How to Write a Medical Writer Resume
Interested in learning how to write a medical writer resume? Then, you have come to the right place.
You may have exceptional writing skills and helped healthcare and pharmaceutical companies in managing their documentation. Now that you are applying to a different medical writing job, you need to prepare a convincing resume for your prospective employer. To help you with this matter, here is the ultimate medical writing resume guide.
How to Write a Medical Writer Resume?
You need a good medical writer resume to prove to your prospective employer that you can add value to their organization. It helps you prove that you are the best writer with medical terminology knowledge to write clinical study reports, regulatory documents, and other medical documents. Your medical writer resume must mention the most relevant skills, work experiences, qualifications, and certifications to increase your job prospects. Follow these four steps to write your medical writer resume:
- Search for the recruiter and the employer
- Find out about the job description
- Prepare a medical writer resume with full details
- Write a tailored cover letter to the hiring manager
Act like the hiring manager to increase your prospects of landing a great medical writing job. When you do this, you will have a thorough understanding of the company’s requirements. Differentiate yourself by covering the following questions:
- How did you assign medical writing tasks to complete the documentation?
- Did you work under pressure before? If yes, what was it like?
- What makes you different from the rest?
- Are you a quick learner and detail-oriented?
- Do you prefer working alone or with a team?
What is the Best Medical Writer Resume Format?
The purpose of preparing your resume is to flaunt your abilities to recruiters while showing them what makes you the best option for them. Each person has different skills, years of work experience in a related field, or admirable certifications and academic achievements.
Whether you are a fresher, an experienced medical writer, or the one wanting a change in career path, there is a professional resume format. This format will answer all your questions, like how you will arrange the sections or what part will appear where in the medical writer's resume. It is the format for your resume that will dictate which part goes where and first.
There are three possible resume formats for you to choose from:
- Reverse Chronological
- Combination (Hybrid)
Reverse Chronological Resume Format
It is the most used format, and in all likelihood, the one you are using now. In this format, your current position appears first on your resume. It follows your past work experience and education. This medical writer resume format puts focus on your most recent work experience.
This format is ideal if you want to show the vertical career progression in your specific field, have no gaps in your employment history or wish to remain in the same or related industry. However, if you switch jobs time and again, have prominent gaps in your employment history, or want to change your career path, this resume format is unsuitable for you.
Functional Resume Format
The functional resume format highlights your essential expertise, skills, and qualifications. It is a good option for you if you have a particular skill set that you want to highlight. You can consider this medical writer resume format if your work history has some gap or if you are keen to shift to a new industry. Customize your resume by including industry-specific keywords and skill requirements mentioned in the medical writer job. But if you have no heavy skillset to add to your resume or are a fresh graduate, this format is unsuitable for you.
Combination (Hybrid) Resume Format
It is the combination of the reverse-chronological and functional resume formats. This type offers the most flexibility as it has a mixture format. A hybrid resume format is an ideal option if you have a great skill set and mixed education and experience backgrounds. It is also for you if you are a professional in the given field, switching to a new career path, or have a relevant skillset.
When applying for the medical writer job, having a professional resume with proper formatting is a cherry on the cake. It is important to make certain your resume is compliant with ATS (Applicant Tracking Software). About 98% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS to filter out irrelevant resumes. ATS scans the entire collection of resumes and accepts just those with the right keywords. So, spend adequate time researching for the medical writer position, look for relevant keywords, and develop your resume according to that.
What Sections to Include in Your Medical Writer Resume?
Following is the list of sections you should include in your medical writer resume:
Medical Writer Professional Header
The header of a resume contains a short phrase highlighting and summarizing your key professional strengths and other important information. Most of the time, hiring managers have to review several resumes every day. So, you should write a concise and crisp resume header.
Also called resume title, the headline communicates to the hiring managers what you can offer to the company when they hire you. It is a lot like a headline of a news story. You should write a brief and easy-to-read resume title. It should put focus on the qualifications that are most relevant to the job you are applying for. Plus, a good resume title will give the recruiter a nice idea about your candidacy for the medical writer position.
Your resume header should include your complete profile information, such as full name, title, e.g., Expert Medical Writer, contact number, email address, city, and LinkedIn profile link. No need to mention your full address. City and state names also work fine.
Medical Writer Professional Work Experience
Your medical writing experience is one of the major sections of your resume. The way you frame this section in your medical writer resume determines your chances of job selection by the recruiter. Below are a few points to note before writing experiences:
- Remain relevant and just list work history specific to the job title
- Be specific about what you did, the impact of your work, your designation, and how long did you work as a medical writer
- Add your most recent and relevant job experiences first, followed by previous relevant work experience
- Make your medical writer resume is compliant with ATS
- Focus on what makes you the best fit for this job
Associate Medical Writer
Associate medical writers, with a couple of years of experience, help companies support their clients in improving health outcomes and patient welfare. Here are some of the most important job responsibilities that you can list in your associate medical writer resume:
- Worked together with medical, editorial, and account management staff in coordinating work to meet project objectives
- Assisted with creating quality medical communications in therapeutic areas, including review articles, slide presentations, abstracts, and other materials
- Provided research assistance in the development stages of projects
- Participated as an active team member in terms of strategic recommendations and repeated quality improvement as needed
- Assisted in the establishment of new business development initiatives
- Understood company expectations in terms of budgeted hours, deadlines, and other objectives
Senior Medical Writer
A senior medical writer is a professional with over five years of work experience in writing anything from educational materials to complex global regulatory submission documents. They manage a team of entry-level and junior medical writers assigned to different tasks and roles. Here are some of the most important job responsibilities that you can list in your senior medical writer resume:
- Generated, edited, and published regulatory guidelines, patient narratives investigational plans, and clinical trial reports in the clinical research areas
- Developed templates and style guides for the writing team
- Created and updated processes, templates, and reference guides
- Facilitated meetings related to the documentation review and approval
- Ensured projects remained within specification and communicated with clients to negotiate changes where necessary
- Contributed ideas for business proposals and new medical writing projects
- Helped and advised junior medical writers
Principal Medical Writer
As a principal medical writer with years of work experience, you will take responsibility for the editorial development of new business proposals and educational materials generated in both typical and digital formats. In the company, you will employ your subject matter knowledge and experience in building complex educational activities from a medical writing perspective. Here are some of the most important job responsibilities that you can list in your principal medical writer resume:
- Wrote and managed delivery of scientific content for different medical communication activities that meet client requirements, timelines, and quality standards
- Worked together with seniors to seek ways to improve efficiency and quality to achieve team objectives
- Served as the lead scientific contact for the medical professionals and pharmaceutical clients
- Built and maintained professional relations with key opinion leaders and healthcare professionals
- Attended meetings and conferences and acted as an on-site resource for clients offering writing and project management services
Lead Medical Writer
If you have over a decade of work experience, you can win a lead medical writer job in a top company. Following are some of the most important job responsibilities that you can list in your lead medical writer resume:
- Interfaced with project team members to evaluate issues related to the development of documents that are compliant with applicable regulations
- Performed literature searches and prepared summaries of medical literature
- Guided medical writing activities for assigned regulatory submissions or projects
- Kept management informed on the progress of documentation and other related activities and performed administrative duties as needed
- Followed and contributed to department SOPs and other standards relating to medical writing
- Oversaw other experienced medical writers in performing writing, editorial, and quality control tasks
- Delegated and intervened as needed to maintain optimal productivity
Clinical Research Medical Writer
Clinical research medical writer supports established clinical research companies with communications and document creation activities for continuous clinical trials. Below are some of the most important job responsibilities that you can list in your clinical research medical writer resume:
- Collaborated with researchers and personnel to create research plans and reviewed grant applications to support efforts to secure additional funding opportunities
- Worked with principal investigators, statisticians, clinicians, and department staff to coordinate the design and development process of clinical studies
- Created industry project-related documents to respond to new opportunities and support awarded projects
- Assisted with the creation and submission of periodic financial and progress reports to different agencies
Medical Writer Professional Skills
As a medical writer, it is your job to create quality content on healthcare topics. The need for a medical writer may differ from one company and industry to another. List down the skills and qualities the company is looking for in a candidate. It is important to align your resume skills along the lines of the requirements of the medical writer job. You can list the following major skills under the Skills section of your resume:
- Strong writing skills and ability to present information to others
- Exceptional verbal communication skills
- Project management thorough understanding, including problem-solving skills, budgeting, and resource allocation and utilization
- Ability to understand and interpret data with the least oversight
- Ability to assess problems and develop potential solutions
- Ability to work alone with least guidance and also to build and maintain effective working relationships
- Ability to work together with multiple internal and external stakeholders
- Excellent time management skills with a proven ability to handle multiple projects at one time
- Ability to translate complex scientific information into various formats
- Ability to make changes and foster an innovative environment
Medical Writer Professional Education
The education section details might differ from one job to another. In general, this is the briefest section of the resume. Hiring managers just need some basic pieces of information from the applicant. Make sure your educational experience fits the job requirements you are applying for. For instance, recent graduates will have additional details to include, and the education placement will have a prominent position as it is the maximum of their experience.
Whereas, if you are an experienced candidate and have a few solid positions to show, put your professional experience before the medical writer education section. For instance, if you have a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and a Master’s degree in the same subject, just list your advanced degree. After the doctorate, Master’s degrees appear, followed by a Bachelor’s degree and Associate’s degree.
When listing your education on your medical writer resume, add the following pieces of information:
- Name and location of your institute
- Obtained degree
- Your field of education
- Year of graduation
- Your GPA
- Any relevant academic recognition, activities, or other achievements obtained during your education
Medical writing has become a profit-making career, and at all times, certifications help candidates stand out from the rest. Certifications show your commitment to mastering your skills and medical terminology knowledge. They help you enhance your expertise and let you earn higher than other candidates. The likelihood of landing a medical writing job increases a lot when employers notice your medical writing certification or course.
Below are a few most prominent medical writing certifications that can set you apart from other competitors in no time:
- Medical writing course from Henry Harvin
- Advanced PG Diploma in Clinical Research & Medical Writing from James Lind Institute
- Medical writing course for healthcare professionals from Udemy
- Medical writing online course from Coursera
What makes you different from other medical writers? Your expertise, educational background, and certifications matter if they delivered great results for former companies. It is important to provide a metric, which means a solid number or percentage, for every achievement. You must prove the quantitative impact of your job in the former company.
Some poor examples of medical writing achievements candidates entered in their resumes include:
Created clinical regulatory documents.
Worked on clinical study reports with researchers, writers, and the medical writing group lead.
Though these statements are important, they must show the impact of your work to recruiters. They look for accomplishments, efficiency, objectives, and the final outcomes of your work in your resume. Use actual numbers and justify them to show the impact of your work. Some great examples are as follows:
Generated textbooks, slide decks, e-learning modules, and patient education material for over 10,000 students and patients.
Edited medical abstracts and journal reviews for 20+ non-English authors
The hobbies/interests section in your medical writer resume means you are a person with strong interests and have an interesting life outside of work. If you are an entry-level medical writer, you can consider listing a few interests in your resume. But in the case of having years of professional experience, it is better to leave the interests out as it is going to make no difference in your job prospects.
A large number of companies in the United States require you to have excellent communication skills in the English language if you are applying for a writer position in particular. If your soft and hard skills in English are good enough to convince the recruiter, there is no need to have command in any other language. However, if there is a demand for other languages, there is no harm in listing that particular language, depending on your proficiency.
Medical Writer’s Resume Do’s and Don’ts
It is essential to have a clear resume that helps you present your skills and qualifications to land the medical writer position. Note that your resume is a demonstration of your professionalism. You just get a single chance to make a long-lasting impression and convince the recruiter to schedule an interview with you.
Here are the tips to follow when writing your medical writer resume:
Write a personalized cover letter
Some medical writers send a brief cover letter to the hiring manager. Medical writing has now become a competitive field, and you have no chance of winning a medical writer job with short cover letters. Cover letters are important to build your rapport and form a strong link with the prospective recruiter. When writing a professional cover letter, customize it to fit the job role. Your cover letter should address the hiring manager in a kind and professional way. It should show your interpersonal skills and how you can add value to that organization.
Choose appropriate margins
You should use a one-inch margin size on every side of your medical writer resume with single spaces between the lines. Increase your margins or make your lines spaced by 1.15 or 1.5 to fill your resume. But, they should remain under two inches.
Provide a link to your medical content portfolio
Having your personal website is quite rare yet important. Those who do have will stand out from the rest. Providing links to your medical technical writing content portfolio will enhance your chances of landing the right job, despite tough competition.
Update your resume for each role
The job description and duties of a medical writer differ from one company to another. The golden rule of thumb is to update your resume according to the specific job role. Recruiters prefer candidates who have customized their cover letters and resumes according to the job positions.
Call attention to important achievements
Consider highlighting relevant achievements in your education, career, or other experiences that show what kind of employee you are. Adding numbers is great for demonstrating the KPIs you achieved in former companies.
Proofread your resume before applying
No matter how excellent you are at writing, spelling or grammatical errors in your resume are enough for rejection. It is a medical writer’s job to make sure the final content is free from errors. It also applies to your medical writer resume, in addition to scientific publications, medical documents, investigator’s brochures, and clinical documents. Proofread your resume to avoid any disqualification from the interview rounds.
Here is what you should avoid when writing your medical writer resume:
Avoid mentioning old work experience
A decade of experience in medical writing makes no significant impression on your potential employer. The truth is nobody cares what you did ten years ago. In fact, there are many hiring managers who show no special interest in what you did a couple of years ago. What you did a little while back is what matters the most. Exclude old experiences if they are irrelevant to the job you are applying for. Just focus on who you are today and your current skills.
No resume objective and summary
Avoid adding the resume objective and summary. Your relevant work history, skills, and education will do the job for you.
This post covers a lot about how to write a medical writer resume. Medical writing is a rewarding career offering plenty of room for growth. We understand that writing a medical writer resume is challenging yet rewarding also. Keeping the competition in focus, you should avoid relying on generic medical writer resume templates. Personalization is the key to winning a job, so align your cover letter and resume with the job requirements. Now, it is your time to create a professional medical writer resume.
Josh is the founder of Technical Writer HQ and Squibler, a writing software. He is considered one of the top product influencers in the world by Product School and one of the top technical writers. He has been writing software tutorials, manuals, handbooks, and white papers for over eight years. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.