Job Search Resume

How Healthcare Sales Resume Reading Has Changed


I often work with long-time medical device and pharma sales leaders. They’ve typically never needed a resume before, as in the past, they were fortunate enough to be recruited into healthcare sales roles by peers, former managers, etc.

While networking is still key to the job hunt, the resume used to impress those within your network must appear quite different than it did in years past.

If it’s been longer than you care to count since you’ve needed a resume to interview with a healthcare sales company, it is crucial to understand how resume reading (and writing) has evolved with the times.

Here are a few ways resume reading has changed and how to write a resume that makes the best impression:

Writing for the Screen

By and large, people will not take the time to print out your resume — at least not until a 3rd or 4th round interview, if at all. Today, your resume will almost certainly be viewed on a screen, be it a desktop, laptop, mobile phone or tablet.

Resumes designed for print don’t convey attractively on screens, and screen reading is much tougher on recruiters than print reading — especially when we are in a rush.

When text is dense, it all tends to run together and is tough to read. Whether six lines long or six two-lined bullets, you can get your resume screen-ready by eliminating dense copy and adding white space.

Keep bullets to two or three lines and add at least a half-inch of white space (.5 points in MS Word) in between your bullets and paragraphs.

Keying in on Visual Appeal 

If given a choice between reading a black-and-white web page without any graphics or formatting or a colorful webpage — which would you pick?

Just like websites, resumes with color, bold, and italics (and maybe a graphic or two) go a long way toward drawing and keeping the reader’s attention.

Make your healthcare sales resume visually appealing by checking out Themes in MS Word as well as Smart Art features.

Impressing in Seconds

People in the world of pharma, medical device, and biotech are on the go. No one from the front-line screener to the sales recruiter to the decision maker has the luxury of time when it comes to reviewing your resume. This means you must impress them in seconds.  

Find out if your resume makes the cut. Set a time for 10 seconds and ask a friend to quickly identify achievements, the kinds of roles for which you are targeting, and explain how you are an ideal fit.

If they struggle, you need to make sure to include these three sections:


When a summary section has hit a home run, the reader has a sense for what you bring to the table without ever reading the rest of the resume. To accomplish this, swap out generic adjectives like “strong track record of results” with grounded facts like “3X President’s Club Award Winner.”

I also revert to job postings of interest to ensure that my wording aligns with what the description asks for. These two techniques spoon-feed the reader exactly how you are ideally qualified for a role.


In the world of healthcare sales, key skills must show the reader that you understand a particular disease state, have worked within a specific healthcare realm, and have mastered specific skills critical to success.

For instance, a National Pharma Sales VP’s skills list might include disease-state terms like “Cardiology,” and “Oncology” and should also include areas of expertise including “Data Analytics” and “GPO Negotiations.”


Readers in a rush appreciate when you make it easy to identify accomplishments. They are not as interested in reading about your day-to-day responsibilities.

In the world of healthcare sales, this can be accomplished by listing awards, ranks, territory and market share growth, and quota attainment.

By quantifying your achievements, rather than outlining your responsibilities, the reader can easily identify achievements, and readily connect the dots regarding how your skills can help them.

21st Century Experience

While there are always exceptions to any norm, recruiters are most interested in what you have accomplished in THIS century. While earlier experience often warrants a mention, there is usually no need to write about it in great detail.

Summarize pre-2000-era roles. Include them under an “Earlier Experience” headline, and remove the mention of years.

Focusing on the past 15 years will ensure you avoid the perception of being out of date, and help you keep your healthcare sales resume to two pages. Longer than this and you risk the chance of being ignored by that super-hurried sales recruiter.

Is this the first time you’ve needed a resume in years? Getting a handle on how resumes are written in read in today’s job market will position you optimally for success.

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– By Virginia Franco, NCRW, CPRW, the founder and chief writer at Virginia Franco Resumes, offering customized executive resume and LinkedIn profile writing services for the 21st century job seeker. | | Call/text 704-771-8572