Book review: “How to Break Into Pharmaceutical Sales”

One of the most common actions I recommend is for job seekers to get advice from people actually working in their desired industry. If you are interested in a career in pharmaceutical sales, there are few better advisors than Tom Ruff.

Tom is the founder of Tom Ruff Company, a recruiting company specializing in the pharmaceutical industry. His new book, How to Break Into Pharmaceutical Sales: A Headhunter’s Strategy, provides a true insider’s guide to the entire process of finding and winning one of these coveted positions.

What I particularly like about Tom’s book are the many tips that only someone in the pharma industry would know. He shares lists of common interview questions, big mistakes to avoid, inside info on the biggest pharma companies and sample resumes and email messages.

Here are just two of the “insider” pieces of information about pharmaceuticalsales job interviews that I learned from this book:

  • You must wear a white shirt. Tom writes, “For men, in particular, wearing a white shirt is the safest route. As my friend Lou says, ‘It’s not a written policy, but it’s an old-school pharmaceutical thing.’” Who knew?
  • You will be asked to sell your interviewer something, such as a pen. Therefore, it’s crucial that you know the proper steps to selling, beginning with “fact finding.” Check out the book for Tom’s step-by-step tips for winning over your interviewer with your sales acumen.

For more information about Tom Ruff and How to Break Into Pharmaceutical Sales: A Headhunter’s Strategy, visit

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