Are you a people person? Can you build great relationships? Do you like connecting with others and enjoy working in the medical or allied health fields? Are you a great sales person? You might want to consider becoming a pharmaceutical sales representative.

Pharmaceutical sales is one of the most lucrative, stable and growing professions in the United States. With the increasing numbers of drugs being approved in the United States, pharmaceutical sales reps are in high demand across the country.  So what are the 4 steps to becoming a pharma sales rep?

1. Get certified.  Certification through the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs (ACMA) for Pharmaceutical sales representatives is the industry standard. The Pharmaceutical Representative Certification (PRC) is the only accredited certification program in the world.  The program is a self-paced, online professional certification recognized by the International Association for Continuing Education & Training (IACET), American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  The PRC is comprised of 11 modules covering all the most important areas any successful pharma sales rep should know.  Areas such as pharmacology, mechanism of action of drugs, anatomy & physiology, medical terminology and more are all covered in this comprehensive training program.  

2.  Update your resume. This is an obvious but often overlooked task. It’s important to update your resume to reflect that you have the knowledge and skills to be a successful pharmaceutical sales representative. Focus on your achievements, with a particular focus on quantitative accomplishments.  For example, how much were you able to grow sales at your last company or how many new relationships were you able to cultivate at your last position. These are specific, measurable outcomes you can use as examples during your interview.

3. Network. Social media tools today make it easier than ever before to build connections with communities that may not be in your current network.  One of the key things you should NOT do is connect with others on platforms like LinkedIn and ask for something right after you connect. While most people will want to help you, building a relationship first is important. Once you have had several exchanges and have earned the trust of your new connection, you’ve earned the right to ask for referrals or tips on how to break into the pharmaceutical sales field. 

4. Maintain a strong GPA. Most companies will look for pharma sales reps who have earned at least a bachelor’s degree. A common misconception is that your degree should be in biology or chemistry.  But that isn’t necessarily true.  What companies will look at in the hiring process is your soft skills and your desire to show that you’ve done your homework and gone above and beyond to stand out among other candidates.