David James, our CEO recently caught up with our Medical Device Recruitment Team at Adaptive Life Science, Rebecca Stevens and Hollie Barry, where we discussed all things in relation to CVs in the MedTech industry!
The structure is an easy fix. It is the content which truly differentiates you and gives you a competitive advantage to stand out to employers. Our goal is to demystify the Life Science CV to give it the substance that will make an employer stop and want to speak with you.
From the common, and often easily avoidable, mistakes that we see in CVs throughout the industry, how to make your CV stand out, and reflect your suitability for a dream role!
What common mistakes do you see on CVs in the Life Science industry?
Rebecca: The most pertinent aspect of your CV is clarity and often there is not enough information on positions and industry experience. No two Medical Device companies are the same, not by structure, role or responsibility, so don’t assume that an employer will have a holistic understanding of what you do without proper explanation. We have spoken to Specialists who are leading teams of 5+, and Senior Managers with 10+ years who don’t have any management responsibility. The job title is not enough to go by, so make sure you are including your responsibilities and why you were hired for the role – what have you contributed to the department?
The most common pitfall we see with medical device CVs is the missing buzzwords that employers will be looking for, to ensure that you know your standards and relevant regulations. Don’t just write about registrations – elaborate on the geographical markets, classes, therapeutic area, active or non-active products, software, IVDs etc... It is great if you are the business process owner for risk management, but make sure you include that you are working in accordance to ISO 14971. These small steps will quickly grab employer attention and lead to arranging an interview.
Hollie: Sometimes CVs are just not specific enough – if 90% of your works focus is UDI/labelling, then write this. Don’t mislead an employer and be honest about your limitations, but instead emphasize the areas where you can deliver immediate value to them. If you’re applying for a role, always read the job description and if there are any applicable skills that you bring that aren’t already listed on your CV… add them! Some fool proof things to include but are not limited to: training accreditations (stay up to date), degree and particular relevant focus topics/thesis work, specialist focuses (CAPA/PMS/QMS Documentation etc..) International Standards, markets, MDD/MDR involvement and classes of devices.
How do you make yourself stand out as a junior candidate with limited experience?
Rebecca: Don’t devalue your experience and trainings received. Include everything, even if only a small part of your role, e.g. sometimes candidates only talk about their experience with non-active devices but on further investigation have worked on one active device and therefore have some knowledge on the electrical standard EN 60601 – it opens up the job market so much further.
Hollie: In this case, it’s always a good idea to add any relevant internships you’ve undertaken – include the skills gained from these and any interesting responsibilities you had.
How can you make your CV stand out to a recruiter on LinkedIn?
Rebecca: Again, always ensuring that you have the relevant buzzwords or skills listed on your profile and make use of the specific skills section. Ensure that the industry is correct (Medical Devices or Biotechnology or Pharma etc...).
Hollie: Think of your LinkedIn profile as an online CV, adding a clear and concise description of your responsibilities and focus points is so beneficial and just making sure that you update your skills regularly to reflect your experience. The more detail you share, the more chance you have of receiving actually relevant job enquiries. As an example, I recently spoke to a candidate with the title ‘Quality Manager’ for an ophthalmic medical device company and I had to decipher what his responsibilities were based off the title as there was no further information for me to use. Turns out – he was pretty hands on in registrations and quality was only 20% of his daily focus! If you can share more, it helps us get it right first time.
How do you make your CV stand out for a management position?
Rebecca: This is easy if you have already been managing and have direct reports or had reports in the past, although we do speak with professionals who are managing teams with full CVs not mentioning their team or number of direct reports. If not and you’re aiming for your first leading position, add any mentoring experience, project leading, supporting interns. Some companies will be open to this and provide the opportunity to develop these skills, but you need to make it easy for them to say yes by highlighting anything relevant.
Hollie: I agree, I often speak with candidates who mention that they’ve been training/mentoring others in the team or providing their specialist skills to help the team in a certain area or even managing projects, yet it’s just not listed on their CV. It’s always worth adding any experience you’ve had in these areas especially if you’re aiming for that management/team lead role!
What should I include on my CV?
Rebecca: Training and accreditations, your degree and any relevant focus topics/thesis work/International Standards, geographic markets, MDR/IVDR involvement, Quality – are you specialising in one phase of the life cycle? Did you set up QMS from scratch or just maintenance? Employers will only have a few moments to review the CV, so this needs to be clear.
Hollie: All of the above, and also confirming what classes of device that you work with? What kinds of device - active or non-active, implantable? Make it clear. Are there any projects you’ve worked on that you’re particularly proud of? Focus on the hard skills and less on the soft skills as these will be observed in the interview.
It’s a good idea to always keep your CV up to date, whether you are actively looking for a new opportunity or just keeping an eye on the market.
We hope that our advice has been helpful to you in some way but we’re also here to assist if you would appreciate some more specific feedback on your newly updated CV. There is no cost to our service, and we will share our honest advice to help put you in the best position for securing that interview!
Rebecca Stevens - Global Life Science Recruitment Manager
Hollie Barry - Life Science Head-hunter and Candidate Consultant