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How to Write a Resume for Biology Jobs

Creating your resume or CV can be the most difficult part of any job search; after all, recruiters are likely rummaging through many, many resumes so you have to find a way to stand out and stand out quickly.

  • Start with the basics. No matter the industry, every resume requires a summary of your work history. Start your resume by outlining your professional experiences, including job description, title, and your start and end dates.
  • Include your contact information. This may sound simple, but make sure to include your basic contact information (and double check your info!), generally at the top of a resume.
  • Look professional. Your resume’s appearance makes an impression on employers - so make sure its a good one! This includes everything from the font you use to the layout. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create an attractive resume. Use common, but mature fonts, at a comfortable reading size. Use bullet points where necessary. Be consistent with your headers and periods. Above all, keep it simple and easy to read. If you’re struggling with a format, free resume templates can be a great starting point.
  • Align with your history. If you’re new on the scene, your resume and experience will likely be a bit more condensed. But if you’ve been around for a while, be sure to include all relevant experience to emphasize your expertise. That said, you likely don’t need to go back more than 15 years. Note: if you’re working on a career change, your previous work experience might feel out of place! Make sure to call out how your experience in previous positions align with the requirements for the position you are applying for.
  • Show, don’t tell. If possible, use facts, figures, and percentages to give a brief but effective snapshot of your achievements.
  • Be relevant. You don’t have to share everything. If something in your work history is not relevant to the position you are applying for, it’s better to leave it out and focus more on your applicable experiences. If you are applying to a wide range of positions, consider drafting different versions of your resume to tailor them to different jobs.
  • Look at what other folks are doing! It’s ok to see what other people are doing out there, especially in your field. What buzzwords come up? How long has their resume been posted and when was their latest hire date? What is a common layout or format? Use your research to capture trends, but make sure that your resume is still yours.
  • Give yourself credit where credit is due. Don’t be afraid to share details on any awards, recognitions, or certificates you’ve received! You put in the time and effort, so they should be included.
  • Craft a cover letter. Don’t just write it, craft it. Start with a strong sentence of purpose that will catch the recruiter’s attention. Weave the bullet points of your resume into a story that makes them want to read on. Bonus points: research who may be reading your cover letter to really show them you’ve done your homework and are interested. Customize each cover letter to best fit the position and employer.
  • Include your education. For most science-related jobs, your education is pretty important. Include the schools you attended, the dates you were enrolled, and the degree you received.
  • Find proofreaders. Ask a number of people to triple-check your work for typos, inconsistencies, or maybe things you’ve missed. You’ve probably been staring at your resume for a long time, and it’s easy to overlook small mistakes. Ask a trusted colleague or friend to take an honest look at your resume and cover letter and give feedback.

 

Check out Monster for some great sample resumes by industry. Don’t forget to post your resume with The BioOne Career Center when you’re done!