You're a creative soul craving a creative resume. Something pretty, but professional. A template that seductively whispers into a recruiters ear: I'm the one.
To show you’re a Gilead-level pharma rep, you need a pharmaceutical sales resume that works like Cyclosporine. Yes, you can build relationships with buyers, stay on top of ever-changing regulations, and sell, sell, sell. But how can you convince employers with such a flimsy sheet of paper?
Don’t sweat it.
There’s a clear plan to get the interview. The trick? Steer clear of describing all your past pharma sales job duties. The best practice is to talk about what you’ve achieved. How much revenue did you drive? How many new clients did you win? Use the steps and template below to stand out like GlaxoSmithKline.
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Sample Pharmaceutical Sales Resume Template
Skilled pharmaceutical sales representative with 5+ years of experience driving revenue in a major pharma firm. Seeking to drive sales at Novartis. At Amgen, outperformed the department average by 25% in every quarter. Built 122 new customer relationships in 18 months.
Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
Amgen, Milwaukee. WI
June 2015 – June 2020
- Exceeded sales targets by 10% in every quarter and beat department averages by 25% in every quarter for 5 years.
- Built strong relationships with 122 new clients in 18 months.
- Grew market share by 20% for 30+ products in large territory.
- Prepared and executed 30+ speaking engagements per year, contributing to 28% growth in brand awareness.
- Generated an average of $12 million in revenue per year.
- Two-time recipient of the Albert P. Johns internal company award for sales excellence, leading to 2 promotions.
- Consistently scored above 95% in quarterly product knowledge tests.
June 2014–March 2015
- Built new relationships with 15 home & hearth store owners.
- Increased sales revenue for the Midwest territory by 19% in 8 months.
BS in Business Administration
Graduated: June 2014
- President, Student Business Leadership Group
- Volunteer builder 2x monthly for Habitat for Humanity
- Speak annually at ASCPT Conference on sales best practices
- Member, NASP
- Hard Skills: Relationship building, qualifying leads, product knowledge, brand strategy, documentation, selling, upselling
- Soft Skills: interpersonal skills, communication, negotiation
Certifications & Licenses
- CNPR Pharmaceutical Sales Certification
- CPSP Certification
Here’s how to write your own job-getting pharma sales resume:
1. Format Your Pharma Sales Resume Correctly
“Let’s toss this resume. It looks sloppy.” You’d better believe the layout of a resume matters. Just like you’d never meet a client in ripped jeans and a T-shirt, don’t apply with a less-than-perfect resume. Pay strict attention to your spelling, margins, fonts, and other trappings to impress.
Use these tips to start off with the best resume style:
- Get the relevant information into the hiring manager’s brain fast. For example a chronological resume shows your latest job first.
- Don’t try to start from scratch. Use a clean resume template to get moving. Then fill it in with all your personal details.
- There are at least 10 resume fonts that look professional and keep things clear and legible. Settle on a fan-favorite like Arial or Georgia, in the 10–12 point size.
- The only address information in a resume that matters is your email address and phone number. You should add your LinkedIn profile handle to your resume.
- Make your resume length one page if you’ve got less than 5 years of experience. For 5–10 years, a 2-page resume is fine.
- The best name for a resume file is “Name - Job Title - Resume.pdf”
Read more: What are the Right Parts of a Resume?
2. Stand Out With a Resume Profile Statement
You need a resume introduction.to wow them like a pitch by Joe Girard. Why? Because most hiring managers only spend a few seconds with each resume. Use those precious seconds to hit them with your elevator speech.
In an entry-level pharmaceutical sales resume, write a career objective statement. In the days before aspirin, that was where you talked about your dreams to have a pharma sales career. But things have changed. Today, share your dreams about how you’ll help the drug company succeed.
If you’re an old hand, write a resume summary statement. State your years of experience and name your past employer. Then share your biggest sales achievements, complete with eye-popping numbers.
Read more: Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out
3. Target Your Pharma Sales Resume Job Description
Whoops! You botched your resume for pharma sales jobs and nobody is calling you. What did you do wrong? I can tell you in a heartbeat. You talked about your job functions. You didn’t show how you exceeded sales targets and by how much. You didn’t share your massive sales accomplishments.
Here’s the best way to list relevant experience in a resume to get the job:
- List your latest pharma sales job first.
- Include the job title, business name, working dates (start and finish) and the location of the company.
- Customize your resume with examples of professional achievements that fit the job ad’s list of requirements. Put those in 3–6 bullet points under each job.
- Begin your sentences with action verbs for resumes like drove, built, and increased.
- Then move on to older jobs. How far back should you go on a resume? Assuming it's all relevant experience, 10-15 years is enough.
4. Write a Detailed Pharmaceutical Sales Rep Resume Education Section
Problem—two identical pharma reps try for the same job. Which one wins? The one who understands that listing education on a resume is not generic. It’s true that you don’t need a degree to be in pharma sales. But if you went to school, use your educational accomplishments to get an edge.
- Start off with the name of the school and the date you graduated.
- List relevant coursework like sales, marketing, or medical classes.
- If you belonged to clubs or groups or received honors or awards, consider adding them.
- Should you put your GPA on a resume for pharma sales jobs? Yes, if it was 3.7 or above.
Read more: How to List Unfinished College on a Resume
5. Prove the Right Pharma Sales Skills
Don’t make the same mistake most applicants make. They don’t know which skills to put on a resume, so they just list them all. That looks fake. Likewise, not listing the right pharma sales skills can get your resume passed over. To get attention like Gilead, list 10 or so of the skills from the job ad.
Here's how to prove your pharma sales skills:
- Find the right skills in the company’s job description.
- Add some hard skills and soft skills. What are soft skills? They’re the skills that work in any job, like communication or collaboration.
- Then prove each skill in your list with a pharmaceutical sales accomplishment in your experience section.
Use the following list for reference:
Pharmaceutical Sales Resume Skills
- Cross selling
- Qualifying leads
- Relationship building
- CRM software
- Product knowledge
- Public speaking
- Presentation skills
- Time management skills
- Decision-making skills
- Organizational skills
- Computer skills
- Teamwork skills
- Critical thinking skills
- Conceptual skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Verbal and written communication skills
- Technical skills
- Problem solving skills
Pro Tip: What are the perfect resume keywords? They’re those skills we talked about above. Put them in your skills list, experience, and education sections to get past the ATS (applicant tracking system).
When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building your resume here.
When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.
6. Add Additional Sections to Your Pharmaceutical Sales Resume
Do people enjoy working with you? The hiring team wants to know. Show them—with an additional section or two in your pharmaceutical sales resume.
- Not sure where to put certifications on a resume? In a dedicated section near the bottom.
- You can list language proficiency levels on a resume too—especially if the company’s clients speak that language natively.
- Listing volunteer experience on a resume is a great way to say you’re energetic and resourceful, without coming out and saying it.
Read more: What Sections Belong in a Resume?
7. Write a Cover Letter for Your Pharmaceutical Sales Resume
Do cover letters matter in a resume for pharma sales jobs? Yes, they do. So many applicants just scattershot a bunch of resumes at every job opening. To differentiate yourself, write a personalized cover letter. It’s a great way to show you care and will work hard after they take a chance on you.
For a killer cover letter:
- Make your first paragraph a cover letter introduction that gets them nodding. You can do it by talking about the company or about a big accomplishment.
- In the second paragraph, point out a few of your most AbbVie-level accomplishments.
- Not sure how to close a cover letter? This is where you seal the deal. Start by saying what you love about their organization. Then offer to meet with them.
How long should cover letters be? Not more than a single page. Your goal is to make them read your pharma resume, not scare them away with a long diatribe.
Pro Tip: Don’t put salary requirements in your cover letter. You will have plenty of time to discuss them later.
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
That’s everything you need to write a great pharma sales resume!
Thanks for reading! Do you have another question on how to make a winning pharma sales resume? Give us a shout in the comments section!