Getting Started in Medical Sales 

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Pharmaceutical Sales Newcomer---any advice?
Posted by: Michelle (Host IP Logged)
Date: February 26, 2005 05:05PM

Hi everyone,

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I'm graduating in May with a B.S. in Biology and I'm very eager to break into the Pharm/Med sales industry, but I'm not having much luck with my search thusfar. I'm from Illinois...anyone out there at can help or give a few words of wisdom would be GREATLY appreciated! =) Have a great weekend!


Re: Pharmaceutical Sales Newcomer---any advice?
Posted by: Jeff (Host IP Logged)
Date: March 02, 2005 10:38AM

I suggest you check out websites for some of the pharmaceutical companies you're most interested in working for. Start tracking these companies (e.g. Merck, J&J, Pfizer, etc.) in Yahoo Finance or some other tool and see what's hot. Given your druthers, you should target working for a company that has a hot product on the market vs. one that's struggling.

Pharma will probably be an easier place to get your foot in to the industry but there are also opportunities for recent college grads to start in device/product sales with a division like Ethicon of J&J and work as a Territory Assistant for a couple of years before moving in to a full responsibility sales position.

Good luck. Set your target where you want to go and you'll make it.


Re: Pharmaceutical Sales Newcomer---any advice?
Posted by: Dave (Host IP Logged)
Date: March 05, 2005 01:02AM


As a recent grad myself I have offers from both pharm and device co. My advice would be if you are truly serious about this you have to dedicate everything to breaking in. This is a very competitive industry so without prior experince you have to be much more convincing than the rest. Research, Network, Research, Network, and Research some more. Get to know both industries as they are both completely different. Go to some pharmacy's and let them know you are interested in pharm sales and ask for copy's of reps business cards. Call them and some may be willing to give you some insight into the industry and some will not. Ask them about how they broke in, what their typical day is like, what the trainning process is like, what they dislike about their jobs...ect Device contacts may be a little tricky but if you are serious you can find ways. If this doesnt seem like your cup of tea this may not be the industry for you. You must be willing to knock down all doors possible and close everyone by asking them to submit your resume. If you have no sales experience get some. Find a job as soon as possible doing any ouside B2B sales and crush numbers. Continue your networking and research if you do this long enough you will know enough about the industry to sell yourself that you know what the job entails. Imagine if you were hiring someone who had done nothing to prove themselves and knew little about what they were getting into. Probably woulnt think twice about sending them packing. But if you do want it bad enough and have the skills to sell you wiil have no problem breaking in. I only interview with one pharm co. and one device co. and got offers from both. Dont listen to anyone who says its not possible right out of school. When you get your interviews you have to show them that you can sell by selling yourself. You can spin any objection to your favor if you are a true saleman. I hope this helps, if you have any questions or need any advice I will be glad to help. I recieved a lot of help when I was in your place and would be glad to pay it foreward. Good luck and remember, you will recieve a lot of rejection in your networking process and my become frustrated. However, rejection is a major part of sales, the average reps retreat and the good reps continue to break down doors. You can learn from every experience good or bad. I wish you the best of luck and if you work hard to get in, you will be rewarded.

Re: Pharmaceutical Sales Newcomer---any advice?
Posted by: Michelle A. (Host IP Logged)
Date: March 09, 2005 09:57PM

Jeff & Dave,

Thank you so much for the kind and encouraging words. I've posted on a few other boards and most of the people are negative and it gets a bit discouraging hearing people tell me that if I want to get into pharm. sales I will have to do a year or two of B2B sales. What they do not realize is the kind of person I am...I am a go getter and I will work until I have what I want and ultimately, that is a job in Pharmaceutical Sales! Anyway, I really appreciate the encouraging words and the time you took to post! Where are you guys located? And Dave, which job did you end up taking...pharm or med? Awesome job getting 2 jobs from your first 2 interviews! And Jeff, are you in sales? Thanks again're great!

Michelle =)

Re: Pharmaceutical Sales Newcomer---any advice?
Posted by: Jeff (Host IP Logged)
Date: March 18, 2005 10:50AM

Yes, I'm in medical device sales (implants). My background included military service and food brand management ($%&!?) prior to breaking in to medical device sales.

You're right about getting in the business, especially pharma, if you set your sights on it and practice interviewing well (this is selling after all) you'll make it in.