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No Sales Experience Necessary: 5 Science Candidates You Should Hire

It makes sense that people with a degree or experience in science would be a good fit for the medical field. But what about a medical sales role? Actually, in many cases, the same skills and personality traits that lead to success in science translate perfectly to a sales position.

Even if a candidate has no sales experience, you shouldn’t dismiss them as a possible good fit for the job you’re trying to fill.

Here are five types of science backgrounds that can help candidates succeed in medical sales:

1. Chemistry

Even without any previous sales experience, people with chemistry backgrounds already have a huge advantage over other candidates: they have a solid understanding of the chemical breakdowns of medicines. All of those multisyllable words that trip up most inexperienced sales reps are part of a chemist’s vocabulary.

Additionally, chemists will have valuable skills and experiences that can transfer to sales such as:

Problem solving skills – Over the course of their education, chemists spend years breaking down complicated problems. And since problems can literally blow up in their face if they try the wrong solution, they’re conditioned to perform very well under pressure.

2. Research Science

The details of what a research scientist does can vary from field to field. But there’s one thing candidates with research experience will all have in common: grant applications.

No matter what these individuals researched, at some point they had to make an argument as to why their project deserved funding. And those skills can easily be transferred to sales. After all, what is a grant application but a sales pitch?

Other skills former research scientists have that can help them in sales include:

Organizational skills – Candidates who have managed large databases of research data will also be able to navigate databases of customers, products, etc.

Critical thinking and communication – After compiling research, research scientists need to analyze, interpret, and present their findings. This means being able to explain complex topics clearly to people who aren’t experts on the subject.

3. Biomedical Engineering

People with experience in biomedical engineering are particularly a good fit for medical equipment sales jobs. The majority of their education was spent studying the latest medical inventions. This makes them uniquely qualified to sell customers on the pros of a variety of products.

Biomedical engineers also make strong candidates because of their:

Teamwork skills – Most biomedical innovations don’t happen in a vacuum. They involve a team of experts working together toward a common goal. 

4. Biology

Biology has the most obvious tie to the medical field, but what about sales? For one thing, biologists already have a common ground to help them build relationships with doctors. Sixty percent of applicants to med school are bio majors. So whether they’re bonding over classes they both took in college or the latest research from the field, it can be easier for biologists to build rapport with doctors.

In addition, people with a biology background bring the following to the table:

Attention to detail – Jokes about looking through microscopes aside, biology requires being constantly aware of the smallest details. These candidates need to understand how living systems connect in multiple ways. Missing one thing can be the difference between life and death.   

5. Environmental Science

Environmental scientists study the health of the planet. Transitioning to the medical field can be an easy switch for these types of candidates. Especially given the other skills people with these experiences often possess.

Candidates with an environmental science background also tend to excel with:

Adaptability – Environmental scientists spend a lot of time outside in the field, and they can never be certain what conditions will possibly impact their job.

Perseverance – Historically speaking, environmental science has been a field where people are reluctant to accept the research and its implications. It takes a strong sense of perseverance to succeed in those circumstances — just like when talking with a skeptical customer.

Whether you’re looking to hire a science major straight out of college or someone who’s spent 20 years in the lab, it shouldn’t matter that they lack sales experience. People with science backgrounds often have hard and soft skills that easily transfer to sales. You just need to recognize their strengths and how those traits can help them succeed in the role for which you’re recruiting. 


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