Free Guide

May 11, 2016

getting started in pharmaceutical salesPreface

We have heard the story of Thomas Edison who failed about 10,000 times before finally inventing the long lasting electric light bulb.


Men like him really made our lives easy.


When you need a light bulb, you don’t start from scratch trying to invent one. You leverage his knowledge and just buy one at the store. Today you buy a bulb that is the result of what Edison and many others did for us.



Why do I mention this?


Because we approach many situations in life in a less effective way, and let me explain:

The career of a drug rep is a very rewarding experience.


It is a very prestigious job, where you can easily make six figures (some medical device reps make over 300k a year in the US).

You can contribute to improve people’s lives.


In other type of jobs you would have to work crazy hours or perform tough tasks that may compromise your quality of life.


These and many other benefits make the job of a pharma rep one of the most desired jobs in the US and around the globe.


This creates a lot of competition to get the job.


If you approach this situation as in the previous example (trying to re-invent the light bulb when you need one) you will be dealing with a lot of frustration. It makes no sense.


However, if you leverage the knowledge of the ones who have walked the path and learn the short-cuts, your chances of success will be a lot higher.

Most likely you will get to your goal faster and enjoying a smoother ride.


That is why I created,


To help people like you overcome any challenges and put you in a fast lane to pharma.



Be Prepared:


In this brief e-book I am going to talk about one of the mistakes I made before becoming a pharmaceutical rep, so you can learn from my mistake and show up to the interview better prepared.

Specifically, I’m going to be talking about the brag book.


Before starting in pharmaceutical sales, I was not familiarized with the idea of the brag book, I wasn’t even sure what it was, how I should use it, etc.

A brag book is sort of a professional scrapbook meant to substantiate the information you’ve included in your resume.


The use of the brag book is a standard practice in this industry. It is a necessary item in every interview process to get any position in pharma or medical sales.

In every face-to-face interview, you will be asked to present your brag book.


All recruiters are going to ask you if you have one, before submitting your name as a candidate and to schedule you for an interview. I’m bringing this to you because it’s really important that you start preparing that brag book today, as in most cases it is not something you can arrange in a couple of days.


You must have this awareness and start to collect all the necessary information that is going to feed your brag book.

Nowadays my brag book has a lot of information about things that I have accomplished in my career, but I remember that as I didn’t know better, when I finally made it to my first interview, I only had a couple of pages in it.


It had a couple of pages in, just because the recruiter I was working with asked me if I had it, and that was all I had available to show at the time.I had lots of accomplishments I could have shown from school and previous jobs, but as I was not familiarized with it, I never saved and collected all that information.I showed up to those first interviews poorly prepared and wasted opportunities that I could have capitalized.

I only knew what I knew at that time.


Therefore, if you are serious about becoming a medical sales rep or a pharmaceutical sales rep, you should start gathering every single piece of information that you could add to your brag book.


Why is the Brag Book So Important?


1 – It helps you show your achievements, to have them right there with you


2 – It works as evidence that you achieved those things: During the phone screening you will be asked if you have a brag book. The hiring managers and/or the recruiter will always ask you if you have documentation to support your achievements.

In the face-to-face interview you will have the opportunity to show it as a way to prove and sustain your claims.


3- Last but not least, it is a way to show the hiring manager your selling style; because, at the end of the day, that is how we present the information to the doctors.


As reps, we always have all the clinical information on hand to sell our products and most of what we say is supported with visual aids.

Studies have shown that when someone sees something in addition to hear it, the mental retention increases. Most managers will require you to present visuals aids while you detail.


The brag book allows this dynamic to take place during the interview and gives the hiring manager a sense of how you might be performing with the doctors.

Even though nowadays we tend to make our sales presentations using tablets or similar electronic devices; the principle stays the same:

The manager wants to see how you handle your visual aid combined with your selling style.


My Modest Advice:


Start collecting all the information that will nurture your brag book, such as:


  • Congratulations emails from your supervisors or co-workers
  • Certificates, diplomas
  • Recommendation letters
  • Sales reports or any other type of report that show improvements you have made
  • Performance reviews
  • Sales ranking
  • School rankings, grades, GPA
  • Etc.


You can start today collecting those e-mails, congratulations letters, etc. By the time you are schedule to those face-to-face interviews, you will be better prepared.

Don’t discard the “small things”, put them there. The more, the merrier. This is not the time to be modest.

You don’t know when you are going to need them to support a fact in the process.

I wish you good luck in the process!


About the Author


Elvis Duarte is a certified coach who helps people break into pharmaceutical and medical sales.


Elvis has over 15 years of experience in Pharmaceutical Sales. He has worked for top drug companies such as Pfizer, Bristol Myers-Squibb, Bausch & Lomb, Depomed, Kv Pharmaceuticals among others.