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My Medical Device Sales Career

New College Graduates! A Faster Way to Break Into Medical Device Sales

Not too long ago the BEST way to break into Medical Device Sales was the way I did it and the way many of the people I hired did it; rugged BtoB (Business to Business) copier sales or Pay Check Company Sales (ADP, Paychex) for three years that are littered with top national sales results.  There is now a better, faster and frankly EASIER way to break into the business.  The role was developed and has been around for over 20 years, but has been quickly embraced by almost all large and now even small companies MORE RECENTLY ; THE ASSOCIATE SALES ROLE or sometimes called a Sales Support Role.  My older article and the traditional way to do it is still there...BUT if you are REALLY young...why bother?  

Associate Sales Roles came about because it is a great way for a company to hire young (they don't want old here!), hire cheap, train up, instill their company culture and quickly and easily fire OR quickly cultivate young talent for the next open, higher paying, Medical Device Sales Position.  There are a lot of other great business reasons this role came to be and frankly, I was one of the early initiators of this role in the early days when in Sales Management.  It works!  

Getting a Copier Sales Job still works BUT the Associate Sales Role will get you there quicker.  Covidien and Smith and Nephew recently had the most open positions posted just a couple of weeks ago..TONS of new Associate Sales Roles.  In fact, it is pretty blatant they want about age discrimination!  They put right on their adds they want no more than ONE YEAR out of college!  I searched for an add just now to reference and then thought, "What the heck, I will just cut and paste an actually add." So here it is, a Chicago Based "Sales Associate Position with Covidien."  I put in RED  the most important requirements beside having a BRAND NEW DEGREE plus good grades, "the look", smarts and presence to get the job (after all, what else are they going on to hire you?).  

One more thing, it does say Equal Opportunity Employer, but try being even age 30 and applying for one of these is amazing they can put in the Job Post advertisement..only 12 months out from college!  Young people..if YOU ARE young, these jobs ARE GREAT and I wish they were around when I broke into the business!


Here is the recent Covidien Job post..and you can find it on today:

Are you Covidien?

As a global, $11+ billion healthcare products leader, we deliver outstanding results and innovative solutions for challenging problems. Through progressive thinking and cutting-edge technologies, Covidien is well positioned to lead the way in today’s rapidly changing healthcare industry. Whatever your specialty or ambitions, you can make a difference at Covidien – both in the lives of others and your career.

At Covidien, we strive to fully understand our marketplace, customers, communities and employees, and we enter into relationships with a sense of honesty, fairness and trust.

We are an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.

The Sales Associate Development Program offers an opportunity for high potential, recent college graduates to develop the necessary sales skills and experience to be promoted into a field sales territory in up to 24 months. An individual in this position will be mentored through product and sales training, as well as complete advanced corporate training, to develop into a successful sales representative within Medical Supplies. Through a mix of in-servicing and field-based selling experiences, a Sales Associate will coordinate, sell, and support Covidien assigned products achieving sales objectives in all categories in the region they support, as well as develop and support clinical/distributor/GPO relationships.


- Provide in-service technical, clinical and educational support to the Nursing Care Acute customers.  Primary product categories include but are not limited to Enteral Feeding, Enteral Access, Incontinence, Advanced Wound Care, and Urology.

- Provide support to the Nursing Care acute customers and field sales team under the leadership and direction of the Region Manager.  This position would be responsible for all of the products within the Nursing Care portfolio and would include responsibilities of coordinating in-services, in servicing, troubleshooting, managing Enteral contracts, assisting with conferences, analyzing GPO tier reports, assisting with open territories, and other tasks identified by Nursing Care management.


•Position reports to the Region Manager and is responsible for increasing and promoting the sales of the Nursing Care product lines by assisting the field organization.

•Sales Associates will follow the same training curriculum as an Account Representative including Field Training and Advanced Corporate Training.  Thorough training will allow individual to make fluent and effective presentations of all Nursing Care products.

•Individual will assist in coordinating and conducting in-services, educational events, value added programs at accounts identified by the Region Manager.

•Individual will work closely with our outsourced in-service providers and select contacts within accounts to coordinate in-services and assist in maintaining in-service schedules.   

•Individual will assist the Nursing Care Account Representatives in coordinating and monitoring product evaluations as determined by the Region Manager or Account Representative.

•Position will manage activity in open territories (promotions, terminations, extended leaves, etc…)

•Increase knowledge base through attendance of educational programs / seminars / conferences; reading journals and participating in committee or group programs.

•Position will have access to ACT to assist in maintaining and renewing Enteral Feeding contracts.

•May assist in preparing for large meetings, as identified by the Region Manager, including creating presentations, preparing sample packs and literature, and assist in the actual meeting.

•Will assist Region Manager with certain cross references and pricing analysis’.

•Position will analyze GPO reports to identify opportunities for “tier level clean-up” and provide summaries to the Sales Representatives and Region Manager.



- To be considered for this role, a minimum of a Bachelor's degree to be completed by May 2012 or received within the last 12 months preferred.

- Excellent phone, written, verbal skills; Microsoft Office; Customer focused;

- Strong drive for results; Action orientated; Strong work ethic and career ambition; Ability to develop and present complex product demonstrations.

- A valid driver's license issued in one of the 50 States with a clean driving record is required.

- The ability to travel 75% as necessary, which will include overnight and/or weekends, as required. 

- Must be flexible to regional relocation within 24 months of employment.


What is also nice about these Associate Sales Opportunities is that they get you right into the big time Medical Device companies RIGHT AWAY!  There is no need to first go to business to business, perhaps start with a second tier or lessor quality medical company, then attempt to move again to a larger well know company name.  These jobs get you positioned right out of the gate!  Medtronic initiated these types of positions about 5 years ago and in fact, many of the top companies now have these jobs because they use them to cut the highest cost: employee overhead.  Yep, they throw a little money at you (let's say peanuts) but with big promises for making so much more within a year or 2.  It is a win win proposition, unless you are an older person in one of those higher paying role!

If you are a Baby Boomer reading this, you know what I am talking about!  Many of you HATE what these Associate Role Jobs could do to you and your job security.  Some of you have already experienced it.  The young don't care about that so I will place another blog for you elder folks here that will hit that hot button for you!

So for you youngsters.....track these Sales Associate Roles down; they are now the number 1 best way to crack into the business!  

©Linda Hertz, All Rights Reserved

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Tags: breaking into medical device sales, career strategy, college kids, recent college graduates


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Comment by Everette Crudup on November 18, 2013 at 9:26pm
Thank you so much for referring me to this blog! This is exciting news!


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