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Developing an Effective Job-Hunting Strategy for Medical Professionals

application for employment
Photo credit: Brian Jackson/iStockphoto

It’s often said that finding a job is a full-time job, but what steps can you take to make the process more effective and efficient? This guide will look at how to develop a job-hunting strategy with a clear plan for success.

Define your personal brand

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon sums it up nicely “your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

In short, this is all about identifying your key skills and areas of expertise, deciding what kind of role your skills and expertise are best suited to, defining your value proposition i.e., the value you are proposing to offer to a future employer, and working out how you are going to position your value proposition, skills and expertise on your medical resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letter and in interviews.

Everything you say, do and communicate, forms your personal brand, and this is key to how a potential employer will view your application for a job.

Given that over 70% of employers use social media to screen job applicants, this would be a good time to clean up your social media presence and delete any controversial posts, comments or images.

Create your collateral

Next on your list of tasks is to create your job seeker collateral. What we mean by this is writing your medical resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter.

Many job seekers underestimate the importance of their resume and apply a somewhat blasé approach to creating this crucial document. A good medical resume is absolutely critical to success, so make sure you do plenty of research on current best practice, consider using a professional resume writing service, and spend plenty of time making your medical resume the best it can possibly be.

LinkedIn is also crucial; at the time of writing, LinkedIn has over 770 million members, so it’s no surprise that recruiters use it as one big pond to fish for talent. For that reason, having a great LinkedIn profile is just as important as having a great resume. Even if the recruiter or hiring manager has viewed your resume first, somewhere near 85% of them will then check you out on LinkedIn if they think you are worthy of shortlisting.

Find your target audience

Job seeking is no different to marketing and requires the identification and sourcing of your target audience. A good place to start is to make a list of organizations you would like to work for, whether it be a big pharmaceutical company specializing in cardiovascular disease, a bio-med company specializing in next generation pulmonary targeted therapeutics, or a research organization looking into the latest new medical technologies. Performing some simple searches on the internet will help you add to the organizations that you are already aware of.

Another task is to make a list of recruitment agencies that specialize in your industry. Conducting some basic online research will be productive, but also searching on sector specific job boards is likely to show you which recruitment firms are active in your sector. Talking to friends and colleagues about the recruitment firms they have used in the past will also help.

Of course, job boards are also an important channel for applying for medical, pharmaceutical or research jobs.

Build your network

Once you have made a list of target organizations and recruiters, you can then use LinkedIn to search for decision makers in these organizations, connect with them and over time, make yourself known to them, so when an opportunity within their organization arises, you can leverage the relationship to enhance your chances of getting an interview.

Using LinkedIn, you should also “follow” any target employers so that their activity appears in your daily feed. Not only might new job vacancies pop up here, but you may be able to derive some intel that will serve as an icebreaker when reaching out to newly-connected-with decision makers.

Over time, you should aim to connect with several key decision makers in each target organization. If you are a senior medical job seeker who has adopted a thought-leadership strategy, they will see your thought-leadership activity (posts, articles, blogs, white-papers, videos, webinars, podcasts etc.) in their feed, which will dictate how they perceive you and your personal brand.

If you get this right, you will have a significantly better chance of securing interviews and job offers.


Once you have defined your personal brand, written your medical resume and LinkedIn profile, found your target audience and built your network, you are ready to start applying for jobs.

In many ways, this is the easy bit, however there are some important considerations.

One key piece of advice is to make sure you are an appropriate candidate for the roles you are applying for. This usually means you perfectly match the job description, meeting most if not all the requirements listed.

It is also important to be selective­; applying for hundreds of different jobs at varying levels of seniority will eventually backfire. Recruiters will see your many applications for different roles and usually view this negatively.

Keep track

Keeping track of the jobs you have applied for, and the channel that you submitted your application through, will really help you to keep control of your job-hunting activity. You might also apply for jobs direct, but it is possible that several recruitment agencies will contact you about the same role, so you must have a record of what roles you have discussed and with whom. There’s nothing more embarrassing that having your resume forwarded to an organization by multiple recruiters.

A simple spreadsheet is sufficient with a record of the application time and date, the company, the job title, the job reference, the recruitment firm (if you didn’t apply direct), and what stage the recruitment process is at. Including a field for notes would also help.

Master your pitch

Once you start applying for roles, fingers crossed you will start securing interviews. Assuming this will be the case, it’s important that you are able to perform at your best in interviews. Here are some quick tips to set you on the right path:

  • Research the company and the people you are meeting. LinkedIn and the internet are a good place to do this.
  • Read the job description and make a list of skills likely to be explored during the interview.
  • Pre-prepare your answers by thinking of some real-life examples of things you have done that prove you have these skills.
  • Practice talking through your examples so you can deliver the information confidently during the interview.
  • Think of some questions that you can ask during and / or at the end of the interview.

If you are interested in having some 1-2-1 assistance, please email us at quoting WPM1.

Matt Craven is Managing Director of CVIA Careers