It can be said that the interview is your very first chance to make a great impression with your next potential employer. But is it really? Turns out that sentiment is not entirely true. To be sure, it is the first time you will meet in person, but by that point the interviewer has probably already made some inferences about you. How organized you are, whether or not you pay attention to the little details, and especially whether you have the right basic skills to complete the job. And they get this all from your resume.
Your resume is one of the most critical steps in your job hunting process. A good resume can get you in for an interview, while a bad one can get you a turn down or cause your resume to stay in the black hole of the resume databases. Today we’ll start to take a look at the basic parts to an entry-level scientific resume, why each piece is important, and try to settle any “debatable” information.
The Heading and Contact Info
The most basic (and necessary) part of the resume is fairly self-explanatory. This part will be in the header or along the top. Your name will be in there of course, as well as any basic contact information. It is best to include a phone number and e-mail address you are easily reached at, and be sure to check these regularly! It is also worth noting that the e-mail address should be a professional, basic address, including ideally your first name/last name.. For example: First.Last@gmail.com. It is very easy (and free!) to make a new e-mail address; this shows your professional attitude towards the job search.
There is much debate nowadays on whether to include an address. While most correspondence is done electronically or over the phone, including an address is not necessarily a bad thing (some employers will ask for it on an application regardless). At the very least, you should include your current city; some companies are not able to relocate, and will be restricting application to local candidates only. If you are in a different city while planning to relocate, that information could also be included. A student can include a “current” as well as a “permanent” address, especially if you are open to opportunities in either city.
Objective: To have, or not to have?
The objective may well be the most contested piece of the resume these days. Many people feel that it is an outdated and unnecessary piece to include. Isn’t your objective to get the job you are applying for? Do you really need to state that again? Including a general objective can seem out of touch, or irrelevant in its own right. If your objective is “To get a laboratory position in a science field,” it doesn’t tell XYZ Lab Company why you want to work for THEM specifically. If you do choose to include an objective, be sure it applies specifically to the company and job. If you are low on space, this section can be omitted entirely.
This may seem like a self-explanatory part, but it’s worth noting that you can still clean it up a bit. After completion of your Bachelors or graduate degree, any reference to high school can be taken off. If an employer can see that you graduated from ABC College with your BS in Chemistry, they are going to assume you passed high school first. Additional professional training could also be included in this section.
This section can be critical for recent graduates, although it is also a section you will include on your resume for years to come. A relevant skills section should list (either by paragraph or bullet point) specific skills relevant to the position you are seeking. This isn’t a paragraph detailing how or where you used the skill (that can be covered under employment) but a basic list that makes it easy for the recruiter or employer to find the “must have” skills of the job. For example, a Chemistry grad might have a list including the following: High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Gas Chromatography (GC), Fluorspectometry….
Adding relevant coursework is usually only needed if you haven’t applied your classroom skills outside of the classroom setting. For example, if you are a Biology graduate who hasn’t worked with HPLC, you may add “General Chemistry I/II” in order to show that you have at least touched on some chemistry basics. This section can be left off the resume of a more experienced candidate.
Stay tuned for our next article on 06/19/14 that will take a look at additional parts to the scientific resume! Until then, feel free to catch up on our previous articles, and be sure to check out our pages on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for the latest news and opportunities available through Verum Staffing! If you are interested in speaking with us further regarding positions we have available, future opportunities, or interview/resume help, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an informational interview.