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• Thursday, November 19th, 2009

We are often approached from candidates with no medical background who are interested in entering the medical sales market. Recently, the question “How can I get into medical sales” has been coming up more than usual, so I decided to write a small article about that. Here are few tips to break into medical sales:

1) Make sure you have the basic skills

Almost any medical sales position is going to require a Bachelors degree, so make sure you have that part of the requirement before applying to the jobs that require this education. Usually, a degree in science or technology is helpful, but is not required.

Also, in order to work in medical sales, most companies require you to have a prior sales experience. If you don’t have ANY sales experience, focus on getting about 2-3 years of experience in outside sales. Do your best to excel at meeting quotas and expectations. You will need these numbers when applying for medical companies later.

2) Selling Resume

If you already have the first part taken care of, make sure your resume sells your skills. Your resume should portray your sales skills. The resume itself should sell your background. Make sure to include numbers (ranks, quota, sales numbers, market share…etc) Hiring managers look for these numbers when reviewing sales candidates. They want a star for a candidate that will represent their company and products.

3) Networking & Social Media

Contact the people you know, every contact could turn into a networking contact. Spread the word, you never know who will get your foot in the door.

Don’t underestimate the social networking websites. Not only will you be able to network with medical professionals, but you will also learn a lot from others who are in the industry. Networking is not about asking direct questions and asking for a job, networking is about developing long term relationships with fellow professionals in the industry.

4) Conferences & Trade Shows

Attend relevant conferences & trade shows that could help you meet prospective employers. Remember that these people are there for a reason and are usually very busy, so don’t count on them calling you back. Take their business cards / contact information, and follow-up with them after the conference.

5) Certificates

Depending on which industry / specialty you are targeting, research appropriate certificates. For example, look up CMR certification (Certified Medical Representative), a recognized certification in the pharmaceutical industry. Sometimes, having a certificate in the field would demonstrate your interest and seriousness.

6) Contract Sales Organizations

You may contact Contract Sales Organization like PDI, Publicis, or Innovex to ascertain if they are hiring inexperienced individuals for entry level positions.

Unfortunately, the industry is undergoing quite a contraction at this point. There is a large number of experienced medical & pharma sales representatives with good resumes competing for entry level positions, making it more difficult for new people to enter the market. The length of time to get these folks up to speed and productive in the field is substantially shorter than someone without industry sales experience.

However, keep in mind that past performance is an indication of future performance, so work on your presentation and sell your skills with confidence. As the economy recovers and new positions open up, you might be able to find your way into the medical industry.

If you were able to get into the medical sales industry, please tell us what worked for you!

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