Linda Hertz Group

My Medical Device Sales Career

The Strategic CAREER Hunt For The Employed

I was struck the past couple of weeks by currently employed people, with no fear of an impending layoff, responding to a few of the jobs I had posted.  There was nothing wrong with the jobs, but there was a whole lot wrong with why THEY would be interested in them!  In fact, as they shared with me the other company names and jobs they were in process with, I could only ask, "Why?"  Many did not have a clear answer.  The others had a vague feeling or a partially thought-out response, "I need to reduce my travel" or I heard, "I feel stagnant." Some said the classic, "I need to make more money."  At this point I know they all had one thing in common; they have not done their homework to do an effective CAREER HUNT, they were merely doing a JOB HUNT.  Let me explain the difference.

When one does not have a Job, they are certainly in a Job Hunt mode; they need a job and most want and should try to find one as quickly as possible!  So they FIRST dive head first into the job rubble; picking through the pile of job postings from hiring companies and recruiters alike on multiple job boards and etc,.  Certainly they would like to find their dream job, but they are not in a power position of having a job while looking, let alone THE TIME it takes to do a true CAREER HUNT.  Career Hunting takes a lot of time; Job Hunting not so much.

Most people, even those that are not unemployed, approach finding a new career the same way; doing a Job Hunt. They hunt for jobs like shopping for a pair of jeans and perhaps with less thought; it's would be like trying on EVERY pair of pants without any regard for what style or design one likes before shopping.  The unemployed have a reason to approach the job market in this manner, after all, if you don't have any pants, I am sure something is better than the alternative.. baring everything and having no pants at all!  They frantically try on all the pants and will try to make it work.  A little tight? I can lose the weight!  A little short?  I will just wear flats or, if you are like most guys, who cares? They think that perhaps wearing dark socks will hide the obvious!  It doesn't feel right, but at least it covers the essentials!  It gets even more confusing if a recruiter calls you and throws another pair of pants for you to try on!  Maybe I can make that work!  You see, these people have mistakenly put picking out a Job the FIRST thing they do and often that is all they will get, just a Job.  A Career Strategist makes the actual Job Hunt the LAST thing they do.  

A STRATEGIC CAREER HUNT requires a good deal of homework BEFORE you even look for a pair of jeans...I mean job.  Certainly the unemployed should try to incorporate Strategic Career Hunt strategy in the attempt to find a job, but the unemployed don't have the time to do it correctly and let it unfold over time (If you are unemployed, you may want to read a suggested strategy piece I wrote a few months ago, More Downsizing's; Unemployed and In The Wrong Pond?) .  The process can take up to a year or two.  Why?  Because you are not going to merely look for an open job and then hope it fits or try to make it fit.  You are turning the tables around, you are going to determine exactly what companies (by name and division) you want to work for, and the job you want within those companies FIRST, before you even see if they have an open job. 



  1. Build out the type and quality of life you want (PLEASE read my earlier Blog, 2 Questions That Can Turn Your Life and Career Around: The Post It ...).  This exercise is the foundation of your Career Strategy!
  2. Select a company that is centered upon solid earnings, growth and has products that are going to be needed now and in the future, as well as a pipeline of new products to stay relevant in a quickly changing world.  This lends itself to yet another Blog I will write next, Selecting Companies that Will Survive and Thrive!  Think about it, just 10 years ago Kodak was profitable.  On January 19th, 2012 Kodak declared Bankruptcy.  Did this just happen? No, they have only had one profitable year since 2004!  Look at Boston Scientific's terrible earning and sales growth for several quarters now; go with a STRONG company, not one getting weaker.  Pharma? Talk about a go nowhere just don't go there! You need to stay on top of the medical news!
  3. Determine the TYPE of products that you would want to sell and the type of customers you would enjoy calling upon. There is a huge difference between selling Medical Capital Equipment, Medical Devices, Medical Disposables and certainly pharma.  If it kills you to get up early, then a Cardiovascular Sales Job in the Operating Room is probably not for you!  Calling on Long Term Care Nursing Homes is way different than working GPO's and IDN's within the Acute Care Market Place.  Nursing Call point vs. Physician and etc.
  4. Identify the type of Company Culture you would enjoy working within and then begin the investigation of which company provides it.  Conversely, make sure you identify the company culture that you would hate to work within and stay away from it, regardless of how many millions they will pay you to work there!  Let me give you an example, some Stryker Sales Reps. (Orthopedics) can make over $300,000 per year (albeit they laid off 1,000 people just a few weeks ago!), but aside from that downsizing, at Stryker you better thrive in a very competitive environment and understand if you don't are FIRED in rather short order!  It is a hard driving performance oriented Orthopedic company and the reps. live with not yearly performance but extreme pressure for monthly performance.  Other companies thrive on a more friendly relationship sale, like coloplast or other Wound Care Companies, but pay far less then their aggressive counterparts in Spine or Cardiovascular.
  5. Understand the Career Path of your current job and the job you eventually want to aspire to in the near and far future.   For example, you don't take a Pharmaceutical Job after selling copiers to eventually get into medical device sales.  You don't leave your Sales Job of 5 years when you are next in line to be a District Sales Manger (a Position you want) to hop to another company because the sales job there pays more money!  Career advancement is usually built upon a logical sequence of jobs that builds expertise and knowledge required for the next promotion or outside job opportunity.

Is your head spinning yet?  You may be thinking, "Wow, this is a lot more work than just interviewing for a bunch of jobs when a recruiter calls!"  Please think again, perhaps it will save you a good deal of time when that recruiters job  clearly doesn't fit your overall career strategy.  You already know those pants won't be a fit, so why bother trying them on?  When you have done the homework, you are ready for the next CAREER move by finding the Job that fits you!


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Started by Devin Hanson in Ask Linda Jun 14, 2020. 0 Replies


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