MSL and medical sales coach

Real strategies for landing MSL and Medical Sales jobs

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MSL hiring is at an all-time high. What can you do to land a MSL job before the end of this year?

Picture - success in business - femaleYou see the job postings, you dutifully apply to them, and then you wait. How many hours have you spent filling out online job applications only to receive automated rejections with minutes of completing the application? How are other people landing their first MSL jobs?
Keep reading if you are ready to take control of your job search and see positive results from your activity. First, understand that by searching and applying via the online process, you are conducting what I call a “passive” job search. These traditional methods of applying work well if you are an experienced candidate who is an exact match to the job description. Most candidates, even with experience, will not be an exact match. Your resume is not likely to be seen by a human unless you meet at least 8 of 10 listed criteria.

By-passing this traditional online application process is the key to being successful in your job search. Focus on sending your resume to a true decision maker. A high level hiring manager has a scientific / medical background and speaks your language. When they read your resume, they understand what you have done and how it relates to the MSL role. Their focus is on building a successful team and they are not worried that you only possess 6 of the 10 bullet points listed in the job description. (Over 40% of all jobs filled are never even posted!) All companies train on the job and their products / pipeline.

Before starting your new pro-active job search focused on introducing yourself to hiring managers, be sure you have the right foundation in place. Your resume is the foundation. You will only have about 10 seconds of a reader’s time when they open your resume. What do they need to know in that first 10 seconds? Is it easy to understand your background at a glance? A well-written resume will also make the interview easier by keeping you focused and reducing the amount of time used explaining various areas of your background.

Once your resume is developed, identify hiring managers at 10 companies that hire MSLs. Develop a brief email introducing yourself and how you fit with the MSL role. Email your resume directly to those 10 hiring managers. You will be surprised at how receptive they are to candidates who take the initiative to reach out to them directly. After all, you have just demonstrated your ability to get to a key opinion leader!

I will cover the MSL interview process in my next blog. Please feel free to request specific topics as well. Email me directly if you have questions about the MSL role, job search process, or your resume.
Elizabeth Danford, MSL job search specialist, resume writer, and interview coach.

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Is your resume helping or hurting your Medical Sales job search?

Pic - interview questionDo you find yourself scratching your head trying to figure out what it takes to get an interview for a medical sales job? Have you submitted dozens of resumes and not received a single interview? Have you landed interviews but spent most of the interview trying to explain your background as you go through your resume? If you find yourself stuck in your job search, it is probably time to take an objective look at your resume. It is the foundation for your job search. As a tool – is it helping or hurting your job search?

As a specialized resume writer, I review dozens of resumes each month. When I review resumes I try to put myself in the place of a hiring manager. He is busy and may have 300 resumes sitting in his inbox. When he opens a resume, he is going to spend 10 seconds or less deciding if you are a valid candidate. Many times the resumes I read feel more like a puzzle and I am forced to search hard to put the pieces together. A hiring manager will not do that, he will just close the resume. Improve your chances for success by following a few resume writing tips.

Before you write your resume, define yourself as a product. Identify your features and then ask yourself which features are relevant to the medical sales role? (You must have a strong grasp of what features are needed to succeed in medical sales.) When listing accomplishments, be sure they are meaningful. Stay focused and concise. Providing information that is not relevant will distract the reader from seeing the truly important features.

Take into consideration the way the eye and mind process information. Simple details matter. People read from left to right. The most important information should be on the left side of the page. Do you want the reader to see the dates you were employed before seeing your company name and title? The answer to that is no. Be sure they see you are a valid candidate by showing where you work and your job title.

Be sure that the first page relays the essential information. Don’t fill the entire first page of your resume up with education, skills, and overly verbose bullet points trying to make a case for yourself. The reader must be able to start reading your professional experience when the resume is first opened. Don’t make them search multiple pages to get to your job history.

Is it time to update your resume? Who writes it does matter. I specialize in writing resumes for medical sales careers. My extensive knowledge of the medical sales role, the job search and interview process enable me to write high impact resumes that get results. I am able to evaluate your experience and translate your background into terms relevant to the medical sales role. A copy of my medical sales job search guidebook is included with every resume. Email me directly if you have questions about the medical sales role, job search process or your resume.
Elizabeth Danford, medical sales job search specialist, resume writer, and interview coach.

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Trying to land a medical sales job? The details matter.

How effective is your resume?Competition for medical sales jobs is fierce. If you are trying to land a medical / pharmaceutical sales job, it is important to start by building a strong foundation. This includes creating a job search strategy. Your resume is the foundation for your job search. The strategy is how you approach the job search. When it comes to your job search, details matter!
When was the last time you updated your resume? How confident are you that it is professional in appearance and contains relevant information. Remember, things change. What companies look for in sales reps today is not the same as what they looked for five years ago. The industry has changed dramatically and as a sales rep you should be evolving with it. Take the time to email your resume to yourself. Open it. How does it look on your computer screen? Now print it. If you are using a border around the entire page it most likely won’t print well. Remove the border. Is there shading or boxes that don’t show up well when printed? Change them.

Once your resume is opened, evaluate what you see at a glance – it will be viewed for approximately 10 seconds before a reader moves on. Is the hiring manager going to see the information that is most important in that 10 seconds or are you over whelming them with details that won’t be read?
Double check all of your information. I have found phone numbers and email addresses incorrect on a person’s resume. Is your email address professional? Are you still using your college Hotmail or AOL account? These not only date you, but are often routed directly to spam folders. When you set up your email, be sure the “outgoing name” (which is what a hiring manager will see) reflects your name professionally. Simple addresses like work best.
Define a strategy. The more proactive you are the more likely your resume will be seen by a hiring manager. Less than 10 of every 500 resumes submitted online make it to a hiring manager’s desk. Set yourself apart by focusing on marketing yourself to companies and not just submitting to job postings. Over 40% of all jobs filled are never posted anywhere. Don’t be afraid to market yourself to a high level decision maker in a company. By doing so, you have just demonstrated your ability to get past the gatekeeper. That gets a hiring managers attention!

Questions about the medical / pharmaceutical role or your job search challenges? Ask Elizabeth, the medical sales job search specialist, resume writer, and interview coach., co-author of Breaking into Medical Sales – Your Guide to Success.

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Medical Sales resumes – are you telling the right story?

How effective is your resume?I am frequently asked for “tips” on how to write a resume that will get medical sales interviews. Resume writing is complicated. Every person is different and the resume should reflect their experience on an individual level. Below are a few tips that should be factored in with every resume.

Respect the reader’s time. If you make them work to figure out why they should interview you, they will go on to the next resume. Once your resume is opened, you have less than 12 seconds of the reader’s time before they decide to interview or not.

Objectively evaluate your features. Don’t bombard the hiring manager with every feature you possess, instead focus on areas that relate to the job you are targeting. Being a Microsoft Office expert is great, but a hiring manager is more interested in how you sell. Do you identify potential clients? Negotiate contract terms? Break into new accounts? Convert business from competitors? Keep the content relevant so that the hiring manager will spend that 12 seconds reading information that will compel them to interview you.

Avoid being gratuitous – don’t add words just because you think that is what a hiring manager wants to see. If you haven’t done something, don’t try to imply you have.

If you add accomplishments, be sure they are real accomplishments. Being ranked in the top 50% of your sales force is not an accomplishment that is going to make a hiring manager see you as a top performer.

Don’t over complicate your job history. A resume should not be a puzzle where a hiring manager has to put the pieces together. Your history should make sense and be easy to follow. I am not a fan of functional resumes. A well-developed chronological resume shows the path and skills developed that have gotten you to the place you are now.

Questions about your resume or job search challenges? Ask Elizabeth, the medical sales job search specialist, resume writer, and interview coach.

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Who hires medical reps with no experience?

Pic - interview questionHave you found yourself scratching your head trying to figure out which companies hire medical / pharmaceutical sales reps with no previous medical sales experience? Landing that first medical sales job can feel like a daunting challenge, especially in today’s highly competitive job market.

If your strategy is to respond only to job postings, you are fighting an uphill battle because almost all postings will require some level of experience. In reality, almost every company will hire a sales rep with no previous medical / pharmaceutical sales experience (there are always certain positions that require specific experience).

Every company has structured training programs that each rep will go through (experienced or not). Finding companies most likely willing to hire someone with your background is the key to a successful job search. Once you find the right companies to target, it is crucial that you get your resume into the hands of a high level hiring manager. Their focus is on supporting the needs of the sales organization, not matching you against 10 bullet points listed in a job description. Before you approach hiring managers, take the time to ensure your resume is not only professional looking, but relays your strengths and background in ways that are relevant to the job you want. The more you understand what attributes a hiring manager looks for the better you are able to present your background in relevant terms. Don’t let the fact that there is not a job posted stop you from sending your resume to a hiring manager pro-actively. Remember, over 40% of all jobs filled are never posted!

If you are serious about landing a medical sales job take the time to build a good foundation (resume) and develop a strategy that will get you noticed. I have coached 100s of people with no existing medical sales experience into medical sales jobs. It can be done. Learn more about how to market yourself in my easy to understand job search guidebook for medical sales professionals. Everything you need to know to conduct a more effective job search is laid out with easy to read illustrated instructions in “Breaking into Medical Sales – your Guide to Success”. Available only through my website –

Recent success stories include:

  • A B2B rep landing their first medical sales job
  • Insurance sales rep landing medical sales position with major medical device company
  • An experienced pharma rep landing a job in medical product sales
  • A customer service rep (minimal sales) landing a pharmaceutical sales job

Do you have questions about your job search or the medical / pharmaceutical industry? Ask Elizabeth, the medical sales job search specialist, resume writer, and interview coach.

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Does activity equal productivity? Not in a job search.

Does your job search have you feeling like a hamster on a wheel?

Does your job search have you feeling like a hamster on a wheel?

What does your job search look like? Do you spend hours each day searching job boards, submitting resumes to blind job postings and filling out applications on company websites only to find yourself no closer to an interview? This is definitely activity, but is it productivity? The truth is that not all activity is productive. There are some basic strategies that can ensure your job search activity is productive, but it requires changing the way you conduct your job search. Assign a goal to each step of the job search process and you will quickly realize how ineffective your current strategy is.

  • Writing your resume → to get the attention of a hiring manager, to serve as a tool to make the interview easier
  • Submitting your resume to a company website → to generate an interview
  • Phone screen with HR → to land you an interview with a hiring manager

All it takes is a quick analysis of activities and goals and it becomes obvious that the point of every activity is to get in front of a hiring manager. It is very unlikely that this will be accomplished by submitting a resume to a web portal. Notable statistic – Less than 10 of every 500 resumes submitted on-line will ever be seen by a hiring manager. If the goal is to have your resume seen by a hiring manager, why are you starting from the bottom up? For most job seekers the answer is simple – it is the only way they know how to do it. Your goal should be to send your resume to a high level decision maker and let them refer it down. Using this strategy will not only ensure your resume is read, it separates you from the 100s of other candidates competing for the same job. The best part of this strategy is that it allows you to market yourself to a company even if they don’t have jobs posted! Notable statistic – over 50% of jobs filled are never posted anywhere.

Non-posted (or hidden) jobs are found because candidates go to the jobs instead of waiting for the jobs to come to them. Many times it is about timing or becoming a solution before a problem is known. Imagine your resume being opened by the VP of Sales the same day he learns his sales rep is leaving that works in your territory. Maybe they plan on firing a sales rep in your area but can’t post the job or the rep would find out. It really is that simple. When you focus on marketing yourself to companies, you spend your job search time productively.

Questions about your job search?  Ask Elizabeth, specialty resume writer and medical sales and MSL job search specialist.  Helping job seekers achieve their job search goals though development and execution of proactive job search strategies.



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What is standing between you and your next (or first) medical sales job?

Wall picture 2Do you feel like your job search has hit a wall? Are you accepting this or looking for ways to overcome the obstacles?

If you are ready to be more productive in your job search, start with an objective analysis of yourself as a candidate and your overall job search strategy.

First, put yourself in the hiring manager’s seat. What makes you a better candidate for the job than the other 200 people who have also submitted a resume? If you don’t know, how do you expect the hiring manager to know? (Hint – it isn’t because you want the job more than the other candidates.)

Second, email your resume to yourself and open as if you were a hiring manager. Is your email address professional? That is the first impression a hiring manager has of you. In 10 seconds or less can you see what is compelling about your background? Is the resume easy to read when opened? Does it take too much searching to figure out what you have sold and who you sold it to?

Third, ask yourself who is reading your resume. If you are submitting resumes to generic email boxes, there is a good chance no one is reading it. How are you going to be noticed with over 200 resumes to choose from?

The good news is that there are solutions to these challenges.
1) Identify what it is that will make you better at the job than your competitors. View yourself as a product and highlight the relevant features.
2) Update your resume. A good resume is the foundation for your job search. It will help you land interviews and make the interviews easier. If you aren’t getting interviews, consider having it professionally written (yes, I write medical sales resumes).
3) Quit being passive with your job search and create a job search strategy. As a salesperson, you should be selling yourself directly to a buyer (hiring manager). Identify key decision makers in companies and market yourself to them.

Questions about your job search strategy? Ask Elizabeth, the medical sales job search specialist.

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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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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