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the one page CV

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the one page CV

Postby Joe » Sat Feb 19, 2005 1:12 pm

I was wondering for those without a Ph.D., but in a career in the field of science with publications. Is the one page CV still the norm? Will HR disregard the CV of a non Ph.D. if it is more than one page?
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the one page CV

Postby Dave Jensen » Sat Feb 19, 2005 4:10 pm

Joe, there are only two stages in life where you use a one-page resume in science.

The first is when you are a newly graduated non-PhD and you have no real experience. Keep it short, and even one page is tough to fill up.

The second stage is when you are the company CEO, and your background is the stuff of biotech legends. Then, you only need a one-pager, perhaps only a business card.

However, at any other time, DON'T BELIEVE THE NONSENSE IN JOB-SEEKING BOOKS THAT YOU NEED A ONE-PAGE RESUME. That is a total line of BS that applies only for non-science jobs.

My company disgards one-pagers, and so do a lot of biotech companies. If you have any experience at all, you should have a list of accomplishments, skills and abilities, etc, that need to be reflected in something more than one page. However, as a caution, the moment you start putting in hobbies and interests and other non-relevant items to fill up some space, you'll know you've gone too far.

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the one page CV

Postby MPB » Sat Feb 19, 2005 4:17 pm


Dave, do you know any resources that show examples of what you consider to be good resumes, for people at varying points in the scientific career? There are lots of books and websites with "sample resumes," but are there any that you think show _good_ samples?

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the one page CV

Postby Joe » Sat Feb 19, 2005 4:24 pm

Thanks for the advice Dave. I am also wondering for someone who have been out of college for the past four years and have had two full time jobs since then, what should stay on my CV and what shouldn't?

Should I still list my undergrad research experiences? I'm sure if I published in the lab it would be a definite yes, but what if I was in a summer undergrad research program? Also, what about a summer internship in industry? Both are just short stints of research.

Also, when do these accomplishments become obsolete in my CV?
Joe
 

the one page CV

Postby Lora » Sat Feb 19, 2005 7:35 pm

Actually, I would slightly disagree with you, Dave: science grads should have two resume-like documents. Of course, the multipage full CV is mandatory, but for something to hand to the HR folks who are simply out collecting contacts, a one-page, bulleted summary of skills and projects with your contact info on is a nice thing to have.

HR people hire for more than R&D; they do most of their hiring for non-science departments, where a one-page resume is the norm. Someone mentioned earlier that "experience in mass spec" will not translate from MALDI-TOF on a science CV being submitted to HR screeners. This is what the one-page list of skills and projects does: it is one page, therefore it will not be thrown in the trash as excessive. It lists, in the simplest possible language, the many skills that are implied by your full CV but not explicit. It is simpler to edit for application purposes. If you have experience in various types of projects, you can list those on your one-page sheet. It's basically a listing of keywords that HR can understand and search with. You can cut and paste easily from it for cover letters.

It's also nice if you're interviewing with, say, a senior project manager who has absolutely no experience in your field, or if you're dealing with someone who is just barely computer literate. I've been asked if I know how to do basic math (for a job requiring a B.Sc. in hard sciences and a couple years' experience), if I know how to use MS Word, and if I know anything about DNA (from a manager who got her degree when genetics was not required for a life sciences B.Sc.). The one-sheet summary helps cope with those sorts of things.
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the one page CV

Postby Dave Jensen » Sat Feb 19, 2005 9:01 pm

Lora, you and I are in totally different places on this subject.

If you try to hand someone a one-page anything, you're going to get a smile and a "how nice" comment, and that's about it. They are going to pass your little one-page something on to the hiring manager, who's going to look at it in comparison to all the REAL resumes, and toss yours in the trash. I believe that in the life sciences, for any job, people expect and require details (more details than can be found on a one-page listing of keywords). Handing someone a one-pager simply makes you look like a simpleton -- or worse, makes it look like you believe THEY are the simpleton.

HR people are not mindless clerks. Sure, pay attention to using the right choice of words in your document for when it is later scanned into a database. But, don't bring yourself and your skills down to the level of someone who produces a one-page "here I am" statement. It just doesn't cut it in a serious organization, where even HR people know something about what they are looking for.

This holds true for Business Development positions, Manufacturing Positions, Quality, etc. The only thing I can think of that doesn't fit this advice is the sales rep position, where sales managers seem to often prefer a one-pager. Lora, I respect that you've had some different experience, and I can't honestly say why the discrepancy.

Dave (PS - Perhaps the document you speak of would be great at networking meetings, where "chance" allows you the opportunity to hand something about yourself to someone, but a full CV would be way too much. I'd like that idea)
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the one page CV

Postby Lora » Mon Feb 21, 2005 12:10 pm

Clarification:

I should have specified that the one-page summary is for networking meetings, cold calls and for those "maybe we'll have an opening next quarter, we'll keep you in mind" sort of situations--not for an actual job opening where a full CV/resume is asked for.

This is how it works for me: I'm at an informal meeting, someone introduces me to a friend of a friend, and they think they might have an opening in three months for something. I give them my contact info, we have a drink, whatever. In a couple months, I send them an email with my summary and call them up to ask if they still have that opening coming up, or if there's any other openings I might be a good fit for, and to whom do I send my full CV?

After I've submitted my CV and got an interview, at some companies they insist that HR interviews you separately, regardless of the hiring manager's decision. That's where the one-page summary again comes in handy: they've already got your CV, and I find it helps immensely when they start any sentence with, "I'm not familiar with..." to hand them a summary they can understand, because they're going to forget most of what you said as soon as you leave.

The last contractor I worked with used to make up these one-page things for people out of their resumes because of the lost-in-translation issues he regularly dealt with in sciences. I know it's not just that I've had to deal with the world's worst HR staff; everyone I know complains about this. I agree that experienced HR staff who have been hiring for life sciences for a long time will not have a problem dealing with a proper CV, but unfortunately in the era of downsizing, you don't always get the privilege of dealing with an experienced HR person.
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the one page CV

Postby Emil Chuck » Mon Feb 21, 2005 12:59 pm

DJ: "If you have any experience at all, you should have a list of accomplishments, skills and abilities, etc, that need to be reflected in something more than one page. However, as a caution, the moment you start putting in hobbies and interests and other non-relevant items to fill up some space, you'll know you've gone too far."

Dave has seen my CV/resume to know that I have a rather unique problem in that I'm trying to include the experience of my hobbies and extracurricular activities for the positions I am seeking in administration. I've gone around to a large number of people who consequently have been giving me conflicting advice on how to treat this information. The diverse aspect of my accomplishments in those areas makes it fairly difficult to fit everything into 2 pages, and I recognize my CV appears a bit unfocused.

So I have an appointment with yet another career counselor who wants to take on the challenge of tightening up what I have with respect to the positions I want. In advance of this, I have written down a(n) one-page summary of my skills and the accomplishments underneath each heading, followed by references who can vouch for me in those activities.

I suggest you do this because this is the skeleton of whatever resume you will construct for the positions that you want. It also will give you some idea of the types of skills you want to highlight and have recommendations/references addressing those skills.
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the one page CV

Postby Andrew » Mon Feb 21, 2005 6:24 pm

Industry expects a resume, not a CV. A resume is not a listing of everything you've done, but a summary of the relevant. I have a PhD, over 15 years of experience, 50 publications, and I have a 2 page resume. So when I get an 8 page document from a new graduate, it makes a negative impression. It shows me that they don't value my time and it also tells me they don't know how to prioritize, even in an area they know well, themselves. I have to wonder how well they will be able to prioritize projects in their job as well. Unless this person has highly unusual skills, his resume will not make my first cut. I have to say as well, of all the resumes I have seen from professional recruiters, I don't believe I've ever gotten one longer than 2 pages.
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the one page CV

Postby Val » Mon Feb 21, 2005 7:42 pm


Andrew wrote:

... of all the resumes I have seen from professional recruiters, I don't believe I've ever gotten one longer than 2 pages.

It is often said that a CV/resume in application for a job at an American company should not be longer than 2 pages.

At the same time, the standard length of CV/resume in Australia is 4-6 pages, and recruiters expect that.

The reason is that there are usualy 100-200 applicants for a job in the US, while an advertised vacancy in Australia attracts only 10-40 applications. The Australian recruiters have time to read attentively each application, unlike their US counterparts. Besides, the hiring culture in Oz is that the prospective employer wants to know about the person everything and has to get comfortable about the person before he proceeds to speak to the person and to his referees.

In Australia, the "Education" section goes first and before the "Work experience" section, while in the US it is vice versa. I presume this is because the US employer values the experience more than formal education. In Oz, more jobs are of such nature that they develop the individual less, and besides, the Australian recruiter hates to sift through the resume to learn about the education of the prospect.

In the US resume, it is important that the author puts an emphazis on describtion of his achievements (and have a sub-heading "Achievements"), while it is not customary in Australia.

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Val

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