It is the time of year where many are currently graduating from university, and wondering in which direction they may take their career. Many will envisage embarking on a path in pharmaceutical or medical device sales. As a leading independent recruitment agency and CSO, Evolve have put together a comprehensive summary of how best to break into the medical sales industry.

So; you’ve got your degree, you’ve done some research about getting in to the industry and you’ve realised that it’s not going to be a walk in the park! However, there are some essential steps which you can take to ensure success and to aid you in securing your move into medical sales.

If you follow the below guide, it ensures that you are set apart from peers in a very competitive market, and will put you on the path to a hugely rewarding career!


Research is key, when it comes to breaking in to the industry!

First of all, it shows your interest in the industry, it proves that you have spent time on finding out more about the key elements involved in your chosen career. Secondly, it means that you will be prepared at the time of applying for positions and attending interviews; recruitment agencies will want you to be able to demonstrate your knowledge into the medical sales arena, as will hiring managers! Not only must you research the duties of sales reps, you must also research the NHS in terms of Primary Care, Secondary Care and CCGs. 

Other areas which are of importance when it comes to research are the ABPI (Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry) and NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence). 


This is another key element which will help you secure your dream role!

Shadowing is crucial, as not only does it support your case in proving your interest and determination to a hiring manager, but also to yourself! It is the only way to truly appreciate the day to day expectations, duties and realities for medical sales reps! It isn’t always the easiest thing to arrange, but there are ways! 

  • Firstly, tap into your own network; do you know of anyone who currently works in the industry? Ask friends, relatives and acquaintances. 
  • Another option is to contact pharmaceutical or healthcare companies. You can usually find contact numbers for HR on the internet. 
  • Alternatively, you could call into your GP surgery, usually reps will drop business cards off, or you might be lucky enough to bump into one on your visit!

Another point to note with shadowing, is to include it on your CV. Summarise your findings and link your skill set to this.


Coupled with everything mentioned above, it is essential that you have the relevant skills to succeed in a career in medical sales. Some of these will be skills which you have already embraced, others may be taught on the job. It’s a great idea to start thinking about these, and to think of past scenarios where you have had to adopt these skills to achieve a positive outcome. Competency based questions usually always come up at interviews! 

Essential skills include: Great communicator, the ability to build professional relationships with people, effective organisation and prioritisation, team and individual working ability, a drive for achievement and being results orientated is also essential. 
If you have previous sales experience from another industry, also demonstrate that you have the skills which can be transferred across to the medical arena.

Work with the right agency

Working with the right agency is essential to ensuring your success in gaining a position in medical sales. 

In the majority of cases, working with a recruitment agency will up these odds for you hugely. This is due to many reasons…

  • Having inside knowledge and insight into what a particular company or hiring manager is looking for,
  • Offering a variety of roles and guiding you in the direction of the most suitable ones, often positions which are only released to preferred suppliers,
  • Relationships already established with hiring managers, allowing us to effectively sell you in as a candidate for consideration, 
  • Provide you will assistance and guidance throughout the whole process, including comprehensive preparation for interviews. 

If you are thinking of moving into your first position within the pharmaceutical or healthcare sector, trust the Evolve team to help you every step of the way towards getting your dream job. We have the expertise and experience to ensure that you get the very best position for your abilities. Feel free to contact us for further information.