Resume Length: How many pages?

The transition from academia to industry can be challenging. One challenge is finding a position that doesn’t require prior industry experience. (Because of this, we periodically compile a list of jobs around the country that are looking for scientists like you who do not need prior experience in industry. See the end of this post for a link to current opportunities.) Another major challenge is making a resume that is appropriate to scientific hiring managers in companies. Your resume needs to be ready to apply for positions when they open.

The Internet is full of advice on writing resumes! But not all of it applies to scientists. For instance, you may often read that resumes should only be one or two pages, especially if you are early in your career. These tips and instructions may be true for other industries but don’t necessarily apply to your scientific resume.

The common adage is that one resume page per ten years experience is standard. For marketing, sales, or other roles, that might be true–but not for scientists. Possibly you have more productivity and expertise to communicate from graduate school alone than you can easily fit on one page.

But that is not to say that your resume should be a tome. Scientific resumes occupy a unique niche–especially for a graduate student or postdoctoral scientist.

So what IS the right length ?

Well, . . it depends. A suitable scientific resume can be one page or 10+ pages depending on your experience level, publication record, patents, etc. The key is to present the information the hiring manager needs in the first two pages, and the rest should be the proof of what you claimed there.

You may notice that curriculum vitae (CV) seem to go on and on. Nevertheless, when reading someone’s CV, you might be hard pressed to identify their specific skills and unique contributions. When writing an industry-relevant scientific resume you need to abjure the typical academic CV style. Instead, you should focus on the relevant information regarding your studies, your contributions, and your productivity.

One of the problems with this is that we are trained, through grant writing and application essays, to write descriptive paragraphs of our research plan. These can be laborious to read and tend to describe the research itself, not the productivity of the researcher.

To write an effective industry-relevant resume, you’ll need to convert a descriptive writing style into results that matter to a hiring manager. These are more than just your experimental results. It is not only what you discovered that matters to a hiring manager. You can still obtain an industry position even if you don’t have any high profile publications.

The hiring manager does not need to know the whole history of your research project. They just want to know what came out of the time you spent, why it mattered, and what approach you used to get the result. A bulleted format will help him or her find this information quickly on your resume.

Because we have so much to convey about our training and technical skills, scientific resumes are often more than two pages. You want to make sure you have relevant information (summary, results, education, training, technical skills) presented in the first two pages. If your publications, awards, patents, invited talks, etc., spill onto additional pages, that’s fine! It is further proof of your claims of productivity.

“So how do I convert my descriptive paragraph writing, or my academic CV, into a document that is result-oriented and industry friendly?”

“What kind of results matter?”

“How do I get a hiring manager’s attention and show that I am a productive scientist?”

We have the answers to these questions at Here you can get the tools that will help you create an industry relevant resume. was created by scientists for scientists. We have files, such as the P.R.E. Resume Worksheet, designed to help you realize results that you may not have considered or included.

Worksheets include questions specifically designed for you as a scientist that will make you rethink how to state your research experience. You will also get instructions and examples.

PLUS, you even have the incredibly helpful option to have your resume professionally reviewed and returned with comments to give you peace of mind that you’ve created your very best resume.

Let the experts at help you get your industry career started today!

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Once your resume is ready, click HERE to see if any of these “no-industry-experience-required” openings are a match for your background and skills.

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