Writing a graduate CV for the Medical & Pharmaceutical sector | Milkround

Writing a graduate CV for the Medical & Pharmaceutical sector | Milkround

If you’re one of the many recent graduates looking for jobs in the Medical and Pharmaceutical sector, there’s plenty of roles available for every specialism. Whether you’re looking for graduate pharmaceutical jobs in London, neuroscience roles, or a career in medical sales, there’s many avenues to take. To give you some idea, in the NHS alone, there’s 350 different careers¹.

Since the UK has a huge pharmaceutical and biotech industry, there’s also graduate schemes for 2020 to consider. 

Working in the medical field, you can expect to be at the forefront of healthcare, helping to shape the future of the industry. Long and unsociable hours are a prerequisite, as is plenty of competition. Therefore, to stand you in good stead, it pays to invest in a medical and pharmaceutical CV that ticks all the right boxes.

Consider your strategy

There can be pressure to find a job after graduating. However, it’s wise to think about your career ambitions before approaching potential employers and graduate recruitment agencies. This will help to streamline the positions you apply for, and better understand the area you’d like to specialise in.

At the same time, give some thought to the options available, such as:

Graduate Schemes 2020

Many multi-national medical and pharmaceutical companies have pharmaceutical graduate programmes for entry-level candidates. This is a great introduction to the wider industry, where you’ll gain knowledge and insight into the various roles within a large organisation. You can find numerous graduate schemes here.

Public sector roles

This varies from the NHS to local authorities, and voluntary and charity positions. If you’re keen to be self-employed, this sector lends itself well to consultancy positions.

Pharmaceutical positions

For those interested in research and development, with science-based degrees, this is a sector to consider.

Some of the other roles for consideration also include:

  • Pharmacy roles
  • Therapy services
  • Manufacturing and production
  • Medical affairs


Get your application together

Once you have a clear sense of direction, it’s time to get your application together. A medical and pharmaceutical CV should consider the following points:

  • A strong CV should not exceed two pages.
  • You should know the industry inside-out and research the prospective employer before applying for a role, tweaking your CV accordingly.
  • Use a professional template, with simple fonts and layout to display your credentials in a clear and easy-to-read way.
  • Many graduates have several different iterations of their CV, tailored to different roles.
  • Keep information succinct and to the point.
  • Finally, be sure to spellcheck your CV before sending it to graduate recruitment agencies.


1. Writing your CV

There’s a few inside tips for writing a strong CV suitable for jobs in the healthcare sector. Since this is an industry that requires some level of; research, data management, problem solving, organisation and people management, try to highlight these specific skills where suitable.

Personal Summary

Front and centre of your CV, should be your name and personal details, alongside a brief summary of your skills. Even if you don’t have much experience, use this to showcase your passion. Keep it brief, punchy, and less than two sentences for all graduate recruitment jobs.

Here’s an example:

“A biomedical science graduate with a keen eye for detail and excellent analysis skills. Dedicated, resourceful and with great organisational ability, I’m a natural problem-solver and team player.”

Your Career Summary

It’s typical to lead with your career history first. However, if you have no experience to present, switch this around to start with your qualifications.

Keep in mind that hiring teams will be looking for well-written paragraphs that highlight core strengths and skills.

Here’s a typical format for writing each role, including any voluntary jobs in the healthcare sector you’ve held – all relevant experience should be included.

  • Job title, company name, location
  • Start and end dates
  • Responsibilities (summarised)


Here’s an example:

January 2020 – February 2020 (University Placement)             Laboratory Assistant | Research Ltd | Bristol

•  Assisted Microbiologist with the development and implementation of a new compliance program.

•  Worked in a team of five, to support general administration, data analysis and reporting.

•  On-site placement at Kings College Hospital in London, with direct contact with medical research teams and candidates.


Qualifications and Education

Whether you’re applying for pharmaceutical graduate programmes, or full-time roles, this section of your CV is one of the most important for showing off your skills and expertise. Be sure to mention any specific areas of study or training that may give you a competitive edge.

University Degree and/or Postgraduate degree

  • Include course and university along with dates.
  • Quite often medical graduates will have spent time working at a hospital or research centre, be sure to include this.
  • Reference any specific courses you majored in that might be useful, such as; research and testing, new therapy techniques, working with the latest software or data for instance.
  • Highlight distinctions, recognitions and awards.

GCSE and A-Levels

  • Start with the college or school you attended, including dates.
  • List A-levels (or equivalent), stating grades obtained.
  • Summarise GCSEs gained, such as ‘Eight As and two A-C grades, including Maths, Science and English’.


Write your skills section with a bias towards jobs in healthcare sector. For instance, this could include any particular medical training courses you’ve undertaken, or memberships you hold relevant to the industry. Other points to mention include holding a driver’s licence and foreign languages held.

Personal Interests

Perhaps the only part of your pharmaceutical CV where you can show some personality. Keep it interesting, but professional. Highlight interests and hobbies, particularly those that demonstrate a work-life balance. These might include; running, swimming, being part of a book club, attending TED talks, or music festivals.


At the bottom of your CV, it’s standard to include a referee. You may wish to include an ex-employer, or a lecturer, as a reference – just be sure to ask permission first.  However, you are also welcome to put ‘references available upon request’ if you prefer.


2. Writing a Strong Cover Letter

CV complete, you now just need a well-written covering letter for your application. Even if you’re applying for jobs via graduate recruitment agencies, you will need to provide a few words on why you’re a good fit for the role.

The key to writing a successful cover letter is to keep it brief, engaging and interesting.

Consider the amount of applications a recruiter sees every day and consider what you can do to stand out.


Medical and Pharmaceutical: Cover Letter Tips


Start as you mean to go on, with a punchy introduction that piques their interest. Include a summary about yourself, including that you’re a recent graduate from X university. If it feels relevant to do so, include a reference about why the company appeals to you, such as:

“I recently read that you’re investing £2 million in your research department. This is an area that holds great interest to me, as I majored in research and development in my final year at university.”

Candidate potential

Next, try and create a synergy between the role you’re applying for and why you’re the perfect candidate. Whether it’s a graduate pharmaceutical sales job, or a junior research role, think about how your unique skills and experience make you the perfect match for the job, and how you will add-value to their business.


Finally, summarise your letter by thanking them for taking the time to read your attached CV and outlining your availability, should they wish to discuss your application further.


Final thoughts

As an ever-evolving market, there’s always demand for new talent in the medical and pharmaceutical industry. If you’re a recent graduate looking for jobs in the healthcare sector, you can enhance your chances of employment with a robust CV. Take the time to research prospective employers and tailor your application for the best results. For further reference, also view our graduate CV guide.

You can find our latest roles for the Medical & Pharmaceutical sector here!



¹ https://www.jobs.nhs.uk/advice/perfect_job.html

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Lucy Warren


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