Getting a Pharmaceutical Sales Job

By: stuboo
One of the best business analogies I've ever heard compares businesses to boats.

Small businesses are like small boats. The have the luxury of being quick to respond, controlled by just a handful of people, and communication is as simple as turning over your shoulder and saying, "Land ho!" On the other hand, they don't have some of the luxuries that big businesses have. Big boats [businesses] are powerful, they have many redundant features - small breeches in the hull aren't as threatening, and momentum goes anything but unnoticed.

What big business doesn't have is the ability to respond quickly. Communication is often complex, becomes confusing and is often lost. Nearly every pharmaceutical company with a sales force is the equivalent of a big boat.

Don't get me wrong here; human resources officers and internal recruiters do a wonderful job. But if you want a job in the kitchen of a cruise ship, who would you talk to, the first mate or the head chef? In many pharmaceutical companies, internal recruiters are a branch of human resources. They make recommendations on hiring, they handle initial screenings, they sift through resumes, and they facilitate the tons of paperwork involved in the hiring process. What they don't do is make the final decision.

In the end, pharmaceutical companies aren't just big boats. They are some of the biggest boats in the sea of American business. They are multi-billion dollar companies that turn very slowly, respond sluggishly to small stimuli, and constantly struggle with the flow of communication. It's neither good nor bad. It's just the nature of being a titanic company (sorry for the pun). Getting on board such a colossal ship is, in and of it self, no small feat.

Spend time networking with pharmaceutical sales representatives and district managers. Doing so will prove invaluable every step of the way. In many cases, they will help you decide if you even want to be on the ship in the first place - chances are it's not as glamorous as you think!
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