In this article, you will learn about one of the most powerful things you can do to stand out as a MSL candidate:
Create a 30-, 60-, and 90-day plan of what you’d hope to accomplish as a MSL.
This is what you do:
– Take out the job description of the MSL job you’re interested in applying.
– Look at the roles and duties that the MSL being hired would perform for the company.
– Based on these duties, what would you aim to accomplish in 30 days? 60 days? 90 days?
This is not going to be an easy task, and very few people do it. This is why you’re going to do this exercise!
I’ll help you get started. Here’s part of a (previous) job description I pulled from www.MSLJOBS.com –
“Essential Duties and Responsibilities: The essential duties of this position include but are not limited to:
* Demonstrates expertise and extensive knowledge of products, patient treatment trends, clinical trials, and scientific activities within the Neuroscience Disease Area and continuously updates this expertise and knowledge based on training direction and approved resources provided
* Demonstrates the ability to present approved scientific data of varying levels of complexity to Healthcare providers in both group and one-to-one settings in accordance with Company Policies, and applicable laws, regulations and ethical standards
* Demonstrates effective listening skills by allowing Healthcare providers to express their opinions and provides appropriate response to unsolicited scientific questions or requests. Anticipates questions and is prepared to provide appropriate response.”
(The full list is longer, but for the purpose of this article, I took the first 3 listed in the job.)
For the first item, you’re expected to demonstrate subject matter expertise and master the clinical knowledge you’re given.
When you start out, how would you rank yourself on the level of mastery? 30 days into the job, what progress would you expect from yourself? Answer the same question for 60 and 90 day targets.
For the second item, you’re expected to master presentation skills.
Maybe you’ll get to give a clinical presentation quickly on the job (as I had done in one of my past MSL jobs, where I presented frequently to managed care organizations on the west coast). What presentation skills targets would you set for 30 days? 60 days? 90 days?
For the third item, your targets will have to be set at the field-level.
Meaning, by 60 days you probably should have met with a few of your thought leaders, unless your company has a strict policy about not engaging with thought leaders until you’ve completed training and the training happened to be longer than 8 weeks. Assume that you’d be engaging with your thought leaders by the end of the first month. How many thought leaders would you plan to meet? What would you want to achieve as an outcome by 60 days in these meetings? 90 days?
By now you can see why I say this is not an easy task, but it’s worth doing.
When you go into the interview setting you’ll look prepared both for the interview AND for performing the job.
This is part of what hiring managers are looking for when they say they want a candidate who “can pick up the ball and run with it” or “can hit the ground running”!
To your success!