Breaking into Pharmaceuticals/Health Field

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Tim in Tucson, Arizona

75 months ago

I need advice from someone in the pharmaceutical/Health Field field. I am a middle age man and I have a B.S.B.A University of AZ. I have been in commission sales real estate during most of my adult life. I have had honors for my sales performance. I have trained agents how to sell and have owned my own real estate brokerage. I want to change careers and have always thought that the pharmaceutical field was interesting to me. However I was talking with a rep one day and he said forget it! The management for most of the companies only want young women with nice legs and big.....yada, yada, yada,. He said it was a mans job at one time but not now. And if you are middle age, forget it, you have not even a chance! I would like to give it a go but with the attitude of management in the business, I don't want to waste my time. Any honest suggestions from anyone?

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Dean_Suraci in Cornwall, New York

75 months ago

I believe that there are approx. 35 NFL cheerleaders who are pharma reps. Why, because doctors who have gone to school for many yrs would rather see beautiful woman instead of middle-age men. Looks (sex) sells.

That said, everyone wants to work in pharma (comp car, great benefits,etc). It is very tough to break into unless you have previous health-care exp, a recruiter calls you up saying he saw your resume online-would you like to interview, just graduated college, or have contacts within pharma. I could be wrong, just my opinion. And, on top of that you must excell during the interview-no mistakes.

Anyone else feel the same?

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Dean_Suraci in Cornwall, New York

75 months ago

I had Eli call me and say they saw my resume online (I declined), 2 different outside independent recruiters call me and ask if I wanted to interview for other comps (I declined), and on my own applied to Pfizer and other pharma comps. Pfizer actually email me to schedule a phone interview. I didn't get pass the phone interview. Pfizer was the only comp I interview with.

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MyCareer in San Diego, California

74 months ago

Tim in Tucson, Arizona said: I need advice from someone in the pharmaceutical/Health Field field. I am a middle age man and I have a B.S.B.A University of AZ. I have been in commission sales real estate during most of my adult life. I have had honors for my sales performance. I have trained agents how to sell and have owned my own real estate brokerage. I want to change careers and have always thought that the pharmaceutical field was interesting to me. However I was talking with a rep one day and he said forget it! The management for most of the companies only want young women with nice legs and big.....yada, yada, yada,. He said it was a mans job at one time but not now. And if you are middle age, forget it, you have not even a chance! I would like to give it a go but with the attitude of management in the business, I don't want to waste my time. Any honest suggestions from anyone?

Hi Tim,

I too was in the real estate industry for 8 years and I'm seeking a career change into the healthcare Industry due to the aging of the baby boomers like myself, as well as job security. I would hope that a sales manager would see the benefit of hiring someone, which has a track record and is committed in increasing his or her bottom line. Yes, I must agree that some attractive people tend get by on their looks initially, but what good are they if they can't build relationships and close. As a former owner of a brokerage company, I would sell myself as someone who has a data base with many contacts, some of which are doctors who already know you and feel comfortable doing business with you. How can a pretty face compete with that?

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DD in West Roxbury, Massachusetts

74 months ago

MyCareer in San Diego, California said: Hi Tim,

I too was in the real estate industry for 8 years and I'm seeking a career change into the healthcare Industry due to the aging of the baby boomers like myself, as well as job security. I would hope that a sales manager would see the benefit of hiring someone, which has a track record and is committed in increasing his or her bottom line. Yes, I must agree that some attractive people tend get by on their looks initially, but what good are they if they can't build relationships and close. As a former owner of a brokerage company, I would sell myself as someone who has a data base with many contacts, some of which are doctors who already know you and feel comfortable doing business with you. How can a pretty face compete with that?

You need B2B sales experience, not B2C for Pharma. Your contacts will not mean a thing in Pharma regardless if Dr's. Sorry.

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MyCareer in San Diego, California

74 months ago

Thanks for you frankness DD in West Roxbury, sometimes the truth is a bitter pill to swallow. I'm not giving up though.

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NathanCarlson in Portland, Oregon

74 months ago

My experience is similar to Tim's, (from 19 days ago.) I am a male in my late 30s looking to make a major career change and have always been real interested in the Pharmaceutical Sales field. I have more than 15 years of experience working with people in church ministry that I would like to transfer to the pharmaceutical sales field. Like many others, I don't have direct pharmaceutical experience, but I DO have lots of experience working with people. Anyone have suggestions?
Thanks.

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Ken in Harrison, New York

73 months ago

Don't let anyone here dissuade you from pursuing a career in Pharma Sales. It can be done. It can take 6 months to a year, but that's because these jobs are highly desirable. Keep at it and don't give up. You'll be rewarded.

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sannikay55 in Grand Rapids, Michigan

71 months ago

Ken is right, don't let negative comments keep you from pursuing your dream. But you need to add some things to your resume. Get the pharma training certification from NAPRx. www.napsronline.org
Also, from what I've been told without having a ton of B2B selling, is to start with the smaller pharma companies. WHY Dean declined an interview with Eli Lilly, or any other pharma company is beyond me. Start small and move up, that's what I've been told! Good luck with your continued success!

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InTheZone in Tulsa, Oklahoma

69 months ago

sannikay55 in Grand Rapids, Michigan said: Ken is right, don't let negative comments keep you from pursuing your dream. But you need to add some things to your resume. Get the pharma training certification from NAPRx. www.napsronline.org
Also, from what I've been told without having a ton of B2B selling, is to start with the smaller pharma companies. WHY Dean declined an interview with Eli Lilly, or any other pharma company is beyond me. Start small and move up, that's what I've been told! Good luck with your continued success!

Please don't waste your time or money with that certification from NAPRx- it is worthless and means nothing to a hiring manager. If you have ever read their leads for jobs..ex- PRICARA- an off shoot from J&J is doing a mass hiring.....they just laid off 3/4 of sales force and are about to disband pain division....anyway, NAPRx is only going to take your money with no guarantees...anyone can get in to pharma sales by yourself....no company is going to increase that for you- good luck!

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Jo in Southlake, Texas

69 months ago

I'm in the same boat as you Tim. I'm 40 M & have sold residential real estate for 12+ years. I also have lots of doctor clients. I had the same feelings though. There are lots of female doctors out there too so..pump up your biceps and don't be afraid of the girls.

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ReginainIrving in Dallas, Texas

69 months ago

InTheZone in Tulsa, Oklahoma said: Please don't waste your time or money with that certification from NAPRx- it is worthless and means nothing to a hiring manager. If you have ever read their leads for jobs..ex- PRICARA- an off shoot from J&J is doing a mass hiring.....they just laid off 3/4 of sales force and are about to disband pain division....anyway, NAPRx is only going to take your money with no guarantees...anyone can get in to pharma sales by yourself....no company is going to increase that for you- good luck!

HI IntheZone,

Are you sure Pricara is hiring? I just went to their site and did not see any jobs available. I too am looking to break into pharma/medical sales, but it has been so difficult. I have wonderful skills, have excelled in my previous jobs, have excellent communication/presentation skills and am a fast learner. Any tips on how I can get my foot in the door? By the way, I live in the Dallas, TX area.

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Sandi Quinn in Grand Rapids, Michigan

69 months ago

Hi Regina,

I think "In the Zone" said they weren't hiring as well. My question to you is do you have a Bachelor's degree? Do you have B2B sales experience with top achievements?

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ReginainIrving in Dallas, Texas

69 months ago

Hi Sandi,

Thanks for responding. Yes, I do have a Bachelor's degree from Southern Methodist University. I do not have B2B Sales experience,but I am a top achiever and have won several performance based awards from my previous jobs. I have also owned my own home based business, so I have that type of sales experience. I am a very driven professional, high learning aptitude and have the necessary communication/presentation skills needed to be a successful Pharma/medical sales person - I just need the opportunity to show that to a hiring manager. I have been studying this industry for three years, and even completed a preceptorship with a pharma rep from Abbott in 2006. I know I have what it takes! Do you have any ideas on where I could start? Any and all advice is appreciated!

Thanks!

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Sandi Quinn in Grand Rapids, Michigan

69 months ago

I'm in your same boat, Regina, only have been trying to get into this industry for the past year. I'm leaning more towards medical device sales than pharma, though. I personally think that getting the certificate from NAPRx shows that you are willing to continually train and improve yourself. Plus, for people that don't have that pharma terminology it will only enhance knowledge. It certainly can't hurt, right? Have you gotten any interviews based on your preceptorship? From everthing I've read, Pharma companies can become very picky as to who they hire because they receive (big pharma) 5000 resumes a day. Seems a bit daunting doesn't it? I believe persistency pays off. I will do whatever it takes to break into the business. I know it's where I will retire and I will get my MBA in Healthcare in the process too!!

Good luck!

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Sandi Quinn in Grand Rapids, Michigan

69 months ago

InTheZone in Tulsa, Oklahoma said: Please don't waste your time or money with that certification from NAPRx- it is worthless and means nothing to a hiring manager. If you have ever read their leads for jobs..ex- PRICARA- an off shoot from J&J is doing a mass hiring.....they just laid off 3/4 of sales force and are about to disband pain division....anyway, NAPRx is only going to take your money with no guarantees...anyone can get in to pharma sales by yourself....no company is going to increase that for you- good luck!

I wouldn't necessarily use the leads at NAPRx for employment, but the certification for someone that has never been in pharma is knowledge of an industry they know nothing about. Knowledge is power and going into an interview knowing the terminology can't hurt you. I'm not saying the certification is going to get you the job, nor do they "guarantee" a job with the certification. There is so, so many other factors. Your resume/cover letter have to grab their attention over others, the interview has to go perfectly and you need to know how to answer their questions, how to do their role playing and your BRAG book has to be superior! Is it impossible to get into the industry? No, nothing is impossible but you have to do your homework.

As far as pharma hiring only pretty women with great legs... OH PLEASE! There is not one pharmaceutical company that is going to hire a long legged empy headed blond for that reason only. That is old school and not the current attitude. I saw a statistic that said that pharma hires 49% men and 51% women. SO GO GET IT!

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marymalone

41 months ago

Tim in Tucson, Arizona said: I need advice from someone in the pharmaceutical/Health Field field. I am a middle age man and I have a B.S.B.A University of AZ. I have been in commission sales real estate during most of my adult life. I have had honors for my sales performance. I have trained agents how to sell and have owned my own real estate brokerage. I want to change careers and have always thought that the pharmaceutical field was interesting to me. However I was talking with a rep one day and he said forget it! The management for most of the companies only want young women with nice legs and big.....yada, yada, yada,. He said it was a mans job at one time but not now. And if you are middle age, forget it, you have not even a chance! I would like to give it a go but with the attitude of management in the business, I don't want to waste my time. Any honest suggestions from anyone?

I too am a real estate agent with 17 yrs proven sales record. I have a business admin degree (2002). I am 53 yrs old and reasonably attractive for my age. I think pharm. sales would be very interesting; but, like you,I am afraid it would be a waste of time to apply because of my age. Really, that doesn't speak well of the pharm industry, or of the doctors they sell to, but it does seem it is the reality. Age and experience are not often valued in the US as it is in many other countries.

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brad in Rochester, New York

40 months ago

marymalone said: I too am a real estate agent with 17 yrs proven sales record. I have a business admin degree (2002). I am 53 yrs old and reasonably attractive for my age. I think pharm. sales would be very interesting; but, like you,I am afraid it would be a waste of time to apply because of my age. Really, that doesn't speak well of the pharm industry, or of the doctors they sell to, but it does seem it is the reality. Age and experience are not often valued in the US as it is in many other countries.

Forget age, looks, sex, etc...you do not want to work in pharma. I have been a top performer in the industry for 7 years and yes the money and benefits are nice but it sucks the life out of you. Currently I am looking to change careers and get out of this dead-end industry...just not sure where I want to go. Oh, by the way this is going to piss some pharma reps off but pharma is not a sales job its a service job.

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Kathy in Algonquin, Illinois

39 months ago

Ken in Harrison, New York said: Don't let anyone here dissuade you from pursuing a career in Pharma Sales. It can be done. It can take 6 months to a year, but that's because these jobs are highly desirable. Keep at it and don't give up. You'll be rewarded.

Did I meet you last Saturday?

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JAPE in Kansas City, Missouri

38 months ago

I got my certification last week, and I am having difficulty getting interviews. I spoke with a recruiter and they told me my resume looks good but I need to show industry education with a CNPR or pharm tech certification. I was suspicious because I have loads of drug research and science education. I went ahead and got the certification in less than 2 weeks. I sent her an updated resume and cover letter, and all i got was no response.

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schwartza7 in Syracuse, New York

37 months ago

Hello. I have been working in pharmacy for over 6 years now. I used to be an account manager for a long term care pharmacy in the cental new york area. I traveled all around new york to our accounts and potential new accounts for business and received praise at every potential account and existing ones. I have a degree in computer science and am currently going for my bachelors in biology. I'm considering PA school so I have all the medical classes necessary for knowing about pharmacy including 2 years of pharmacolgy. I currently work at a major level-1 trauma hospital in Syracuse for the pharmacy dept as the head lab coordinator. I am very involved in patient care and projects that entail pharmacy including study drugs. After all of that, my question is, do you think I have a shot at becoming a Pharmaceutical rep? All advice is much appreciated.

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Wadecool in Elizabethtown, Kentucky

37 months ago

JAPE in Kansas City, Missouri said: I got my certification last week, and I am having difficulty getting interviews. I spoke with a recruiter and they told me my resume looks good but I need to show industry education with a CNPR or pharm tech certification. I was suspicious because I have loads of drug research and science education. I went ahead and got the certification in less than 2 weeks. I sent her an updated resume and cover letter, and all i got was no response.

Would you mind sharing the came of the recruiting company that told you that? I sent my resume to a recruiter and received a similar response. I'm wondering if it's the same one.

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Corie Graham in Charleston, West Virginia

32 months ago

Hey everyone,

I know this is a rough shot, but I am a Marketing student at Concord University. I was wondering if I may interview one of you for one of my classes. It would be greatly appreciated. I would love to know about your experiences with B2B sales.

Thank you,
Corie Graham

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Justin in Columbus, Ohio

16 months ago

Hello there,

I am currently a Senior finishing up my BS and was wondering If anyone would have any advice or insight as to the best way to enter the pharm/health sales field. Based on my research, finding an entry level sales position is extremely rare and I am curious to learn any advice you may have about breaking into the field early.

Thank you,

Justin

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Big Bama Mama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

16 months ago

Justin-
I took the CNPR through University of Alabama and found it quite helpful to getting noticed by the industry.

I felt more comfortable trying it that way so I Googled University of Alabama + CNPR and found it.

I know you can do it for a less expensive cost through the association but either way now I can at least say Iv started interviewing! Whatever you decide I wish you the best!

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Big Bama Mama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

16 months ago

And its offered at tons of other universities.

Just Google CNPR + whatever college/university.

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BT 1990 in Boston, Massachusetts

16 months ago

Justin in Columbus, Ohio said: Hello there,

I am currently a Senior finishing up my BS and was wondering If anyone would have any advice or insight as to the best way to enter the pharm/ health sales field. Based on my research, finding an entry level sales position is extremely rare and I am curious to learn any advice you may have about breaking into the field early.

Thank you,

Justin

I took the CNPR after I graduated with a BS in Chemistry this summer...it took me a couple weeks to finish and now I am in my first year as a rep for Novo. You need a degree to be considered but I would say the training is a big help too (especially if you are up against someone that doesn't have it).

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Bonny Everest in Richmond, Virginia

16 months ago

I LOVE the NAPSRx!

Honestly, I couldn't even get a reply until I had the training. Iv been in the industry 3 years (all with one company) and am now looking for my second opportunity to move up to specialty! The CNPR will help you a lot, but as an employee, its about the whole package.

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Bonny Everest in Richmond, Virginia

16 months ago

Corie Graham in Charleston, West Virginia said: Hey everyone,

I know this is a rough shot, but I am a Marketing student at Concord University. I was wondering if I may interview one of you for one of my classes. It would be greatly appreciated. I would love to know about your experiences with B2B sales.

Thank you,
Corie Graham

B2B sales is not technically the same as pharmaceutical sales.

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