We thought it might be useful for Graduates thinking of pursuing medical sales for me to write down some advice that will hopefully help you confirm you want to make the break into medical sales, and how to go about setting off.
Advice for Graduates No.1… Research
This is the first vital step you will need to take. As you would before going into any career, you will need to research the role in order to gain the best understanding you can.
If you have not carried out thorough research, you will automatically look lazy or just not interested… and it is easy to tell if you haven’t! You can do this online initially, and then by shadowing a Medical Sales Representative. Not only does this give you a better understanding of the everyday aspects of the role you may not be able to find on the internet, it also shows you have the initiative to independently organise something off your own back, and proves you are passionate and dedicated to learning more about the industry.
Medical sales is a vast industry ranging from Pharmaceutical sales to Medical Device sales, which varies from selling to Pharmacists to selling to Surgeons in theatre. You may discover whilst shadowing that medical sales is not the right move for you, or that you are extremely squeamish!!
There are a number of ways you can go about finding someone to shadow. You can visit your local GP Surgery, explain what you are trying to do and ask them for any business cards that reps have left behind so you can contact the rep directly. If you manage to get some business cards then call the reps up directly as opposed to texting or e-mailing them. Make sure you actually speak to them rather than leave a message (remember, you are asking them for a favour). You can also visit your local Pharmacy, as all Pharmacists know Medical Representatives. Another option is to visit your local Hospital and ask at the main reception if they can point you in the right direction. Alternatively, a number of my candidates recently have found LinkedIn very helpful for contacting Representatives.
Try to speak to as many Reps as you can. It is important in medical sales to have a large network of contacts and as medical sales covers various therapy areas, it is advantageous to gain knowledge across the spectrum.
As a Graduate, you will need to prove yourself to be commercially astute. Direct sales experience is clearly an obvious advantage, however as a Graduate, you are not necessarily expected to have this.
Make the most of any work experience you have gained which can be related to medical sales. Some examples of this would be working towards targets, or working in a high pressured environment.
Clinical experience is also an advantage as you will have interacted with healthcare professionals. You can also use your personal achievements outside of work e.g. completing a half marathon and raising over £500 pounds for charity.
You may also want to compose a brag folder to take with you to interview, which is a great way to spotlight your accomplishments. Include in this a copy of your CV, any recommendations/appraisals you have received from previous employment or university mentors, your degree certificate and any evidence of achievements or targets you have exceeded. A good brag book will not only help you feel more comfortable during a job interview, it should also make it easier for the recruiter and hiring manager to see how well prepared, hard-working and successful you are.
If a company would like to see you for an interview, you have passed the first test. They have seen your background on paper and have decided you have the potential, necessary skills and experience they require. Remember, you will receive training and support in Trainee/Associate roles, so they are not expecting the finished article, and would prefer someone they can train up to their way of thinking. The rest is your personality, and convincing them you are the perfect candidate for the role and their organisation.
You need to try and stand out from the other candidates you’re up against. The most desired attributes my clients tell me they are looking for in a Graduate are a bright, sparky and bubbly personality, someone who has lots of drive and is really motivated to learn new things, and somebody who is passionate about medical sales.
If I have just described you, don’t hesitate to get in touch!