In a market where senior level opportunities are at a premium, it’s vital that a jobseeker in this position carefully crafts their CV to help them stand head and shoulders above the competition.
Fewer senior roles are available due to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries increasingly contracting at second line management level and above, so the need for a polished CV is more important than ever.
Indeed, senior level candidates can’t guarantee progression to the face-to-face stage on reputation alone, so he or she needs to be able to use their CV to sell themselves – just as candidates at any other level must.
With that in mind, we asked Huw Nicholas, CHASE’s Executive Solutions Lead, what senior level candidates must do to make sure their CV avoids ending up in the shredder …
Poor Quality and Oversized CVs
According to Huw, poor quality and oversized CVs are all too common with senior level candidates, with the following items contributing to documents that would give War and Peace a run for its money:
- Using the same CV you’ve had throughout your career: have you simply added new roles onto it as and when you’ve changed? You need to make sure your CV speaks clearly about what you’re doing NOW.
- Packing it full of irrelevant info: ideally, your CV should only be two pages long (and a maximum or three). Be disciplined in removing a level of detail about previous roles that you will never discuss at interview (do we need to know you won an award in 1989 for call rate when you were a rep, when you’re currently a Business Unit Director of a mid-sized pharma company with a multi £million P&L?)
- No personal profile: always include one to introduce your CV and outline your suitability for the role you’re applying for. Sharp, no more than two short paragraphs, typically written in the third person.
- Long lists of personal achievements: especially if they’re irrelevant to the level you’re currently working at. Take them off, even if you’re still proud of them.
- Listing every internal training course that you’ve ever attended: it’s a “given” that you take a course every year or so, but just list ones that set you apart or are recognised and well know externally delivered ones.
- Listing every qualification you’ve ever gained: this includes O-levels by subject and grade. If you have a degree, we can assume you have O-levels/Ordinary passes.
What DO Prospective Employers Want to Know?
Now that you’ve avoided the common pitfalls, Huw offers advice on what prospective Employers DO want to know:
- Profile/Overview: Always include a personal profile to introduce you as a candidate. Summarise your experience to date. What are you good at? What are your strongest competencies? What do you want to do?
- Responsibilities: In your current and past roles, what are you responsible/accountable for, what are you judged on, and key achievements against those criteria. How many people report to you and what is their function? What therapy areas do you work in? Who are your customers (internal and external)?
- Relevancy: Only provide the above level of detail for roles that are relevant to the one you are applying for. For positions at the start of your career, job title and brief overview will suffice
- Training: Accredited external training courses only, unless you feel it is an internal course of relevance
- Education: Degree subject/class, A-levels (number of only), any other further education qualifications
Formatting Your CV
Whilst the details contained within your CV are undoubtedly important, it’s also crucial to make sure your CV is formatted properly. Here’s Huw’s advice:
- Keep it simple: Avoid using logos, photos and multiple “boxes” that prevent your story from flowing
- Remember: The CV is an interview tool which markets you as a candidate. Make it impactful, including a powerful profile/overview
By following the tips above, your CV will allow a potential employer to quickly and simply understand your suitability for the role they’re recruiting for, and provide a template that allows them to interview you for that role.