Linda Hertz Group

My Medical Device Sales Career

3 Steps To Building a Great Career Strategy; It’s All In Making The Right Moves!

Do you ever wonder why some people end up making 200K per year or more and others, if they are lucky, making 100K or less per year in the Medical Sales arena? Do you think it is luck, happenstance, serendipity, the moon and stars aligning just right for the high earnings individual?

Maybe money is not your motivator, so plug in whatever is your ultimate career goal, now ask yourself; are you on the path to attain it? If your answer to that question is “no” or "I don’t know” or worse, “you don’t have a career goal”, then I would encourage you to learn the art of developing a career strategy and then executing it!

Some people brush off the career strategy concept as “someone got lucky and they were at the right spot at the right time”. Yes, luck can come into play, but almost every successful person I have interviewed over the years has consciously built a career strategy; every promotion or job move was careful planned AND their resume reflects it! Building a great career is very much like playing a game of Chess or Checkers; you must make the right short term moves while ultimately understanding where those moves will position you later to win the game.

When recruiters or hiring managers (which I have been both) look at a resume, we are looking for career strategy build. Yes, your resume does reflect your career strategy or lack thereof! If your resume is reflecting a conflicted or illogical pattern of career changes, then you are actually creating a critical blemish on your resume, one that is difficult to correct immediately, but can be done perhaps over time.

Career strategy basics is understanding that every decision we make in life sets us upon a certain path: deciding not to attain a college degree one path, gaining a degree another path, garnering a degree that is “career setting” (i.e.; Accountant, Registered Nurse, Physical Therapist, Pharmacist, Physician, Dietician, Engineering, Attorney and etc.) is yet another career move.

For most of us in “sales” we selected one of those “other degrees”; Business, Marketing, Advertising, Retail, Journalism, Kinesiology or anything else that did not train you for a specific career. Yes, we do see that occasional 4 year (BSN) who decides they want to sell medical devices or that rare Pharmacist that wants to sell pharmaceuticals, but for the most part the rest of us have to create a critical career path through the Jobs we decide “to take and not take” and to make sure we perform if not excel in each!

This means you don’t take the job that necessarily pays the most money, but the job that reflects the strategy of where you ultimately want to be! I call it the career decision tree; one decision leading to another yet all leading to the ultimate career goal. If you do not understand your ultimate career goal, then stop, freeze frame and pick a target! Without knowing your career goal, your work life will reflect your hapless decisions and can paint you into a career growth corner!

When I am conducting an interview and a resume appears to have a lack of career strategy, I often will hear these type of responses when I ask them why they changed jobs: “my cousin Vinnie called me and it seemed like a good deal” or, “my old boss called me and I went to his new company” or, “a recruiter called me about a great job opportunity and I took it because it was more money”. One other big non-long term strategy move is: “I took the job because it got me out of a bad situation from the previous job”. Hello! What strategy is that? Do I hear “none”? It should, it is screaming from every room in the career house!

A resume does reflect the career strategy or conversely the career floundering of its’ owner! I often will hear from the career flounder, “but I learned my lesson, I WILL stay more than two years in the next job!” or “I am older now and I REALLY know what I want and having a new job every year for the past 6 years really helped me discover myself”. As I tell those folks, “then stay where you are, perform well, and get at least 5 years under your belt; Your resume must reflect your new desire to stay put”!

3 Steps to Building a Career Strategy

  1. Setting Career Goals: Determine what type of industry, job and position you would like to be in within the next 5, 10 and 20 years or more (depending on your current career stage).
  2. Review Your Career Path: Take a hard look at your current resume and ask yourself; why did I select that job? How did I perform in my job? Why did I change jobs each time (more money, better company, better advancement opportunities and etc.)? How long did I stay at each and if I did not stay longer than 3 or 4 years, why?
  3. Critical Self Assessment: Now look at the work you did in step 1 and 2 above and ask yourself (after taking some real strong truth serum), “am I going to make it to my goals with my current career path build”? If the answer is yes, then congratulations! If the answer is no, then you have some work to do!

I suggest going through this exercise once per year to revisit your goals and your career path; do you need to make adjustments to either side of the formula? Are you on track or do changes need to be made? I still do this same exercise as it relates to my own career, for me the most relaxing time is around Thanksgiving vacation, I take a few moments to sit back and reflect and do the 3 Steps outlined above. I have done this for years!

When I was in the corporate world, not only did I do the 3 Step exercise, but I also updated the resume so it was ready to go at a moment’s notice if needed. One thing was for certain, if I needed to make changes to the strategy; I made the changes and EXECUTED it!

Now the chess piece is in your hands, make the moves that will ultimately help you attain your career and life goals!

©Linda Hertz, All Rights Reserved

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