Step #3: CV, CV, CV!
Today, we walk you through THE most important piece to get your dream job.
Most candidates know its importance, but most also neglect it, by lack of motivation or because they are rushing things: the CV!
Step #3 to getting your dream job is: Get The Best CV. And don’t forget to network.
Previously in our Guide
You won’t need to have a “nice” CV in order to get your dream job. You will need the BEST CV, as this is the only piece that will get you an interview and let you stand out from the crowd.
A recruiter has only a few seconds to consider your CV, as he/she receives a LOT of them every day.
Keep 2 things in mind: the design, and the content.
Your design should be simple and modern enough to highlight your interesting content – so that the recruiter directly knows where to look to find the most important information.
Your content should be strong enough and should sound more impressive than the design of the CV itself.
A_Use Clear and Concise Writing.
Go straight to the point, only give out the information that is required in the first place.
You can start with the exact job title you apply for as the main title, then a quick description explaining the top 2 reasons why you would fit this position, and a short list of the main 5-7 skills you will bring to the job.
If you have no experience in the particular field of clinical research, think about what are your ‘transferrable’ skills from other jobs and highlight them. E.g.: Budget Management, Technical/Medical Writing, Project Management, IT Systems Management, Team Management, Multi Stakeholder Mangement.
B_ Be concrete and highlight your achievements.
Try to focus on the goals you achieved in each of your past experiences, and quantify it whenever possible.
You might want to adapt these achievements when tweaking your CV for a given job.
Don’t: “coordinate activites as clinical research associate”
Do: “Successfully led 13 studies across 4 European countries and 50+ sites, for oncology and rare disease drug”.
C_ Create one CV file for each job you apply for.
This will take you extra time and efforts, but it will be worth it. If you send the same CV to everyone, you will most likely lose your time as your job title, highlighted skills and experiences won’t match the job requirements as much as the other candidates’ CV (those who have reworked their CV for this particular job!).
So, always do this effort to “tweak” your CV before applying to a certain job. Your CV shouldn’t be written in stone. Keep a “generic” version that you can adapt for each job, and go from there – this is the only efficient way.
Prefer not to add the company’s name in the CV file. Instead, add the date at the end, e.g. CV_J_Penn_20210113.
D_ Ask for professional advice.
A senior recruiter will be able to give you very valuable information on how to optimize your CV.
Make sure someone proof reads your CV, ideally a specialist in the field.
Consider asking one of your friends in recruitment, look for free solutions at job centers, or even better, sign up for a program which will support you with finding a job in clinical research. (At VIARES we offer this kind of services, both individually, as a stand-alone offer, and as part of our training programs!)
E_ Keep a “Follow Up” Application spreadsheet.
Remember at Step #1 – Define clear goals, we recommended to have a list of “wants and don’t want.”
This new file should be aligned with the first file. You should focus on max. 10 job opportunities at a time.
If you do not get an interview, consider re-updating your CV. Also don’t hesitate to ask companies for specific feedback on what was missing in your application, if they give you a negative answer or if they haven’t gotten back after 3 weeks.
This spreadsheet with a “history of applications” can contain the following columns: Job title, company, Applied on (Date), Follow up Y/N, Interview Y/N (Yes if positive, No if negative feedback), you might even add a link to your internal CV file if you wish.
This will help you 1/ not confusing jobs – which would not resonate well with recruiters – and 2/ having an overview on your current applications and follow up more easily and efficiently.
Do not forget: hiring managers and recruiters are very busy with a lot of candidates and applications.
So, it is always ok to follow up, but keep it quick!
Do not forget to network. Tell your friends and contacts about your professional project. Internally, as long as you do not speak about leaving the company, it is ok (and a good thing) to talk about your professional aspirations, as long as it could be a fit in this same company, too. Simply ask around!
If you are a student at a university, check the associations and Uni’s Job services, and let them know that if such a position comes in, you would be interested.
If you are enrolled in a training course, try to use your provider’s network, look at the open job offers that their partners have recently published, and ask them for advice.
Go to networking events, online or offline, as much as you can.
Keep your ears open and be curious when speaking with ex-colleagues and friends. A huge part of the professional opportunities come from friends, referrals and so on.
Don’t hesitate to send your CV around to friends who you know have strong networks. They might think about you again when they hear about a matching opportunity.
Being pro-active in your networking will make a massive difference.
No better time than now
There is no better time than “right now” to grow your Clinical Research Career as there are tremendous needs for talented and trained new employees in Europe, Canada and the USA currently.
If you go for a VIARES Training program, we will not only train you on a job.
We will get you certified. We will also support you with our job services, exclusive to VIARES participants.
You will get coached by experienced recruiters and you will gain access to exclusive job offers offered by our partner companies (prestigious global CROs, large Pharma Staffing Companies, etc.)