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.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

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.

 
 
Hyper Recruitment Solutions (HRS) are here to help you achieve your career ambitions. Whether you are looking for a job in science, engineering, or technology the formula for creating the right CV is the same. Your CV is designed to do one thing – get you an interview. Therefore, it is crucial you make the right first impression.
 
Your CV is about selling your skills and experience, and showing a potential employer you're the right person for the job. Remember, your CV is a reflection of yourself, so it's important that it's well laid out and looks professional. Of course how you write your CV is entirely up to you, but there are some basic rules to follow if you want to create the best impression.
 
If you haven’t written a CV for some time, or have questions about what to include or how to lay it out don’t worry, we are here to help you. Your HRS consultant will be happy to offer friendly advice and recommend changes to ensure you get noticed!
 
Please visit our CV Advice and Tips section by clicking on the icon below to access more useful advice and information on how to create your CV.
 
 

User Menu

Month List