In my career as a sales recruiter I've interviewed thousands of salespeople for hundreds of Pharmaceutical Sales Jobs. I've found that the majority of sales mandates are clueless about how to tailor their resume for a Pharma Sales Job. In this article, we'll go over a few important characteristics your resume needs to have, and just as important, characteristics it should never have when looking for a sales job in pharmaceuticals.
First things first! Recruiters are literally swamped with applications for Pharmaceutical Sales Jobs. And sorry for the newsflash, but the majority of recruiters will only spend about 3 seconds scanning your resume. Why is this? First of all, for every position they post, recruiters receive hundreds of resumes. Because there are only 9 hours in a recruiter's day, and they each have a few positions to fill, recruiters really only have about 3 seconds for each resume.
So what gets you noticed? The first thing I look for in a resume is bolded text and numbers. This is for a couple of reasons. First, bold shows attention to detail, and more importantly, my eyes just tend to notice bold text and numbers on a resume first! If I do find bold text and numbers, then I will spend a few more seconds investigating this potential Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, and if not, the resume will immediately be deleted back into cyberspace.
Let's talk about numbers, as in sales numbers. This is probably the MOST IMPORTANT addition to your resume. Most Pharmaceutical Sales Recruiters are looking for job seekers with at least 1 year of business-to-business sales experience where they generate excellent sales numbers. The candidates that are going to be noticed and contacted are the ones whose resumes have sales numbers.
Here are some examples of sales numbers to show and bold:
-% of sales increased from year x to year y
– Dollar revenue (or profit) increased from year x to year y
– Rank out of sales representatives in company
-% of market share gained from year x to year y
– Number of sales calls made
– Finally, make sure to bold any awards or recognition received.
Here's what not to do. Do not write a book about each job that you've had. A few pointers stressing your major responsibilities and accomplishments (remember, including rewards and numbers in bold) will suffice. Recruiters simply do not have time to read long paragraphs. You will have plenty of time to go deeper into your past positions during your phone screen or first level interview.
Make sure to keep your experience relevant. I come across many resumes from job seekers who own their companies. These candidates wear many different hats, but the only thing that Pharmaceutical Recruiters look for is experience selling. If this is you, and you really want a Pharmaceutical Sales Job, put your position as Account Executive. DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT state that you are "Company Owner" or "CEO" on your resume. Recuiters are looking candidates who will spend 100% of company time selling and have that experience. Trust me, its true.
Finally, make sure to get your resume in front of as many recruiters as possible. In today's economy, there are more more sales candidates than available Pharmaceutical Sales Jobs. Your resume must have as much exposure as possible to give yourself a chance of landing a Pharmaceutical Sales Job.