Our In-House Career Coach Shares 5 Tips for CV Success

Ever wondered what it takes to craft the perfect CV for the pharmaceutical, food science and MedTech industries?  Step forward Ann Ryan, Career Coach with Innopharma. Ann works with our students during their career development module, coaching them on CV preparation and interview skills. “My role involves working with students in career and professional development,” she explains. “We really focus on their employability within the food, pharma and MedTech sectors, with emphasis on transferable skills, past experience, developing a really professional CV, and getting them ready for a competency-based interview. It’s about developing those skills to prepare them for the next step of getting into the industry.”

Ann’s coaching has certainly played a part in our enviable success rate, with 70% of our students gaining employment or advancing their careers after completing an Innopharma course. Here, she shares some stellar advice to help you craft a CV that will get you noticed in these industries.

5 Tips for Building a Solid CV

Layout and Structure

First impressions count, and that’s true of your CV too. it’s the first contact an employer will have with you and it should send a strong message that you have the skills and experience that the employer is looking for. “How you lay out and structure your CV is really important,” says Ann. “Often we see failure to put a strong professional profile at the top of the CV.  Many of them will link to softer skills like good team leadership or communication ability,” she notes. “You have to really align your skills to the job description, and that should be in the first section.” Ann’s advice? “Analyse the job description and link your CV to the job – it’s not one size fits all.”

Identify Transferable Skills

Helping our students identify their transferable skills is a crucial part of Ann’s approach.“They might never have worked in the pharma industry, but they may have very solid transferable skills that they’re not aware of,” she says.

Ann works with the students to identify those abilities and communicate them for the specific needs of pharma and MedTech. “Different industries use different language,” she notes. “If you’ve experience with health and safety where you’ve done safe plans of action, you may use different terminology than the pharma industry. Take the term ‘risk assessment’, for example. If you followed procedures and protocols in a different sector, but then moved to pharma, it’s called an SOP – Standard Operating Procedure.” These would be very similar tasks and approaches, but they’re identified using different language. “That can be a bit of a challenge to decipher,” says Ann, Many of our students are surprised at how much skill and experience they can transfer into Pharma or MedTech, but just didn’t identify it or think it was relevant before participating in our program.

Qualify Your Achievements with Action Words

One of the more common CV mistakes Ann sees is underselling achievements and skimping on detail. “The CV might say, ‘I was responsible for the day-to-day management of a warehouse,’” she says, “but fails to articulate the candidate’s achievement, or use metrics or qualify it. It’s better to say something like, ‘Full day-to-day responsibility of a warehouse with a stock line of over 20,000, and supervision of up to ten team members.’  

Pay Attention to Length and Detail

When it comes to your CV, the more succinct, the better. “Two pages is the absolute max”, says Ann. “If you can’t do it in two pages, you need to go back to the drawing board and revise.” And remember detail matters. “Your CV should be the finest form of written communication that you prepare. Spelling mistakes are an absolute no-no.”

Skim-ability

It’s important to make your CV stand out – and we’re not talking about using a jazzy font or colour. “Employers and agencies get hundreds of CVs at a time” Ann explains. “They need to be able to skim yours in 20 seconds and get a good overview of your skills and competencies. Outlining them in your profile first, then bullet points them out underneath. Particularly list hard skills, for example, if you’ve used like SAP or PLC systems. Also, experience such as working in other manufacturing environments, quality, health & safety, documentation or warehouse experience should be included there too.” ”  

Want to Find Out More?

Career coaching is just one of the ways we help give our students the best possible chance of landing their ideal job. From our strong industry ties to excellent lecturers, find out more about why Innopharma is the perfect place to grow your career, give us a call on 01 485 3346 to chat about your options or email our admissions team here