You may be trying to get a job as a pharmaceutical sales representative or you may be an experienced rep and looking for a new opportunity. You have done your research on the latest industry news, you have had your résumé updated by a professional and you bought a new interview suit. You are ready, right? Wrong. You have forgotten a very important component in your pharmaceutical job search.
Remember that every career design should have the following basic tools:
- Career Portfolio (a.k.a. ), including your proven sales results and any awards, recognition, etc.
- List of pharmaceutical companies that meet your needs for an employer
- A networking program, including your elevator speech
Since 80% of jobs filled today are never advertised, a networking program is essential to success and an elevator speech is a vital part of that program. An elevator speech is a brief speech that describes your experience and what you can bring to a potential employer. It serves as a verbal advertisement that illustrates your value in a concise and memorable manner.
An elevator speech gets its name from the fact that it should be short enough (under 30 seconds) to tell someone on an elevator. It should be easy for you to remember at anytime, whether you are relaxed or nervous, and must include attention-grabbing information. While the exact content is up to you, be sure you include the following:
- Your name
- Area of expertise
- Attention-grabber that speaks to the need of the listener
Here are two actual elevator speeches. Which one do you think gets the best results?
“Hi. I am Caroline Cross, a pharmaceutical rep for Sandoz. I have a Bachelors degree in chemistry and a Masters degree is biology. I am looking to join a company where I can advance my career and eventually work my way into management”
“My name is Chris Stanley and I generated a 30% increase in territory sales over the past 6 months. Additionally, I developed a new product projection matrix that has increased product diversification among our client physicians by 15% over a 2 month time period. My ultimate goal is to use my industry knowledge to increase the profitability of a cutting-edge organization.”
Obviously, the second example generated greater interest. In this elevator speech, Chris whet the appetite of his listener by providing results and highlighted what he could give to an employer, NOT what he wanted from a company.
When you draft your elevator speech it is important that you start by writing down the specific deliverables that you can provide. Next, take these services and translate them into benefits that would appeal to a listener. While these benefits don’t have to synch up exactly to the audience, they should be sound enough to elicit interest.
After this has been drafted, write an opening sentence. The best openers leave your listener interested in learning more. Imagine what Chris’ comment did for his audience – who wouldn’t want to know how he increased sales by 30%? It is also not necessary to include your title or the name of a current employer.
When you have written the basics, practice – a lot! No matter how exciting your elevator speech is, if you cannot deliver it effectively it is useless. Practice in front of a mirror, practice in front of your friends, record it and listen to it several times. When you are satisfied that you sound confident, professional and at-ease, try it out. Attend a local Chamber of Commerce mixer. This is a great way to mingle and practice your networking skills, including your newly minted elevator speech.
While your pitch is designed to be used when networking for the perfect pharmaceutical job, it can be used anytime. Job interviews are a great place to use your elevator speech, especially when you are confronted with the question “Why do you think you are right for this job”?
Remember that career design is not a single-pronged process and it is rarely a short endeavor. With the proper preparation, research and the right amount of effort, you will be assured of building your network, perfecting your presentation and discovering a variety of pharmaceutical opportunities.
If you find this site helpful, please send a link to your career services department so your fellow alumni know about PharmBoard too! I've already written the message for you. :)