5 Things That Will Stop You From Landing the Medical or Health Care Sales Job You Want

1. Wrong degree

To get a job in medical sales, healthcare sales, laboratory sales, biotechnology sales, medical device sales, or any variation, you need either (1) a degree in one of the life sciences, like biology, chemistry, zoology, biochemistry, or biotechnology, for example, with some business classes and sales experience, OR (2) a business degree with a decent number of additional science classes (maybe a minor). If you do not have one of those, your chances are not good. These are technical sales areas, so you need a working knowledge of science and medical technology to be successful.

2. Bad references

First: When I ask about references, I'm looking for the name of one of your supervisors-either past or present, it does not matter. If you can not give me that kind of a reference, it sends up a red flag for me-what are you hiding? Second: Know what your references will say about you. You'd be surprised at how many references I call who (very carefully) DO NOT tell me fabulous things about the candidate. If you're not absolutely certain, stick-your-job-on-it sure that they will give you a glowing reference, do not give me (or the hiring manager) their names.

3. Bad driving record

You'll spend your life as a sales rep driving to your customers, often in a company car. No one is going to give you a company car if they're not certain you'll represent the company in a mature, responsible manner. Reckless driving, DUIs, or even too many speeding tickets just will not cut it. Keep your driving record clean.

4. Drug use

You're supposed to sell the drugs, not take them … Seriously, any whiff (ha!) Of drug use will put you out of the running faster than you can imagine. (It could be a little dangerous to have the surgical equipment sales rep standing in the surgical suite while stoned out of his mind.)

5. Criminal record / Felony

Employers in many industries routinely perform background checks. Why would they in medical sales? Pharmaceutical sales reps have access to drug samples. Other medical sales reps-medical device sales reps, laboratory sales reps, surgical equipment sales reps, and biotechnology sales reps, for example, are responsible for very expensive equipment, instruments, tests, and more … not to mention the company car.

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