Frequently Asked Questions Regarding  Pharmaceutical and Medical Sales Careers

Do I have the right background to get into the pharmaceutical and medical sales industry?

Entry-level pharmaceutical or medical sales positions most often require a Bachelor’s Degree preferably in the sciences and at least 1-2 years of successful selling experience. Without this experience, it is extremely difficult to get an interview. Most medical companies want at least 1-2 years of outside sales experience, preferably selling tangible products in a business-to-business environment. Examples of this would be experience selling in telecommunications, business products or consumer product sales.Your resume should focus on your sales achievements and sales rankings. If you are a top achiever, your resume most likely will get noticed.

For some medical sales positions, at least 1-2 years of medical sales experience may also be required. Often times, medical sales positions require a specific background or education in a certain product line. These types of positions are more difficult to secure since the employer needs a more extensive background than an entry-level candidate can provide.

What skill sets are necessary for pharmaceutical and medical sales?

Each position requires a different set of skills and education. What we find most important, however, is the candidate’s sales abilities. An employer will measure your future success against your past successes. Because of this, it is important to bullet your achievements on your resume to draw their attention to those accomplishments. Hiring managers want detailed information up front about your sales rankings, quota attainment, awards and percentage of market share growth. Make these numbers available on your resume.

What is an average income for entry-level position in pharmaceutical or medical sales?

Obviously, income levels vary according to the type of position, travel requirements, and difficulty of the work involved. Most companies offer a competitive base salary with potential to make additional amounts in bonus or commission. Typical entry level salaries are in the 50K range with added commission potential.  Overall packages typically are around 100K on up.

Will Certification Help Me Get a Job in Medical or Pharmaceutical Sales?

We have often been asked this question.  There are a few nationally recognized medical sales and pharmaceutical sales certification programs available to those interested in adding this to their resume.

These programs offer education and training for those trying to enter the field of medical or pharmaceutical sales.  The curriculum can be beneficial by educating candidates on medical terminology, disease states, anatomy and much more.  If you are trying to enter the medical or pharmaceutical sales industry and do not have basic knowledge in these areas, this type of program may help you decide if this is a good career path.

There are two basic qualifications however that most companies seek when hiring a medical or pharmaceutical sales professional.  The first is a four-year college degree from an accredited university.  The second is at least 2 years of successful outside sales experience selling a tangible product.  If you do not have these two basis qualifications, odds are you will not be able to compete for these coveted positions.  With the recent changes in the economy, even those with experience are having a hard time finding employment.

Obviously, any additional education (i.e., certification programs, sales training, ect.) cannot hurt your resume.  These programs help to show your interest and motivation is strong to enter this type of sales.  But, of equal importance is your resume itself.  Make sure your resume outlines your sales successes.  Post your sales numbers, quota attainments and rankings.  If you have relationships with key physicians, clinics or hospitals in your territory, sell this in a cover letter.  Relationships are the key in procuring your next career move.

For additional questions, submit your question in writing.