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Just graduated? Here's how to get into Medical Sales

Posted on: 24 Oct
The graduate market can be tough. With more than 2 million students studying in the UK at any one time, there’s a lot of competition when they make their way into the job market, especially when it comes to securing your dream role. 

Pharmaceuticals is one of these extremely competitive industries, though opportunities abound for the ambitious. Indeed, the demand for Medical Sales candidates has stayed high, despite the rise of automation. The industry remains largely face-to-face, and the UK’s ageing population means that GPs and Pharmacies will always be in need of the latest Medical Devices and products to ensure that their patients maintain a high standard of life. When you factor in a good salary, excellent bonus scheme and the freedom that comes with the role, it’s clear to see why it’s so popular. 

But how can you get a foot on the ladder with your first job in Medical Sales- especially when you’re fresh from university?

Decide where to start 

Medical Sales can cover everything from selling the latest inventions in Biotech to Pharmaceuticals. You might even find yourself selling to surgeons in-theatre, and advising them on how to use the product mid-surgery! With this in mind, it’s a good idea to decide where you want to specialise from the start. 

There are two basic areas you can go into: Medical Devices, which generally sells equipment and instruments, where sales are often made on the day, or Pharmaceuticals, which requires an ABPI qualification and will involve you selling and promoting prescription medicines to GPs, chemists and more.

Within Medical Sales, you can also diversify: some jobs involve a lot of consultation with industry experts, and others (such as Medical Coding Sales) will require you to take a more marketing-centred role than other Medical Sales specialisms. Do your research and find out which role might appeal the most to your skillset before you start applying. 

Boost your education

University is the perfect time to push yourself and try new challenges in a safe environment. It’s also a great place to gain new life experiences, many of which will help you show just how promising a candidate you are when it comes to applying for a role. Though traditional sciences like Biology or Chemistry remain a popular choice for recruiters, your degree can really be in any subject that shows you have the right traits for a Medical Sales employee: that is, competitive, driven, able to analyse and apply scientific data to everyday situations. 

To do this, you need to show that you’ve gotten involved with societies that have allowed you to develop or build upon these traits. Ideally, get involved in a fair number of clubs and societies during your time at university: whether it’s becoming a member of the Student Union bar, a contributor to the student newspaper, or captain of a sports club, it’ll show that you have the drive to succeed outside of your degree.

Do your research

The right degree and experience won’t be enough when it comes to applying for jobs, though. To get ahead, you need to do your research. After all, 47% of interviewers say that having little or no knowledge of the company is the most common mistake job seekers make during job interviews, so don’t fall into the same trap. Read through the company website to gain a better understanding of what they do, their values, company mission- and what they expect to see from their interviewees. You should also visit sites dedicated to Medical Sales, such as FiercePharma, so you can find information that’s specific to the industry. 

It’s also a good idea to do your own research so you know exactly what to expect from your dream role. That could involve working in a sales capacity as a volunteer for a charity, volunteering at a hospital or doctor’s office, or asking to shadow a Medical Sales Representative for a day or two to gain a better understanding of what the job is really like. Use your time to read around the role and around the companies you want to apply for, so that you can impress in your CV and in the interview.

Get networking

Did you know 85% of all jobs are filled through networking? In Medical Sales especially, networking is essential, especially as the industry is still relatively small. You need to show that you can build strong professional relationships if you want to thrive, so do your utmost to make industry contacts, whether it’s by attending industry events or do work experience with Medical Sales Representatives. After all, it’ll show potential recruiters that you have people within the industry that will vouch for you, and that you’re committed on improving yourself beyond just having the right qualifications to do so.

If you don’t have any industry events near you, why not try joining a LinkedIn group near to you? There are plenty online, and it’s worth it just for the insider information you’ll be able to pick up along the way: for more information on using social media to get your dream role, take a look at our article on doing just that. 

Have the right attitude

Most important to clinching your dream role is having the right attitude. Salespeople get knockbacks all the time, so you need to remain persistent and positive if you want to stand a chance of convincing the right people that you’re the person they should take a chance on. Be bright, motivated and let your personality shine through: if you do, you’ll show just how passionate you are about Medical Sales and get that job in no time.

Take your first steps with IQVIA

Take your first steps into the industry with a company that cares about its employees. Whether you’re looking to start your career or make a job change, we’re here for you: why not browse our vacancies, or find out how to streamline your CV for a job in Medical Sales in our article here.