Candidate’s Background

Tom’s objective was to secure a highly coveted pharmaceutical sales position. His main concern—one brought up in previous interviews—was that he lacked the preferred business-to-business (B2B) sales experience. He had however been engaged in B2B transactions throughout his career, but they were not highlighted prominently and instead there was a clear B2C focus to his original résumé. Tom also wanted to showcase the transferability of his career in the fitness industry to support his strong medical and health knowledge. Tom had also participated in an informal preceptorship, which added to his qualifications to begin a career as a pharmaceutical sales rep.

Résumé Strategies

Tom’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 experience 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, Tom’s professional experience section was expanded significantly based on information we reviewed during our consultation. His primary B2B experience was expanded from only 4 bullet points on his original résumé, to a full paragraph and 7 bulleted achievements. The formatting of this section pulls the hiring manager’s eye to the most important information in the section. Page two of Tom’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, Tom’s education was presented with a complete list of all science and medical coursework he completed.

Makeover Results

After one week with his new résumé Tom wrote: “I've been re-sending my new résumé out for a little over a week now and I've had one phone interview, I'm scheduled for a face-to-face (F2F) next week, and I've had many emails from recruiters who comment on how great my résumé looks and that I'm moving to the top of their list of people to call for upcoming opportunities...all in the new field I'm pursuing. All I can say is ‘thank you, thank you, thank you.’ The finished product is awesome and turned out better than I even hoped for.”

Three weeks later Tom wrote: “As of this coming Monday, I'm a new pharmaceutical sales rep for ABC Pharmaceuticals!! And this is all possible because of the awesome résumé that you created for me. Once I started sending out the updated résumé, the calls started coming in. I had a F2F interview with two ABC Pharmaceutical DM's that went extremely well, so they scheduled me for a F2F with the Regional Director. Thank you!”

Keys to Success

Targeting a specific type of opportunity played a vital role in Tom’s success. While he did not have pharmaceutical sales experience, a typical requirement even for entry-level pharmaceutical sales roles, we were able to identify the transferable skills that would overcome his potential disqualifiers, something that would not have been possible had he not know what direction he wanted his career to take.