Industry-Friendly Resumes: More Than Format

Writing a powerful and effective industry resume is more than using the right format – though, of course, format is still important! Many scientists mistakenly apply the academic writing style to their resume. That creates paragraphs that require careful reading and attention from a hiring manager. Maybe the hiring manager will take the time to do so… but more likely, the resume will be set aside to be read another time and never looked at again.

We are trained in academia to write descriptively, to give background and relevance to the work presented. Writing in descriptive paragraphs for grants or publications gives context to the reader for introducing new discoveries. But paragraphs are time-consuming to read and the significance of the findings is not found until the paper’s conclusion.

In industry, the format is different. Important points are delineated with “bullets.” The reader can quickly see a candidate’s experience, contributions, and skills in an industry-friendly resume. But converting your academic CV into an industry-relevant resume is more than converting your paragraphs to bullet points.

Industry has different priorities than in academia. (See HERE for major differences.) One priority is productivity. And while publications are good, it isn’t just about how many papers you get published. You can communicate productivity, innovation, and other industry-related priorities by changing your writing style.

How can I change my writing style to communicate productivity?

  1. Don’t just list your experience or the subject of your research
  2. Use active, past tense verbs as a way to communicate “results accomplished.”
  3. Don’t use “responsible for” – instead, say what you did (managed, accounted for, analyzed, scheduled…)
  4. Let the reader know what resulted from your studies, if possible, and what the significance was to the field, organization, or laboratory. (Remember, hiring managers don’t want to know what you spent your time studying as much as what came out of the studies you spent your time on.)


Consider the following:

“As a postdoctoral fellow I managed multiple interdisciplinary projects aimed at per-commercialization development of novel diagnostic methods of infectious diseases using a “surrogate antibodies approach. My discovery of new binding proteins brought in a number of projects. These projects resulted in a US patent application and several publications. Also, I introduced a novel method of gene amplification when a viral DNA template is not suitable for the regular PCR procedures. In addition, I discovered a novel DNA binding protein.”


  • Discovered a novel DNA binding protein which lacks similarity to known DNA binding proteins and which may have use in DNA delivery procedures applied to gene therapy. Purified and characterized the protein.
  • Discovered new pathogen binding proteins using comparative analyses of bacteriophage genomes, which initiated a number of new projects aimed at creating novel biosensor platforms.
  • Expressed, purified, and characterized these novel proteins.
  • Introduced a novel method to amplify genes of interest when highly modified viral DNA template is not suitable for regular PCR procedures.
  • Led, coordinated, and managed multiple interdisciplinary projects executed simultaneously by several laboratories across different University departments (Biology, Chemistry, and Engineering) aimed at pre-commercializing novel diagnostic methods for infectious diseases using a “surrogate antibodies” approach.
  • Generated US patent application and several publications in leading journals.
  • Supervised graduate students and undergraduate students in the laboratory.


The bulleted, active-past tense verb-used sentences psychologically communicate “results accomplished.”

The PRE® Resume Worksheet supplied by provides over a dozen targeted questions designed to get you thinking deeper about your research – what you did, how and why you did it, the outcome, and how to communicate it. You will expand your communications and increase the impact of how you say it.

Go from

  • Developed a model of “hidden hearing loss”
  • Characterized of the synaptic mechanisms behind noise-induced hearing loss
  • Supervised one lab rotation student
  • Teaching assistant for a course in the School for Neuroscience


To the more meaningful and powerful

  • Implemented new systems to study noise-induced hearing loss
  • Developed a setup to expose mice to noise and configured a setup for recording Auditory Brainstem Responses
  • Identified the best parameters to induce “hidden hearing loss” in the apical regions of the cochlea
  • Used patch-clamp recordings to identify the reduction of efficiency of exocytosis as possible mechanism involved in hearing loss
  • Worked as a teaching assistant for a course, “Auditory and Visual Evoked Potentials”, for other PhD students


Get the PRE® Resume Worksheet, a list of over 100 relevant, active-past tense verbs, a Profile builder, step-by-step instructions, and multiple real-life samples of successful industry-friendly scientific resumes.

Don’t let your resume get set aside and never re-visited. Make your best impression with an industry-friendly Scientific Resume with the files, instruction, and proof-reading and review service (optional) at

Then, use it to get the attention of a hiring manager for one of these industry jobs that do NOT require prior industry experience! Click HERE for list.

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