Pharma Tips

How to Get Pharmaceutical Sales Jobs in U.S.A

By: Pharma Tips | Views: 13464 | Date: 05-Sep-2013

"3 Days to a Pharmaceutical Sales Job Interview"Q. Why are pharmaceutical sales jobs in such high demand?Q. I have no sales experience/I am a recent college graduate. Do I still have a chance?Q. How do I go about my job hunt?Q. I have posted my resume on career websites and I have not gotten any interviews. Why?Q. I don't have a bachelor's degree. Will my business experience compensate for my lack of degree?

How to Get Pharmaceutical Sales Jobs in U.S.A

Answers To Your Most Frequently Asked Questions :

"3 Days to a Pharmaceutical Sales Job Interview"


Please note that the answers here are open for interpretation and differing opinions. I offer my opinion and I believe that others in the industry would agree with these answers.

Q. Why are pharmaceutical sales jobs in such high demand?

A. Pharmaceutical sales careers have consistently ranked among the most rewarding careers in America. It is common knowledge that pharmaceutical companies treat their sales representatives exceptionally well. Most offer excellent salaries with commissions and outstanding benefits packages including company car. The extra perks include bonuses, incentive prizes, and all expense paid trips to wonderful cities. The fact that you don't have a boss to report to on a daily basis is an added perk!

Q. I have no sales experience/I am a recent college graduate. Do I still have a chance?

A. Yes, you do have a chance& a good chance! Pharmaceutical companies hire people with and without sales experience, including recent and new college grads. They hire people from all backgrounds including accountants, teachers, nurses, office managers, computer programmers, and marketing professionals to name just a few. Some companies and managers prefer sales experience but it is not a requirement. Generally, most companies allow their managers to make most of the hiring decisions. They usually hire the proven leaders and achievers as well as people who can converse well and listen well.

Q. How do I go about my job hunt?

A. The key to breaking into pharmaceutical sales is to work hard at getting in. Remember that you have a lot of competition. If you want to succeed, you have to work at getting noticed and you must cover all your bases.
First and foremost, start with an outstanding resume. Consider professional assistance if this is not your area of expertise: I have seen a lot of resumes and minor changes can make a big difference. If you produce your own resume, be sure to ask family, friends, and professionals in the business to critique it for you. once your resume is the best that it can be, get it out there. It's got a lot of work to do! Post it on job boards. Send it to recruiters. Bring it with you to career fairs. Reply to ads with it. Mail it out to the human resources departments of companies that interest you and don't forget that newspaper classified ads still exist. Tell everyone that you are pursuing a pharmaceutical sales position (you never know, a friend of a friend might have a great lead for you). And last but not least, follow this program. It will show you exactly what you need to do to secure interviews.

Q. I have posted my resume on career websites and I have not gotten any interviews. Why?

A. Impactful, online resumes require you follow a separate set of rules from the traditional, printed resume (refer to the e-resumes section of this book for advice). If you follow this program, you will have more success arranging interviews than if you were to simply post your resume online.
In this industry, posting your resume on jobsites is necessary but that alone is not enough. You can't assume that companies and recruiters will come to you: You must go to them.

Q. I don't have a bachelor's degree. Will my business experience compensate for my lack of degree?

A. There are pharmaceutical reps with less schooling than a bachelor's degree but not many. In general, pharmaceutical companies can afford to be very selective simply because of the number of applicants per opening. Most companies have a four-year degree requirement. In some instances, managers will consider sales achievements in lieu of the degree. If you feel you have an exceptional resume and decide to pursue this field with less than a four-year degree, keep in mind that your job search may take longer than the norm and you may have limited success.
Novartis is known to have hired reps with less than a four-year degree. When I worked for the company, a woman in my district had an associate's degree. While I can't say for sure how many of their reps fit into this category, my guess is that there are other companies that find exceptional people and are willing to hire them regardless of their formal education.

Q. Am I too old to break into pharmaceutical sales?

A. No. Pharmaceutical companies hire from all age groups. Some of the top reps are experienced professionals. Keep in mind that most of the physicians you will be calling on are in their 40s and older. The philosophy of some companies and managers is that an older rep can relate on a more personal level with the physician and can also hold a more mature and meaningful conversation. There are many reps out there who are in their 20s but that is the exception rather than the rule.

Q. Do I need a science degree to break into pharmaceutical sales?

A. No. Pharmaceutical companies hire people with backgrounds that range from accounting to zoology. As a rule, all of the science that one needs to succeed in this industry is taught during the initial training period.

Q. Why will pharmaceutical companies hire English majors over Biology majors at times?

A. A science background is great but it doesn't guarantee that the person can sell. An English major with an exceptional GPA and an outstanding personality is a great potential hire. Chances are that she or he will excel in sales training and their personality will help them reach their sales goals.
Until very recently, there were no colleges that offered a 'pharmaceutical sales' degree. Some universities have recently begun offering a bachelor of science degree in Pharmaceutical Science.

Keywords : pharmaceutical sales jobs, entry level pharmaceutical sales jobs, pharmaceutical sales, pharmaceutical sales headhunters .

Q. What are the entry-level requirements for a pharmaceutical sales position?

Entry-Level Requirements
Four-year bachelor's degree. Some companies will consider sales experience in lieu of the degree. If you have a great resume with documented sales success, you will have a shot at landing interviews.
GPA above a 3.0 preferred
Driver's license with a good driving record (a minor ticket or two won't hurt)
Pass credit and background checks
Preferred areas of study
Chemistry
Anatomy and Physiology
Biology
Marketing
Communication
Journalism
Preferred professional degrees
Pharmacy
Nursing
Medical Assistant
 
Preferred experience
Outside sales experience with documented success
Previous pharmaceutical sales experience
Note: You can still land a pharmaceutical sales job without possessing any of the 'preferred' criteria.
 

Q. How important is my resume?

A. Your resume is a critical component of your job search: It is not uncommon for managers to receive more than 500 resumes for one advertised job opening. You have to give some time and attention to your resume if you want to get attention in this sea of applicants. (see the resume tips in this program). If you are going to hire a professional to prepare your resume, do your research before hiring one.

Q. How do I shop for a resume writer?

A. Look for a resume writer who specializes in sales or pharmaceutical sales and do the following:
1. Ask for referrals from satisfied customers.
2. Interview three or more companies and then make a decision based on the information that you gather.
3. Check with your local Better Business Bureau to make sure that there have been no complaints filed about the writer and/or the company.
4. Ask who actually prepares the resume. Some companies 'farm out' the work.
5. Ask if the writer/company offers a guarantee for the work. If you don't get any interviews with your resume, will it be rewritten at no additional charge?
6. Ask about the cost and find out exactly what is included. Is a cover letter and a scannable version of the resume provided; will it be sent to recruiters for you?

Q. What type of benefits and perks do pharmaceutical companies offer their reps?

A. Pharmaceutical companies offer excellent benefits and perks to employees. This is especially true when it comes to what is offered to their sales reps. Their philosophy is a simple one: Reward your reps and they will stay motivated and happy. A motivated and happy rep increased sales and motivated and happy reps in the sales force can equate to millions of dollars in profits. A good theory that works well!
Along with a substantial salary and commission plan, pharmaceutical reps can usually rely on company supplied health insurance, retirement plans, profit sharing, and tuition reimbursement. Reps can also expect to have a fully reimbursed expense account, including company car, as well as all expense paid trips to interesting locations for sales meetings and new product launches. Top performers can expect incentive prizes and vacations.

Q. I am a college student. What can I do NOW to increase my chances of securing a pharmaceutical sales job when I graduate?

JOB WINNING TIPS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS:
When you see an ad for an opening that requires two years prior sales experience, don't assume that you don't qualify for the job. They are listing the requirements for the perfect candidate but don't always hire the person with the sales experience. Many times, they will hire the recent college grad with the 'potential' to excel in sales.

To the surprise of many, pharmaceutical companies do hire recent college grads. (Merck happens to love hiring right out of college.) They look for extroverts who are motivated to succeed.

When you see an ad for an opening that requires two years prior sales experience, don't assume that you don't qualify for the job. They are listing the requirements for the perfect candidate but don't always hire the person with the sales experience. Many times, they will hire the recent college grad with the 'potential' to excel in sales.

If you are still enrolled in college, do as much as you can now to better your chances of landing a pharmaceutical sales career when you graduate:
Take o­n Some Leadership Positions
President of fraternity/sorority
Resident assistant
Fundraising chairperson
Captain of rugby team
Editor of school newspaper


Work o­n Your Communication Skills
Take public speaking courses.
Take interpersonal communication courses.
Land a job as a tour guide for your school.


Show Your Selling Potential
Take sales and marketing classes.
Take o­n an outside sales job o­n a part-time basis.
(Enterprise rent a car offers a well-respected training program for college students)


Learn The Ropes
Work part-time in a pharmacy
Work in a doctor's office or HMO


Show Your Compassionate Side
Get involved in community service projects
Organize community events
Raise funds for a favorite cause


It's Never Too Early To Network
Land a preceptorship with a rep or two
(Ride with them to their calls for a day)
Strive for great grades
3.0 or better is preferred

Note: Completing any of the above will be a great addition to your resume. Do as many as possible (without letting your GPA slip) and you will look like the recent college graduate with the "potential" managers are looking for.

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