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11 Things Life Science Recruiters are Looking for in Your CV

11 Things Life Science Recruiters are Looking for in Your CV


In today’s job market, having a well-crafted CV can make all the difference when it comes to landing your next pharma job. In this article, we’ve outlined 11 things pharma and life science recruiters will be looking for in a standout CV, from contact details to personality.
  • Author Company: PharmiWeb.Jobs
  • Author Name: Lucy Walters
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Editor: Lucy Walters Last Updated: 17-Mar-2023

In today’s job market, having a well-crafted CV can make all the difference when it comes to landing your next pharma job. In this article, we’ve outlined 11 things pharma and life science recruiters will be looking for in a standout CV, from contact details to personality…

Contact Details

Include your contact details clearly at the top of your CV to make it as easy as possible for the person reading to get in touch with you. Always include:

  • Full name
  • Telephone number
  • Email address

You can also include your LinkedIn/website URL if relevant, and the location you’re looking to work in, but not your full address.

Tailored Content

Recruiters want to see a CV that’s been tailored to the specific requirements of their role. Rather than listing out every one of your skills and every job you’ve ever held, choose the parts of your experience that are most relevant to the job, emphasising your suitability in each section of your CV. Demonstrate that you’ve done your research, you understand the job description, and that you’re enthusiastic about the role and the results you could achieve.

Structure, Format and Consistency

Even if the contents of your CV are spot on, if it isn’t well formatted, structured, and consistent, you won’t be able to effectively demonstrate your strengths as a candidate. Make sure there is plenty of white space on your CV, and that you’re using a font that’s easy to read. Rather than including lengthy paragraphs about all your skills and experiences, break down the text into short, snappy bullet points.

Read our recent article on How to Format Your CV For a Job in Pharma for more tips.

Punchy Introduction

Start off your CV with a punchy introduction into who you are, your key skills and accomplishments, your level of experience, and the results you have produced for previous employers. Like all other parts of your CV, this paragraph should be tailored to the role you’re applying for, and should include some of the most important keywords from the job advert.

Correct Spelling and Grammar

Especially if a recruiter has got hundreds of CVs to sort through for one role, poor spelling and grammar on your CV can be a dealbreaker, and can result in your application very quickly being thrown into the ‘no’ pile. Carefully proofread your CV before submitting it and consider getting someone else to proofread it too through a fresh pair of eyes.

Relevant Experience

You’ve only got a short amount of time to capture a recruiters’ attention, so make the most of it by only highlighting the most relevant experiences on your CV. If you’re applying for an entry level role or don’t have industry experience, emphasise your transferable skills, picking the most important required skills from the job advert and linking these to the experiences you do have.

When listing your experiences, focus on results rather than responsibilities, and use numbers to give context to your achievements. For example, if you’re applying for a role as a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep, you might include something along the lines of ‘Increased sales by 50% in 12 months.’

For each role, try to narrow down the information you include to 3-6 bullet points, ensuring each contains keywords from the job advert along with success words to emphasise your accomplishments.

Relevant Skills

It’s important to include both soft and hard skills in your CV, reflecting the most essential skills required for the job. How you present your skills is up to you. One thing you could do is to create a ‘core skills’ section underneath each of your previous job titles, just as you can now do on LinkedIn. This way, you’ll capture the recruiter’s attention by highlighting one of the role’s keywords, before explaining how you utilised this skill in the bullet points below.

Don’t fall into the trap of listing skills just for the sake of it; if you can’t give a specific scenario in which you used a skill in one of your bullet points, or couldn’t discuss it in more detail when asked in a job interview, then don’t include it.

Relevant Qualifications

Many pharmaceutical jobs still require you to hold a degree/other professional qualification. Instead of just listing the title of your degree and the grades you’ve achieved, make this section more personalised by also including any impressive projects you worked on, societies you were part of, the research you’ve undertaken, and more. Don’t make this section too long, but do think of how you can stand out against your peers who may hold similar qualifications to you. What about your educational experience in particular gives you a competitive edge?

Industry Knowledge

Recruiters will be on the lookout for candidates who demonstrate a strong understanding of the pharmaceutical industry and the challenges it faces. Remember that you are ultimately applying to join a business, so commercial awareness and competitor knowledge will help you to stand out. Embed this in your previous experiences and education sections, as well as in your introductory paragraph when discussing the results you’ve produced and the challenges you’ve helped your previous employers to overcome.

Industry Jargon

Include industry keywords throughout your CV, avoiding excessive jargon and making sure you aren’t including them for the sake of it. This will prove your understanding of the industry which is especially important if you don’t have much direct experience, and may help your CV to get through ATS.


The amount of personality you let shine through your CV will depend on the role you’re applying for, and how formal the company is. However, including things like hobbies and interests on your CV can give recruiters an insight into how well you’d fit in with the company culture/what you’d contribute to it, as well as how you use your skills outside of work. For example, if you take part in team sports, listing these on your CV can further reinforce your teamwork and communication skills.

Unless you’ve got hobbies and interests that will resonate with the recruiter, emphasise your skills, or make you stand out as a potential candidate, don’t list them. Including something vague like ‘socialising with friends’ doesn’t really say anything about you or your suitability for the role!