Alex's objective was to secure a highly coveted pharmaceutical sales rep position. His main concern, and one brought up in previous interviews, was that he lacked the business-to-business (B2B) sales experience required. Alex had however been engaged in B2B transactions throughout his career, but they were not highlighted prominently, instead there was a clear B2C focus to his original résumé. Alex also wanted to showcase the transferability of his career in the fitness industry to support his strong medical and health knowledge.
Alex's original résumé was not strong enough in content or presentation, so both areas were addressed in the development of his new résumé. Instead of an objective statement, I opened the résumé with an extensive qualifications summary highlighting his related experiences and education. Beginning the qualifications summary is a brief highlighted list of key qualifiers, a highly effective approach when a candidate needs to focus the hiring manager's attention on the aspects of their background that qualify them for a particular engagement.
Next, Alex's professional experience section was expanded significantly based on information we reviewed during his consultation. His primary B2B experience was expanded from only 4 bullet points on his original résumé, to a full paragraph and 7 bulleted achievements on his new version. The formatting of this section pulls the hiring manager's eye to the most important information. Page two of Alex's résumé continued to explore his experiences, highlighting B2B interactions whenever possible. I also highlighted his preceptorship prominently along with a personal training certification. Lastly, Alex's education was presented with a complete list of all science and medical coursework he completed.
Cover Letter Strategies
I opened Alex's cover letter noting his key qualifications for his position of interest. The first paragraph was used to capture the recipient's attention and make them want to read more. To do this well, I first had to clearly understand Alex's key qualifications, his position of interest, and the intended audience. The center section of Alex's cover letter explores his experiences, successes, and the skills that fueled his performance. I used bullet points to focus the hiring manager's attention on the most important pieces of information, which also helps break up a heavy looking one-page letter. To close, I used an action-oriented statement, rather than taking a passive approach and waiting for a hiring manager to call Alex. Of course, if the advertisement says no calls, then you need to follow that advice, but most of the time a follow-up call is the appropriate strategy to reiterate your interest.
Alex received a phone interview in week 1 of his search, followed by a face-to-face in week 2, followed by the job offer in week 3 of his search. He now enjoys his new position as a pharmaceutical sales rep. with a leading drug manufacturer.
Keys to Success
Alex had the experience to highlight; he just wasn't sure how he could do that, what rules to follow, and how to speak the language of his target market. Through due diligence, exploration of past accomplishments, and a clear understanding of effective keywords and strategies, his résumé was revamped into a tool that brought attention to the related aspects of his candidacy.
View Alex's before and after résumé at www.ladybug-design.com/blog