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In preparing to write your resume to submit for an MSL role, keep in mind that it needs to be targeted toward the employer’s needs not your own. This means that your employment history and list of skills and accomplishments must match the requirements of the position. 

Begin by researching the company thoroughly, the MSL role, how MSLs are utilized within the company and match your resume so that it directly addresses the needs faced by each. Strategically place important keywords throughout the resume so you are able to highlight how your background meshes with company needs. The goal is to assist hiring managers to see how your background can help the company fulfill the needs of this specific MSL role. Specifically, you want to emphasize any Therapeutic Area expertise that you have that relates to the role, highlight relevant experiences and mention accomplishments that are in line with the role or company.  

Begin with a short career profile that describes your core skills and values that mesh with the company mission, culture, and needs of the role. As with your cover letter, you may want to tweak this profile to reflect the specific needs and culture of different employers. The remainder of your resume should provide a clear and logical progression of your career history, skills, knowledge, and accomplishments.

Keep in mind that most hiring managers are only performing a cursory review on an initial read-through. Like Applicant Tracking Systems, they are primarily searching for important keywords that reflect your suitability for the role. Do not use long, complex sentences but incorporate keywords in a bullet-point format (or asterisks if submitting an online application). Do not use template-like formats but strive to create a layout that best illustrates your unique background.

Be specific regarding accomplishment and, where possible, quantify results with percentages, monetary amounts, or comparative statistics. Incorporate details regarding not only with regard to actual tasks performed but also what you have learned, produced or achieved in each of your prior work experiences. For example, did you have any measurable achievements while working with KOL’s, like leading the approval of a certain number of IST’s?

Avoid including the links to personal social media profiles. A more professional method is to share the link to professional profiles such as on or that are well written and include sections regarding your most relevant accomplishments (to the MSL role) and career highlights

Resist the temptation to embellish any prior work experience or academic achievements. Doing so can tarnish your credibility and will almost definitely eliminate you from being hired. Most companies perform very thorough routine background checks, along with simple online searches that can easily expose the truth. Plus, overstating prior accomplishments may well come to light when you are unable to successfully perform key responsibilities of the position.

Resumes that show a logical career progression can also illustrate to prospective MSL Managers that you have clear goals and the discipline to follow-through on a plan of action. Relating how your MSL experience (if you have any), skills, and knowledge have prepared you for the needs of the current MSL role, any challenges the company faces, as well as future industry trends is a highly effective method to position yourself as a forward-thinking solution provider.


Copyright 2013-2018 The Medical Science Liaison Society. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authorization. The MSL Society is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization dedicated to advancing the global MSL career.


Dr. Samuel Dyer is the Chairman of the Board of the MSL Society and the author of “The Medical Science Liaison Career Guide: How to Break Into Your First Role“, the first step-by-step guide ever published on how to successfully land your first MSL role.