The first thing you should know about getting a job in medical devices and technology (MD&T), is that it won’t be easy, but there are a few things that the most determined of you should try, to help you get your foot in the door.
Speak to a credible recruiter who specialises in MD&T recruitment
Working with a recruiter gives you the best chance of getting noticed by medical devices employers; if a recruiter believes in your potential they may be able to positively influence an employer who may not have otherwise considered you. Your recruiter will make sure that you fully understand the nature of the job; seeking a first-time position in the industry is a big commitment and all involved need to know that you’re making an informed decision.
Shadow, or meet a rep
If you know someone in the industry who’s able to allow you to shadow them, then seize the opportunity; it’s a great chance to explore the role and gain valuable credibility that’ll set you apart from other industry newcomers. If you don’t already personally know someone, arrange to meet a rep by leveraging your network; take them for a coffee, and get an understanding from their perspective.
To create an even greater advantage, arrange a meeting with a customer you’re likely to work with – a Procurement Manager or Surgeon, for example. This insight is extremely important. Most people will have an understanding from a sales perspective, but a customer’s viewpoint is even better; it’ll help you understand the industry, the different types of roles, and the different ways of selling products in a complex environment. People who come to us following months of research, who’ve visited hospitals, and have an impressive level of insight before they’ve even applied for a job, stand a much better chance of breaking into the industry. It gives the recruiter something more to work with when they’re selling you to a client.
A genuine love for the industry
Personality is really important in this environment, and the most successful people we’ve ever come across do their job because they’re genuinely passionate about the industry they work in. Consider your reasons for wanting to enter the medical devices and technology industry carefully before contacting your recruiter.
People who have complementary interests or qualifications will stand out from the competition. We’ve successfully helped graduates with a passion for or qualification in economics, biomechanics, sales in other sectors, biology and sport, for example. Think about how you can up-skill and educate yourself; completing qualifications in your spare time not only increases your knowledge but demonstrates strength of character and self-motivation too, increasing your appeal to future employers.
So, what’s your first job in medical device and technology sales likely to be?
For many, a Sales Specialist opportunity is the first rung on the medical device and technology sales career ladder. You can expect to spend time with key opinion leaders, getting to understand their needs, know their networks and their influences; you may find that you spend up to a day with a single key opinion leader. Meetings are likely to be pre-arranged rather than ad hoc, so you’ll spend a lot of time planning as well as travelling. More often than not, you’ll find that you meet people in groups; it’s a lot easier to get your message across.
It’s up to you to use your understanding and shrewd negotiations skills to settle a deal that works for all stakeholders. You’ll probably find you need to be flexible and deals need to be tweaked as time rolls along. Making sure that all decision-makers are happy is critical to a successful tender process; most products are still bought this way.