The job search can be daunting, but it’s important to take this task one step at a time. And for job hunting, the first step is updating your resume.

Life Sciences recruiters often review hundreds of resumes at a time, making it more likely for your resume to get lost in the mix. To help life sciences professionals land the job of their dreams, we’ve asked some of our recruiters for their top tips and tricks to make your resume stand out, and increase your chances of being contacted. 

Start Strong with a Compelling Professional Summary

When handed a resume, the first thing recruiters will look at is the Professional Summary. This section helps them better understand the candidate and gauge whether or not they are a good fit for the role. 

There is admittedly a lot of pressure when it comes to writing up your Professional Summary. After all, how do you encapsulate the entirety of your career in just a few words? To make the task less daunting, our recruiters suggest breaking the section down into three specific areas. 

1. What Do You Bring to the Table?

Life Sciences recruiters prefer when candidates lead with what they have to offer. After all, you’re marketing yourself to potential employers when writing your resume.

Think about the attributes you possess that make you a good fit for the types of roles you’re seeking. While technical skills are definitely a must, don’t forget to include vital soft skills that can show how well-rounded you are. 

Another tip is to ask your references and colleagues to describe your best attributes. They are the ones most familiar with how you work and may even point out positive traits that you never noticed about yourself.

Lastly, don’t forget to mention your total years of experience in your current industry. This is key information every recruiter looks for in resumes.

Example: I am a highly motivated and detail-oriented individual with over five years of clinical trial management experience in the biopharmaceutical space.

2. Provide Proof

Now that you’ve given a quick overview of what you can bring to the table, it’s time to support that statement by providing proof. Our life sciences recruiters recommend painting a brief picture of your work history. For this part, you may want to refer to your current job description and include some of your notable achievements.

Example: Proven track record of successful clinical trial planning, execution, and management across Phases I-III.

3. Highlight What You’re Seeking

Your Professional Summary shouldn’t just be about what you can provide as an employee. Our recruiters also believe that it’s important for job seekers to let potential employers know what they are looking for in their next career opportunity. This way, everybody can be on the same page and nobody’s time would be wasted.

Our tip is to reflect and dig deep. Really think about what you’re passionate about in your career. 

Example: Seeking to utilize my skill set and further my career to gain exposure in other indications across biopharma to ensure smooth clinical trials with the effort to improve and save patient lives. 

Include Vital Metrics in Your Work History Section

Quantifying your achievements is a critical step in updating your resume. Generic outlines tend to get overlooked in a sea of resumes. However, according to our recruiters, using numbers to highlight your professional achievements can help make your Work History stand out.

One way to quantify your work is by looking at your previous performance reviews. During performance reviews, employees are often asked to highlight certain areas of success to their managers. 

To help you improve your Work History section, we’ve included some examples below. Notice how the metrics-based statements are more impactful than the original ones.

Example 1

Original: Followed and implemented SOPs to ensure laboratory operations ran smoothly.

Metrics-Based: Followed and implemented SOPs to improve laboratory operations, ultimately increasing efficiency by 34%.

 Example 2

Original: Successfully led a team of Research Associates to review clinical trial data and monitor clinical trial sites.  

Metrics-Based: Currently managing a team of 8 direct reports to review clinical trial data and monitor key site performance metrics to suggest best practices, resulting in a patient enrollment fill rate within 30 days on average and a patient retention rate of 79%.

 Example 3

Original: Responsible for assay development and validation across the entirety of the Company’s drug discovery pipeline.

Metrics-Based: Driving assay development and validation efforts across 4 different indications in the Company’s drug discovery pipeline.

End with Relevant Technical Skills

Life Sciences recruiters often sift through resumes by looking for keywords relevant to the job position. That’s why it’s important to include a brief list of your technical skills. 

One important tip is to avoid using soft skills for this portion of your resume. You’ve already given an idea of your soft skills in previous sections, so now it’s time to let the recruiters know the more technical side of your skillset.

Make sure the skills you list are relevant to your desired job role. Our recruiters also recommend using key action words.

General Resume-Writing Tips

With all the tips and tricks we’ve provided above, you should now have a compelling professional summary, a metrics-based work history, and a list of relevant technical skills. But to really seal the deal, make sure to consider these general resume-writing tips.

  • Heading: Provide as many means of personal contact information (mobile number, personal email address, and LinkedIn profile) as possible. This way, recruiters can more easily reach out to you. 
  • Formatting: Make sure your font, alignment, and spacing are consistent across the board. Readability is key when it comes to formatting, so make sure to choose professional font types and avoid block text.
  • Quality Check: Typos can give off a negative impression, so make sure to give your resume a final spelling and grammar check.

Final Thoughts

Recruiters at life sciences companies and recruitment agencies review resumes like it’s their job (it is). And in such a competitive market, it’s important to do what you can to stand out. Keep these tips in mind when updating your resume and you’ll be well on your way to landing your next job.

Explore your career options with the help of PharmaLogics Recruiting. Our dedicated life sciences recruiters are here to listen to your needs and be your advocate every step of the way. Submit your resume now!