Five tips for writing a clinical project manager CV and other senior clinical roles
Your CV is often the first impression a hiring manager has of your professional career. It is important it reflects your experience to demonstrate what you would bring to a senior clinical operations role.
Mastering writing a CV for a clinical research associate job can be difficult enough, but how can exceptional candidates make their profiles stand out when applying for a senior role, such as a senior CRA, clinical project manager or even a clinical trial manager job?
Hobson Prior’s clinical operations recruiters are specialised in helping candidates find permanent and contract CRA, CPM and CTM jobs across Europe. They see CVs from clinical operations professionals with varying experience and understand what makes a senior CRA CV stand out to hiring managers at leading pharmaceutical companies. We’ve collated 5 of their top CV writing tips below to help you secure a senior clinical project manager job.
“Put your recent clinical operations management jobs first”
Many CV templates recommend you lead with your contact information, followed by your education. In the life sciences industry, a scientific degree or doctorate is often highly valued so is important to include. That said, why would you lead your CV for a senior clinical project manager job with the degree you completed over a decade ago, when you have a wealth of recent industry experience to share?
“Most candidates applying for a clinical trial manager job will be educated. Hiring managers will want to know what you’ve done in practice within the industry; make it easier for them and put your recent, relevant experience at the top of your CV”.
Morgan Hearty, Clinical Operations Recruitment Specialist at Hobson Prior
- Lead your CV with your most recent job and achievements at the top
- List your experience in chronological order and spend more detail on the more recent and relevant roles
- Include your education after your previous employment
“Focus on showing your results”
If you are looking to secure a promotion from clinical research associate to senior clinical research associate or clinical project management, your CV needs to highlight your successes.
Your previous experience should demonstrate how your actions leads to positive outcomes; that’s what makes you stand out as an efficient and desirable candidate. Including figures and statistics immediately shows a hiring manager the impact you will bring their company, as well as demonstrating your ability to report effectively, a skill often required in senior clinical positions.
“I see lots of CVs for clinical project manager jobs where candidates list their tasks. It’s important that you don’t just tell me what you’ve done, but you demonstrate how your actions lead to positive results. Percentages and successes always stand out more than paragraphs of explanation”.
Rachel Hayes – Clinical Operations Recruitment Specialist at Hobson Prior
- Add list of bullet points showing the top results you have achieved
- Percentages and numbers quantify your experience – 220% increase in productivity vs. “I improved productivity”
- Avoid “telling” your skills, let your results show your successes.
“Keep it to the point”
If you’re applying for a senior clinical position, you’ll have a wealth of knowledge and experience to discuss. It can be tempting to include as much detail as possible in your CV to prove why you are a must-have hire. However, hiring managers do not want to read an essay about your career, especially when they have a pile of other clinical project manager CVs to get through.
Your CV is a snapshot of your career so be sure to keep it focused on the key results and responsibilities. You can include links or an appendix for additional documents and papers that support your career, but don’t overload it with information. Your CV is an overview, plus, you’ll want to reserve some details for the next stages of the hiring process.
“Aim for around 2-3 pages maximum for a clinical CV. If you’re applying for a clinical project manager job, focus on your recent CPM or senior CRA experience rather than your very first clinical research assistant experience. This will save you space and keep your CV relevant and will keep hiring managers focused on the experiences core to the job you’re going for”.
James Inwood – Principal Consultant at Hobson Prior
- Keep the CV as an overview of your career
- A CV for a senior position should be around 2-3 pages long
- Include an appendix or link to online papers to save space
“Make sure your CV targets the right job”
A senior CRA job CV should prioritise your experiences as a clinical research associate. Whilst it is logical to list all your previous roles, it is key your CV focuses on the senior role you are applying to and its targeted to supporting your application.
Your experience as clinical research assistant is a useful display of your progression, but does not require the same detail as your current role. Weight the descriptions accordingly, ensuring you prioritise direct experience and results over previous, less relevant jobs.
“I’ve seen clinical trial manager CVs that still include a write up on their first job. It’s not a bad thing, but if you focus too much on the junior clinical trial jobs you’ve had, you’re wasting space that you could have used for the jobs that promote your suitability for a senior role”.
David Chipp – Sales Manager (Clinical Interim) at Hobson Prior
- Weight your CV effectively to prioritise recent clinical experience
- Junior jobs require minimal emphasis, you may wish to avoid including them
- Make sure you highlight the elements in your previous experience that tie into the job your applying for
“Keep your format clean and simple”
Creative CVs are a unique and memorable way to stand out amongst the crowd, but they are risky. Hiring managers will have to sift through a pile of clinical project manager CVs so adding some colour, your headshot and lots of stylistic choices can sound like a great way to be noticed, but it is crucial not to get carried away.
“What hiring managers really want to see from a stack of senior CRA CVs is an easy to read summary of your achievements and career; it makes their jobs much easier to see your CRA experience if it’s well laid out”.
James Inwood, Principal Consultant
When apply for senior clinical trial jobs, your CV needs needs to match the seniority of the position you are going for. Multiple fonts, text sizes and sporadic use of CAPITAL LETTERS, bold and other formatting make your CV stand out for the wrong reasons. A messy CV layout gives a hiring manager a free pass to discard your resume, regardless of how strong clinical trials management experience is.
“You can be one of the top clinical project managers in Europe, but if your resume is hard to read and messy, a hiring manager will likely ignore it to help reduce their pile of CVs.”
Morgan Hearty – Clinical Operations Recruitment Specialist at Hobson Prior
- Creativity is encouraged, but remember who has to read your CV and how many they have to read
- There’s a difference between standing out and putting off
- Keep formatting simple: one font, remove italics and flashy colours
BONUS: “Share your CV with specialist recruiters”
Senior clinical trial management positions can be difficult to come by and require experienced CRA, CPM and CTM experience. To get the best candidates possible, many pharmaceutical companies and clinical CROs will use a specialist clinical operations recruiter to aid in their search. Senior CRAs and clinical project managers are often headhunted, so it is advantageous to make sure a reputable recruiter has your name on file, whether you’re actively looking for a clinical trial promotion or not. “Many of our pharmaceutical clients use recruiters exclusively to fill senior clinical operations positions so they won’t appear on public job boards. By sharing your CV with a recruiter, you’ll have access to these lucrative and desirable jobs. Plus, we do all the tedious job hunting work for you to find the most suitable senior CRA, CPM and CTM jobs for you.”
David Chipp – Sales Manager (Clinical Interim) at Hobson Prior
- Many senior CRA and CPM positions are exclusive to recruiters
- Recruiters have strong relationships with pharmaceutical companies and can connect you
- A specialist recruiter can help you get headhunted into a senior clinical role that suits you
Overall, the key to securing a senior clinical job through your CV is to make viewing it as easy as possible. A hiring manager should be able to look at you CV and see exactly why your current role and former experience makes you the perfect candidate for the senior clinical research associate, project manager or clinical trial manager position.
For top tips and guidance on how to perfect your clinical operations CV and make it stand out, you can share your CV with our Clinical recruitment specialist team. They will be able to provide unique insight and experienced knowledge into elevating your CV for senior clinical operations and development positions.
View our clinical operation jobs here.