Transform your career trajectory by setting your sights on your dream job. Join us in this episode as Eric Johnson shares his transition from car sales to achieving his dream job in surgical medical device sales. Eric’s path to success may not be straightforward, but it shows what’s possible when you set your sights on a specific goal. Eric explores how the Medical Sales Career Builder program played a pivotal role in his journey, providing professional development and networking opportunities that set him apart from the competition. He reveals what ultimately led him to connect with a Medtronic professional and secure multiple job offers. If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to land your dream job, then this episode is for you. Tune in now.
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How To Land A Job As An Associate In Surgical Med Device Sales With Eric Johnson
We have with us another special guest but this one is extra special because he’s one of our very own. He’s a graduate of our program, the Medical Sales Career Builder. In less than two months, he was able to land a position. I’m not going to give it away but I am going to tell you his name. His name is Eric Johnson. For those of you that want to get into this industry, and this is something you’ve always wanted to do, or maybe this is something that has come to you but you believe it’s for you, whether it be medical devices, pharmaceutical, diagnostic testing, genetic testing, or biotech, you need to go to EvolveYourSuccess.com.
The story you’re about to hear is exactly what he did. He filled out the application. He scheduled some time. He spoke to one of our account executives, and now I get to share this interview. As always, we do our best to bring innovative guests who are doing things differently in the medical sales space including our very own graduates. I do hope you enjoy this interview.
Eric, how are we doing?
I’m doing well, Sam. How are you?
I am fantastic. I’m happy that you’re here. Why don’t you tell everybody who you are and what you do?
My name is Eric Johnson, and I got hired by a company in their STEP training program.
The reason why this is so special that I’m talking to Eric is because Eric went through the Medical Sales Career Builder program. Through that program, he stepped into his opportunity with his company. It’s a fascinating experience to be a part of that, witness that with him, and help him get there with our team. We’re going to talk about it because people need to know some of the amazing things that happened while you’re in our program. Before we started, you told me that you had your first day of surgery. Is that correct? Tell us about that.
It was awesome. I got the job. When I interviewed for this position, I didn’t think about where I would be. When I stepped into the OR, it was like, “I am here. This is it. I’m watching an incredible doctor perform an incredible surgery.” It was a lobectomy. They were removing a part of the lung because there was cancer indicated there. It was also to be a part of and be in the room, not that I did much because I’m very new. I’m trying to take everything in, take some notes, and things like that but it was so cool to see.
Let’s go back because there are people wanting to be exactly where you are. Before you found our program, what was going on in your life? What were you wanting to go on in your life? Give us a little bit of context there.
I’ll go back to the very beginning. When I was close to finishing college, I also got a job at a car dealership to help pay for the last year. I was doing school online. The pandemic hit. It was the last year of school, and I wanted to be able to pay for it as I went. Selling cars was my first sales experience. It was great but I knew I wanted more. I wanted corporate experience and things like that. I had some friends and family who are in medical devices, not necessarily sales but that’s what they do. They suggested, “Maybe you could use your sales experience to transition into that.”
I studied finance in school too. I also had that business background. I decided to try to pursue it but no luck. Every time I was looking for a job over the next three years, I would try and apply it to medical device companies, the big ones, Stryker, Johnson & Johnson, things like that, and even some small ones that I’ve never heard of but showed up on job searches. I would get an interview here and there but nothing was sticking. I did some digging because I knew this was where I wanted to be. In the summer of 2023, I started looking for some outside help to see if I could get where I wanted to be.
Continue. You started looking for outside help. Tell us exactly what happened. How did you find us?
That’s the incredible part. It was by chance. I’m looking at LinkedIn, which was my daily ritual at the time. I was still working. I was in sales still doing that day-to-day but at night in the meantime, I was on LinkedIn and other job search websites. I saw a post by you. We haven’t connected yet but on LinkedIn, there are certain degrees of being removed from somebody but you could still see their posts. I saw you because a mutual friend might have liked your post, and it said something like, “I’ve helped servers at restaurants get into medical sales. I’ve helped nurses and salespeople.”
I saw that, and I was like, “That’s me. I used to be a server when I would come home from college over the summer. I’m doing tech sales and things like that.” I’m going to comment and connect with you to see what happens. I looked at your profile. You had thousands of people following you. I’m like, “Who is this random guy with me over here? We will see what happens.” To my surprise, you checked in, DMed me, and said, “How is your job search going?” I took it from there, and the rest is history. You told me about your program, and I was instantly like, “This is for me. This is what I’ve been looking for.”
One thing that’s fascinating about your story is you were in the program for a relatively short time. For the average client, usually, it takes about four months. We try to push for 3 but it takes about 4 months. In a lot of cases, it can take up to 5 or 6 months but for you, it was record-breaking speed. It was almost two months for you. One of the things that was so cool about your experience was who you met at one of the events. I’m not going to do the story justice because you were there. I knew about it but you were there. Talk to us about what happened in that scenario.
First off, that was another big thing when we were having a discussion about your program, “We will get you into medical devices. We will get you where you want to be in 90 days.” That’s what you told me. I was like, “That sounds awesome.” I did sign up for a job fair conference in August 2023. I was going to that but I still wanted to see what you can help me out with. You told me all the professional development. That was valuable to me. I don’t think I would have gotten the job without it but through your program and because I signed up, you have a huge alumni network too. You were able to connect me with somebody who graduated from your program and got a job where I am now.
That was an incredible connection. I remember I was packing and getting ready to go to this event. It was the night before. You called me that night, “You’re going to the conference for the chapter. I’m going to connect you with her because she’s an alumnus. She’s going to be great. She works for a company.” I had two interviews set up with them. We met when I got there. It was in Dallas. We met that night after I flew in, and I spoke with her for almost three hours. It was a super insightful conversation. She was telling me about what it’s like to work for the company.
She had finished STEP and was telling me what to expect for the position that I was interviewing for and telling me to come up with a story and bring a story because that’s something compelling. I thought about that night. I had something but it wasn’t refined. During my interviews the next day, I had family members and some mentors of mine in medical devices. They inspired me to use the sales background that I had to move here. I would not have had that connection without the program and your help. It was awesome.
That’s such a beautiful story. What would you say are the three best things you experienced in your time in the program?
The people that I met and the connections that I made through the program because that’s something that helped me out a lot. You build a network of mentors and peers. I’ve met some of my classmates in that too. That stuff is invaluable. I learned a lot from helping me with interview prep, resumes, and things like that.One of the best things in the Medical Sales Career Builder program is the people that you meet, the connections that you make. Click To Tweet
The content. This has been the summer of professional development for me. Before your program and then during it, I’ve spent time doing so much professional development. I’m a very different Eric Johnson than I was. It has been awesome. The best part about the program is it worked. I’m where I’ve wanted to be for years now in an operating room, doing the job, and learning about the job. This training program is very intense but it’s so cool. I can’t describe how excited I am.
One thing I like to highlight is when you joined, you had a pretty strong idea of which field you wanted to do within medical sales. For us, medical sales do not mean medical device sales. For us, medical sales means any sales pertaining to healthcare, pharmaceutical, genetic testing, diagnostic testing, medical devices, medical device trauma, or medical device electives. We can go on and on, even medical sales tech as in software sales within medicine. For us, it all falls under the umbrella of medical sales. You had an idea but because of the way our program is set up, you were able to identify and zone in on a very specific field. Talk to us a little bit about what that experience was like for you.
I had an idea. I knew it was going to be medical devices. I had some preferences of where I wanted to be. That stuff is so fascinating. I’m in the med surg operating unit. I’m seeing some of the stuff that we’re making and these innovative devices that we have. It’s mind-blowing that somebody was able to think about how to create these things. I love that stuff. Even early on, a lot of it was like, “I want to get my foot in the door. I don’t care.” It was nice having a focus because we talked about that one-on-one. We had a nice call about that. We talked about the person and worker that I am because that plays a role in it. It’s what your work ethic is. You might be a better fit for spine, this, or that.
That helped keep me focused. I’m tying it to something. Going to the conference and interviewing with this focus in mind that I wanted to be in a medical device that focused on surgery especially helped me stand out a little bit and make sure that I am presenting my best self in these interviews when I’m talking to people because I didn’t have any medical experience. I had the sales part. People were like, “The hard part to learn is the sales and things like that.” I was like, “A lot of this technical and clinical stuff to me is hard. That’s the hard part.” I’m doing it. I’m getting it but there’s so much.
I personally believe that it’s a bit of a fallacy to think that. I hear people say, “I want to get in.” How are you expected to separate yourself from every other candidate who wants to get in when your mindset is, “I want to get in.” It serves you to learn what’s out there, understand what’s out there, see how it resonates with you, and then have an actual targeted field that you’re entertaining. Do you need to be married in that field? Do you need to only do that field? Absolutely not, but if you initiate this process with the field in mind, you’re going to go so much further than, “I want to get in.”
Another reason that we do it that way and not support, “I want to get in,” is because a lot of those people who say, “I want to get in,” just get in, and then five months later, they quit because they didn’t understand what they were getting into and they can’t stand it. That could have all been avoided if you took the time to align the fields you want with who you are and how you want to show up. You did exactly that. That is fantastic.
Let’s go back. Let’s relive some of the excitement that you’ve experienced. You’re in the program. You’ve had your most recent interviews for the company. Fast forward, you get the call. It’s not even a call. You were told in person. Fast forward, you’re told that you’re in. Walk us through exactly what that was like. Tell us everything.
The conference post-interview was probably the best moment of my life. Right there, after I finished interviewing, a couple of VPs of sales interviewed me. There were people hosting but then post-interview, I met with some others, and they were asking me, “How did the interview go? What did you think of it?” I was like, “I enjoyed speaking with everybody that I met so far. It was a great time. It didn’t even feel like an interview. It was more of a conversation. I’m getting to know them and learning about the position, and they’re getting to know me and learning about my experiences.”
After my initial interviews, I met with them because I got a phone call saying, “We want to discuss an offer with you.” I wasn’t expecting that quick of a turnover. I ended up going back to their table. I interviewed with the med surg business unit and then also the cardiac rhythm management business unit and got offers for both. I had to weigh both my choices right there. They didn’t make me choose. I got to go home and talk about it but because I got both those offers, and everybody liked me and I loved them, I felt amazing. They hosted a little celebration party afterward, and I felt like a star because everybody came to me, “Are you Eric Johnson? I heard that you had a wonderful interview.”
You hear are all these people. I want to be them. They’re like, “I want to meet you and talk to you.” That was super cool. I had so many great conversations and met with a lot of people who inspired me to do better. Now that I’m here, I can’t wait to prove myself and show them that they made the right decision. They’re investing in me. There are a lot of people investing in me to make the program that I’m in. It took a lot of great minds. I’m excited to pay them back and show them that it’s working and I was worth it.
You bet. You’re going to knock them off their socks and blow it out of the park. That is fantastic. A lot of our audience falls into two categories. They’re either in medical sales in a leadership position or individual contributor position, or they’re where you were, and they want to be in some type of healthcare sales position. You went through the program. You know our whole world. You’re a part of the Evolve Your Success community. What would you share with the audience members that are on the fence and thinking, “I don’t know if I should do something about this. I don’t know if I should take action.” What would you want to share with them about why they should invest in the program?
Thinking back to when I was in their position and a little bit on the fence about it, I considered, “Where do I want to be with my career? Do I want to keep on working at these jobs that I’m not fully passionate about?” I’m decent at sales but I knew that I wanted to be in medical device sales, “Why not? I have Samuel here telling me that. He has this great program, and they will get me a job in medical devices. Why would I want to wait for that?” Consider it. If this is what you want to do, I don’t think there’s a better place to help get you into medical device sales.There's no better place to help get you in into medical device sales than the Medical Sales Career Builder program. Click To Tweet
I was applying for 5 or 6 months online. It wasn’t getting me anywhere. Consider where you want to be with your career. I know what I want to do. I’ve got a pretty good idea of where I want to be. Get your foot in the door. Have that focus. Figure out if you’re passionate about a certain field. Go for that but be a little open-minded so that you’re not pigeonholing yourself and throwing away opportunities. That’s the advice I would give. That’s how I was thinking at the time.
I would love to share that you did have sales experience but the lion’s share of clients that we have don’t have sales experience or medical experience, and they’re getting positions just the same. For example, Crystal, the one who connected with you at the program, had neither. It speaks volumes that the work that we do here is good. It produces results. We’re so happy that you’re on the other side, and we’re able to talk about it.
I’m so happy. It feels real now that I’m learning about the body and how our products help save lives. I keep thinking every night before I go to bed, “I haven’t made it yet. I’m not stopping. I’m not settling where I am.”
You’re in. You’re about to do it. It was awesome having you on the show to talk about your experience in the Medical Sales Career Builder program. We’re so proud of you. We’re going to wrap this up. We have one more thing to do before we do, and that’s called the lightning round. Are you ready?
This is my favorite part.
I don’t even need a preemptive but I’m going to preempt it. You have less than ten seconds to answer four questions. The first question is this. In the last few months, what’s the best book that you have read?
That’s a good one because there are a lot of books that I’ve read partially because of the program and partially all the professional development I’m doing. I’m not stalling. The best one that I’ve read was probably The Power of Habit. One of my coworkers at my last job told me to read it. It gave me a good perspective of why we do what we do. I’m a very habitual person. It’s about how to break bad habits and replace them with better ones. I would recommend it. It’s a great read.
What’s the best TV show or movie you’ve seen in the last few months?
Especially since I started this job and all the professional development, I haven’t had a lot of time to launch any TV. I have to study a lot to make sure I’m able to do what I do. One of my favorite TV shows, The Boys, released a new season. It’s not season four because it’s a separate story about high school superheroes instead but in the same universe. I watched the first episode. It was pretty good. I love that show.
We’re going to leave that there. I’ve seen an episode because my son is into it, and I don’t even know if he should be because it’s extreme stuff. We will leave that there.
It’s not the best show.
What is the best meal you’ve had in the last few months?
For this job, I moved to Boston, one of my favorite cities. It’s another reason why I go to bed every night happy because I’m where I love to be. My sister also lives here because she went to school here, Boston University. She took me to this celebration in this steak restaurant called Mooo…. It’s one of the best. We went there twice. I had a ribeye. That was amazing. The first time I went, I was playing it safe. I like to get the biggest steak on the menu. It was twenty ounces. It was awesome. I ate it all in one sitting. I don’t mess around.
It’s the ribeye from Moo… in Boston.
It was this big piece. The second time I went there, I was like, “I want to try one of the better steaks. The ribeye was great. The better steak might be amazing.” I had an Australian Wagyu. It was incredible. I’ve never had anything tastier than that.
For any of you who are living in Boston or are going to be frequenting Boston anytime soon, make sure you stop by Mooo….
Check it out.
Here’s the last question. What’s the best experience you’ve had in the last few months?
Getting the job was my best experience but I want to say something different. I told you that my sister works in medical devices. Her team won President’s Club. My sister and I are best friends. She also wanted me to meet her team and see what medical device has to offer. She invited me as her plus-one on their President’s Club trip to Aruba. It was such a blast. It was a five-day weekend relaxing by the beach every day. I’ve noticed the water every single day going on full excursions. Aruba is a beautiful country.
It doesn’t get better than that, especially after getting into the space and then going on a trip like that.
This was back in June 2023. I was still looking for a job. It was a motivator or a sneak peek as to what was to come because I better believe I would be winning President’s Club.
You better put it out there. You heard it, folks. He said it here first. Eric, it was awesome having you on the show. We’re so proud of you. We’re going to see so many amazing things coming from you. Congratulations.
Thank you very much. It was a pleasure speaking with you and being on this. Thank you for letting me be on the show. From the very beginning, the very first LinkedIn post that you made changed the course of my life. I can’t thank you enough for that.
Thank you for letting me be a witness.
That was Eric Johnson. Need I say more? We have so many opportunities in this life but the reality is as time goes on, you will always be able to create an opportunity but you want to be able to catch opportunities that can lead to even bigger ones. If you want to be in this industry, why do the pray and spray method hoping to find something or catch something and delay getting into this industry or maybe already being in this industry and getting into the position you want 1, 2, or 3 years? The next opportunity that’s out there for you years from now won’t be there.
Why not do something that’s going to give you a different result than what you’ve been experiencing or do something that’s going to take you out of feeling stuck and being at a standstill and on the road to, “I received an offer letter.” Eric’s story is powerful because like so many other clients and graduates, he took action. He wanted to see a change, and here we are. Make sure you fill out an application and schedule some time with one of our account executives, and let’s get you where you need to be. As always, we do our best to bring your guests who are doing things a little bit differently in the medical sales space. I do hope you come back for another episode.
About Eric Johnson
I am a driven sales professional who loves learning and challenging myself. Now that I am in the medical device industry, I can leverage my previous sales expertise to maintain my track record of achievement, while also helping doctors find the best solutions to alleviate pain, restore health and extend the life of patients. I am proud to be a Medtronic rep and am excited to see what impact I can have on this industry.
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