How to “Doctor” Your
Pharma Resume for
By Alex Twersky, Marketing
Consultant and Career Expert
.brought to you by
There is no doubt that the pharmaceutical industry has witnessed explosive growth over the past decade.
Advances in drug science as well as an expanding global market have contributed to a surge in demand for
the latest advances in both prophylactic and curative drug treatments.
Coupled with this growth, the industry has seen an explosion in career opportunities on both the business
and scientific sides of the aisle. To tap into this burgeoning field, one of your most potent assets (other than
stellar experience) is a strong resume that makes a powerful argument for your candidacy for the best
openings in the industry, ranging from pharmaceutical sales to research positions.
Here are some practical ideas for how to “doctor” your resume to ensure it’s in the best shape to capitalize
on the best professional opportunities in the field:
MAKE IT MEASURABLE
Whether you’re on the sales or science side of the pharmaceutical industry, the most vital thing you can do
on your resume is to make sure it speaks to your accomplishments, rather than just cataloguing your
responsibilities. A strong resume will present your main duties succinctly, and then dig deeper to express
how your work has made a measurable impact on the company, the product lines you’re responsible for,
and on building strong relationships with clients and vendors.
If you’re a pharmaceutical sales rep, go into detail about how many new profitable relationships you’ve
secured with medical professionals during your current tenure. Or discuss the range of drug lines you
market, and the growth in your territory you engineered through creative sales programs. As a researcher,
you can discuss the contributions you’ve made in R&D that accelerated the development of new products in
the pipeline. Perhaps you were involved in a successful clinical trial, or played a key role in preparing study
findings for the FDA? Either way, make sure you present your work in the context of the overall growth and
advancement of the product lines you were labouring on, and remember that quantitative measures of your
success are always more compelling than qualitative ones.
GET OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT
Often people began their resumes with professional summaries that are rambling blocks of text and
impenetrable to the eye. Sometimes they just dive into their professional experience with no preamble
whatsoever. The resume is your most important self-marketing tool for getting an interview. Since most
hiring managers spend scant time reviewing the hundreds if not thousands of resumes they may receive for
every open position, you need to provide professional context immediately.
We recommended a targeted header that clearly identifies the scope of your experience. For example, if
you’re in sales you might say ‘PHARMACEUTICAL SALES REPRESENTATIVE WITH OVER A DECADE OF
EXPERIENCE’. If you’re a researcher, you could state something like this: ‘RESEARCH SCIENTIST WITH
PHARMACEUTICAL EXPERIENCE AND A PHD IN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY’. This header could be followed by
three subordinate sentences; let’s call them your pillars of strength. Each one should denote in more detail
(but still in a macro level) the greatest marketable strengths you’d bring to the position. If you’re in sales you
might mention the aggregate growth in territorial market share or revenues of the drug lines you marketed;
if you’re in research you might mention that you were involved in three successful clinical trials. You get the
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS
Sometimes we overlook small yet significant details on resumes, such as adding specific technical
proficiencies, professional affiliations or continuing education credits. While individually these details may
be minor, they can make a collective impact on punctuating your experience.
For example, if you are a member (or hold an executive position) in a relevant trade association, list it; if you
have extensive technical skills, detail these in a separate section; or if you’ve done post-graduate (or even
non-credit) coursework that may amplify your qualifications, include it in your education section. Padding
your resume is never advisable; however including details that you believe align with your overarching
experience in a complementary way may just be the little extra grease your resume wheels need.
For more tips and insight, as well as the latest pharmaceutical jobs visit the Wiley Job Network.