Getting any type of job without experience is challenging. Especially in a competitive industry that offers high upside compensation. It took me over two years to get a role as a full line rep with an industry leading company. This was with relevant B2B outside sales experience. In this article, I am going to offer some tips on how to accelerate your timeline into the industry. Through trial and error, I have learned what works and what does not work when trying to break into medical device sales. I have outlined nine quick tips on how to get into medical device sales with no experience.
How To Break Into Medical Device Sales With No Experience
1. Always Be Networking
The most feasible way to get a device job without experience is through your medical sales network. Hiring managers have quite a bit of digression when hiring, especially for entry level roles. If an opening comes up and they think you have the right personality and some transferable skills, it is possible to get an offer without previous sales experience. It may not be easy, but with a big enough network the odds go way up.
2. Use The Right Keywords On Your Resume
It should come as no surprise that part of the resume review process is automated. Companies use talent management software that screens resumes for the right keywords. While this in and of itself will not get you a job, it can help get you through the first hurdle. First off, make sure you have the right sales buzzwords such as “outside sales” and “B2B sales”. If you have any experience in the healthcare field make sure to include the relevant keywords. This could include words such as “patient care” or “OR”.
3. Remember That The Process Is A Numbers Game
Do not take rejection personally. Without industry experience, it is like trying to find a diamond in a haystack. You will not get the first job you apply to. In reality, you probably will not even hear back. Many hiring mangers will not be interested in someone without previous medical sales experience. This would not be clear from the outside. You have to keep trying.
4. Get To Know Some Potential Customers
It can be helpful to go in a hospital or clinic and chat with a potential customer. This could be an OR manager, a physician, or anyone that engages regularly with medical sales reps. I received this advice when I was going through the interview process and I found it kind of cheesy. I remember thinking there was no way I was going to do that. If you do not have industry experience there is nothing to lose. It demonstrates you are serious and this is not a fleeting pursuit.
5. Spend Your Time Applying To The Right Positions
I did not know what I was doing when first trying to break into the industry. I applied to everything that looked interesting. This was a mistake and waste of time. Focus on entry level roles. If you do not have medical device experience or sales experience you will not get a role that requires five years of industry experience. It is important to be realistic and focus on the associate sales roles.
6. Demonstrate Foundational and Transferable Skills
If a manager is considering hiring someone without sales experience they will be looking at different criteria. Obviously, they are not going to ask about the sales process or your past quota attainment. They are looking for soft skills that may be transferable to the medical device space. Maybe you were a waiter in college. Because of this you project confidence, make effective small talk, deal with conflict, and have a great personality. These are the types of traits and skills that can be transferable to another domain.
If you do have some initial B2B sales experience the manger will try to get an understanding of your foundational skills. You may not have experience calling on doctors, but you may have some solid prospecting or presentation skills.
7. Practice And Go For It
It always surprises me when people think they will be good at something the first time. They do not practice because they have a general idea of what needs to be done. This never works out. The people that are able to execute in life are the ones who visualize success and regularly practice. It is all about the repetition, and interviewing is no different. It is good to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
8. Promote Yourself As Moldable
As I have said previously, hiring managers are looking for different things if they are considering a candidate without sales experience. One of the most important things is identifying someone who is a sponge and willing to learn. This is the not the case for everyone. Some people are slow learners or resistant to feedback. This is not what a company is looking for in an entry level position. Throughout the interview process demonstrate that you are open to learn and can be groomed into a strong medical device rep.
9. Focus On A Sales Training Program
If you do not have sales experience then you will need sales training. There is no way around this. Ask questions about what type of sales training the company may offer. This training is what will open up other career doors for you. Training new medical sales reps is expensive and risky for a hiring company. It is an investment that takes money and resources. And it does not always work out. It is important to seek out training opportunities and make the most of them.