Those hoping to break into the field without a degree will almost certainly need to have successful sales records to be considered. Pharmaceutical employers frequently seek those with at least two years of sales experience, preferably business-to-business sales. Previous jobs that offered strong sales-training programs also are viewed favorably. A record of promotions can be a big plus. Of those with no sales experience, candidates with a healthcare or clinical background may have an edge. A strong record of accomplishments is also important.
Other traits mentioned by experts as helpful in landing a job in this field are being organized, goal-driven, creative, polished, persuasive, motivated, energetic, trustworthy, willing to learn, aggressive, smart, ethical, confident, ambitious, positive, self-starting, patient, persistent, a problem-solver, a team player who also performs well independently, a good time-manager and prioritizer, and a personable great communicator.
Additional desirable traits include good listening skills, integrity, negotiation skills, and presentation skills. You should have good physical stamina for the long hours and all the driving you will likely do, as well as carrying hefty sample cases.
You may be required to travel and relocate. Enthusiasm for science is important. A press release on MedZilla quotes Roz Usheroff, a coach and communications specialist who works with pharmaceutical sales reps. For college students — and others looking to break in — getting an internship with a pharmaceutical firm can provide a boost. Sometimes it helps to already be living in the sales territory you would represent. Foreign-language skills may be a plus as firms vie to break into emerging markets.
The best way to really get a feel for what the pharmaceutical firms are looking for is to study lots of job postings and ads placed by these employers and observe what qualifications they list. Yes, that means you will need to tweak your resume for every pharmaceutical sales job you apply for.
The appearance of job-hopping and gaps in employment can be seen as negatives by pharmaceutical employers, and of course, the best way to avoid those on your resume is to have a steady employment record. In fact, several experts on breaking into the field cite professional resume writers as an essential investment no matter what your job record is like. All resumes should be accomplishments-driven, but one for pharma sales should especially be so.
An effective pharmaceutical-sales resume also must have the right keywords. Networking is a huge advantage in getting into pharmaceutical sales because most firms advertise vacancies only when they are unable to fill them by word of mouth. Talk to doctors and pharmacists and ask them for names of reps. Establish relationships with recruiters who specialize in the pharmaceutical field, and eep your eye open for pharmaceutical job fairs, as pharma firms frequently use these for recruiting.
While networking is the best bet in landing a job in this field, another way in is through applying on pharmaceutical company websites. But as Riley cautions, the rigorous screening process begins at this point because you do not simply submit a resume; you undergo a screening and ranking test. A better strategy, Riley advises, may be to use your networking contacts to obtain names of people to whom to send your resume.
You can find more than one anecdote on pharmaceutical-sales discussion boards about candidates with brag books who were hired over those without one.
The drug companies want to make sure they get it right when they hire because they typically invest a lot in training new reps. Thus, interviewing for a pharmaceutical sales position is typically a multi-interview process spread out over several months. The heart of the interview process is with the district manager who hires for his or her district, and interviews over meals may be part of the mix.
Solid preparation is always advisable before job interviews, but for pharmaceutical sales, you may want to kick your preparation up several notches. Maybe you took some medical coding courses-add them to your training section. Perhaps in high school or college you volunteered at a hospital — put it in community service. In college, did you take some biology classes?
Mention those in your education section. Anything you can add that is relevant to the pharmaceutical industry is going to help you. Did you take business courses in college or some sales training seminars earlier in your career? When appropriate, add them into the resume! Too often I see people put this in their education section:. To a reader, that means nothing. Did you take one biology course? Here is how the education section should look:.
However, all of them value education and training, so be sure not to leave something off the resume that could help you. Tell Your Story Correctly. Pharmaceutical companies and recruiters prefer to see not only what you have done, but how you achieved it.
Some people make the mistake of only including half the information in their job descriptions; either they omit their achievements or they fail to show how they achieved their results. This means describing the problem, showing the action you took, and listing the result.
Pharmaceutical companies are very results-driven, so including as many quantifiable results as you can on the resume will be a big help in terms of getting you more interviews. Trained junior representatives and retained speakers. Joseph, and Northwest Missouri region. Generated, developed, and grew sales of 9 pharmaceutical products in 3 geographical territories in the Chicago-land area. Built and managed key and long term relationships with targeted hospitals, primary care and specialty physicians, pharmacists, and administrators.
Responsible for marketing and selling cardiovascular, dementia, gastrointestinal, and pulmonary pharmaceuticals to Primary Care, Cardiologists, Gastroenterologists and Pulmonologists in the Southern Nevada Region.
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