When I started this blog, I was much better about updating it. I used to get asked all the time "How do I get into the pharmaceutical industry?" Since I didn't have time to stop and talk to everyone during the work day, I created this blog so I could refer people to all the links to companies and recruiters that would help them in their job search.
Jump forward to January 2009. I, along with thousands of others, lost my job as a drug rep. I put the blog on hold for the most part so I could find a new job. Jump forward to March 2011. I have now been at my new job as a drug rep for 6 months. New company, less money, good management, happy me.
Many of my friends are still looking, either within the pharma/medical industry or in other industries. This is a list of things I have learned during my prolonged job search that I wish someone had told me back in January 2009. Although I worked in commission only medical sales during the 20 months I was out of the industry, I still enjoy pharmaceutical sales and hope to stay with my current company for a long time. Of course, the industry (and economy) has changed and there is no such thing as a stable job...so feel free to use these tips or pass them along. I hope they help.1. Positive Attitude can go a long way
The company you are interviewing with doesn't want to hear anything negative. Your friends don't really want to hear anything negative. Your family probably would rather not hear anything negative. So try to be positive and spin things that way.2. Use all websites that are available.
This means Indeed.com and Monster and Jobs.com and all of the company websites that provide the ability to create job-bots. Let these sites do some of the work for you. They'll deliver to your email box a list of links with jobs that fulfill the criteria that you pick (location, skills, etc).3. Use social networking: Part 1 - Linkedin.com
I used LinkedIn.com, Twitter, Facebook etc. Each has its own niche. For LinkedIn, if I knew of a position that was open, I'd see if my network allowed me to contact (for free) anyone who worked for that company. Then, I'd contact 2-3 (or more) to see if I could talk live or via email to find out insight on the company and the position. This is helpful when interviewing since anyone can read the annual report or go do a Google search. Now you have to go further to stand out. You can also join groups that will post openings specific to your location or industry. Joining groups also will allow you to send messages to group members (for free) that might be useful in the job search (as previously mentioned). You can also follow companies that will occasionally update their feed or show new hires. LinkedIn also has job postings that are worth checking out. The postings will usually have a contact that you can initiate contact with through the site. FYI, I never paid a dime for LinkedIn, though I know people that have and you always have that option.4. Use social networking: Part 2 - Twitter
For Twitter, there are recruiters and companies that will post openings. You can also share experiences with others that are searching and do some of your research. Some of the twitter feeds that you can follow will link to articles that you won't be able to easily find about companies or industries that might be hiring. 5. Use social networking: Part 3 - Facebook
Facebook has recruiters that will post openings. You can also follow companies. You can search to see if you can find people working at your targeted company. You can use your network to see if they know people at certain companies. Personally, I didn't find Facebook as useful as LinkedIn for the job search, but it was great for positive reinforcement from my friends/relatives. This is also a great help.6. Use old fashioned networking
Use your friends and family to help. I found out that a cousin worked for one of my target companies. This led to a resume getting to someone that I could never have done on my own. The job that I ended up getting was a direct result of having an old friend and eventual coworker vouch for me during the interview process. It's not enough to know someone at the company. Sometimes, they need to be willing to vouch for you as a trustworthy hard working producer. There are other examples I could give, but you get the idea.7. Never stop looking until you accept an offer.
When I got my new job, I was talking to 6 different companies. I learned my lesson early on to never stop the search. There were a few jobs that I had gone to the final interview and aced it. But you never know what might happen. Maybe an internal candidate (that you didn't know about) will get the position. Maybe someone else did even better. Bottom line, you don't have a job until you have a job.8. Don't limit your search to the same type of job you had.
Maybe there's a reason to look at what type of jobs your skill set might be suited for...Is your industry downsizing across the board? As a pharmaceutical rep, the industry has dropped from 120,000 to around 50,000 over the past 5 years. Is this a growth industry anymore? Not really. However, there are many jobs that are glad to utilize your skill set. Look at Physician Liaison positions, Hospital marketing positions, Recruiting, Medical sales, etc. There are other types of positions out there worth checking out. Have multiple resumes to help you target other job types that highlight your general skills.9. Remember that you can sometimes create a job.
Depending on how strong your connections are, you might be able to uncover a need and talk to your connections about creating a job that fills that need. For example, say you called on a large OBGyn practice that is still interested in growth. You could be their marketing rep and call on the doctors in the community, highlighting the OBGyn practice and the things they offer.10. Talk to as many recruiters/headhunters that you can find
Some of these folks specialize in certain companies that you'll never hear about. These are the companies worth looking into because they are in growth stages (compared to the rest of the industry). The trick is you don't know which recruiter works with which companies so it's worth talking to many. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't. But you have to utilize all resources - and this is a good one.
I hope these are helpful. Please feel free to offer up some others or share you experiences. In the meantime, for those who are looking, I wish you luck.
Labels: job search, links, pharma sales, social networking, tips