Pharmaceutical Sales Certifications - Will They Help You Gain Pharmaceutical Sales Jobs?
Have you ever thought about obtaining a Pharmaceutical Sales Certification? Could it be the key to winning Pharmaceutical Sales Jobs?
Read below to find out if certification courses are worth your hard earned money!
Within the last 2-3 years, several companies have sprung forth with “certification” courses for those aspiring to become pharmaceutical sales reps. While these courses may be of benefit in equipping candidates with a working knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry, neither pharmaceutical associations (the only true association recognized by pharmaceutical companies is PhRMA), nor recruiters or hiring managers recognize these "certifications".
In fact, one candidate I spoke with fairly recently admitted that the hiring manager actually laughed at him when he talked about receiving certification from an online "association". How embarrassing!
Pharmaceutical Sales Certifications -
Should You List on Your Resume or Use as Proof of Qualification in Your Interview?
Please note: I don't believe every manager will react by laughing at the candidate, but I do believe there is a lesson to be learned from that experience - don’t list the pharmaceutical sales certification on your resume or disclose in an interview.
If you decide to take the courses, bring the knowledge you learned into the interview by asking intelligent questions and answering interview questions in a way that showcases your knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry.
And, if the manager is impressed by your pharmaceutical industry knowledge and questions you in regards to that, simply smile coyly and state that you have conducted a fair amount of research into this industry. No one needs to know that you paid money to take these classes!
Pharmaceutical Sales Certifications -
Useful in Convincing a
Hiring Manager to Hire You?
In a word, "NO!" Although the information gleaned from these courses may be somewhat useful, the "certifications" themselves are virtually useless.
As a recruiter, I have spoken with numerous candidates who have gone through these courses and received certifications, but have moved no closer to obtaining a pharmaceutical sales job. We believe the major problem with these pharmaceutical sales certification programs lies within their misleading message..."if you obtain our certification, a pharmaceutical sales company will hire you".
This simply is not true!
As a recruiter, I know of no company that bases its hiring criteria upon these certifications. In addition, many managers I've spoke with have emphatically stated that these certifications are not influencing their selection process.
What Type of Information is Provided in Pharmaceutical Sales Certification Programs?
These programs tend to focus upon the pharmaceutical industry in general, in addition to medical terms and processes that relate directly to pharmaceutical selling. However, these certifications severely lack one critical area - sharing information that will teach you how to set yourself apart from other candidates.
Therefore, although you may become well versed in pharmaceutical industry knowledge, you're missing out on the most important components you need to get hired - how to research a company, how to make your brag book stand out, how to get your resume noticed, how to network your way to an interview, how to answer difficult interview questions, how to show-off the work you’ve completed for the interview, how to close the interview and get the job, how to negotiate a lucrative salary, etc.
These issues are rarely covered, and if they are covered it's in a very general manner.
Also, much of the scientific information that is presented is really just “too much information” at this point and unnecessary. Even if you do learn and understand all the medical information from these courses, what good is it if you can’t even get an interview?
Our Opinion of Pharmaceutical Sales Certifications...
Overall, we believe it is much wiser to focus on the "big picture", not just the scientific/medical aspect of this career. Now, if you are a person who simply loves the “science” behind pharmaceutical sales, then by all means you may want to invest your time and money in these courses.
However, please note that after you are hired, your company will literally spend thousands of dollars training you in the way they wish for you to be trained.
But hey, if you truly want to spend your hard earned money, and you feel it will benefit you in the pharmaceutical sales interview process...then by all means, go for it!
In summary, we strongly suggest spending your time preparing for your pharmaceutical sales interview by creating a captivating resume, a powerful brag book, and "brushing-up" on those pharmaceutical sales interview skills. THAT is what will win you the job!
Oh, and one last tip...to determine the effectiveness of these courses, ask others in the industry if they've utilized one of these "certification" courses to land their pharmaceutical sales job. Based on my recruiting experience...I'll bet they didn't!
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