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Resume Query

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:22 am
by Ned

Sorry to change the subject from the science of handshakes (the way I see it: a stong handshake=confidence+presentation skill=desirable trait)

DX discusses at length CV vs Resume. Some questions: Does a resume for a postdoc looking to get into industry have to be 1 page only? From what I gather on this thread it does. But how do you fit in 1 page all your education experience, postdoc experience, previous jobs, skills (scientific and otherwise), extracurricular activities, honors and awards, publications, meetings attended, presentations? Could someone suggest which parts could be minimized and what parts maximized in order to make the cut for an industry recruiter. I would think that the answer would vary with an industry scientist job vs regulatory affairs vs clinical affairs vs biopharma business development.

Also, a bit of a minor issue: with some industry jobs looking for evidence of leadership and well -rounded candidates with interesting extracurricular activities: Would putting down years of extensive experience as a youth group leader in a church be appropriate? or would that best be left out?

Resume Query

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:34 am
by Jason J.
I would like to follow up with Ned's question as well. It seems as though there is a preference for a resume vs a CV for the types of positions D.X. is looking to fill. I am interested in clinical positions but I have a "lab geek" background and after reading this I think I have likely been relegated to the "toss" pile more than I care to admit.

Is there a preferred resume format? I read a little about chronological vs functional resumes and I think a mix would best suit my needs as I am looking somewhat outside my current field of study.

Also there was mention of resume layout and design...should this be "fancy" looking or just original? I have always thought resumes should be clear and to the point so I never really injected any creativity into mine but I think its time to put a little more ME in there.

I did have another related question if I could. I have applied and passed my CV around the internet here and there but I am beginning to think that physically sending it in the mail on nice paper may help out. Do you guys think this is a good move?

Thanks for a great post D.X. Really made me rethink how I am doing things.



Resume Query

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 12:10 pm
by Rich Lemert
The "rules" about resume length are really guidelines based on the fact that a typical resume gets examined for something like 15-20 seconds before it's subject to "the first cut". They force you to be concise and to the point. Nothing restricts you to a single page, and in fact resumes for senior people do tend to be longer.

When you're preparing your resume, every item on it has one of three primary functions: either it's letting the reader know how to contact you, letting him know what you want to do, or letting him know why you can do it. For example, Ned asked about putting down his experience leading a church youth group. If that experience included e.g. budget responsibility, that could help bolster an application for a research position. If you just planned daily activities for the kids, it wouldn't add much to the application.

Also, don't get trapped into the academic approach of listing "credentials" - i.e. don't just present a list of skills you have ("I can run Western Blots, Eastern Blots, Australian Upside-Down Blots, and Rorshak Blots"). Technicians run blots - scientists know when to use a blot and how to use the results to answer a specific question. Focus on what makes you a scientist and not a technician.

Many HR professionals will tell you NOT to use a functional resume because it makes it look like you're trying to hide something. (I often think it's more because it forces them to work harder to understand your background, but that's not necessarily good either.) On the other hand, I've also seen people advise using them when you're trying to a) change to a new field, or b) return to a field that you've been out of for awhile. (Another reason for networking - people know in advance that your trying to change fields, and you can tailor your resume more effectively.) An approach I've used could be considered a combination of the two: list your experience chronologically, but have a separate sections listing skills, abilities, and "success stories."

Some fields do put a lot of stock into how "creative" your resume looks, but in most technical fields the important thing is that it look professional. You don't have much control over tabs and generally can't use bold fonts in on-line resumes, but you do have more control over line spacing. Take advantage of that you can control, and make sure you see what it might look like before you send it. You obviously have more control over the appearance of hard-copy resumes, but keep in mind that it will probably be scanned into a data-base anyway.

One Page Resumes = TOTAL BS

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 12:38 pm
by Dave Jensen
Please, anyone interested in a biotech job, or a non-sales pharma job, please note that the general advice handed out in job seeking books about one page resumes is totally wrong. You do NOT want a one-page resume to apply for industry research positions. It makes you look like a lightweight, no pun intended. Don't do anything wild, like mauve paper (rice paper? no way!) or anything strange, like odd fonts or lots of text variation like italics, bold, mixed fonts, etc. The business of applying for jobs is one of conformity to a standard. Yes, you can stand out by keeping it short and sweet, but don't worry about the "one page" thing. Don't put hobbies and interests ("Enjoy wine making and drinking," "Hiking and camping" etc) and long lists of mundane skills as in Rich's example.

There is NO WAY that a one-page resume will be any advantage to you if you are looking for an industry job. The average industry CV is 2-4 pages, sometimes longer when a list of publications is attached as it should be. Don't trust advice that you need to keep it to one page . . . this is just patently false and it will hurt you. Now, if you are looking for some kind of sales job or something, that's a different story. (D.X.'s story relates to his or her's feelings as it relates to jobs that are not research. Get wild and creative on resumes sent to DX and others in that job category, but if you are looking for an industry postdoc, or an industry research position, let's be very clear on the fact that you do NOT want to do these things).

Dave Jensen, Moderator

Resume Query

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 12:50 pm
by Dave Jensen
Ned asks, "Also, a bit of a minor issue: with some industry jobs looking for evidence of leadership and well -rounded candidates with interesting extracurricular activities: Would putting down years of extensive experience as a youth group leader in a church be appropriate? or would that best be left out?"

Hi Ned,

Something like this has a place on a CV, but it shouldn't be considered something that comes right up front, or that is emboldened by lots of subtext and description. It might be in an "Extracurricular Activities" section towards the end of a 2 or 3 page CV, listed as a one-liner bullet point.

Yes, it is always good to show situations that have some leadership experience highlighted, and you might have had some other responsibilities around the lab that would rate this way as well.

Dave Jensen, Moderator

Resume Query

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 1:46 pm
by Ale
So, for a research position (PhD) in industry, we should use a CV (enriched to show more than credentials) but not the usual resume we can see on-line, right?

I am really confused about this, because depending on where you read it you learn different things (not that every site has the same credibility....)

So writing a resume for a research position would rather require to expand our academic CV than to reduce it to fit in one single page (even 2) that also includes skills and achievements (for which we would have to remove the publications altogether and say "8 peer-reviewed publications, 4 of them as 1st author"). Academics also usually list in CVs Honors and Awards, and for someone that collects competitive fellowships it can add another 6/8 lines.... so I really don't see how to "compress" an academic person CV if you are applying for a research position and therefore need all the science achievements you have to be there. It is going to be still 2 to 3 pages (publications alone take 1).

Resume Query

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:22 pm
by Dave Jensen
Ale said, "So writing a resume for a research position would require us to expand our academic CV"

NO NO! Whatever you do, don't expand an academic CV. A typical academic CV has stuff on it like the name of spouse and children, social security numbers (sometimes), and laboratory address, etc. Those things aren't required. You need to make your industry CV succinct and powerful. It needs to have your home address on it, your home contact phone and contact info, etc. Many people put an objective statement at the top, or a "Qualified By:" section. It is NOT an elongated academic resume. It is a document which is written in a succinct fashion, to show accomplishments and skill areas, and to answser the reader's question "What can this person do for us?"

Any sites which recommend one page resumes for scientists shouldn't be giving advice on career topics to that audience. While we've had many posts on this forum (and the one which pre-dates it for a decade) about one-page resumes, they've always been for very specific kinds of non-science positions, such as sales reps, etc. I'm doing a search now for a Business Development director for a biotech firm, and the average CV length there (including the "deal sheet," a necessity for that career type) is about 3-4 pages. There are thirty of them in front of me and these folks are considered to be business people, and yet even they do not believe in the old "one page resume." Do yourself a favor, write an industry CV for the job you are applying to, keep it succinct but include everything that matters and don't worry about keeping it to 1-2 pages.

Dave Jensen Moderator

Resume Query

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:42 pm
by Ale
OK! that was loud and clear.

But I've never said my SS (equivalent) or spouse or children, my contact part is fine. With "academic" I was referring to full publication list, honors and awards (this two alone take over one page for me), often presentations at meetings and invited talks, .... So the "keep it succinct but include everything that matters" make take 2.5 or 3 pages. If we agree that those two cathegories matter.

For instance, should teaching experience be included for a research industrial position? even if you are not going to teach it shows you may be able to teach technicians because you have been exposed to the "educator" role before, and that you can communicate in public and process information to be communicated, so I would include it. But should you call it "teaching experience"? In any case I don't see how to reduce it much, but I see it will have to be as succint as possible. The most difficult part will be showing clearly the "What can this person do for us?" and refocus the document to show achievements and skills.

I still have to sit down and try to write a first version of my resume. I haven't done it because I won't need it in some time (bad reason, I know)and mainly because I feel very insecure about how to do it. What I will do for sure is to handle it to some friends that have non-academic sctientific backgrounds so they can give me harsh feedbak (it is the best feedback).

Thanks so much for this thread,


Resume Query: One Page is BS

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 3:42 pm
by D.X.
Just to clarify I was citing the one page resume as an example of how one person was able to creatively emphasize her skills in one page and did it!

This is not recommended. I personally have a 4 page resume. Unless you think you are THAT creative and want to take a GIANT HUGE risk..DO NOT do a one page resume. Plain and simple. I haven't read all the posts since Daves post, but I agree with DAVE's post 100%.

Oh and Kelly's post, should be a post all by it self, a sticky or part of something grander than a sub post. That is great stuff that even I will refer too.


PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 4:41 pm
by Emil Chuck
Emily Post's Etiquette Advantage in Business (1999) has an entire chapter entitled "How Do You Do?" all about the etiquette of introductions, including handshakes. In this chapter there is an acknowledgement that the rules of polite society usually involved a man to wait for a woman to extend her hand, but it is now acceptable to not wait (p.269 inset). There is mention of usual rules of introduction in which a more important person is introduced to someone else instead, especially when differences of "rank" exist.