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How to Break into Medical Device Sales with No Experience

7 min read 1 Comment

How to Break into Medical Device Sales with No Experience

We have examined the career paths of over 500+ Associate Medical Device Sales Representatives  carefully documenting what steps he or she took to arrive at the coveted medical device sales role.

Although it depends on the company, the vast majority of associates (68%) who broke in have no experience in medical device sales.

Breakdown of Industry Backgrounds of Associates


It is evident from our research that possessing a background in medical device is helpful, but is by no means necessary to secure a role as an associate in medical device sales. 

Based on our research, here is how you can break into medical device sales with no experience:

1. Secure an Internship at a Medical Device Company

If you are still in school, prioritize landing an internship at a medical device company in its sales division. We prepared a detailed post on how to tackle this here, but below are the top 10 listed below for your reference:

Top 10 Medical Device Sales Internship Roles
# Company Role(s) Location(s)



Trauma & Extremities Sales Internship, Orthopedic Sales Internship




Sales Intern

Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; Louisiana; Richmond, VA; South Carolina; or Tampa, FL



Spine Summer Associate Rep Intern

Seattle, WA; Boulder, CO; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Gainesville, FL; Greensboro, NC; Irvine, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, Florida; Minneapolis, MN; Nashville, TN; New Orleans, LA; North Haven, CT; Raleigh, NC; Austin, TX; Boston, MA


Zimmer Biomet

Sales Administrative Intern

Warsaw, IN


Olympus Corporation

Medical Sales Training Intern

Southborough, MA


DePuy Synthes (Johnson & Johnson)

Commercial Intern

Raynham, MA



Extended Care Sales - Summer Intern

Richmond, VA


TZ Medical

Medical Device Sales Internship Program

Portland, OR


Pocket Nurse

Medical Sales Intern

Monaca, PA


Jigsaw Medical

Sales Intern

Sugar Grove, IL


Ideally, you can secure the internship for the summer then receive a full-time offer to join as an associate sales representative post-graduation. If you are unable to secure an internship role in the sales division, aim to secure an internship in the marketing or operations divisions. Once you get your foot in the door, you can make a business case to transfer into the sales division after you graduate.

2. Start with a Local Distributorship

A medical device manufacturer manufactures the physical medical device. In some cases, such as the case with Stryker, DePuy Synthes, and Medtronic, the medical device manufacturers employ their own sales force. In other cases, such as the case with Arthrex and Zimmer Biomet, the medical device manufacturer does not have their own salesforce. Rather, the manufacturers outsource the sales operations to smaller companies solely responsible for selling the product — this smaller company is known as a distributorship.

Distributorships can range in size from a one person operation to a 100+ person operation. There are thousands of distributorships nationwide.

If you are looking to get your foot in the door with medical device sales, a distributorship would be a great place to start. The barrier to entry is often lower since these are smaller operations.

Google "medical device distributorship in " + [Name of City] and companies will appear. 

Breaking Into Medical Device Sales with No Experience

Connect with the owners of these distributorships and pitch your value proposition. Rather than plead for a role, articulate how you can benefit their team and grow their business.

Try using an email or LinkedIn script like this:

Hi [Name],

My name is  [Your Name] and I am a  [Current Role] at  [Current Company] where I have developed a tremendous work ethic and meticulous track-record nurturing strong customer relationships. I am reaching out as I am interested in transitioning into medical device sales, particularly assisting your sales team at [Company Name].

I will be a strong asset to your team at [Company Name] for the following reasons:

  1. [Reason #1]
  2. [Reason #2]
  3. [Reason #3]

Are you available for a quick 15 minute phone call to discuss the possibility? Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. I have attached my resume for your convenience.


[Your Name]

Aim to send out 10 of these emails to local distributors to diversify your job searching efforts.

3. Gain Sales or Marketing Experience

Of the associate profiles we examined, nearly all had two things in common: strong interview preparation and 0 - 5 years of experience in sales, marketing, customer service, customer-facing roles, or clinical background with a track record of success.

If you are aiming for an associate role, having experience in either a sales or marketing capacity is a strong indicator of success. As mentioned previously, the sales or marketing experience does not need to be related to medical device whatsoever. Recruiters and hiring managers do not care about the industry. Rather, he or she is focusing on your basic proficiency in sales or marketing.

The few exceptions to this rule are if you have a clinical background (eg: a nurse, physician's assistant), are an athlete, or are ex-military. Recruiters tend to value the skills these experiences require and thus you may be able to bypass the sales or marketing experience prerequisite.

If you missed the boat on applying for an internship, do not have any sales or marketing experience, possess no clinical expertise, and are not an athlete or ex-military, fear not. You can still break into medical device sales. Instead of directly applying to a medical device role, we recommend pursuing one of these sales roles for 1-2 years to bolster your resume then make the jump.

Sales Roles to Gain Experience
# Company Industry



Business Services

Entry Level Outside Sales Representative



Contract Research

Associate Sales Consultant


Schneider Electric

Electrical Equipment

Development Program, Sales Consultant




B2B Sales Development Program




Sales Representative



Business Services

Sales Representative


Enterprise Rent-a-Car

Car Rental

Account Specialist




Sales Leadership Development Program




Sales Development Program




Sales Representative


4.  Be a Calculated Networker

Write down a list of everyone in your existing network who is: 1. in medical device sales or 2. is a physician who uses medical devices. Leave no stone unturned.

Your networking efforts can extend beyond your current network to loose acquaintances and alumni. Use LinkedIn to connect with recent graduates who broke into medical device sales. Navigate to your University's LinkedIn page, click on "Alumni", and type in the names of the companies you are targeting. Scan the profiles for titles such as "Sales Associate", "Sales Representative", and "Sales Consultant".

Breaking Into Medical Device Sales No Experience

Define the objective for the conversation. For example:

  1. Are you seeking to learn more about his or her career path?
  2. Are you seeking to understand how medical device sales representatives sell foot and ankle internal fixators?
  3. Are you trying to narrow down which specialty to pursue?
Prepare the questions for your networking call according to your objective. Here are some example questions:
  1. Why did you choose your specialty?
  2. What is something you wish you had known prior to starting your role?
  3. What makes you the most excited about the future of X product portfolio?
  4. Do you have any open associate roles in your region?
  5. Can you please connect me with the recruiter?

Once you have a clear goal in mind, go ahead and begin the outreach effort. Track each conversation in a spreadsheet with notes. Be diligent about sending follow-up messages and thank you notes.

If you are interested in further refining your networking strategies, check out the Strategic Networking section of our All-In CourseWe go through how to effectively connect with key stakeholders, the exact questions to ask, how to identify job postings, and, most importantly, how to attack your closing strategy. All email templates and scripts you need to are shared.

5. Strategically Position Your Resume

We wrote an entire article on how to best position your resume for medical device sales here. We've outlined a few of our main talking points below.

Positioning your resume for medical device sales is incredibly different than other sales positions you may have applied for. If you submit the same resume for a medical device sales role as you do a SaaS sales role, you most likely will be outcompeted.

Quantifying Your Relevant Experience

The meat of your resume should be your relevant experiences section. The relevant experience section should list your relevant professional work experience from most recent to least recent. Focus on quantifying your most important achievements.

Below are some pointers:

  • Include Company Name, Job Title, Location, and Dates Worked
  • Include no more than 5 bullet points in this section per experience
  • Keep each line simple and quantifiable
  • For each sales-related bullet, include key metrics such as deal size, ranking, and % quota 

Each bullet point should tie back to one of the following themes:

  • Highlighting your sales numbers (eg: revenue, sales, EBIDTA)
  • Product and/or territory expansion
  • Customer acquisition and prospecting efforts
  • Development of customer relationships
  • Exceptional customer service
  • Inventory management

If you have a clinical background, consider including the following in your bullet points:

  • Knowledge of hospital, imaging center, urgent care, surgical center, etc.
  • Understanding of Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs), hospital billing and patient systems, etc.
  • Hands on patient care experience

Start each bullet point with an action phrase. Successful action phrases include "Performed at XX% to plan...", "Assessed customer needs to exceed key objectives...", and "Negotiated contractual agreements with X vendors...". 

Highlighting Sales-Related Skills

The skills section should be strictly sales or clinically focused. Provide a brief description of your competency in each skill. Here are several examples:

Sales Focused: Territory Forecasting, Inventory Management, Salesforce CRM, Contract Negotiation, Lead Generation, Surgical Case Coverage, Customer Acquisition, Prospecting, P&L Modeling

Clinically Focused: Phlebotomy - IV Therapy, Clinical Data Analysis, Catheterization, Wound Care, Cerner EMR


Breaking into medical device sales with no experience is not easy, but it is certainly doable if you follow the tips we highlighted above. If you are interested in exploring more resources on how to break into medical device sales, view our All-In Course or download our Company Guides. Our team looks forward to supporting you on your journey. Feel free to reach out to us if we can help you out on the way.

1 Response


March 20, 2021

Found you guys through Reddit. Holy crap. This post is awesome… thanks for being so generous and sharing these tips!

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