So you need a better pharmaceutical sales resume, but don’t know how to get started?
In this article, I’ve outlined some advanced resume tricks and persuasion techniques for writing a pharmaceutical sales resume …
… even if you don’t have sales experience.
Hundreds of resumes are sent daily to pharmaceutical recruiters and HR offices worldwide.
So how can you retool your resume so it works in this job market, appeals to applicant tracking systems (ATS), and stands out from the crowd?
Below, I’ve outlined 6 resume writing strategies that work with entry-level skill levels as well as those who have experienced sales careers.
Let’s get started.
This highly informative download will help you shortcut your way to a new career in pharmaceutical sales. Amongst the pages, you’ll find insider tips from pharmaceutical recruiters, along with sample STAR interview questions, resume examples, lists of pharmaceutical companies/recruiters, and info on pharmacology testing and certifications.
6 Strategies For Writing a Pharmaceutical Sales Resume
1. Find All Your Transferrable Goodies (For Newbies & Those With Non-Sales Job Titles)
When you’re new to sales, writing a resume and cover letter can be a bit of a challenge. This is when hiring a professional resume writer can be highly beneficial.
In this step, start with examining your career looking for relevant skills to help flesh out your resume’s objective, bullet points, and work history. This is very important if you’re planning a career change.
What you’re looking for are skills that are sales or sales-related.
For example, consider skills like:
- Customer Service
- Customer Retention
- Customer Problemsolving
There’s also customer interactions through social media, phone/email, and in-person events.
If you’re a recent college graduate, find your transferable skills in the most unlikely of places by asking yourself questions like these:
Have I been involved in fundraising activities?
What retail jobs have I held that were heavy customer-facing?
What internships and advanced class projects have I completed?
Have I processed incoming orders?
You’ll learn that transferable skills are not always obvious, yet can be uncovered when you look deep enough.
For instance, a background in psychology prepares a person for spotting non-verbal clues, such as how a person is feeling about a product.
Event management can be important because many pharmaceutical sales reps arrange meetings, lectures, and presentations for prospective customers.
Fundraising is also a form of selling because you’re trying to get people to give you money … and get nothing in return, except for personal satisfaction.
Don’t overlook sales-support tasks as well.
Maybe you’ve done administrative work and reporting the helps the sales department?
Maybe you’ve resolved customer issues with their purchases and aided with customer satisfaction levels?
I’ll agree that you won’t always find the greatest details to help you land a job. However, every little bit will go a long when when writing your sales resume.
2. Pharmaceutical Sales Keywords Are King (For Seasoned Reps & Some Newbies)
Once you’ve identified your skills, it’s time to write your resume.
It’s essential that you incorporate sales-specific keywords when describing your experience and skills.
A few important keywords for pharmaceutical sales include:
- Sales and Marketing
- Account Management
- Territory Management
- Revenue Growth
- Relationship Management
- Customer Service
- Sales Presentations
- Goals Achieved/Percentage Increase
- Leadership Experience
You can find plenty of related skills after reading pharmaceutical sales rep job descriptions.
But, building keywords into your resume goes beyond the obvious.
Selling is all about personality, so think about the attributes a good salesperson has.
They are …
- Aggressive without being obnoxious
- They know ‘no’ just means there’s a ‘yes’ around the corner
- They are experts at the products they sell
- The focus on and mirror the prospect’s personality
While you don’t want to focus too much on personality in a resume, you could integrate some ‘soft’ skills:
Highly personable, yet persistent and aggressive pharmaceutical sales candidate. Supported the sales management team at JRS Accounts, Inc. during the acquisition of new client accounts.
Even if you don’t have pharmaceutical sales experience, that is a sentence that will appeal to just about any hiring manager when they see it at the top of your resume.
3. Branding Statements & Taglines (More For Seasoned Sales Reps)
A one or two-line branding statement will do wonders for your resume and can help set you apart from other candidates.
A good branding statement can be crafted by taking your 15-second elevator pitch (you do have one for your interview, don’t you?) and reworking it so that it gives someone a great idea of who you are.
Look at this example branding statement for your resume:
Award-Winning Sales Representative – Top 5% Producer & Consistent President’s Club Winner
The branding statement and tagline also serve as excellent segues into your resume summary or professional profile.
4. Include **All** the Right Information (For Newbies & Seasoned Folks)
What we want to do now is remind you to include special info that you might have left off your resume.
For example, do you have any previous experience in the healthcare field?
Maybe you took some medical coding ir sales training years ago; if so, add those to the training section of your resume.
Perhaps in high school or college, you had extracurriculur activities, such as volunteered at a hospital. If yes, add a community service/volunteer section to your resume.
In college, did you take biology classes? Mention those in the education section of your resume.
Anything you can add that is relevant to the pharmaceutical industry is going to help you land your dream job.
The same goes for individuals who might be coming from a healthcare background but don’t have any sales experience.
Did you take business courses in college or some sales training seminars earlier in your career?
Add them in!
Another thing is to make sure you don’t take anything for granted. Too often I see people put this in their education section:
Biology, College Name
To a reader, that means nothing.
Did you take one biology course?
Do you have an Associate’s Degree? A Bachelor’s?
The resume isn’t the place for hiding information or being vague.
Here is how the education section should look:
Bachelor’s of Science in Biology, School XYZ
Coursework in Biology, School XYZ, including Anatomy, Advanced Biology, and Biochemistry
Most pharmaceutical companies want their sales candidates to hold at least a Bachelor’s degree.
5. Tell Your Story Correctly (For Newbies & Seasoned Sales Reps)
Pharmaceutical companies and recruiters prefer to see not only what you have done, but how you achieved it.
Some people make the mistake of including only half the information in their position descriptions.
Either they omit their achievements (e.g., revenue percentage increases) or they fail to show how they achieved their results.
When writing your resume, be sure to use a Situation/Action/Result style to tell each story.
This means describing the problem, showing the action you took, and listing the result.
In order to achieve sales growth for a new product, developed multiple sales strategies that led to 18% market penetration six weeks ahead of the projected timeline.
The situation was to grow the product, the action was to develop sales strategies, and the result was 18% market penetration.
Pharmaceutical companies are very results-driven, so including as many quantifiable results as you can on the resume will be a big help in terms of getting you more interviews.
6. The Small Details of Your Pharma Resume (Both Seasoned & Newbies)
After the resume is written, do not send it out to anyone.
Have at least two other people (preferably someone with superior grammar and spelling skills) to look it over.
Remember, you are up against a lot of competition.
Even having just a couple of typos, grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, or punctuation mistakes can mean the difference between getting an interview or having your resume end up in the trash.
Also important is providing complete contact information (omitting your address or phone number is a major red flag in HR offices).
With these tips in mind, rebuilding your resume for pharmaceutical sales positions will not only be possible but also effective.