Entry-level Pharmaceutical Sales Jobs: Not For the Meek at Heart

Posted September 08, 2006 by

An article written by monster.com staff provides a very honest assessment of what a job in pharmaceutical sales will entail, and it’s definitely not for the meek at heart. The perks of such a job is that you work for yourself, you are your own mini business and the monetary benefits are ample. However, it is a difficult profession to break into as it is a very competitive field (about 150 applicants per position) and you have to sell yourself so that potential drug companies will allow you to, in turn, sell their products.
The article on the monster website states that networking is one of the biggest resources for the person interested in entry-level pharmaceutical sales jobs. There are many debates about what assets are best for a pharmaceutical representative such as “an aptitude for science,” while others believe that people skills are the most important. What does seem to be universally important is that pharmaceutical sales is a high-paced profession with high turnover rates. It is also essential, once you get that first interview, to know about your chosen company inside and out. Research, research, research because during the interview process you will be grilled on your knowledge of the company, and their products, as well as statistics and trends of the healthcare industry in general.
An article by the Princeton Review, as part of their career profiles section of the site, details a day in the life of a pharmaceutical representative. A lot of the same information is repeated from the monster article but it is still worth reading because there are some added tips for all you job seekers.
One main idea I got from reading up on this career is that you must be a self-motivator and psych yourself up everyday. Pharmaceutical sales jobs are not the typical job where you have a work-based community to support you and encourage you. Everything is based on how well you sell and it will be obvious when you don’t, as there will not be anyone else to pick up the slack. If you are still so inclined and the thought of pharmaceutical sales pumps you up realize you are just the person for the job and you will be richly rewarded (salaries starting at $30,000 to $90,000 for the experienced seller)—and that’s not even counting bonuses!
To get you started take a look at the websites I list below and get started right away. Maybe even look up some drug companies you already know about and see if they are hiring. The monster article even recommended seeing if your friends and/or neighbors are involved in the pharmaceutical business and ask them to be a reference for you. Remember, the hardest part is getting your foot in the door, but it is not an impossible feat by any means. The currently 58,000 pharmaceutical sales people (quoting monster) now working in the country should be a clue.
I also mentioned above that it is hard to find that work-based community as a pharmaceutical representative since it is pretty much a solo job, however, I did find a website for pharmaceutical professionals that you should check out. It helps you find jobs, perfect resumes and even chat with other pharmaceutical professionals. There is even a networking link! I like it because it has a community feel. Good luck go-getters.
Job Search Sites:
Professional Connection Site:

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