My regular readers know how much I preach against generic CV’s,the kind with a vague, cliché ridden objective statement, followed by the laundry list of STUFF designed to appeal to as many hiring authorities as possible.
Today, I want to discuss the generic CV’s evil twin, the “Dense, overly specific to your last position CV” loaded with abbreviations, technical terms, and nomenclature.
I see this a lot in the world of military to civilian transition, but I also see it a lot in the scientific world. Of course, you should list your specific expertise in specific research methods, and of course you should list your publications, and posters, All of this is very important, but you also need to put other things on the CV to guide the reader as to the areas in which you are suited.
Many of the people initially reading your CV aren’t scientists. They are HR people, desperately trying to play “match and send” with job descriptions they didn’t write, and maybe don’t fully understand.
In my experience as a recruiter in life science, I can attest there is often a disconnect between what the hiring authority wants, and what the front line HR people thinks they want. Many a time, a CV gets rejected or forwarded based on faulty assumptions, and someone ends up with either hurt feelings and a missed opportunity, or a first phone interview turns into a nightmare, where the candidate and HR person realize at the same time that they shouldn’t be talking.
The bottom line is that job seekers should take the time to spell everything out in simple to read language. Yes it takes time, but there are no shortcuts, and you want to win, right?
It’s too easy for an HR person to assume you are doing (or not doing) this or that function based on the volume of technical jargon on the CV, and make the wrong decision. Dense CVs also make it tough on your recruiters, because often, they have to play 20 questions to figure you out, and all of the pertinent stuff isn’t on the resume after all. HR has a nasty habit of losing the email that explains you.
It’s better to adjust the CV beforehand, I am here to tell you.
By “Spell Everything Out”, I mean things like this for example:
*If the position requires having completed a fellowship, put that in a prominent place on the CV.
*If you specialize in doing research for the commercialization of oncology therapies, say so using those words on the CV, and put them in a prominent place.
*If you are a bioinformatics guru, and you do specific things with those systems, spell out what they are, don’t just say you know STARlims or something like that.
Take a look at your current CV, and imagine yourself as a non-scientist trying to make sense of it It’s more important to explain what you actually do in plain English, than to list every scientific technique you are versed in. This is vitally important if you are looking to go from academic to commercial research They need to see immediately what you are involved in, so they know if there is harmonization with what they are doing.
I know I am kicking over some sacred cows when it comes to how things are usually done, but the bottom line is, as Bruce Lee said, you must “Hack away the un-essentials”, and make it easier for people to get you on the first try.
Until next time, I wish you all the best.
Thomas Patrick Chuna is a certified Five O’Clock Club job search coach.
Follow Coach Tom on Twitter @CoachU2JobHunt
NEW! Special Offer for Biocareers.com members! – Check out the Five O’clock Club ad on the “Career Tools” page.
The Five O’Clock Club is a nationally recognized outplacement firm with a proven job search methodology that helps job seekers get better jobs faster.
Learn more: http://www.fiveoclockclub.com http://www.patrick-international.net