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How to Write a Resume for a Pharmaceutical/Medical Representative

by Al Stewart, studioD

A well-crafted resume is crucial to a pharmaceutical/medical representative's career. It is an opportunity to introduce yourself and highlight qualifications uniquely suited to healthcare marketing. Your entries should communicate that you are a good choice to meet with doctors and other practitioners to discuss new products and treatments. Stress your presentations skills, technical knowledge and professional accomplishments. Include entries that establish your commitment to customer service. Whether seeking an entry level position, or career advancement, write a resume that will stand out in a highly competitive, rapidly evolving field. Demonstrate your ambition to build a career in pharmaceutical/medical marketing.

Select a format that accentuates your strengths and makes a compelling case for your employment. A pharmacy/medical representative who has a lengthy background in the industry, for example, should use a chronological resume that stresses experience. Someone new to the industry might consider a functional resume that emphasizes skills and training consistent with healthcare sales. Search online to preview resumes of others working in the field and use language you find most compelling.

Begin with a statement that demonstrates your familiarity with medical marketing and the demands of being a field representative. This can take the form of either an objective or a summary of qualifications depending on your level of experience. Avoid overly general or vague language. Make specific points related to pharmaceutical marketing using industry terms. For example, note your experience in marketing cardiovascular drugs or your interest in gastrointestinal therapies.

Include a section devoted to work experience. Focus on responsibilities and skills applicable to healthcare marketing. If using a chronological format, begin with the most recent position and work backward. If preparing a functional resume, present information that will enhance your chances of being hired as pharmacy/medical representative. For example, stress customer service experience or business-to-business sales if you have worked in an area unrelated to healthcare.

Use bullet-points to highlight achievements or specify accomplishments. This approach can be used in any area of the resume, particularly the work experience section. Use only specific factual details such as "opened more new accounts than any other rep," or "Initiated an outreach program with local pediatricians that resulted in 50 percent increase in category sales."

Include a section that outlines education, special training and awards. Note the school you attended, the degree you acquired and your major field of study. Include any honor societies and academic clubs you participated in. Avoid adding social activities such as a sorority unless you were a top office holder. Pay particular attention to information related to community service. Indicate any specific computer skills or foreign languages spoken.

Review the resume carefully and ask for outside opinions. Pay particular attention to spelling and grammar. Ask if the resume is too long or includes vague meandering language. Carefully consider how a hiring manager at a pharmaceutical company is likely to react to the document as a whole and whether the resume will help you get an interview.


  • Make sure the resume is focused on the pharmaceutical/medical field as opposed to a generic sales rep position.
  • Keep a copy of your resume in a computer file that can be updated and tweaked for specific job opportunities.
  • Update your resume every few months even if you have not had new work experience.
  • Become a member of the National Association of Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives and consult the organization's online career center.


  • Do not embellish or include any erroneous information on your resume. It could lead to dismissal after you have been hired.
  • To avoid technical issues with resumes sent electronically, include the document in the body of the email. If sending it as an attached file, make certain the format is acceptable to the recipient.

About the Author

Al Stewart's 30-year background as a writer/editor includes staff positions at "Adweek," "Billboard," "Chain Drug Review," "Cable World," "DNR" (men's fashion), "National Floor Trends," and "Variety." A native New Yorker, he is now a writer/editor living in Los Angeles. He has a BA in political science from Wagner College.

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