There are many qualities often listed as pre-requisites for success in the field of pharmaceutical sales - the following are just some - maybe those seen as most important:
- You will have to manage your time and your territory to obtain the best results possible.
Can do, will do
- Determination to succeed, despite the knockbacks.
- This is a must! There is no one to make sure you get out of bed and into the office on time.
- Ability to talk to people on all levels without either being dumbstruck or patronising.
- Willingness to go that extra step for results that count.
- Ability to keep trying and look as though you're enjoying it.
- Can you find new and different ways to do things and make yourself memorable?
- Can you change people's point of view and convince them of yours?
- Ability to work with people and help colleagues.
- Can you criticise and evaluate situations, people, sales figures and yourself?
Intelligence and academic ability
- Ability to learn a lot of scientific data and be able to apply it - usually in just a few weeks.
- Ability to see a solution, not just a problem.
So you think you could fit the bill? So where do you start?
Well the very first thing you will need to sort is your CV. This needs to be clear, professional and concise:
- Name, address, telephone number, mobile number if relevant and E-mail address.
- What you have done up to now, most recent first. If there are any gaps, explain why. Highlight relevant experience such as scientific work, medical experience or selling experience.
- Again in reverse order. If you're a graduate, state where, when and your degree grade. If you have other relevant qualifications then make sure you list them.
Hobbies and interests
- Think about these. Don't just put things down because they look good. If you put down ballet and know nothing about it then you'll look pretty stupid if the person interviewing you is a keen follower of Sadlers' Wells.
- If you wish you can put the names, addresses and telephone numbers of two referees at the end of your CV. However, do make sure that you have the permission of your referees first and keep them informed of whom you have given their names to. It is often simpler to simply put "Referees available on request" on your CV and then provide names if they're asked for.
A CV should be no longer than two pages, should be printed in a simple typescript that is easy to read and should be monochrome - colours are distracting.
The next step is to find some prospective employers to show your updated CV to. There are lots of places to look:
- The Daily Telegraph appointments section
on a Thursday is used by many pharma companies and agencies. I am told that, in Scotland, the appointments supplement is in the Sunday Telegraph. Also, some companies advertise in local papers when looking to fill a specific territory.
- The one that comes to mind is "PF"
which is sent free to many reps. Ask someone if you could look at a copy if you know anyone working in the industry.
- Many of these advertise in the above publications. They vary enormously in their expertise and access to the best vacancies and the only way to find out is by trial and error or by recommendation.
- Well it looks as though you've already discovered this option.
Whether you apply direct to a pharmaceutical company or register with a recruitment agency you need to make a good, no a great, first impression.
If you are requested to write, maybe enclosing your CV, then the letter should be hand written, neat, correctly punctuated and with no spelling errors. Be positive and enthusiastic but don't waffle!
A more likely first step is a telephone interview so if a telephone number is given - be prepared! Again, be positive, enthusiastic and friendly. Listen to the questions asked and answer them clearly and concisely. Take notes of what is said so that if reference is made to them in the future you know what you said first time round.
If you get through this stage then the next step is first interview. If you don't, then think about why you may have been rejected - be realistic - and then make a mental note of how you need to alter your approach and try again!