Applicants have the upper hand in today’s job market due to the large number of open positions and state of industry growth. That doesn’t mean that you won’t have to work hard to land your next job.
Adam Bridges, Executive & Technical Recruiter at Upper Options, has nine years of experience in recruiting for the medical device industry and specifically orthopaedic R&D, operations and quality positions. We asked him about everything from trends he’s noticed in orthopaedics, to what turns off hiring managers, to what makes candidates stand out from their competition. His answers could help you with your next job hunt.
Eliminate the guess work. Your resume should state your experience clearly. When you want to stand out among dozens of candidates (hundreds, maybe) with similar titles, you want a hiring manager to read a description of your roles and responsibilities and immediately understand how you fit into the open position they seek to fill. For example, a spine engineer might say that he designed, developed and launched three cervical systems and list their names. Furthermore, strong, keyword-heavy language will elevate you from other applications and, in the case of more sophisticated companies, will get your resume through their search engine algorithms.
Note your degree qualifications. Does the job description list a specific degree? Note yours. Bridges says that since he started recruiting nearly a decade ago, the number of companies that require a bachelor’s degree for R&D positions has risen from 75% to 95%. Companies’ order of ranking for classical metal-based implants engineers tend to be: mechanical engineer, followed by biomedical engineer and at distant third, other engineering degrees.
Keep your resume up to date.
You never know when an opportunity
will present itself.
Keep your resume up to date. You never know when an opportunity will present itself. Further, to be honest about consolidation in orthopaedics, there is a possibility that your position could be eliminated. Routinely updating your resume keeps you steps ahead of the person who is weeks behind.
Bridges recommends revisiting your resume once a year. Maybe in late December, as you reflect on the previous months. That’s also a good time to set professional goals and evaluate ways to prepare for career advancement.
Think methodically. How do companies hire for the position you want? Smaller companies may work solely with recruiters. Larger companies may take a tandem approach of working with a recruiter and accepting applications through external and internal job boards. The more senior the position, the more likely a recruiter is involved.
Bridges asks candidates whether the companies they’re pursuing have already seen their resume. If the answer is yes, his answer is, “Best of luck.” Bridges tells us that the majority of hiring managers don’t want to receive the same resume for one position through multiple channels—this creates confusion for human resources and aggravation for the hiring manager.
If you’re applying for a job online, check to see if the position is published in multiple places. Think about your presence on those platforms—like LinkedIn—and make an educated decision as to how to apply.
Keep track of who you’ve contacted. Hiring managers and recruiters are turned off by candidates who paste their resume across the web. Consider tracking which companies you’ve applied to and for how many positions to maintain the appearance that you’re targeting a specific position or company.
Practice makes perfect. If you’re considering a future move, Bridges recommends taking practice interviews to brush off some rust. If a company or recruiter reaches out about an open position, consider taking the interview if you have some interest in it. Bridges sees successful directors, vice presidents and even hiring managers take interviews—in person or on the phone—every few years to keep their interviewing skills sharp and to stay in touch with the marketplace.
Be respectful. Orthopaedics may be a global $48 billion+ industry, but the world is often smaller than you think. Don’t badmouth previous employers or colleagues. The person across the table may have an unknown connection or may even be across the table at your next job move, and could turn you down for burning colleagues in a previous interview. Same goes with recruiters. Bridges emphasizes this point because, believe it or not, he hears it too often.
Do what you say you’re going to do. If you promise a hiring manager or a recruiter that you’ll send them an updated resume, send it when you said you were going to send it. At the very least, send a note with an updated delivery date, if you are going to be late. Your follow-up is a key indicator of the type of employee you’ll be.
Interviewing is not a science, but there is a discipline to your process, presence and follow through. Companies want the best candidate for the position, and it will take more than a list of qualifications to demonstrate that you are the right fit.
Upper Options, LLC