the one page CV

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the one page CV-Please specify field

Postby Kevin Foley » Tue Feb 22, 2005 12:40 am

Andrew: "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."

Andrew, perhaps you should clarify what scientific field you are talking about? For example, in the biotech industry, scientist-level job applicants never use a classic two page business resume, but something much more akin to an academic CV. Ideally, such a CV contains more details (bullet points) about your accomplishments in each of your previous positions than the typical academic CV, but it still lists all of your publications (although it would be OK to shorten the publication list if you have a lot of publications by listing the most important or recent and the total number overall).

I?m sure this has been mentioned before, but posters on this board really need to specify what scientific field (and academia or industry) they are talking about when they ask a question or provide advice. The standards can vary quite a bit. Physicists need to be careful about providing advice to biologists, or we?ll end up being very confused!

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the one page CV-Please specify field

Postby Andrew » Tue Feb 22, 2005 8:47 am

Fair enough. I've worked in both the chemicals industry and a pharmaceutical development company, not biotech. Mostly I'm seeing the resumes of chemists and biochemists.
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Chemistry vs. Life Sciences

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed Feb 23, 2005 12:13 pm


I just came back from delivering a seminar to the NSF, for the Division of Chemistry. I was speaking to a group of chemists and found that many of my comments about postdocs, CV's, etc. all fell a bit flat. While I have known that chemistry careers are a bit different than life sciences degrees, I didn't realize just HOW different.

For example, chemists are in the "2 page resume" mode much more often than the life scientists, who have a 3-5 page CV most of the time for industry jobs. Also, they are able much more frequently to escape the postdoc rut. Many of them go directly to jobs in industry after their PhD's. I learned a lot about these differences yesterday, and I believe that this is why there are different comments from Andrew and Kevin about the subject.

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industry focus more on downstream?

Postby Tom » Wed Feb 23, 2005 1:46 pm

This is purely speculation, but I think the reason why it is so easy for chemist to find jobs in industry is b/c most of the money of pharmaceutical companies is spent on downstream research rather than upstream. I think most upstream research is mostly biological and downstream biochem and chem. And with all of academia doing all the basic upstream research, why not just spend all their efforts on downstream? Sounds like a good strategy in an economic standpoint.

I\'ve been wondering for a while how much do biotech and pharma spend on research percentage wise, 20%? I heard from industry it is around $500 mil per product. Is this true?

I also remember reading an article or report somewhere that the field of chemistry has been on the uprise because of the advances made in the field of biology. Unfortunately, don\'t have the time to find that link.

It would be nice if anyone with ties in industry could give a better perspective of this issue.

Chemistry vs. Life Sciences

Postby Kevin Foley » Wed Feb 23, 2005 9:32 pm

"For example, chemists are in the "2 page resume" mode much more often than the life scientists, who have a 3-5 page CV most of the time for industry jobs."

Prompted by Andrew?s statement, I asked one of our medicinal chemistry directors about this. He seemed to think that chemistry CV's are pretty much the same as biology CV's. Of course, I don?t know how many biology CV?s he?s ever read! FWIW, his CV is 12 pages long, and mine is 6 pages.

However, most readers of this board are probably grad students and postdocs who will have fewer publications and less experience, and therefore shorter CV's. Most of the biology CV's I see for junior scientist positions are in the 3-4 page range that Dave mentioned.

As far as the chemistry career track, my impression is that there is greater demand in industry for chemists than biologists, relative to the available supply of candidates. Also, chemists seem to have very short postdocs, 2 years being typical, and can quickly jump straight into industry without any additional experience. Medicinal chemistry is very labor intensive and can?t be performed by non-PhD?s (or any qualified non-PhD?s are quickly grabbed by big pharmas for salaries that small companies can?t match). Our chemistry group has ~20 bench scientists, each of whom has a PhD.

And that about exhausts my knowledge of careers in chemistry! If anyone is interested in this subject, I highly recommend Derek Lowe?s blog ?In the Pipeline? (worth reading even if you are a biologist):

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Chemistry vs. Life Sciences

Postby Tom » Wed Feb 23, 2005 9:48 pm


This is a small report on chemistry post-docs by Jean Parr of the American Chemical Society (starts at page 27):


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