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From Postdoc to Sales?

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From Postdoc to Sales?

Postby Josh » Tue Nov 09, 2004 4:26 pm

Prior to and during my appointment as a postdoc (1.5 yrs) I have attempted without success to break into the pharma/biotech field. I have many friends that work in the sales force of some large pharma companies, and they have suggested initially taking a position as a sales representative to get at these \'non-research positions\' other threads have discussed (Liaison, Managment, etc). What are your thoughts on this? Thanks
Josh
 

From Postdoc to Sales?

Postby Dave Jensen » Tue Nov 09, 2004 4:42 pm

Hi Josh,

Becoming a sales rep in a pharma company is a tough search. Most of the time, sales managers want to hire people with a BS degree and often in Business. They don't often trust people with PhD's, as they think they are "too academic."

For the biotech co's, though, this is a different story. A company like Invitrogen, Promega, Applied Biosystems, etc, hires PhD salespeople all the time. Those jobs will be easier for you to acquire. You'll need to do excellent networking (start by talking to the person who calls on your lab!), and you'll want to have a great cover letter written up. Also, sales managers can be "sold." In other words, you may not fit the job, but if you do a good job in an interview and express well the fact that you can DO THE JOB and that you WANT TO DO THE JOB, you have a chance. It's a lot different than a research job, where there is no way you'll get hired if the interviewer doesn't see certain things on your CV.

A sales job is indeed a good launching pad for many other jobs, such as Business Development, Marketing, etc. It would NOT be a good launching pad for other non-bench jobs, such as Manufacturing Operations, Validation, etc.

Here's a great article about the topic of how one fellow, a good friend of mine and a poster on this forum, got his sales job and what it led to. He is a PhD Molecular Biologist.

His Mother Cried When he Went into Sales

regards, Dave Jensen, Moderator
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From Postdoc to Sales?

Postby John Fetzer » Thu Nov 11, 2004 9:41 am

Sales positions for most scientists are tough. It takes very different skills. You really have to be good at and like meeting people, introducing yourself and your company, listening to potential clients, and accepting rejection or disinterest.

The schedules and location are not set, you travel a lot - even if only lots of local miles by car, you multitask and work from no set place - office, car, home, hotel room all are your workplace where you use your PC and phone.

There is great demand for good sales people in science, but the security is only as good as your good sales figures. People tend to move around a lot from company to company more than in other fields.

John
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