Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Entry-Level Scientific Resume: Your Chance to Make a Stellar First Impression (Part 2)

                In our last article, we explored some of the information to include on your resume, such as: the heading/contact information, the objective, education, and relevant skills/coursework. We also went over how best to present that information to potential employers.  In today’s article, we’ll continue our review of what information to include on an entry level scientific resume, and how to make your resume really shine.

Employment/Research/Other Employment.
                This is another section where you have a couple of options. Depending upon your degree and intended field of work, this may be broken up several ways. In a basic resume, employment would fall under one category. Here at VERUM Staffing, we specialize in placing people in scientific fields, and in that case there will most likely be 3 sections. Today we’ll take a look at the sections involved in an entry-level resume.
                 The first section is your Employment section. This will include any jobs you may have held that pertain to your area of research/study. For example, if you are coming out of college and held a paid position as an undergraduate research assistant, that would fall here. A typical job will have 3-5 bullet points under it highlighting your main responsibilities. A more senior level position may have more points, although it is not necessary to list every single detail or project you accomplished in your role, just the major ones.
                The next section would be your Research section. This would include any research or senior projects that you may have worked on, but for which you were not paid. Most scientific degrees require some sort of project during the senior year, so if you haven’t done additional research, putting that project here will help to highlight the laboratory skills you may have obtained. Research completed for a thesis project/graduate degree would likely fall here as well.
              The last section would be your Other Employment category. This would include any additional jobs you may have held that are not related to the position you are currently seeking. For example, if you worked at as a department store clerk during college, but are aiming for a Junior Scientist role, you would place the clerk role under other employment. If the job is not relevant to your current job search, you simply do not need to include many details of the position. A job title, company, and dates is usually enough.
             It is worth noting that listing irrelevant jobs is often debatable. And what it comes down to is this. If you don’t have a career history in your chosen field (such as a recent college grad) listing other jobs shows that you have worked previously and have held the responsibility that comes with any job. In additional (and this is for everyone, not just recent grads!) it can clear up any employment gaps. Because employers and recruiters are going to ask you what exactly you were doing during that 6 month gap. If you can fill that time period with relevant freelance work, volunteer work, or additional schooling, it could be optional to leave off less relevant work.

            “Fillers” may not be an appropriate title to use on your resume, but these various additional section(s) can be helpful or even necessary to show off additional skills or qualifications. Additional sections may include: awards earned, presentations given, publications/patents of which you are an author, and relevant professional memberships or certifications.

Extra Information
             After you have written the basic outline of your resume, it is worth going back and noting the little details, as well as double checking everything! Be sure to use a font that is clean and easy to read (not too large or small). If you are in a creative field, there may be opportunity to use bright colors, pictures, or arrangements. If you are in a business or scientific field, it is best to stick to standard black font with no pictures.
            Another highly debatable area in resume is the length. There are some folks who are dead set against any resume longer than one page, or if absolutely necessary…two. A standard rule of thumb is as follows: for 1-3 years of experience use one page, for 3-5 years use two pages, and for 5+ years it’s ok to use three pages. Resumes really shouldn’t be any longer than three pages; at that point you are probably including a lot of irrelevant or unnecessary detail. Please note, this is just a guideline. If you have relevant detail you feel is very important for the recruiter or employer to know, it’s ok to leave it on there, even if your resume falls beyond the guidelines given here!

           Now that you know the basic resume format, you should be able to set up a clean and professional looking resume. Our next article will be coming your way on 07/03/14; there we’ll be discussing some common resume mistakes….and how those very mistakes COULD be costing you a call back or interview. 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 to set up an informational interview.  


Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Entry Level Scientific Resume: Your Chance to Make a Stellar First Impression (Part 1)

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: 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.

Relevant Skills/Coursework
                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 to set up an informational interview.