If so, you are not alone. Medreps.com recently polled job seekers to find out what their biggest frustrations about finding a job in medical device sales are. You can see the results of the poll here. The #1 challenge, cited by 38% of survey respondents, was that they had the right experience “but no one calls me back.”
From my perspective as a recruiter, it is not usual for more than half the applicants who apply for job postings to be either inadequately qualified, or to have a glaring shortcoming that is holding them back. So where is the mismatch between my perspective as a recruiter, and the perspectives’ of candidates? Here are a few ideas that might also help job seekers understand why they aren’t getting calls back and also to better target which jobs to apply to.
1. You are either under- or over-qualified. When a job posting says 3-8 years of experience, or 10-15 years of experience, it actually means it. If you have less than half the minimum or more than twice the maximum years of experience specified, you will not be considered a good match. When listing years of experience, companies are intentionally targeting an experience level that fits the levels of training and compensation they offer.
2. Your industry experience is less than ideal. If a job description specified B2B sales experience, and your experience is primarily B2C, you will be seen as a greater risk for transitioning successfully into the new role. Yes, you may have sales experience, but is it from a company or background that the company has experience hiring from with success? Read the job description carefully for clues about what the company is really looking for in terms of industry background.
Sometimes there is greater nuance about industry preference that isn’t entirely clear from the job posting. Look for clues by searching for other people who now work for the company through LinkedIn. See if your background is similar to theirs.
3. You don’t meet the minimum requirements. Yes, minimum requirements do mean something. If the job description says “bachelor’s degree required” (as many medical sales positions do), then it is a true minimum requirement, meaning the company can’t make an exception. If the company makes an exception for one person, and not others, then they could land in hot water with regulatory bodies such as the EEOC.
4. Your resume does not represent your accomplishments well. I used to think having a professional write your resume was extravagant. After having seen many, many bad resumes, I now think that it is often a very good idea for some people. If wordsmithing is not one of your talents, consider enlisting a professional’s help.
Also, your resume should focus on accomplishments, not job duties. If your resume reads like a job description, you have missed the mark. Achievements – evidence of getting the job done – are what get you noticed and hired. For sales people, this often means numbers: percentage to quota and rankings.
5. The single biggest shortcoming I see with candidates who are otherwise qualified is: work history. In other words, job hopping. If you have moved from job to job every 18 months throughout your career, or you have multiple job gaps, this is a concern. A stable work history and a track record of accomplishments to match is what will make your resume rise to the top of the stack. Unfortunately, your work history is what it is. The best remedy for too many job changes is to dig in and be a success where you are now before trying to move on.
If you have all of these things working in your favor, you may just need to apply to more jobs for which you are well qualified. Timing can also play an important role. While applying when a job posting is new can improve your odds, if you see a job that has been posted for a while and your background is a good fit, apply to those jobs as well. They might be waiting to find someone just like you! Every company has certain preferences that comprise their ideal candidate. This may not be evident on the surface, but in time, you are likely to find the right match if you persevere.
“I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.” ~John D. Rockefeller