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Is Your Resume Ready for Prime Time?

Agency recruiters and those working in corporate Human Resources receive thousands of resumes every year, and they individually scan hundreds within the same period. Face it, you’re competing with other applicants and their resumes, and if your resume doesn’t stand out as exceptional, it may not get a second look or passed on to a hiring manager.

  • So, how can you make your resume light up a recruiter’s eyes?
  • And, how can your resume make it to the hiring manager within a Medical Affairs organization?

Resume Tips for Medical Affairs Candidates

    1. First and foremost, focus your resume on a specific, target job. Build it from the ground up with the company’s needs in mind. You want your resume to perform better in resume database searches, and you don’t want to make a recruiter’s eyes glaze over. Additionally, tailoring your resume to a specific job illustrates that you pay attention to details.
      • Example 1: If a position requires rare disease experience in oncology, then detail your experience.
      • Example 2: If a position requires demonstrated experience presenting clinical/scientific information, explain presentations you’ve given to medical/clinical/scientific audiences. If you have a lot of information to present, highlight the most relevant. Keep a separate list as an addendum and present it if asked. Your addendum can also include a list of published articles.
      • Example 3: Highlight your therapeutic area expertise and drugs launched/supported.
      • Example 4: If appropriate, add the territories you’ve worked in.
      • Example 5: If you’ve had short stints as an MSL, perhaps you worked as a contract employee or a drug trial was unsuccessful, explain why your time was brief at a company. For example, “The team disbanded because Phase III data failed.”
    2. Include all contact information. Believe it or not, some people fail to add their phone number and/or email address.
    3. Place your current position at the beginning of your experience list. Roll your experience out in chronological order.
    4. Do not spice up your resume with a profile picture, fancy fonts, or other graphics. You’re not applying for a graphic artist position.
    5. Do not include information about your personal interests (e.g., politics, Star Trek, Yorkies, seven children, bungee jumping, religious pilgrimages, etc.). Also, do not include quotes, scripture, or mantras.
    6. Formatting, Grammar, and Punctuation!
      • You want your resume to look modern and fresh. Keep to a single font. Indeed provides a list of the ten best fonts to use in a resume. Choose one for your resume.
      • In your list of experience, bold the job title and company. Also, make sure you include the month and year you were at a job. See the example below.
        Crane & Swallow | General Counsel
        April 2016 – July 2019
      • Margins should be the same for all pages.
      • Number your pages in the bottom right or bottom center footer if you have 3-4 pages. That said, at 4 pages your resume is long. Don’t go over 4 pages. Keep addendums as recommended above and provide those if asked.
      • Get Grammarly for free and use it to scan your resume. Grammarly’s algorithms flag potential issues in the text and suggest context-specific corrections for grammar, spelling, wordiness, style, punctuation, and even plagiarism. Use the tool for all your writing.
    1. Saving your resume – a .pdf goes into a system much better than a Word document, and a pdf can be pulled up on any computer. So, before you send your resume off or attach it to an online job application, save it as a .pdf.

Your resume is the document that sells you to a recruiter and hiring manager. If you’ve taken the time to follow these recommendations, your resume will get attention. Be honest about your experience and do a great job of painting a portrait of yourself as a job candidate.

For further reading, check out the article “Weird Interviews – Don’t Say or Do These Things.”