview coach, Medical Sales & MSL job search specialist.

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Important tips for anyone trying to land a medical sales job.

Not a day goes by that I am not contacted by a frustrated job seeker who has hit a wall while searching for a medical sales job.  If you analyze the steps in your job search, there are three basic areas that people get “stuck”.  Don’t get discouraged, each challenge has a solution.  Start by identifying which area you are having problems with.  I have coached 100s of candidates from all backgrounds who have successfully landed medical sales jobs.  Understanding the job search process and how to overcome your specific challenges is essential.  I created the Strategic Guide for Landing Medical Sales Jobs to help job seekers land medical sales jobs faster by overcoming their job search challenges.

Issue # 1 – Not getting interviews.  You apply to dozens of jobs online and still don’t get called for interviews.

PROBLEM:  Your resume.  SOLUTION:  Evaluate your resume and fix it!  It has to pass the 12 second test – once the resume is opened you will have 12 seconds or less of the reader’s attention.  How do you stack up against the competition (the other 299 people who also submitted resumes)?

Issue # 2 – Your resume isn’t being seen by a hiring manager. 

PROBLEM:  Your resume is being screened out during the online application process.  You receive automated rejections without a human ever opening the resume.  SOLUTION:  Send your resume directly to hiring managers.  Do not leave your fate up to a computer system designed to eliminate as many candidates as possible.  On average less than 10 of every 500 resumes submitted will ever make it to the hiring manager’s desk.

Issue # 3 – Getting interviews but no job offers. 

PROBLEM:  You land interviews but continue to get stuck at the same place in the interview process.  SOLUTION:  If you get rejected after the 2nd or 3rd interview by more than three companies, it is time to get professional interview coaching.  Interviewing is not easy.  Every part of the interview is crucial.  Are you bringing your brag book out at the wrong time? Asking ordinary questions?  Not closing?  Closing too hard?  Identify the issue and fix it before you lose another opportunity.

What are your job search issues?  Ask Elizabeth, the medical sales job search specialist.


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Free booklet on how to break into medical sales – available now

Breaking into medical sales free guidebookI am asked for “tips” on how to break into medical sales on a daily basis.  The answer is both simple and not so simple.  Landing a medical sales job is a challenge even for experienced reps, which can make landing your first medical sales job seem daunting.  The strategies I use in my coaching program are proven effective.  Everyone needs a sound strategy to be successful in a job search.  I have put together a short electronic guide booklet with tips for breaking into medical sales.  It outlines the same strategy I use when coaching clients.  It is now free to anyone trying to land a medical sales job.  Please email me at to get your copy today.

Elizabeth Danford, Resume Writer & Interview Coach, Job Search Strategist Specializing in Medical Device & Pharmaceutical Sales and MSL positions


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The job market has changed, has your job search strategy?

Five years ago, everyonJob search funnele searched for jobs the exact same way, by responding to job postings and waiting for someone to call.  If you have not changed your job search strategy to reflect the new job market, you are probably going to be looking for a very long time.

Is this what your job search looks like?  Are you one of the 300 resumes going in the large end of a funnel and hoping that you will be one of the few selected to interview?  As you can see, your odds aren’t very good in this model.  Most job seekers don’t realize there are other ways to conduct a job search.  They simply do what they were taught and what worked in the past.  These methods simply don’t work in the current competitive job market.

 Think of how different your job search would be if you bypassed the initial screening process and sent straight to decision makers.

 Once you are in a job search, you become a product.  Good sales people always sell their products directly to decision makers!

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Scary medical sales interview questions – “What is your greatest weakness?”

Pic - interview question

“What is your greatest weakness?”  This simple question can send tremors of fear through even the most confident of candidates.  Why is it so scary?  People try to make answering this question harder than it needs to be.  Most people fear that admitting a weakness will reduce their chances of landing the job.  The reality is just the opposite.  Properly answered, you gain the hiring manager’s respect and differentiate yourself from the other candidates.  Let’s face it, everyone has a weakness. 

You can make this question work for you.  I don’t recommend trying to outwit the interviewer by giving him a worn answer like “I don’t have a work / life balance.”  Hiring managers are smart and view that type of answer as a way of avoiding the question.  A hiring manager is looking for self-awareness – weaknesses can only be managed if you recognize them. 

This simple process will help you understand the question and answer it in a productive way.

  1.  Identify your weakness. WEAKNESS:  You are a control freak and don’t always trust others to do their part of a project as well as you could.
  2. Evaluate how that weakness can or does impact your job performance.  IMPACT:  You try and take on too much work and are not viewed as a team player.    
  3. Identify how you manage your weakness so that it does not have a negative impact on your job performance.

Revised answer to the question:  “My greatest weakness is that I am too much of a perfectionist and tend to want to control all aspects of a project to ensure it meets my quality standards.  I’ve learned that this is not only unrealistic, but also unfair to other team members because it limits their ability to learn and contribute.  I now manage this by focusing on doing my part of the project by my standards and supporting other team members as needed.  I have come to respect the fact that they are qualified or would not have been a part of the team.  Other people’s methods and views are as equally valid as mine.”

The above answer shows self-awareness, deals with the weakness head-on, and demonstrates maturity in the acknowledgement and management of the weakness. 

What are your job search challenges?  Connect with Elizabeth Danford, Medical Sales Job Search Specialist, Interview Coach, Resume Writer, & Candidate Advocate.

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Are you tired of submitting your resume into a black hole? There is a solution.

The most common frustration I hear from job seekers is the lack of response they receive from companies once they submit their resumes online.  In some cases a rejection email will arrive minutes after submitting Stop submitting your resume into the black holean application.   Over 50% of the rejection letters sent to job applicants are automatically generated by a computer based on the information input during the application process.  For every job posted there are an average of 300 resumes submitted.  Less than 10 of every 500 resumes submitted will make it to a hiring managers desk.  With odds like this, landing a medical sales job can seem more like a fantasy than a realistic goal.

You can dramatically increase your chance of landing an interview by ensuring that your resume is seen by a true decision maker.  Move away from the time consuming and frustrating cycle of submitting resumes online (and into the black hole) by identifying key decision makers at pharmaceutical and medical device companies and emailing your resume to them directly.  Show a hiring manager that you have initiative and know how to get past the gatekeeper (isn’t that what sales is all about) by emailing your resume directly to him.

Clinical Strategies & Resume Writing is pleased to announce that The Strategic Job Search Guide for Medical Sales is now available.  This game changing guidebook teaches you how to develop an effective job search strategy and provides step by step instructions on how to identify key decision makers AND find their email addresses.  It provides the tools to market yourself (yes, you are a product) to companies, increasing your chances of landing one of the mysterious “hidden jobs”.  How many times have you read that 40% of all jobs filled are never posted anywhere.  This process gives you access to those unadvertised jobs by teaching you to focus on companies and not only on job postings.

Changing your job search strategy will change your job search results.

Contact Elizabeth Danford, the medical sales job search expert, coach, resume writer, and candidate advocate for more information.  The guidebook is available electronically and can be purchased for $27.00.