Why does it take so long to break into this industry? It’s a question I hear almost daily from people who are trying to get jobs as pharmaceutical sales representatives. The answer to that question is the topic of another article (a book on the subject would be better). This article is meant to give you some tips on what you can do while you’re waiting for a return phone call from a networking contact or interviewer.
When I’m mentoring people who want to get hired in this industry, the first thing I always tell them is this, “You should be networking while the world is awake and researching while they sleep.” The pharmaceutical sales search is a full time job. Just ask anyone who’s done it with success. Every minute you have that can’t be spent networking can be spent researching.
Here are 4 things you can do (with relative ease) that will help you learn more about the pharmaceutical industry.
1. Make a list of companies you would like to work for and study them daily.
Start with 5 companies and go to their websites. Notice I didn’t say “read about” these companies. You need to study them, just like you would’ve in college. Learn about the products they own and promote, learn about their history, their financial stabilty, their future, and their pipeline. Any bit of information you can find on them . . . devour it. Take it to heart.
2. Use the list from above and stay up to date on current news about those companies.
Back in the days before the internet, this was pretty tough. It meant going to the library and poring over the Wall Street Journal day after day looking for news. Today it’s as easy as going to news.google.com and searching for the company you are interested in and/or its stock ticker. If you want a really easy way, spend a few mintues teaching yourself about RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and the freshest news will be waiting for you all the time.
3. Use your local library.
While the internet has made some things easier, it still isn’t a replacement for your local library (not for free anyway). Visit the library and take a look at the S&P Reports for the 5 companies on your list. Ask the librarian to point you towards similar information that might be of use. Often times you can find jewels in these publications. As an added bonus, you can take copies of the S&P report to your interview and show the interviewer that you’ve done more to research than just point-and-click.
4. Watch Television.
It’s no secret that pharmaceutical companies love to advertise. While your spending well deserved time in front of the television, keep an pen and notepad nearby. As you see a commercial for a drug, write down its name. If the company logo appears, write it down too. If you can catch the major selling points that the commercial makes about the drug, you’ll be on your way to superstardom. I’ll bet you never thought watching TV could be considered work!
As you start doing these four things you’ll quickly find that there are numerous other habits you could form that would help you learn more about the pharmaceutical industry. Do those too. As with anything, the more you put into your search, the more you’ll get out of it. But, um, don’t forget to have a life!