FAS – Field Application Specialist/Scientist – most life sciences companies would like someone with a technical background, so either a master’s degree or a Ph.D. – main function is to support sales in pre-sales and post-sales situation, such as presenting technical data, training and trouble-shooting. Usually, it’s helpful if your degree is in the discipline that the company sells into. For example, if you are molecular biologist, it would be more difficult for you to obtain a job with a company selling into the chemistry space. Sometimes you can also see this listed under Product Specialist.
FE – Field Engineer – most companies, whether it is a medical device company or a life sciences company requires an electrical or mechanical engineering degree as you would need to know to get into the hardware and trouble-shoot. Most companies provide training as each instrument is unique to the company.
If you want to try sales, consider the following positions that could help you get some experiences (your foot in the door, sort to speak):
Associate Sales Representative – these positions tend to be a little narrower in geography if you live in the bio-hubs, with specific accounts you call on and/or specific products to focus on.
Territory Manager – Most often, these positions denote large geography, but don’t rule these off until you read the job description.
Technical Sales Specialist/Representative/Consultant – you would use your expertise to introduce technical products to customers. Needless to say, companies would like individuals who have dealings with their products or products similar to theirs. For example, if you have experience running the chromatography systems in your lab, you might consider talking to companies that sell chromatography systems or columns as accessories to chromatography systems.
If you are not sure if you are ready for field work, you could apply for an inside-sales position. These positions do require that you live near the company’s headquarter as you would travel daily to work in an office. Your interaction with customers would mainly be through emails and phones. However, it still offers you the ability to be paid by merit, in other words, by commission. Plus, it would give you an idea of whether or not you would enjoy sales or not. Inside sales can also be a way to gain entrance into a company. Once inside, you can apply for outside sales positions.
A great resource for you when looking for a field position is Edsjoblist. This is a job listing, run by Ed Greene, and is a referral only listing. The job list would be emailed to you whenever a job with the criteria you imposed becomes available. Ed does get the majority of job listings from recruiters in the biotech industries. He also gets some for the Clinical Diagnostics market as well, but I do notice that the listing is predominantly for biotech positions. You can select the geography you would like to see job postings for as well as what type of positions. When you sign up, use an email address that you check frequently as Ed does receive over 500 jobs each month from recruiters across the
Another good resource is through job search engines at these sites. Use the keyword “field” or “sales” to narrow down the search.
http://scjobs.sciencemag.org/JobSeekerX/SearchJobsForm.asp - I like this better than going through jobseeker.com because it has already been narrowed down to science jobs. The site also has specific categories that you can check off to limit your search.
Of course, recruiters are also a good resource when it comes to job hunting. If you don’t know any recruiter, you can start by talking with the reps that come into your lab. If you would rather not do that, MRI Network is a large recruiting firm that has listings of recruiters as well as job postings.
On the left column, you can choose to find a recruiter or a job. You can also post your resume on their site as well.
I am always open to suggestions, so please let me know if you know of any other great resources to add to this short list. Thanks for reading!