There are many variables when it comes to the exact skill set that is required to fill any given vacancy, but there are certain desirable skills that are almost universally in demand by employers in the pharmaceutical industry. Employers will spend most of their CV review time looking at employment history and education; here we tell you exactly what they are looking for.
1. Experience working in a similar role
Naturally, most pharma companies will prefer a candidate who can hit the ground running, with
minimum fuss or training. The more closely that your previous role matches the current vacancy, the easier employers will expect it to be for you, and for them, when you move. Assuming that you are not looking for a sideways career move, and that the vacancies at pharmaceutical companies that you are applying to are above your current career level, highlight on your CV the achievements and duties that are most closely related to the role that you are targeting, as well as your transferable skills.
2. Length of time in the same role
Recruiters often view the length of time with your current employer as an indication of whether you may be ready to move on, with 3-5 years considered an optimum time for them to approach you. Unless you are a contractor, employers will not want to take a risk on someone who has a history of spending less than 2 years with a company before leaving. Jumping from job to job after only a short period raises questions about an applicant’s level of commitment or ability to perform the role for which they were hired. Unless you can show a period of stability in your career history, consider staying in your current role for a little longer to open up greater opportunities for yourself in the long run.
3. Qualification in a relevant scientific discipline
Within the life sciences industry, candidates are usually expected to be educated to degree level, although MSc or even PhD level could be required, depending on the position. List your qualifications, starting with the highest attained or most recent. They might also look for qualifications that are relevant to the position such as Good Clinical Practice (GCP) or Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).
Globalisation and international trading continues to increase, and pharmaceutical companies will often scan CVs for evidence of language skills. Most of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies have offices in several countries; therefore, fluency in another language can be a distinct advantage. If this is part of your skillset make sure that it’s clear on your CV.
5. Which therapeutic areas and phases of study you have worked in
Pharmaceutical companies will look at the level of experience of working on specific therapeutic areas such as oncology, neurology, immunology, etc. In medical affairs jobs for example, having specialist knowledge of the disease, specific patient groups and a network of key opinion leaders (KOLs) can hold a significant advantage. In clinical research jobs, there are important differences in the way that each phase of study is conducted and in the skillsets for interventional and non-interventional trials. Although skills can be transferable from interventional to non-interventional studies, pharma companies and CROs usually look for CVs that show experience in the phase of study that is relevant to the position.
To find out more about what pharmaceutical companies are looking for on your CV and increase the success rate of your job applications, download our free CV guidebook today.