Make Your Industry Resume Stand Out

Many people want to make their resume stand out from others in the pile by using fancy fonts, graphics, or colors. As a scientist, there is a better way to make sure your resume gets the attention and focus of a hiring manager.

What makes a resume stand out?

The key to a notable resume is crafting one that tells a story with results. This great read is the narrative of your career. It should not just be a list of what you know, or what you have studied. It should not be a description of your research, or be based on what you were “responsible for.” It should be an account of your professional career that communicates a common thread, and how your assortment of skills and knowledge complement your primary expertise. A powerful profile or summary at the start of your resume will introduce you. The rest of the document will provide evidence for what you claim in your profile.

Being a “Jack-of-all-trades” isn’t really possible in science so you don’t need to write down every technique you’ve ever done. If it doesn’t match or complement the expertise needed for a position you are applying for, consider just including it in a list of technical skills toward the end of your resume. You want your skills to work together or toward a therapeutic focus. You may have experience in multiple disciplines, such as Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. If so, try to show how those techniques provided continuity in your research approach, or how one built upon the knowledge of the other.

For most of us, our scientific expertise is either in a technical approach or in a specific discipline.

You may have used a variety of biochemical and protein structure techniques to answer questions in multiple disciplines (immunology, neuroscience, etc.), OR you may have been more focused in a discipline (metabolic disease, cardiovascular disease, etc.) and used a variety of techniques (molecular, biochemical, cell biology, etc.) to test hypotheses.

Find a common thread 

If, for instance, your career led you to seemingly disconnected projects that spanned cell cycle regulation, genomics, and structural biochemistry, you could use molecular and cell biology as your main expertise, complemented by biochemical assays and techniques for characterizing genes or proteins. If you have primarily used cell-based assays to study receptors in neuroscience, immunology, and renal disease, consider signal transduction as your expertise, applied to a variety of disease areas.

You may actually have a couple of versions of your resume that tell the story from different perspectives. (For instance, if it is a biochemistry focused position, you could rearrange your profile to reflect more of a biochemical focus, complemented by molecular and cell biology experience.) Put more weight on your biochemistry techniques and results by moving them up in your list of bullet points. Prioritize what’s important by what is in the job description. Remember that people are hiring to fill a specific need for knowledge or expertise. Some breadth of knowledge is good for versatility, but find a common thread to avoid the impression that your research and career has been a “random walk.”

Are you ready to identify your expertise and write a powerful summary, but need help?

Do you want to make sure your profile makes sense?

Find out how to do this using the files from Founded by industry scientists, recruiters, and hiring managers to help scientists like yourself transition into industry more smoothly, the information will help you make your resume stand out – in a good way!

Resume template websites and online resume advice sites generally are not applicable for most scientific researchers. At you will get the tools you need to write a results-oriented, industry-friendly resume that will get you noticed by a hiring manager. There is even an option to have your resume professionally reviewed and returned with comments. This small investment can yield a big return in your future career as an industry scientist. Let the experts at help you jump start your career today!

Once your resume is ready, click HERE to see if any of this month’s MORE THAN 200 “no-industry-experience-required” scientific job openings are a match for your background and skills! (And remember, industry postdoctoral roles are a great way to transition into industry, even if you do not remain at the same company.)

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