Anyone who has tried to get a job as a pharmaceutical sales rep knows that is can be a bit overwhelming. You have to understand the strategies of effective networking , like finding pharmaceutical sales representative groups, the right questions to ask whenever you are in the company of those in the industry and other ways to break into pharmaceutical sales. A solid networking approach will focus on 4 distinct components: expanding your network of pharmaceutical representatives, searching the e-boards of pharmaceutical job listings, partnering with a recruiter who specializes in pharmaceutical and medical fields and increasing your industry knowledge.
When you become a networking expert, you will understand the importance of asking, “Who do you know?” and “Does that person know someone else who should be in my network?” Remember the old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
One of the best ways to break into pharmaceuticals sales is to speak with a sales representative or district manager in the industry. Building these relationships is important for a few reasons. First, it is a great way to get a referral. When an existing pharmaceutical sales rep refers someone to his district manager that can increase your exposure, which is great. Also, your existing pharma industry contacts may be able to give you more contact names, like the hiring managers and Human Resource team. Third, your contacts might also have the inside track on any plans to increase the sales team or potential plans for opportunity within the pharmaceutical industry.
Remember that your main goal of networking within the pharma industry is to learn as much as you can and determine your strengths that make you a solid candidate. If you can, be sure to spend some time with a pharmaceutical sales representative while he conducts his client visits. A day in the life of a pharma sales rep is the best way to explore the industry and can help you make an informed decision on your new career.
What do you do if your network does not contain any pharmaceutical sales representatives? Consider joining a pharmaceutical discussion board on the web, attend job fairs and ask the folks at the pharmaceutical booth. Another option is to research the Chamber of Commerce membership lists and if there are pharmaceutical members listed you may want to consider attending the next Chamber Mixer. Most local Chambers of Commerce allow you to attend one free event, without being a member. This is a great way to build your network regardless of your career aspirations.
Networking is a lot like pharma sales. Think about it, to set yourself apart from the competition in sales, you take extra time to develop relationships with your customers, right? The same concepts apply to developing your pharmaceutical contacts. The little extra things you do to promote goodwill with your customers work when you are establishing and maintain your network. Send thank you notes if someone with a pharmaceutical career takes their time to speak with you or introduces you to a new contact. It is important to remember that most people really like to help their friends and when you solicit their advice and express your appreciation they are often willing to do a lot more to further your career or help you gain entry into the competitive field of pharma sales.
If you find this site helpful, please send a link to your career services department so your fellow alumni know about PharmBoard too! I've already written the message for you. :)