How to write a winning CV: Insight from top hiring managers in the Life Sciences industry


Nicola Lawler

“What CV advice can you offer me based on your conversations with leaders in well-known global life sciences companies that we all want to work for?”

Every day our clients give us feedback on the CVs that made it into their shortlists and we are going to share that with you now. Afterwards, you can download our handy CV template to get started. 

​1. Keep your CV to two pages

With a lot of CVs to get through, hiring managers will lose focus after two pages. Keep it short so the information is easy to absorb and retain.

2. Begin with your personal profile at the top

State your current job title so that it clearly reads as a good fit for the role you are applying for and list your years of experience. Pick out your best career accomplishments and summarise them here. A quick tip is to make space for your profile and draft it after you have finished your CV. This way you can look back and review the best bits to put in. People will scan your profile before deciding if they are going to read on, so you must hook them in with your profile fast.

3. Support your accomplishments with figures and percentages where possible

This could be anything from enabling teams to grow or become more efficient, to projects that made an impact on business growth or profit. For example, “The product approval project I lead resulted in the company gaining market approval 20% faster than our typical SLA.” Other examples that shine with evidence in numbers include cost-saving examples and an idea of business time saved through your impact on process changes and business output. 

4. List your accomplishments and HOW you achieved them

Detail the key aspects of how you managed a project to success. An explanation of how you completed a project demonstrates your unique understanding of workstreams that will add value to the business. It’s also a chance to make your CV stand out from others with a similar career history.

 5. Update your LinkedIn profile so it boosts your CV

About 575,000,000 people are on LinkedIn today so there is a high chance that your interviewer will look you up on there before considering you for an interview. A poor LinkedIn profile that doesn’t match what you’ve detailed in your CV can lose you credibility. It’s also a brilliant way to showcase more of your achievements that you can’t fit into a two-page CV. Update your LinkedIn profile before your job search and get key people across the companies that you’ve worked at to recommend you for a standout profile.

6. Your hobbies and interests

In the job market today, company fit is more important than ever and your hobbies and interests are the only real indication of who you are as a person. Include respectable hobbies that reflect your character. You never know what interests of yours might excite someone in the team you will be joining. For example, if you’ve run a marathon this may bode well with a runner on the team.

7. Irrelevant or outdated positions

Some past experience outside of your current industry may show another ability that may be uniquely applicable to the role. List them in bullets with the time you were there, job title and the company only.

8. Proofreading apps to help you

The top proofreading apps rated by marketers and copywriters worldwide include Grammarly and Slick Write. They have advanced capabilities that will scan your CV for spelling mistakes, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and suggest better synonyms. They also check your tone and suggest better writing styles to ensure that you are communicating in the most effective way you can. The eye sees clearer in print, so proofreading is also more effective this way. Our eyes are only in motion 10%-20% of the time we read, which is why maddening errors still emerge after you press ‘send.’ Get someone else to proofread a final draft for you.


9. References

It’s not a requirement to have references on your CV. Leave them out as they take up unnecessary space. Just make sure your referees are happy to be contacted if you get called for an interview. Your recruiter will then request their details when you make it to that stage.

10. What NOT to include on your CV

You don’t have to list anything that can open you up to discrimination on your CV including your marital status, date of birth, how many children you have, your current salary or nationality (although you will need to show your rights to work in the country if you are called for an interview).

Download our CV template with more tips to help get you started!

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