Job shadowing is just what it sounds like: you be someone's "shadow" for the day, to learn what a typical day is like in their job. It's also known as a field preceptorship, or a ride-along (especially accurate for going with sales reps on their routes). It's a "tryout" for you with no pressure. It gives you a chance to see if you like that work environment, and see what it takes to be successful in it. If you work it right, you can ask questions throughout the day that will give you better insight into the work.

A big benefit of job shadowing for you is that you can gather keywords for your resume you might not otherwise have, especially if you're just learning how to get into medical sales. You put the job shadowing experience on your resume and you write about which doctors you called on, what the products involved were, and what kind of medical sales accounts they are. The words you'll use are the kinds of keywords that will get your resume noticed by computerized tracking systems, and then read by recruiters and hiring managers.

So now that you know why job shadowing can be so important to someone transitioning into medical sales, how do you go about getting that experience?

First, find a sales rep. If you're interested in pharma sales or medical device sales, you can ask your doctor or medical specialist for the names of people who sell to them and their offices. If you're interested in lab sales, find a small lab and ask for the names of the sales reps who call on them. Then, ask the sales rep if you can ride along for a day or half a day, to see what that job is like. It will be a nice touch if you offer to buy lunch, or maybe give them a small gift afterwards (maybe a LinkedIn Profile Tutorial or new sales book). Add that experience to your resume, and you've made a huge positive step toward landing a medical sales job.

Author's Bio: 

Peggy McKee has over 15 years of experience in sales, management, and recruiting. She is the CEO of PHC Consulting, a nationally-known medical sales recruiting firm. See her website and blog for more on how to get into medical sales and what jobs are available at =>

Peggy offers powerful tools and tips for resumes, networking, LinkedIn, 30/60/90-day plans, brag books, and more that will help you succeed in any job search at =>