10 Tips on How to Craft a Perfect Resume
If you want to start a career in the life sciences and biotech industries, or you’re ambitious to climb the ladder, there’s a tool you can’t do without: a perfect resume. The jobs market is currently balanced in favour of candidates, but it’s still essential to present yourself in the best possible light when you apply for a new position.
Early stage European biotech companies are challenging the dominance of the industry giants at both startup and scaleup stages. As venture capital funding becomes more freely available, these businesses are expanding and looking to hire the very best talent. Here are 10 of the best ways you can improve your resume and increase your chances of getting to the crucial first round of interviews.
Before they even read your resume, a prospective employer will start to form an impression. Inconsistency in format, font, line-spacing and colours will immediately count against you. This matters because it will almost certainly be taken as evidence of a tendency to be disorganised and even careless. There’s no shortage of online templates you can use, but if you prefer to create your own, make sure every element is standardised and harmonious.
Not only should you be exhaustive in detailing your experience and qualifications, but it’s also important to show that you have nothing to hide. That doesn’t mean offering up all your social media activity, but you should certainly provide your LinkedIn profile and all your contact details. Depending on the type of life sciences vacancy you’re applying for, it might be appropriate to include relevant website links and if the role calls for social media skills, then giving your Twitter handle or Facebook account could prove helpful. Be as open as you can.
Devise an elevator pitch
Although a personal statement is an essential part of your resume, giving you the opportunity to highlight your most relevant qualities and skills, an elevator pitch is a shorter, sharper means of presenting yourself as the ideal candidate. Discipline yourself to a maximum of 150 words or preferably fewer. This will force you to be direct and impactful, which is a great way to sell yourself.
Write it for the employer
It’s tempting if you’re applying for jobs with several life sciences or biotech companies, to write a covering letter aimed at each employer but to send the same resume to everyone. The danger of doing this is that you might not be emphasising your most appropriate attributes. Research the company, understand its values, its successes and its aims. Yes, it takes time to tailor your resume to every application but it’s time well spent if it gets you through the door more effectively than a generic document.
Get things in the right order
This is similar to our thoughts on standardisation. Resumes are read very quickly and employers expect to see information in the places they expect. Start with your elevator pitch and profile, followed by your interests. Next list your work experience and, briefly, your qualifications, starting from the present day and working backwards. This establishes your personal and professional credentials. Finally, include your key skills, those which are specific to the life sciences and those which are more general. Don’t aim to be comprehensive, but choose half a dozen that play to your strengths.
Keep it short
Employers don’t want to read your life story. Make sure you include only information that’s relevant to your application. Is a life sciences business going to be interested in your Christmas job with Royal Mail in 2008? Probably not.
Give it some personality
It’s a common misconception that a resume should be a formal, neutral document. It needs to be professional in all aspects, but that’s not the same as stuffy or stilted. Don’t be afraid to write your resume in a tone of voice that expresses your personality. Avoid lapsing into casual language or saying too much, but within the bounds of professionalism, let your true self do some of the selling.
Don’t forget your ambitions
Employers want to know what you can and might do as well as what you’ve done. When they consider your application, they’re thinking about the future and want to hear about your ambitions and objectives. It is important for them to judge not only whether you’re right for them, but whether their company is right for you. The vision you project of your planned career progression in the life sciences will tell them a great deal about your suitability. This is where your research into the company can help. You don’t need to invent your objectives to fit, but you can certainly characterise them in the most favourable way.
Match the employer’s keywords
When you’re composing your resume, try to incorporate some of the specific terms the employer has used in the job advert and on their website. Don’t go overboard because that would be too obvious and defeat the purpose, but a few matching references will help you to align your application with the company’s vision and priorities. Words such as innovation, homeostasis, urea and allergens will enhance your authority and if chosen with accuracy, improve your fit with the business.
Check everything, then check it again
This rule applies to any resume. Checking, editing and proof-reading are essential as a guarantee of professionalism. In many ways, they are even more important in an application for a job in the life sciences or biotech industries, where minute attention to detail are central to the development of effective pharmaceuticals and treatments. An error-free resume on its own won’t land you the job, but it is your first opportunity to demonstrate that you are meticulous and methodical, both qualities that will stand you in good stead.
Speak with one of our Life Science Recruitment Specialists today if you want advice on your CV or your next career move. Book a consultation.
If you found this insight interesting, we recommend reading How to Create the Perfect LinkedIn Profile in 10 Easy Steps