MSL and medical sales coach

Real strategies for landing MSL and Medical Sales jobs


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Where do you start when writing your resume for the MSL role?

Stop submitting your resume into the black holeI am asked almost daily for “tips” on writing resumes for the MSL role and how to overcome the challenge of not having existing MSL experience. The job search and interview process is complicated and impacted by many factors. It is a process, and there are no shortcuts. Your resume is the foundation your job search is built upon. It will have a direct impact on every aspect of your search. The views I share on resume writing, the job search and interview process are based on what I experience first-hand as I coach aspiring MSLs into their first jobs. Why am I so confident that a pro-active approach works? Because I see the results – beginning with writing the resume up to the point a job offer is accepted. In the last week three of my coaching clients landed their first MSL jobs. Each candidate was very different; one a M.D., one a Pharm.D. and one a Ph.D. Because each person is different, each resume will be different. Below are some general tips to consider when writing a resume for MSL jobs.

First, understand the role, not just what the job description says. While the focus of the MSL role may be the same, every company uses their MSL teams slightly differently. Yes, you will build relationships with KOLs, but what is the point of those relationships?

Second, look at your background objectively. What are your differentiators from other PhDs, MDs, PharmDs as they relate to the MSL role? Differentiators equate to your special features. Experience in areas like clinical research, managed care, protocol development, clinical education, and specific therapeutic expertise are some of the features that sought after.

Next, look at the layout of your resume. Will the reader have to search to put the pieces together? If you make someone work to understand your background they will likely move on to the next resume. Keep it basic and straightforward. Complicated formats are distracting and confusing.

My goal is to keep job history content to two pages if possible. Publications and presentations can be included on additional pages. There is no universal rule for how long a resume should be, but keep in mind too much detail is just as detrimental as a lack of detail.

A well-developed resume will help you in the interview process. Initial interviews last 20 – 30 minutes. If you spend 15 of the 20 minutes trying to explain your background because your resume is confusing, you will not be able to answer the other questions they interviewer needs to ask.

Questions about your job search challenges? Ask Elizabeth, the MSL job search specialist, resume writer, and interview coach. Elizabeth@clinicalstrategist.com

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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 jane.doe@yahoo.com 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. Elizabeth@clinicalstrategist.com, co-author of Breaking into Medical Sales – Your Guide to Success. http://www.clinicalstrategist.com/breaking-into-medical-sales.html


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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.
Elizabeth@clinicalstrategist.com


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What companies hire Medical Science Liaisons with no experience?

Picture pillsHave you found yourself scratching your head trying to figure out which companies hire MSLs with no previous MSL experience? Landing that first MSL job can feel like a daunting challenge, especially in today’s highly competitive job market.

There is good news though. Almost every pharmaceutical company will hire MSLs with no existing experience. That said there are always specific jobs that require certain backgrounds and experience. As a job search coach, I have yet to find a single company that will not hire new MSLs. All companies have extensive training programs that even experienced MSLs go through.

You are unlikely to find a MSL job posting that doesn’t require experience, but be assured MSLs get jobs without existing experience. In the last few months I have coached multiple MSL candidates into MSL jobs with no experience. They include:

  • Ph.D. with preclinical research to MSL in major pharmaceutical company
  • M.D. to MSL in major pharmaceutical company
  • Ph.D. with pharmaceutical industry research scientist to MSL in large biotech company
  • Ph.D. with technical sales to MSL position in pharmaceutical company
  • Ph.D. Postdoc Associate to MSL position in biotechnology company
  • Pharm.D. into MSL position at small pharmaceutical company

It is important to target key hiring managers directly. Their focus is on filling the needs of their division, 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 MSL job take the time to build a good foundation (resume) and develop a strategy that will get you noticed. I have coached dozens of MSL candidates with no experience into MSL jobs. It can be done.

Do you have questions about your job search or the MSL career? Ask Elizabeth, the MSL job search specialist, resume writer, and interview coach.

Elizabeth@clinicalstrategist.com


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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 – http://www.clinicalstrategist.com/breaking-into-medical-sales.html.

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.

Elizabeth@clinicalstrategist.com


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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.
Elizabeth@clinicalstrategist.com


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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
Elizabeth@clinicalstrategist.com