Applying for a job in science or technology? Here's our advice for crafting the perfect CV

Writing a CV

Everybody talks about how important it is to make a good first impression when you attend a job interview, but in most cases, it's actually your CV that's responsible for making a good first impression on potential employers. Sure, you should wear smart clothes and speak clearly when you're being interviewed, but if your CV isn't up to snuff, you won't even make it to the interview stage in the first place.

If you've been applying for science jobs for a while without hearing anything back, it might be time to go back to the drawing board and rethink your CV. If you want yours to stand out from the stack of documents every employer receives when they advertise a new vacancy, here's what you need to do:

The Basics

Be sure to include the following essential details:

  • Your full name
  • Your current address
  • Your telephone number(s)
  • Your email address (make sure it's something professional - don't use your Hotmail address from when you were a teenager!)

If you have a clean driving licence and access to a vehicle, include this information as well. It may give you the edge over applicants who do not have their own means of transportation.

You will also need to state if your current employer requires you to serve a notice period before changing jobs.

Areas of Expertise

Once you've included your personal / contact details, add a brief section entitled 'Areas of Expertise'. This should simply comprise a short bullet-point list (5 or 6 items max.) of the key skills that make you a great candidate. For example:

  • Data analysis
  • Team management
  • Report writing

This makes it easy for the employer to see your potential value right off the bat.

Education & Work Experience

This part forms the meat of any CV. List your experiences in date order, starting with your most recent role(s). Here's a rough example of what this should look like:

GRADUATE DATA ANALYST

JULY 2015 - PRESENT

Description of this role and what it required of you. If this experience was especially relevant to the job(s) you're now applying for, you may wish to include a bullet-point list of the duties involved.

BSc MATHEMATICS (UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM)

SEPTEMBER 2012 - JULY 2015

Description of your course and the relevant skills you learned / knowledge you gained.

And so on. Try to focus on things that are relevant to science/technology, particularly the field you're looking to enter.

Previous STEM jobs should take precedence, but if you don't have any particularly relevant work experience yet, put the emphasis on your scientific education. In any case, be sure to emphasise responsibilities and achievements that demonstrate your competence and versatility.

It's worth including non-scientific education and work experience, but this shouldn't take up too much space if it's not relevant. Some people simply refer to 'various part-time jobs' or 'assorted temporary roles', but before you take this approach, think carefully - some roles may have taught you relevant skills even if they themselves were nothing to do with science or technology.

Interests

It's important to include some information about what you get up to in your free time, but remember, the employer isn't interested in your life story. You don't want to come across as a work-obsessed robot, but ideally, your hobbies and interests will complement the professional self-portrait you've been painting elsewhere in the document. For instance:

"In my spare time, I enjoy reading and catching up with the latest science/technology news. I subscribe to a number of publications, including New Scientist and Wired, and I also spend a lot of time on the Internet reading about topics that interest me. I also enjoy outdoor activities, including hiking and rock climbing."

References

It's usually fine to save space by writing 'References available on request' at the end of your CV. However, check the details of each job you apply for - some may specifically state that references are required, in which case you'll need to include them in the document you send.

General Advice

  • Be concise - don't waffle. Employers generally don't have time to read essays from potential new recruits.

  • Make absolutely sure to double-check your CV before sending it to anyone. Nothing takes the shine off a well-written CV like a spelling mistake or grammatical error!

  • Don't be afraid to tweak your CV each time you send it. Sometimes it pays to tailor it to the job you're applying for (even if you're also sending a covering letter).

Visit our CV Advice page for more useful tips!

Ready to start applying for jobs? Click here to browse the latest scientific vacancies.

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Graduating from university is a great feeling, but tossing your mortarboard in the air is also the precursor to one of the biggest and scariest steps you'll ever have to take: the step away from student life and into the world of work.

Searching for your first full-time job can be a gruelling and demoralising task. If you've just left university, you probably don't have a whole lot of relevant work experience just yet, and as a result you may feel that you're at a significant disadvantage as you struggle to get a foot on that all-important first rung of the career ladder. But rest assured that there are many employers out there who are desperate to recruit talented graduates like yourself - you just have to make sure they know about you!

With that in mind, here - courtesy of science job specialists Hyper Recruitment Solutions - are 5 top tips for graduates who are looking for jobs:

1) Before you apply for anything, Google yourself.

No matter what sort of role you're looking to land, you can bet that the person who receives your job application will pop your name into a search engine before deciding whether or not to offer you an interview. This is the 21st century, and these days, potential employers will often scrutinise your online presence just as much as your CV. So make sure you're not showing them anything you don't want them to see!

Before you begin your job search, you should:

  • Type your name into Google to see what comes up on the first page of results. (If you have a common name, or if you share your name with somebody famous, you may want to try including your location in the search - e.g. 'daniel radcliffe sunderland' - to find pages that are specifically about you.) Is there anything in there that might damage a potential employer's opinion of you? A Twitter account, a news story, something you wrote years ago that you're not particularly proud of? It may not be possible to erase every piece of information about yourself, but if you're able to eliminate any red flags then you absolutely should.

  • You should also use Facebook's 'View As...' feature to find out how much of your profile is visible to the public. If necessary, adjust your privacy settings so that only your friends can view the things you post. You don't want your future boss to see those drunk photos of you from your graduation party, do you?

2) Make your CV shine.

Composing an impressive CV can be tough when you're fresh out of uni, especially if you haven't previously held a role that's similar to the one you're applying for. But don't assume that the experience you do have is worthless - just because you've never worked in an office before doesn't mean that you've never exercised the skills needed to succeed in that environment.

The key is to think outside the box a little bit. Let's say you're applying for a marketing job at an FMCG company - sure, you've never occupied a marketing post before, but you completed a degree, and perhaps you even worked a part-time job or two while you were studying. These and other experiences will have equipped you with:

  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • The ability to approach tasks creatively
  • Strong communication skills
  • The ability to meet deadlines and work under pressure
  • An understanding of how to behave when dealing with customers/clients
All of these things are highly valued by employers in all sorts of different sectors, so don't be reluctant to include them on your curriculum vitae. Don't think in terms of experience - think in terms of skills!

3) Cast your net wide.

Different employers advertise their vacancies in all sorts of different places, so don't limit yourself to a single website or job listings board. By all means sign up with big names like Monster and Indeed, but bear in mind that there are lots of specialist recruiters out there too - recruiters like Aspire for the digital / media sector and HRS for science jobs. Some organisations, having a limited budget for this sort of thing, will exclusively recruit via these more specialised portals, so don't kid yourself that you'll see every available vacancy just because you check Reed every day.

4) Don't go back into higher education without a good reason.

Postgraduate courses are great, and in some cases, you'll need a master's or a PhD to get the career you really want. However, far too many graduates sleepwalk into postgraduate programmes simply because they don't feel ready to compete for full-time employment.

That's usually a bad decision. Higher education is expensive, as you're no doubt already aware, and while you might tell yourself that a more advanced qualification will lead to better career prospects, the evidence on that front is somewhat ambiguous.

Yes, entering the world of work can feel like jumping into an abyss, but you shouldn't go back to university just because you're cosily familiar with academic life and scared of sampling the alternative. If you have a clear goal in mind (e.g. 'I need additional qualification X in order to be considered for job Y') then by all means go for it, but otherwise, you're probably better off taking the leap into full-time employment.

5) Remember - you're not committing to a career for life. 

When searching for jobs to apply for, try to bear in mind that your first post-university job doesn't necessarily have to lead to the career of your dreams. Many people don't even decide on a career until quite a bit later in life, so don't feel pressured to apply exclusively for jobs that are directly linked to whatever you think you'd like to be doing in ten or twenty years' time. You might only stay in this first job for a year or two - and that's okay, because it will still give you a lot of extra experience and a lot of new things to add to that CV of yours.

So those are our top 5 tips for gradaute jobseekers, and we hope they'll come in handy! Of course, there's no secret formula or trick for landing any job you apply for, but it's important to stay positive and keep striving for success even if you suffer a setback or two. Just because your first few applications didn't lead anywhere doesn't mean that you should give up - keep going, and you'll be starting your new job before you know it!

Searching for jobs in the science/technology sector? Click here to create a candidate account and browse the latest vacancies from Hyper Recruitment Solutions!

Have you considered a career in recruitment?

Here at HRS, we are looking for talented individuals who want to make a difference to the science and technology sectors through recruitment. We have a number of positions available for trainee Recruitment Consultants / Graduate Sales Executives to join our growing sales teams.

The recruitment industry is one of the most rewarding and desirable sectors to work in. If you have an outgoing personality, are good with people, and happy to work hard to succeed in life, then you are perfect for a job in recruitment. We will train you to the highest possible standards and develop your skills and knowledge of the recruitment industry. If you have a passion and enthusiasm for doing the job right, this position offers great rewards.

Apply now >

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Bending or outright breaking the truth on your CV can be very tempting – after all, the science jobs market is intensely competitive - but is it possible to lie on your CV?

It isn't uncommon for people to lie on their CV, with some 38% of Britons having done it at least once, according to data referenced by Metro.

However, the truth is you really can't lie on your CV, and that bending the truth on your CV isn't really a good idea. Here are just some of the reasons why you should think again about lying on your CV:

The truth is often easy to find

We are in the Internet age, and it has never been easier for employers to do their own research into the various claims you make on your CV.

It may be easy to think that a ‘little white lie’ here or there will be glossed over. However, all that it takes for your credibility to be ruined is an employer discovering a mismatch between what your CV states and what is on your LinkedIn profile or elsewhere online.

As the saying goes, nothing ever completely disappears from the Internet, and traces of your employment history may be left online to trip you up in your career ambitions.

You might be ‘found out’ on the job 

Even if you secure the role with the help of a lie about something you claimed to be proficient in, the likelihood is that at some point, you will need to back up that claim.

This can lead to an incredibly awkward situation as you unsuccessfully attempt to ‘fake’ skills or experience that you don’t have, potentially ending in humiliation as you are forced to admit to the lie.

Avoiding the lie in the first place is an infinitely better idea. If there is a certain skill or qualification that you wish you had, it’s better to work towards this and mention it on your CV, than to be anything less than absolutely truthful.

It could ruin your reputation

A reputation for integrity and honesty can be so hard to earn, and so easily lost. What’s more, the adverse impact can extend well beyond you being unable to secure a specific job.

Your reputation, after all, is hugely important when you are seeking any job, and if employers have any reason to question your ethics and integrity, they may wonder what else you may lie about on the job, which could imperil their entire company’s reputation.

News of your deceitfulness can quickly spread online and between different companies in your sector – so don’t take the risk.

You could lose your job

If there’s anything worse than not getting your dream job, it is surely getting that job, only to lose it because of a lie you told.

Employers don’t take lying lightly, and you could very easily find yourself back in the dole queue if any lie of yours is discovered. In the most severe cases – such as if the job legally required you to have a particular qualification that you lied about having – you could even face legal action.

Yes, many very successful people have lied on their CVs – ranging from former Yahoo chief executive Scott Thompson to media tycoon David Geffen – but that doesn’t mean you should follow their examples, especially when – as The Telegraph explains – their misdeeds so often ended badly.

Don’t put yourself in the awkward position of having something to hide – instead, tell the truth on your CV for the ultimate peace of mind. Remember that here at leading science recruitment agency Hyper Recruitment Solutions, we can advise you on how to construct a winning CV that won’t leave you feeling the need to be untruthful in the first place. 

how to tailor your cv

It takes time to craft the perfect CV that will land you job interviews and maximise your opportunities as a current or prospective professional in a science field like biotechnology, FMCG or pharmacology.

Although some candidates may be able to cope with a one-size-fits-all resume, tailoring your CV to individual job specifications is often vital to increasing your chances of securing a job interview and in turn, landing an all-important job offer.

Get the basics right

Before you can begin to tailor your CV to a specific job role or company, it is important to start with a strong, well-written generic CV. Collate your accomplishments, experiences, qualifications and any additional information that you consider appropriate – the importance of extracurricular activities, for instance, should not be ignored – to give employers a chance to understand who you are.

Find the job you wish to apply for                                           

The first step to tailor your CV is finding a science job for which you would like to apply. Conducting analysis of the qualifications and experience that top employers seek will help to give you an understanding of how to structure your CV – for example, placing a degree above job-specific training may be advantageous when applying for a particular role.

Remember that here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, we advertise many great science jobs on our website, so whether you are on the lookout for your next big opportunity in regulatory affairs, quality assurance or bioinformatics, we are a great place to begin your job hunt.

Edit according to the job description

Reviewing job descriptions and editing your CV accordingly is the best way to begin the tailoring process. Arrange your CV so that your stated qualifications and accomplishments nicely match the requirements of the given role for which you would like to apply, and describe your work experience in the context of the job description. Recent graduates, for example, may want to gear the content of their CV towards their education, while those with experience in a junior science role may want to describe the valuable skills they acquired from it. 

Mirror the recruiter's language

Closely mirroring the specific 'buzzwords' that appear in a job specification will allow you to further tailor your CV and show the given science recruitment agency or employer that you understand their position and its requirements in full. Spending some time on the prospective employer's website and mimicking their language and style in your CV also allows you to research the culture and values of the organisation so that you are prepared in the event of being offered an interview.

Network for insider information

Use your professional network to find specific leads and contacts that you can use to your advantage. Ideally, get into an informal discussion with an employee from your targeted organisation for insights and insider information that you can use to sharpen your CV to the role.

Final thought

Although tailoring your CV for every job for which you apply can be time-consuming, it's true that hard work pays off. You should always try to avoid sending a generic, untailored CV to a prospective employer. Not only does a generic CV tend to communicate a lack of care and attention, but it can also waste both your own time and that of a prospective employer, increasing the likelihood of your application being cast away to the bottom of the pile.

Knowing how to tailor your CV to the science jobs for which you yearn is vital if you are to secure those all-important interviews.

Become more employable

The beginning of a new year is supposed to see people living up to their resolutions and dropping bad habits in favour of far more productive ones. In reality, of course, most of us end up doing more or less the same things as we did the year before.

But there's no reason for you to be the same! Become more employable and nab one of the best science jobs this year with these 10 tips from Hyper Recruitment Solutions:

1. Revamp your CV

Does your CV quickly make clear why no employer should ignore you? Is it well-structured, readable and free of mistakes? Do you adapt it to each new position that you apply for? Make sure the answer to all three of these questions is a resounding 'yes!'

2. Undertake further training

That molecular biology job you've got your eye on may be more attainable with an additional qualification. Even if you don't need a specific formal qualification to get the role you want, there might be other useful skills that you can learn in order to boost your employability. 

3. Improve your interview technique

Many candidates have a sparkling CV, but can't articulate in person what makes them such a great catch. Avoid this problem by rehearsing answers to common interview questions and developing your lift pitch - this will ensure that you're prepared to really impress your potential employer. 

4. Determine what you are worth

Assess what value you actually have to an employer on the basis of your current skills, attributes and experience. Learn to confidently 'sell' yourself during interviews, and remembering that you're interviewing the employer as well!

5. Brush up on your leadership skills

Great leadership isn't just about managing a team - it's also about being able to manage yourself. Can you work well independently without the need to be micro-managed? Are you able to show initiative when working?

6. Build your online presence

Your profile on the web can both assist and damage your chances with employers, who will often Google the names of candidates before offering them a job. Make sure your own net presence is a help rather than a hindrance - see our social media clean-up tips for assistance.

7. Change your attitude

It's especially easy for those who have been unemployed for a while to think they'll never find another good job. Unfortunately, this lack of confidence does not go unnoticed by employers, and it can therefore become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Think positive, and this will come through in your applications and interviews.

8. Show flexibility

You may desire a certain salary and hours, but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll get it. Keep an open mind: even a less-than-ideal role may turn out to be the perfect stepping stone to your dream job.

9. Request feedback from others

What do your current employers and/or colleagues think of your current performance? Ask them about your best and worst attributes - what are your strengths right now, and in which areas could you improve?

10. Keep busy!

Don't be that jobseeker who simply watches TV all day - you should be searching hard for jobs and other opportunities that will make you more employable. Hunting out that dream role is a full-time job in itself!

If you're looking for a job in science or technology, be sure to register with Hyper Recruitment Solutions to get the latest science job listings and further advice on how to be more employable.

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