Entry-Level Pharma Sales: It's More Than Just a Job Search (Here's Why)

An image depict the struggle and opportunity for an entry level pharma sales

Are your interest piqued by the words ‘pharmaceutical sales’? For me, this is good to know because many online searchers, both fresh out of schoolers and seekers of a career change, are ending up staring at one of the pages on this blog.

But beyond the initial search, which is typically related to a position or a job, there's a whole new world waiting to be explored.

In this blog post, I’d like to go deeper into that world, and not just finding an entry-level position in a Pharma company. Let’s look at the exciting possibilities, essential skills, and valuable resources that can prepare you for success with the entry-level pharmaceutical sales.

In that context, when we focus on the words "entry level", it typically refers to the following aspects:



  • You have limited or no prior experience in pharmaceutical sales: These positions are designed for individuals who are new to the field and may not have directly sold pharmaceutical products or medical devices before.
  • Providing training and development: Companies often provide basic to advance training programs to equip new hires with the necessary knowledge and skills to carry out their role.



  • Focusing on foundational tasks: Entry-level positions typically involve more basic tasks, such as scheduling meetings, conducting product research, and assisting senior representatives.
  • Gradual increase in responsibility: As new hires gain experience and demonstrate competence, they are usually given added tasks and responsibilities.


Compensation and benefits

  • Competitive payout but may be lower than experienced representatives: At entry-level positions, you’re generally offered a base salary, but sales incentives structures may also be implemented, which (unfortunately) can limit earning potential based on performance.
  • Benefit packages may be less comprehensive: Compared to experienced or permanent positions, entry-level roles might offer fewer benefits, like paid time off or health insurance.


Overall, "entry-level" in pharmaceutical sales signifies an initial step into the field, providing opportunities to gain the necessary experience and knowledge to progress toward more advanced sales roles within the pharmaceutical industry.

Continuing with our discussion, when someone searches for "entry level pharmaceutical sales" online and landed on this blog, it's highly likely they're looking for one of the following (check if any of these resonate with you too):

  • Job Openings:  IMHO, this is the primary search intent. They're interested in finding active job listings, full time or part time, for entry-level sales positions within pharmaceutical or medical devices companies.
  • Internships: While less common than seeking full-time jobs, this could still be a possible intent. Some pharmaceutical companies  offer internships within their sales departments, which would likely show up when searching for entry-level positions.
  • Information on how to get started: It's also possible, although less likely, that the person might be searching for general information about breaking into the field of entry-level pharmaceutical sales.

And I know these are true because:

  • Specificity of the search: The search phrase is very specific, combining the job level ("entry-level") with a specific industry ("pharmaceutical sales"). This indicates a strong interest in finding employment opportunities rather than just general information.
  • Common job searching behavior: People usually turn to search engines directly when seeking job openings or internships (yup, it’s the way forward they say).

Now, let’s suppose I am a job hunting expert for the pharmaceutical industry (which I started back in 1998, and continue until today), here's what I would share with a novice or an old hand who's searching for "entry-level pharmaceutical sales" positions:


Refine your search

  • Use keywords: Since we’re working with Search Engines, utilize additional keywords beyond "entry-level pharmaceutical sales" to target specific areas of interest within the industry. This could include therapeutic areas (e.g., oncology, cardiology), product types (e.g., prescription drugs, medical devices), or specific companies.
  • Utilize job boards: Explore dedicated job boards within the pharmaceutical industry, such as Pharmajobs, Medzilla, and BioSpace, alongside general job boards like LinkedIn and Indeed. Do carry out your due diligence whenever you come across any opening. Don’t just take it up straight away.


Strengthen your application

  • Tailor your resume and cover letter: Customize your application materials for each specific position you apply for, highlighting skills and experiences relevant to the advertised role and company.
  • Quantify your achievements: Whenever possible, use numbers and metrics to demonstrate the impact you made in previous roles.
  • Prepare for interviews: Research common interview questions for pharmaceutical sales and practice your answers beforehand.


Network and build connections

  • Attend industry events: Participate in conferences, workshops, or career fairs related to the pharmaceutical industry to establish connections and gain insights.
  • Connect online: Utilize professional networking platforms like LinkedIn to connect with professionals in the pharmaceutical industry and learn about potential opportunities.
  • Reach out to your network: Inform your personal and professional network about your job search and inquire about potential leads or introductions.


Additional resources

  • Professional organizations: Consider joining professional organizations like the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) or the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) to gain access to resources and networking opportunities.
  • Career counseling services: Leverage career counseling services offered by your university or career centers to receive personalized guidance on your job search strategy.


The job search can take time and effort. Be persistent, refine your approach based on your progress, and don't hesitate to seek help from career coaches or mentors when needed.

By no means following these tips and utilizing available resources provides you with a guarantee but you'll increase your chances of landing a successful entry-level pharmaceutical sales position.

Here are some additional points that search engines might not directly address, but are valuable for someone beginning their journey in entry-level pharmaceutical sales:


Understanding the industry

  • Research the pharmaceutical industry landscape: Gain an understanding of the current state of the industry, including trends, challenges, and key players. This knowledge can help you tailor your search and interview responses.
  • Explore different sales channels:  Learn about the different sales channels within the pharmaceutical industry, such as hospitals, clinics, and managed care organizations. This will help you identify areas of interest and tailor your skills accordingly.


Developing essential skills

  • Scientific literacy: While a science background isn't always mandatory, having a basic understanding of scientific concepts and terminology can be beneficial. Consider taking introductory courses or online resources to improve your scientific literacy.
  • Regulatory compliance: Familiarize yourself with relevant regulations that govern pharmaceutical sales practices. This will demonstrate your commitment to ethical and responsible sales.
  • Communication and presentation skills: Hone your communication and presentation skills, as these are crucial for effectively conveying product information and engaging with healthcare professionals.


Building your network strategically

  • Connect with alumni and mentors: If you graduated from a science or business program, reach out to alumni working in the pharmaceutical industry. Seek mentors who can guide you and provide valuable insights.
  • Target specific companies: Research and identify specific pharmaceutical companies you'd like to work for. Then, focus your networking efforts on connecting with employees or alumni from those companies.
  • Engage online communities: Join online communities or forums related to the pharmaceutical industry. Engage in discussions and learn from the experiences of others.

Personal branding and professional development

  • Establish your online presence: Create a professional online presence through platforms like LinkedIn. Showcase your skills and experience through relevant content and engage in discussions relevant to the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Consider professional certifications: While not mandatory, pursuing relevant certifications can demonstrate your commitment to professional development and enhance your resume.
  • Stay up-to-date: Continuously learn and stay updated on industry trends, advancements, and regulations. This will demonstrate your dedication and knowledge base to potential employers.

You can significantly improve your chances of landing your ideal entry-level position in pharmaceutical sales by going beyond the basic search and actively engaging with the industry. When there’s a will, there’s a way. Let that guide you in your search online, or offline.

You got this ;-)

PS. Feel free to ask question or share your view in the comment box below. I DO read and answer comment you put there.

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