Job Search Resume

Targeting a Medical Sales Leadership Role? What Must Stay (and What Must Go) from Your Resume


It’s more common than you think. Pharma and medical device executives (or aspiring execs) still using the same resume format that worked back when they first started out as a medical sales rep many years ago.

If you are aiming for that next-level position or are a healthcare sales VP/SVP who, until now, has always moved up the ranks without needing a resume, it’s important to learn how you must present yourself differently this time around.

Here’s a section-by-section breakdown of what must stay and what must go when targeting a leadership role in medical sales:


Imagine opening up a news site (or looking at a newspaper’s front page) and seeing stories without headlines. Most of us would be lost and likely skip the story altogether.

Same goes with resumes. A resume lacking a headline runs the risk of never getting read.  

For executives trying to attract the attention of healthcare recruiters and decision makers, their resume should lead off with a concise headline that tells the reader exactly which roles they are targeting.

Interested in exploring different products or disease states? No problem! Simply tailor the headline accordingly (i.e., position yourself as a specialist by stating you are a “Cardiology Device Sales Executive,” or remove the industry to appear neutral).

Branding Paragraph

A branding paragraph or summary must show the reader you can create a sales strategy and lead teams that execute it.  

Avoid the temptation to describe yourself with grandiose adjectives or lead off with “over 20 years of experience…” Instead, replace this with language that shows you understand your impact to the organization’s bottom line as a leader.

When it comes to executive medical sales leadership, understanding scope is important because recruiters and hiring managers want to know that you can handle a company, division or sales force similar in size to theirs.

I, therefore, advise you to include the size of teams/organizations and budgets managed, front and center, in the branding paragraph.

Career Overview

When it comes to listing experience on an executive medical sales resume, it’s critical to show both how you furthered a corporate vision and the result. Start by asking yourself about the challenge presented to you in the role. Spell out the strategy you created and executed, and the outcome.

Because, in the world of sales, numbers usually speak volumes, try your best to quantify each outcome. If you can depict this success additionally with a graph or chart, all the better!

When it comes to executive resumes, the more bullets you have is not a direct correlation to your success. Instead, think “highlight reel” versus “full autobiography.”

I strive for no more than 5 bullets, and when necessary, break bullets into smaller groups with headlines to keep them organized and facilitate skim reading.


When you are right out of school or have just a few years of work experience under your belt, it’s OK to include scholarships and internships, and whether you graduated cum laude.

However, once you are targeting a higher rung on the corporate medical sales ladder, additional information beyond your degree and academic institution is not necessary or relevant.

Embrace the New to Climb the Ladder or Make a Lateral Sales Leadership Role

A resume current in content but not in language or format will not help you put your best foot forward. In fact, in my experience, an out-of-date resume often prolongs your search. Embracing these best practices will help to position you optimally for that next-level sales executive role.



– By Virginia Franco, NCRW, CPRW

Virginia Franco Resumes | www |