[Biocareers Seminar] Looking Your Best on Paper: Building a Resume and Cover Letter for Industry

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During this webinar hosted by BioCareers, Lauren Celano, founder of Propel Careers, covered tips on how to build an effective resume for industry. Click through to find out more!


– Differences and similarities between resume and CV
– Content Advice
– Formatting Advice
– Resume examples
– What happens to your resume, CV and cover letter after you submit an application

– Differences and similarities between resume and CV

  Be succinct, include big picture summaries of your research
– Want to include a personal email address so that your email doesn’t bounce if you move institutions
– Important to tailor your research for each role as people may not be as familiar with the science

Resumes: Do not include:

– Picture
– Personal Information (DOB, family or relationship status)
– Be careful with hobbies: interesting hobbies are okay if they are inline with company culture (e.g. the whole office goes rock climbing) 

– Academic CVs do not show what you did and what techniques you did…  


– A resume provides more details that the reader can take away vs. a CV which does not provide a lot of clarity around what you have done. 
– In a resume, you get to choose to highlight what you choose to share among your experiences and should be really tailored to the position/industry you are applying for.   

What should you highlight?

 It depends on where you are applying!

Think about what you have done and how it can align with a future job!


10 seconds is the average time a HR person looks at your resume or CV!

How do you format your documents so that your application gets through the initial screening process?

– Number of pages depends on the field, finance etc, may be 1 page

Contact Info:
– Your name with credential (e.g. PhD), have a professional email, if you are international and have US citizenship/green card, PUT THIS ON YOUR RESUME otherwise they may assume you cannot legally work in the US. 

– Summary of Qualifications (vs. Objective – as this may change)
– What are the top 3 things you want people to know about your qualifications? Science skills, leadership, management etc.

Example for industry R&D scientists:

* tailored to the job ad! If they use specific abbreviations, you should use them, otherwise spell everything out. 
Experience section: 
– Paid Experience
– Undergrad/Postgrad/Postdoc Experience
– One sentence description of your research which includes your PI’s name, as this may be a point of connection. 

Wording matters – e.g. “Research studies the role of XXY with an emphasis on key proteins such as A and B”. — vs. “Research studies chronic X disease and the role of key proteins in XX environment”.  Make it easier to understand!! 

– Sub headings can be useful!! Different strategies:



Resume Examples:

– Small company biotech
 Values grants and appreciates entrepreneurial mindset
 Highlight project leads, business-orientated competitions and diagnosis

– Non-bench application:
 Collaborations, not highlighting techniques 

– Business Development Roles:
 Highlights business experience over research experience

For bench roles:

– List your experience and what you want  to do. If you don’t want to do animal work etc, don’t list it!

For non-bench roles:
– List other skills, i.e. imaging software, statistical software etc


Additional Selections:

Resume formatting:

– Have someone else review your resume, outside your field for several reasons:
   1. Wording is okay and understandable to outsiders
2. Details!!! Formatting is correct: bullet points are aligned, etc 

If using 2 pages, use a full second page. i.e. try not to squish sections, add other sections if you need to overflow. Use all the space you have! 
– Use bullet points and formatting to help focus attention! Rolls of text is hard to read and focus on. 

Writing a cover letter:

Often cover letters get separated from resumes, so make sure you list contact info!
Indicate you have read the job description, so tailor the cover letter! It’s okay to reiterate job requirements from the job ad.
Focus on the items mentioned that you KNOW they want and don’t waste space talking about irrelevant items.



What happens to your job application?
– Not everyone gets both cover letter and resume (or reads them).

1. HR Person – gets both resume and cover letter, reads cover letter
2. Hiring Manager – maybe gets both, reads resume
3. Interviewers – resume, perhaps very late. Don’t usually get the cover letter.

 Thus, its okay to repeat/reiterate what is in the cover letter and ensure you cover the important points of how you fit the job in both!


 Question: How often do people looked at LinkedIn?
Answer: ALL THE TIME! If you are on LinkedIn, you want to have a professional photo that makes you look approachable, a good summary of your background and if you can, mention what you are looking for, career wise.

Question: How do you design your resume if you are switching fields where you may not have a lot of existing skills?
Answer: Focus on the transferrable skills!

Question: How long it take from submission to job offer.
Answer: 1.5 – 3 months typically. Once you submit it can take 1 day to 2 weeks to contact you initially (and may contact you up to 6 months later!).

Job Listing: Client Support Specialist – Boston, Promega

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Client Support Specialist – Boston

 Job Description:

JOB OBJECTIVE:        The Client Support Specialist will serve as the liaison to our internal and external customers.  Provide technical support and information about Promega products and services, thereby building strong customer relationships that will lead to an increase in information exchange, technology acquisition, and economic interaction.  Responsible for coordination of all end user-defined activities in their respective territories, including assisting distributors.
All times are in Eastern Daylight Time.

Job ID 
# of Openings 

Posted Date 

Location : City 

More information about this job (click here):

  1. Use Sales Analysis and designated CRM to generate reports, manipulate data and effectively analyze results.  Maintain appropriate notes in the designated CRM.
  1. Identify and maintain strategic accounts and clients to maximize effectiveness.  Consistently request, receive and leverage customer referrals.
  1. Develop and maintain an active sales funnel of opportunities across the Promega product portfolio.
  1. Provide technical support by thorough knowledge of Promega’s product line and effective communication of applications related to the products.
  1. Support and develop strong customer and distributor relationships by acting as a liaison between the customer and various departments at Promega.  Bring field issues and complex sales opportunities to the regional manager and provide necessary customer follow up.  Identify both new technologies/products and “targeted” technologies/products that will benefit Promega’s business efforts.
  1. In cooperation with the Regional Manager, design and implement a coordinated business plan for the territory that reflects Promega’s corporate initiatives while taking into consideration the customer situation (funding, technology needs, etc)
  1. Work with the regional manager to develop opportunity based pricing strategies at accounts (quotes, purchasing contracts with discount schedules, freezer programs and stockroom/consignment).  In conjunction with the Promega business units, organize and conduct field-marketing activities such as workshops, focus groups and beta test programs to gain customer feedback.
  1. Remain familiar with competitive products for the purpose of educating customers on the benefit of Promega technology.  Monitor the competition  and report important activites (technical developments, trends within key accounts, seminars, training sessions, etc) back to Promega.
  1. Drive awareness and success of the Helix program through Helix stocking and sample follow up.  Host Helix relaunch parties, develop stock customization, work with the SBU to appropriately market the unit within the account.
  1. Work with SBU resource/Inside Sales Team/CAM to provide instrument demonstrations with the goal of moving opportunities forward.
  1. Discuss relevant market investment activities and playbook items for strategic territory development with the regional manager on a regular basis and enact plans to achieve goals as defined in conjunction with the regional manager.  Succinctly deliver account and territory plan presentations to the sales team at regional meetings.
  1. Flexible in handling change, meeting a standard of excellence, persistent in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks.  Self-awareness of how behaviors can affect our colleagues.
  1. Understands and complies with ethical, legal and regulatory requirements applicable to our business.
  1. Attend Sales Training sessions for Miller Heiman and Spin Selling.  Independently develop SPIN call plans and identify appropriate use.  With manager assistance fill out and review Blue/Green sheets and sales call plans.
  1. Represent Promega at conferences, shows, workshops and seminars locally, regionally or nationally, as necessary.  Organize and plan lectures, vendor shows, workshops and seminars in specific territory.
  1. Participate in organization for regional and national sales meetings including logistics, food, etc.
  1. BS or BA (MS, or Ph.D. preferred) degree in a life sciences related discipline.
  1. Technical competency to understand and to clearly discuss fundamental theory and principles of experimental design, techniques and results; to stay current in technical knowledge; to troubleshoot and to provide information back to the customer in a helpful, courteous, positive and professional manner.
  1. Minimum of 2 years lab experience with proven knowledge and understanding of molecular biology, cell biology and related fields.