What are the 3 most important tips for a pharmaceutical sales resume?
Science, Sales, and Stats.
Pharmaceutical sales jobs are popular, highly-sought-after positions with lots of competition for each one. If you want the job, you need to make your resume stand out and grab the attention of a sales manager. What do they care about? They care about whether or not you can ring the cash register. That depends on your background and your skills.
A science background is only going to help you in pharma sales. If you actually have a Bachelor of Science in say, Chemistry or Biology, that's a huge plus. If not, that's OK--but if you can, at least point out any science course work you've completed. That goes in your Education section.
Sales jobs are all about sales, right? Can you sell? What have you done? Any past pharma sales jobs are appropriate, of course, but also think about other arenas: retail, B2C, B2B, door-to-door sales, or even fundraising activities. Anything where you went out and came back with sales or donations is proof that you can do the same for this company.
What are stats? Numbers. If you can prove your skills by talking about them in terms of numbers, dollars, or percentages, that's always going to make hiring managers sit up and take notice of you. For instance, don't just say, "Responsible for increasing sales." Say, "Increased sales 18% in 3 months," or, "Sold X widgets to new customers," or "Raised $40,000 for ABC Charity."
Then, put the icing on your resume cake by writing a resume that's visually attractive and digitally smart:
- Organize your accomplishments using bullet points--never paragraphs. This will make it easier for hiring managers to read (which means that it's more likely they will).
- Include a strong objective statement at the top of your resume that says what job you want. Make it very clear for hiring managers (and recruiters).
- Pack your resume with pharmaceutical industry-related keywords as much as you can. Keywords help your resume get pulled in database searches for candidates.
- Before you send your resume to anyone, make sure to edit it yourself (don't just let the computer spell-check it and call it good) and please include complete contact information: name, phone number, email, and address.
This is only the tip of the iceberg of all you can do to make your pharmaceutical sales resume stand out and get interviews for you. If you want more guidance and coaching to create a killer resume, see this resume writing kit. It includes my resume coaching and my free personal review of your completed resume.
No matter what your medical sales specialty and no matter how long you’ve been in medical sales, you’ve got to have a special resume that pops, begs to be read, brags sufficiently, and can’t be put down by hiring managers. Otherwise, how good are you at sales if you can’t sell yourself?
Your medical sales resume is more than just a chronological list of your career history. It is your salesmanship on trial.
Follow these tips to make sure your resume reflects your ability to sell:
- Brainstorm your skills and accomplishments in your medical sales specialty. Don’t leave anything out no matter how small you think it is. You can always cross out or change anything throughout this process.
- Develop a strong objective statement that includes the job you want and why you’d be great at it. Objective statements are so important to communicating to hiring managers how you’ll fit in with their company and help them accomplish their goals. Think of your objective statement as an extremely abbreviated cover letter. (Pretend they won’t read your cover letter…what is most important for you to communicate about your value for this job?)
- Use your brainstorm list to create bullet points detailing your career accomplishments that reflect your ability to sell—don’t embellish or minimize.
- Quantify your accomplishments—don’t just tell what you did, tell what your accomplishments did for companies. Sell yourself by detailing the numbers and statistics that matter to medical sales hiring managers. How much have you sold of what? What was the increase in sales from your work? Where did you rank out of how many on your team, or in your company? How many new customers did you bring in? Your resume should be packed with this kind of information.
If your resume consistently gets you calls for interviews, great. If not, make it stronger using these tips. If you know you need more direction and coaching (along with samples and a perfect selling resume template), check out Career Confidential’s Extreme Resume Makeover Kit. It’s the fastest and easiest way to make sure your resume reflects today’s best practices in medical sales resumes and gets you interviews.
Does your medical sales resume stink?
The truth is that you can be a silver-tongued, cash-register-ringing, sales MACHINE....and your resume might not show it. How do you know if your resume stinks or not?
That answer is in the ringing of your telephone (or the beeping of your email inbox):
- If you're getting contacted about interviews, either by phone or email, your resume is probably fantastic.
- If you're only hearing the sad sounds of silence, your resume probably stinks. (Sorry.)
But if it stinks, you are not alone. Most medical sales resumes do. Why? They don't SELL the sales rep. They don't have strong objective statements, they don't have good bullet points, and they don't quantify accomplishments as much as they should.
The good news is that stinking resumes are a fixable problem. You can un-stink your resume with just a little training. To help you with that, I have put together a FREE, Live Resume Writing Webinar.
In this webinar, I go through actual resumes from job seekers to show you the good, the bad, and the stinky.
We will talk about everything--formatting, structure, objective statements, bullet points, references, and much more. It's pretty detailed resume training.
When we're done, you're going to understand what to do to unstink your resume and start getting those wonderful phone calls and emails offering you interviews for great medical sales jobs.
Register now for the Resume Writing Webinar.
Did you know that you can dramatically improve your resume just by re-wording a few bullet points?
In one of my coaching calls recently, I spoke with someone about spiffing up his resume. (I offer individualized coaching…if you’re interested, check it out here: Career Coaching)
This guy happened to be transitioning from pharmaceutical to medical device, but there are lessons in this for you no matter where you’re coming from or going to in your medical sales career.
He had been making very good money in his previous job….gotten promoted regularly. He was very, very good.
But if you read his resume, you’d never know it.
He had no numbers. He had good bullet points, which I could see because I was taking the time to read over it carefully, but if I’d been in a hurry, I would have missed the significance of them entirely.
So I told him the same story that I want to tell you.
This story doesn’t have anything to do with medical but it’s how I want you to think about writing your bullet points. (And EVERY resume needs bullet points.)
I had a client who was a sales rep for a national fitness chain. One of the bullet points on his resume was:
- Created an e-Newsletter that resulted in additional clients
Well, that’s nice, but what I wanted to know was: How many additional clients?
He said, “24 in the first month.”
I was impressed, and asked, “How much did they pay a month?”
He said, “$100.”
I wanted to know, “How many people did you send the newsletter out to?”
He said, “300.”
So I summed it up for him:
“So you created and developed an E-newsletter that you sent out to 300 people that resulted in 24 additional customers and over $28,000 in revenue for the year in the first mailing.”
(24 people paying $100/month for 12 months)
Now THAT’S a bullet point.
That’s MUCH more impressive, don’t you think? And more accurate.
It was guaranteed to get him more attention from a sales manager.
Does your resume describe you like that?
Are there any “resulting in” or “with an outcome of”? Do you have anything in your background that you could describe in a different way that includes those kinds of numbers?
If it doesn’t, you will not get the medical sales job you want.
If it does, you can get almost any medical sales job you want.
You don’t need a resume writer to do it, either.
All you need to do is follow that same thought process that I asked my fitness dude and ask yourself those same questions.
A resume writer would ask you those same questions to pull that information out of you…and charge you $1000 to do it.
You can do it.
No one knows you and your skills and your industry as well as you do.
If you really do need help with your resume, I highly recommend that you get Career Confidential’s Extreme Resume Makeover Kit. It doesn’t write your resume for you. it shows you how to think about your resume, and how to pull all that information out and put it into a selling document.
And I personally review the resume of everyone who buys the kit.
Can’t beat that.
Get a resume makeover here => Resume Writing
We did talk about other things on that coaching call… like what to do if his documentation was not as detailed as it needed to be, and what kind of companies he should be looking at in his particular transition situation, and how he presented himself in the interview. But every coaching call is different.
If your own job search is not going as well as it needs to be, give me a call.
This guy had been at a high level, high salary, lots of promotions, but was struggling in the job search anyway and feeling bad about himself. Which is just about the craziest thing in the world for someone who had been as successful as he had been.
What he’d been struggling with for months, we turned around in a few hours.
I’d love to sit down for some personalized coaching with you.
If you’d like more information about what I offer as a career coach, go here =>
I just want to encourage you to let nothing hold you back in your job search.
There’s no reason you can’t be as successful as you want to be, as fast as you want to be.
Medical sales resumes have certain requirements that other resumes don’t. In the video below, I’ll tell you more about how you can learn to write a resume that will give you a big advantage in trying to break into medical sales.
If you’re a Mac computer user and you’ve sent your resume as a Microsoft Word document, there’s a decent chance that the recruiter or HR department you sent it to can’t read it. It can also be a problem if you’ve sent your resume in any other program besides Word.
Most folks using Macintosh computers don’t realize that even though Mac says the programs are compatible with all PCs, they aren’t. Every time we get a Word document sent from a Mac, we can’t open it. We also can’t open resumes using PDF files/web links or PowerPoint programs because they’re not compatible with our computer systems. We respond to our candidates, letting them know so they can resend, but most recruiters and HR departments won’t…which means your resume will never be seen and you’ll never know. And if you’re sending your resume to a resume database or applying online and they can’t open it, it will end up in the trash for sure.
For safety’s sake, when you’re submitting your resume online, always send your resume as a Word document, and find a PC to send it from.
If you must send it from a Mac, take the extra step of sending it to a PC friend first who can verify that it arrived and can be opened successfully before you send it to a recruiter or Human Resources.
Recently, someone who has seen what I’ve said on the importance of LinkedIn for the job search asked me this: “If it’s not a good idea to include a photo on your resume, why is it a good idea to include it on LinkedIn? Doesn’t the photo on LinkedIn invite the same potential discrimination issues as including it on the resume does?”
This is a tricky issue. We’ve all been told over and over again never to use a photo on the resume, and there are good reasons for that. Anti-discrimination laws in our country have resulted in many Human Resources departments throwing out otherwise great resumes if they include a picture. Companies are so afraid of being sued that they avoid the slightest appearance of bias by eliminating any resume with a photo right off the bat. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing—your skills and accomplishments should be what gets you the interview, not your looks.
On the other hand, what’s the first thing a hiring manager will do after receiving your resume? See if he can find out more about you on LinkedIn. What’s on LinkedIn? Your picture.
You could easily argue exactly that line of reasoning for eliminating your photo from LinkedIn, also. Just like on your resume, you want the focus to be on your accomplishments, not your physical appearance. A LinkedIn profile photo seems questionable.
Here’s where I think the difference lies: The resume is always completely and exclusively targeted toward your ability to perform a particular job, and your looks have nothing to do with that (unless you’re an actor!). Anti-discrimination laws are targeted to job applications, which a resume is.
But, LinkedIn is first and foremost a networking site. Even though LinkedIn is an extremely valuable tool for your job search, not everyone on LinkedIn is looking for a job. They’re using LinkedIn to build their contact list, join groups that relate to their current careers, and see what the competition’s up to. When you make networking the focus of your LinkedIn activities, it becomes clear that you need to include a photo, because we (all humans) bond more with a face than with the typed text. LinkedIn users expect to see a photo, and it looks a little odd if you don’t…like you’re trying to hide something. A photo makes other users more comfortable connecting with you, which is one of your primary goals.
So, never include a photo on your resume, because you don’t want to sabotage yourself in the HR screening process—and graphics don’t usually mesh well with Applicant Tracking Systems, anyway. But always include a professional (business-appropriate) photo on your LinkedIn profile. Not only is it expected, it’s a valuable part of your online credibility and networking success.
What’s your role as a medical sales rep–whether you’re in clinical, laboratory, diagnostics, devices, software, or pharma?
Do you know the best way to show me, the medical sales recruiter and reader of your resume, why I need to submit you for a position?
Watch the video to see what I’m looking for in your resume that will give you the best chance of landing the medical sales interview you want. It will be one of the best resume tips you’ll ever hear.
As a medical sales recruiter, I specialize in placing sales and sales management professionals, and I’ve seen tens of thousands of resumes throughout my career. Since I often sift through them quickly, it takes a great resume to stand out from the crowd and get my attention. And job seekers in health care sales, medical device sales, laboratory sales, and pharmaceutical sales always ask “What can I do to get my resume noticed?” Beyond the basics of an easy-to-read, error-free, well-structured resume, there are qualities that catch my eye and cause me to consider candidates more closely, and I’d like to share them with you. Here are some easy changes you can make to your resume:
1. Highlight your performance. If you’re in sales, it’s vitally important that you demonstrate that you can ring the cash register. You show the hiring manager why he wants you on the team by highlighting your sales numbers, number of closes, key influencer sales, expense budgets, revenue, profit, growth, sales rankings, goal attainment, and so on. You can list that as numbers, dollar amounts, percentages, or whatever is appropriate. I have seen some eye-catching resumes that incorporate colored graphs to illustrate, but be careful not to overdo it. Use whatever style that best represents your growth.
2. Write a well-crafted objective statement. Think elevator pitch. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that a resume objective statement will limit your opportunities. It won’t. What it will do is capture the reader’s attention and lead him or her into reading the rest of your resume. (So make sure it’s compelling and not a canned filler statement.) It’s entirely appropriate to tailor your objective statement to the job opportunity so that you can highlight what you can bring to that particular organization. Once I’ve read the rest of your resume, I might see that you’d also be a great fit for another opportunity.
3. Add something special. If you’re new to the field, try a preceptorship, and put that experience on your resume (it’s a great keyword source). It shows that you’re serious, and willing to go the extra mile. And it can go a significant way to answering the “experience” question for hiring managers. Also, I have seen resumes with quotations that sum up their attitudes, drive, determination, etc. Or, I’ve seen others with a list of their recent reading material (although you must be able to talk intelligently about those books). But be careful about listing too much information. For instance, hobbies work only if they’re relevant to the job. Don’t let anything on your resume take away from your message: you have something to offer to contribute to an organization’s success.
Above all, remember that your resume is not about you; it’s about the employer. You’re using the resume as a marketing document that highlights why you’re the person to help them succeed.
If you need more help, check out this Resume Training video from Career Confidential.
Job seekers can mistakenly think that the big job title they’ve had is always impressive on a resume. Some sales reps have the title of VP, or Sales Director, even though they were actually in a one-to-one sales role. This can cause a problem for you in your job search if you’re looking for another sales role.
Especially if you’re transitioning into medical sales, you’re not going to get a VP role, or a Director role, or even an Account Executive role with that title on your resume, because every recruiter and hiring manager will assume that you won’t be happy as a sales rep.
You need to downplay the big titles, and maybe think about a competency-based resume. Emphasize your skills, point out your technological or science background, and highlight your sales numbers to get hired in medical sales.