No doubt that if you are on the job market, you have thought about a position as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative. Despite the tough economy, pharmaceutical sales jobs continue to be one of the most stable and lucrative careers and the industry looks to remain strong in the future. Even with talk of some kind of government run healthcare, pharmaceutical companies will still need sales representatives to educate doctors on their products and to drive bottom line revenues. Here are my top three reasons why you should take a serious look at this nearly recession-proof industry:
1. The industry is growing. In 1993, the average American received seven prescriptions in a year. In 2004, that number nearly doubled to twelve prescriptions per person in the US. The total number of annual prescriptions in the US now stands at over 3 billion. The global pharmaceutical market grew to $712 billion in 2007 at an annual growth rate of 10% between 1999 and 2007. This strong and consistent growth is largely the result of sales for new and innovative products and emerging international markets. Currently, the top five international pharmaceutical companies are, by revenue in 2007, Johnson & Johnson ($61.1 B), Pfizer (48.4 B), Glaxo SmithKline ($45.4 B), Novartis ($39.8 B) and Sanofi-Aventis ($38.5 B). In addition, four of the top 10 products in 2007 are forecast to consistently increase sales over the next five years. And the pipeline of new drugs is continuing to grow with many companies reinvesting up to 50% of their sales back into research and development.
2. The job is exciting. Often described as competitive, lucrative, and rewarding, companies rely on pharmaceutical sales reps to work closely with doctors, hospitals and pharmacies to educate them on the use of the products and to better understand patient needs. It is through these professional relationships that sales reps can encourage doctors to prescribe their company’s drugs. Drug companies are also moving towards more innovative and dynamic ways to get their sales message across to doctors, such as Facebook, You Tube, and Twitter. These smarter and more efficient ways of marketing give the sales reps opportunities to network with busy doctors who may not be able to see them in the office. Most pharmaceutical sales reps also find their job challenging and enjoy calling on such an educated customer. The job also involves intense studying of product knowledge, clinical studies, drug indications, side effects, and how to sell against competitive medicines. Pharmaceutical sales reps are among the most knowledgeable and well trained sales reps in any industry.
3. The job is lucrative. Currently, the average pharmaceutical sales rep makes a base salary of $58,000, plus bonuses, benefits, and a company car. Sales reps are paid either through commissions or bonuses to meet and exceed sales quotas. Add in incentives for top performers such as cash, stock, and trips, and you can see why most pharmaceutical sales reps make over $100,000 year. There are also plenty of opportunities for advancement within most pharmaceutical companies. Most sales reps start out as a Primary Care rep which calls on family practice doctors and internal medicine doctors. From there a rep can move into a Specialty Care position, such as calling on Cardiologists, Urologists, etc. Reaching the position of Hospital Rep is considered to be the ultimate promotion for many professionals in pharmaceutical sales jobs where the reps interface with the doctors and pharmacists in the Hospital setting. To boot, major companies such as Johnson & Johnson have several different divisions which allows for plenty of upward mobility for top performers.
So what do hiring managers and recruiters look for? Well, certainly the competition for pharmaceutical sales jobs can be high. You will typically need a bachelor’s degree but there are entry-level pharmaceutical sales job positions available and some companies will even help employees get their degree. Most also require one to two years of strong performance and proven success in outside sales, such as copiers, business to business services, or consumer products. But I have personally also helped other professionals such as teachers and nurses land jobs in this industry.
To stand out from your competition, you must first have a winning resume written for the industry. Once you get the interview, companies are looking for you to have a positive attitude and a strong drive to succeed. You will also need to show your great communication skills, creativity, and the ability to generate new business.
Jobs in pharmaceutical sales have not been immune to the effects of the current economic downturn; however, our population is continuing to age and people will always need medical attention and care. And many companies are continuing to experience strong growth. For example, Novartis Pharmaceuticals is expected to increase one sector of its employee base by 20 percent each year until at least 2013 and the bulk of the new positions will be pharmaceutical sales jobs.
I personally continue to see major pharmaceutical companies hiring as evidenced by the sheer number of job postings on many of the job search websites. All in all, employment forecasters are predicting that a pharmaceutical sales job will continue to be one of the more stable careers to enter in the future. If you would like to learn more about how to land your dream job in pharmaceutical sales, visit my website at www.PharmRepConnect.com where you can sign up for my free report on how to avoid the most common job search mistakes.