The Purpose of a Resume

Many people think that the purpose of a resume is to get a job.

It is not.

The purpose of your resume is to get you to the next step – a conversation, either on the phone or in person.

Your resume introduces you to a prospective employer. It should give them enough information to evaluate whether you have the right skills, background, and/or knowledge to do the job and create interest in learning more.

It should not answer every question, or detail every action.

It shouldn’t describe everything you have ever done in the lab or everything about you. Leave some details to talk about during the interview.

Should you include personal hobbies or interests? Sometimes. Things like volunteer work mentoring kids in science, or an unusual pastime like kite-boarding or salsa dancing, can create enough curiosity for the reader to want to know more. “Reading and listening to audio books” as hobbies will not generate much curiosity in the reader. Hobbies and personal interests can be included if relevant or interesting, but also can backfire. “Competition alpine skiing” would not be a good fit for someone applying to a Southern California position.

In academia, Curricula Vitae (C.Vs) are the norm. These are long-winded documents that detail every award, honor, and position held. Yet they do not adequately communicate the candidate’s scientific research or contributions. That is done in other parts of an academic package (detailed research proposals, reference letters, etc.)

A resume is not an autobiography nor should it be a description of your research topics. Instead, it should present your expertise, skill set, and scientific contributions through result-oriented bullet points.

The resume is your introduction to a hiring manager. You want to make a good impression. It should be formatted in a way that makes it easy to find information; this speaks to your organization skills. It should to be clearly written and have no typos, misspellings, or grammatical errors. This shows that you can communicate well and pay attention to details.

Of course, as a scientist, it also needs to show your productivity and innovation. Publications are good for this, but it is not enough to list them. (Note, you can showcase your productivity, creativity, and problem-solving without a long list of publications! Download files from to see how.)

Finally, be sure your resume accurately represents you. If you have only been exposed to a technique or subject matter in the classroom and not in a research environment, then it should not be listed in your skill set. You don’t want to get into the interview and be asked about your chromatography experience, for example, and have to admit that you only learned about the technique in school, but never actually used it. That will not make a good impression on a hiring manager!

If you are asking yourself questions such as, “How do I convert my academic CV into a resume appropriate for industry,” OR “Which of my skills should I highlight to catch the attention of an industry hiring manager,” don’t worry.

At you can get the tools and files you need to identify and communicate your background in a way that is clear and meaningful and that can generate enough interest in a hiring manager to get you to the next step. was founded by industry scientists, recruiters, and hiring managers who wanted to help scientists like yourself make the transition into industry more smoothly. Don’t trust generalized resume sites, or take advice from someone who has limited exposure on transitioning. Get instruction, insights, and examples from scientists who know how to help scientists make the transition.

You will even have a very helpful option to get your resume professionally reviewed, proofread, edited, and returned with comments to give you piece of mind. It is a small investment with a big return. Let the experts at jump start your career today!

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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