If you’ve been considering a pharma career, you’re certainly not alone.
Jobs in pharmaceuticals are highly sought after for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:
- High pay and opportunities for advancement, with many careers in pharmaceutical sales with a near six-figure starting salary
- The opportunity to use a highly specialized skill set in a challenging, fast-paced environment
- The fact that the seemingly unknown climate of national healthcare continues to evolve, the future seems bright for the industry at large
However, with these positives comes fierce competition. Standing out from the crowd when hunting for a pharmaceutical job is easier said than done, but there are steps you can take to prepare and ultimately make yourself more attractive to potential employers.
Whether you’re up for an interview or simply want to make sure you’re prepared for your next job hunt, keep the following tips in the back of your mind.
Expect the Unexpected
The medical profession at large is so diverse that you should expect just about anything in your interview. Topics from your personal knowledge of drugs on the market to procedures for medical waste management are fair game for interviews to rack your brain.
Look: you can’t expect to know everything and there will likely be some curve-balls. The best way to combat problem questions is by emphasizing your expertise. For example, you should make sure to note a combination of the following:
- Your prior experience in medicine or sales (or both), depending on your background
- Sample sales pitches and how you would handle various “what-if” scenarios (interviewers love these because they tend to stump newbies)
- The ability to highlight your weaknesses but also how you’ve overcome them
Again, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to how interviewers deal with potential hires, so be prepared for anything.
Do Your Homework
Perhaps the best way to ease your mind in a pharma interview is to do your homework prior to meeting with a potential employer. You’ll need to dig beyond a quick Google search by delving in press releases and annual reports to really glean vital information that’ll make you stand out during an interview. By showing off your know-how, you signal that you’re a go-getter and not just another face in the crowd looking for a job.
Polish Your Resume
Drug companies in particular are bombarded with resumes, so making yours stand out is obviously a must-do. Strive to craft a resume that highlights your accomplishments and what you’ve done versus solely whom you’ve worked for. Let potential employers know that you’ve been around the block.
Check out this example of a sample pharma sales resume and how it highlights accomplishment after accomplishment to signal the candidate’s strengths.
Double-Check Your References
Before sending off your resume, make sure that you speak with your references and that they’re aware that you’re on the hunt for jobs. In fact, this is a good idea in general to talk to your references as networking is a much easier way to find a vacancy in the field versus applying via company sites. If you know a fellow pharma rep, try striking up a conversation and see where it goes.
While getting into the pharmaceutical field is certainly competitive, it’s far from impossible. By prepping for the job hunt and knowing what to expect, you’ll be better equipped for landing a gig.