Linda Hertz Group

My Medical Device Sales Career

I'm a Biomedical Engineering Grad, How Do I Break Into Medical Device Sales?

Hi Ms. Hertz, I am a grad student at UCLA (PhD Biomedical Engineering). Upon completion of my degree in July, I am very interested in medical device sales. I was wondering if you had advice for someone with a very strong technical background, but no sales experience. Regards, Peter B.

REPLY

Hello Peter and thank you for your question and congratulations on your upcoming graduation!  We sometimes do get medical device sales jobs that require a biomedical engineering background.  Also, sometimes new Engineering graduates do get that first job out of college in medical sales.  As a new Sales Trainer years ago I was assigned a very young engineer who had been interviewing initially with our parent company, a large chemical company, for an engineering position. Her interviewers found her "So bubbly, vibrant and full of energy" that they thought she may be better suited to the sales side of the business!  Looking back all these years later, they were right! Susan had a great career as a medical device sales representative and upward promotions into management!  

So as I reflect on your question, "How does a new Biomedical Engineering graduate can break into medical device sales?", I must say that I think there may be many ways to do so.  Let's do a quick review.

Biomedical Engineer Strategy for Breaking Into Medical Device Sales 

YOUR COLLEGE PLACEMENT OFFICE

  • You are graduating within a month Peter, run, don't walk to your college placement office and see what career resources are available to you now and over the summer.  Many campuses invite companies to conduct interviews on campus for career week.  
  • Look through the medical companies (Johnson and Johnson is usually one of them) and set up an interview for sales, not engineering.

UTILIZE LINKEDIN TO IDENTIFY HOT LEADS

  • Go on LinkedIn and try to find a person like you, a biomedical engineer, who was able to break into the medical sales industry.  Hunt for the talking heads who can share with you how they did it!  These are your Hot Leads.
  • Do use key word search and put "Medical Device Sales" and "Biomedical Engineer." I immediately found a biomedical engineer who started out of college as an engineer with Hill-Rom (link goes to their career page) for three years and then the moved her into sales! Now you have a lead!
  • Reach out to your identified Hot Lead contact and put in the subject of your Inmail, "Advice Please for New Biomedical Engineering Graduate."  People love to help college kids, they will tell you how they did it,  Remember to ask your hot lead if they could connect you to the right people within their company! 

IDENTIFY ALL THE TOP BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING COMPANIES

  • As you search each of these Biomedical Companies, see if they do have entry level Engineering positions and also if there would be a career pathway from engineering into the sales arm after a couple of years. It may be difficult to transition, but find out if someone before you has done so and determine the probability.

GOING THE "BUSINESS TO BUSINESS" SALES ROUTE

  • I have always directed right out of college graduates (business, political science, art majors and etc.) to go to a solid business to business sales job and get the training and after 3 years apply to an entry medical device sales job.  I have written many article on this approach and here is a link to all my related articles:

Break Into Medical Device Sales

  • Be aware that as a Biomedical Engineering graduate your entry level jobs right out of college probably pay far more than an equivalent Business to Business Sales job and I personally would only go this route as a last resort.

I am sure there may be other ways to crack into medical device sales than the above, but this should give you a good start and some direction.  Remember there is always one component that will help you get into the sales side of the business and it has to do with your personality and communication skills.  Most company cultures embrace the outgoing personality who exude energy and a "can do" attitude who welcome the challenge of approaching people and knocking on doors.  

As my former company told me all those years ago, "We have an engineer that should be a sales person."  There is something to be said about that and it should not be ignored.  If you find that you have the personality traits that would embrace the spirit of an outside sales person, then use those traits to do the same thing to find that first medical device sales job right out of college.  

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Tags: Ask Linda, B2B Sales, Recent College Grad Advice, break into medical device sales

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