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HomeBlog General Furthering your career: what not to do to get ahead!

Furthering your career: what not to do to get ahead!

4th April 2013

Even with many years of recruitment experience under my belt, people still never cease to amaze me in how they conduct themselves at a time when it is more important than ever to go out of your way to impress.  There are a few things I can guarantee will not assist in your aim to further your career in Pharmaceutical Sales, we’ll begin with your CV.

1. CV as long as your arm……or longer

This is the first and sometimes last chance you have to impress your potential new manager, but if it doesn’t impress the person screening those CV’s, in HR or even a recruiter, it may not even get that far! Please note, even though you have a long and distinguished career to date, 17 pages detailing every career move you have ever made is simply not necessary, focus on detail around your last two or three positions and then briefly summarise the remainder of your career.

2. Lay it all out

I began by stating that first impressions count, a simple well laid out CV is still the best way.  No recruitment consultant I know will thank you for including numerous text boxes and other formatting on your CV making it virtually impossible to make any adjustments required.  Also, whilst your daughter may love to use comic sans or script mt as a font for her homework – please don’t follow suit, keep it  simple.  Arial 12 with appropriate bold and underlining will suffice.  And please, no photos, emblems or logo’s – let your experience and achievements speak for themselves.

3. Achievements, achievements, achievements

Speaking of achievements, I cannot stress enough how important it is to have specific and tangible achievements on your CV.  As a Pharmaceutical Sales person you rely on facts and data, yet still endless CV’s arrive at Zenopa with no indication of any discernable achievement at all.  Alternatively in an attempt to look as impressive as possible a long list of ‘achievements’ is presented.  There is no need to pad out your achievements or pepper your ‘Profile’ with common clichés which often include having the ability to work alone as well as part of a team and good communication skills.  There is nothing wrong with having four or five good, genuine achievements for each role you have held, we would hope that anyone who is working in Pharmaceutical Sales is literate and numerate and therefore this doesn’t really count as an achievement! 

4. Mind the Gap

Please be clear and accurate about how you have spent you time over the last ten years, attempting to disguise gaps in employment by only listing the year you began or ended a period of employment or even worse extending dates of other periods of employment to cover these gaps up will not work in the long term.  Any good interviewer will uncover the former and the latter is easily discovered when applying for references and you will only succeed in having your integrity called into question at best with the potential of a job offer being withdrawn at worst.  If you have a gap in your employment , simply show the dates of the gap and detail why this was and what activities you undertook during this time and this will likely cause far less interest to your audience than questionable dates.

5. Do you Qualify?

Please be clear in the qualifications you have achieved, leaving your degree classification off your CV because you think you could have done better will only invite someone to question you further on this – no-one ever leaves off the fact that they gained a first class degree.  At the same time ask yourself if your potential employer is likely to care about your cycling proficiency certificate and only list other qualifications with relevance to your career or your personality .  A Gold Duke of Edinburgh award is a great example of your drive and determination and should be included, particularly for those in the early days of there career whilst the fact that you have undertaken a CIM qualification shows that you are committed to achieving a longer term career goal of moving into a Marketing role.

6. Take interest in your Interests

If you are the Captain of a Rugby team or have run the London Marathon these are great achievements which show you are competitive, driven and have some real get up and go – all excellent traits for a successful sales person.

However, if you are struggling to find something to list in this area, please don’t fall back on solitary activities such as visiting the gym, reading or similar, rather just omit this section from your CV.   Whilst I’m sure many of us enjoy keeping fit and a good read, it merely highlights the fact that you have little more impressive to say on the subject of interests and may even have some more cynical members of your audience regarding you as introverted and dull – not good attributes for a successful sales person.


Claire is our Business Manager for Pharmaceutical Sales, Pharmaceutical Executive and Consumer Healthcare. Whether you’re looking to explore your career options or expand your team contact Claire now to discuss your recruitment aspirations.

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