Your resume is your first impression on a hiring manager. It’s important to include all pertinent details, from easy-to-read contact information to the special projects and experiences that make you a great candidate. Here’s a checklist of resume must-haves, and some very important do-nots.
A resume highlights your skills (particularly those related to the role for which you’re applying), emphasizes places of employment over education, and typically runs no more than two pages.
A CV emphasizes academic accomplishments, begins with your educational credentials, and can run much longer depending on your publications, posters, and presentations.
Most MSLs use a hybrid of a resume and a CV. These documents are usually 3-4 pages long, though they may run longer depending on your work history and publications. Don’t feel the need to compress your experience or narrow your margins to keep everything on one or two pages? Many MSLs choose specific publications or presentations to include, focusing on just those that apply to the role at hand.
The Basics: What your resume absolutely needs, and what to leave off
- Name, degree, contact info – make sure this is front and center and easy to read
- Address, phone number – not everyone feels comfortable displaying their full address but include your city and state at a minimum. Make sure to include your personal cell phone number
- Email address – don’t use a work email address, and make sure your handle is professional and appropriate
- Include a photo or other graphics – keep it streamlined and simple. Remember that an HR portal might make changes to your formatting, so the more basic your resume, the better
- Use difficult-to-read fonts – you don’t want to stop a hiring manager from reading your resume because the font is too small or too complicated
- Use inconsistent headings or bullet points – make sure your formatting is consistent all the way through and your headings easily differentiate each role
- Professional experience – our next blog post will go into this in more detail, but your resume should include your professional experience with accurate dates, titles, and descriptions
- Education – list in order of highest degree first and include the full institution name and location
- Publications – It might make sense to choose the most relevant publications for the role. Either way, make sure this section is accurate and easy to read
- Unique value adds – language skills, technical expertise, relevant honors and awards, and relevant volunteer, or leadership activities. This is your opportunity to really set yourself apart
- Copy and paste generic job descriptions into your professional experiences – hiring managers can tell and they won’t be impressed. Take the time to craft a good explanation of your specific responsibilities
- Make general claims without backing up with examples – if your summary states you have leadership skills, make sure your job responsibilities are reflected
- Include irrelevant hobbies or interests – sometimes you can connect with a hiring manager based on a shared hobby, but it’s better to err on the side of professionalism and leave those off your resume
A few Field Medical Affairs titles…
Medical Science Liaison, Regional Medical Scientist, Regional Medical Liaison, Medical Liaison, Clinical Liaison, Medical Scientific Liaison, Clinical Science Manager, Medical Science Manager, Scientific Liaison, Medical Affairs Liaison, Regional Medical Research Scientist, Associate Director, MSL, Regional Medical Scientific Director