The year was 1998, and I just graduated from College. I remember telling one of my lecturers that I am not going to work with the Government because it will stall me from reaching my financial aim. I told him instead, that I will get involved in Business and I will start in pharmaceutical sales because from my reading of successful business people, knowing how to sell is a common denominator for them.
And I am aspired to become one someday.
My search for a job with pharmaceutical companies took me almost 3 months. And if you still remember, 1998 was a year after ‘world economic crisis’. Times were really bad, as the news have it, day in and out. But I kept searching.
And I officially began my first career in pharmaceutical sales in July 1998 with a European Multinational Pharmaceutical Company as a Product Specialist.
If you are starting off just like me, just graduated with some science background and no marketing knowledge whatsoever, you can get into this. And the opposite is also true; if you have no science background but you have some type of knowledge (not necessarily at degree level), you also can get into this.
Here is how you do it:
1) Go Local
If you were not confident, starting with local generics companies will serve you best in the long run. They are good companies all around you and if you find it hard to keep up, just register yourself with an online ‘job board’. I register with 2 job boards over here – JobStreet and JobsDb. I make sure I write a decent resume and keep my eyes on my e-mail.
But I also look into the newspaper and at time, I canvass the area. I guess somehow that helps during my interview with the MNC and that is why I was chosen. You can always start from where you are, if that is what appropriate. Then you expand as you go along.
2) Keep Going
I lost count how many times I was turned down simply because I was told that I had not own a transport, I might get another job elsewhere, or the job already taken. But I just searching. In fact, my search brought me to the capital city and I went there with my girlfriend not expecting to ace the job – we just want to enjoy ourselves at a new joint (which happen to be the World’s tallest building at that time: KLCC).
You will get a lot of exposure if you keep going and that alone is valuable lessons, and no amount of degree can compensate that. The world is pushing you and she just wait and see if you push back.
Let her have it!
3) Know Your Limit
There are times when you got to pay your due diligence and look at yourself in the mirror. Yes, you can opt for big pharma brands to get yourself into but are you up to it? I have spent 5 years as an Area Business Manager and I have involved in numerous recruiting situation during those years. What I always see is, meek females and males who thought they can wing it in an interview without preparing.
Do not fool yourself! Make sure you know yourself and know where you stand. If your command in English can be made better, by all means buck up. And do not step into another interview without getting that out of the way. The same goes with other skills like computer, people skill (very important), etc.
4) Get Use To It
You are going to be in pharmaceutical industry thus it makes a lot of sense to familiarize with the words that people in this industry use. How you do it? The Internet contains tons of free resources. All you go to do is to connect with it. You can do this in a few ways – forums, discussion group, articles, videos and audios. Use the Search Engines to look for one and get busy.
It will pay in spades.
5) Reach Out
Hang around with people whom you inspired to become and hang out where their customers hang out. You will probably find dozens of places in your area – hospital cafeterias, sport clubs, gym, etc. and high chance that opportunity is just waiting to pound on your door.
Starting with no experience is tough and it is getting tougher when others sniff what lucrative jobs pharmaceutical sales can be. Do not get discourage though. Competition gets you on your feet, gets you to listen more and gets you to work faster. Believe me, you need all those attributes once you are on the jobs. So get busy.
Source by Nezrul Hisyam Abdul Ghani