Breaking into Pharma Sales is Harder to Do Now


Chandler writes:
How can I break into pharmaceutical sales?


The Career Doctor responds:
Our article So You Want to Get Into Pharmaceutical Sales… may help but the scenario has changed somewhat since that article was published.

Here is more current advice from our colleague Craig DeLarge based on his recent experience at a large pharmaceutical firm:

  1. Understand this is a shrinking pool where there have been dozens of thousands of layoffs of experienced reps. They are standing in line ahead of you.
  2. Persist. As with all sales the law of averages work for you and you’re already in sales — sales of yourself. How long have you been looking and what companies have you applied to?
  3. Get a sales job — most any sales job — and do exceptionally well at it because 1) few get a pharma sales gig as their first sales job and 2) one with a job gets a job faster than one just looking.
  4. Try to get in with contract and tele pharma sales firms.
  5. Get a pharma job as an interim step to a rep job. It’s a big industry; don’t just look at pharma sales.
  6. Stop thinking of reasons for why you’re not making the cut; that attitude may blind you to advice sitting right on front of you.
  7. Contribute to an online network of pharma (sales) professionals to gain the inside track on info of hires. And once contributing keep contributing.

Here also is an article Craig posted about layoffs and outsourcing in the pharma sector.