When does your resume say you “pipette blood samples” versus “validate disease pathways using cutting-edge technology”?
Submitted by Larry Petcovic on Wed, 2010-09-22 00:00
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HINT #1:  All science activity is linked to a scaling of scientific purpose that ranges from a simple lab task to the meaning of science in society.  Think of it as an inverted pyramid!



1. Your individual tasks are activities.  Most competent scientists could list at least 100 activities.  This level of detail defines your “scientific experience in the lab” and is quickly outdated in today’s world. You list this type of resume experience for jobs that are “bench” oriented (with the most current technology given priority). A summary statement of “experienced in over 100 lab techniques” would be used for the next higher-level jobs such as lab supervisor, project manager, or team leader positions.

2. When you stack these tasks and look at the outcome, then we are moving up the pyramid to a higher social purpose and the language changes to “validating findings for a new protocol …” or “exploring new techniques to enhance …” These are the same tasks or “100 activities” that are now framed for a team leader, project leader or lab manager.

3. Experience such as “investigating suspected biological precursors of …” or “proving the hypothesis of …” or “evaluating best technology for efficacy …” now stacks multiple outcomes for the next higher-level social purpose or JOB.  We are now describing lab managers and approaching director-level positions.

4. When you “validate disease pathways …” or “research to eliminate suspected agents …” or “determine the best practice for efficacy of our Brands…”, you are all the way at the top of the pyramid as it pertains to most scientists. We are approaching the executive suite!  The language for those “100 activities” needs to match the language of the social purpose of the job position.

HINT #2: Always work into your resume at least one statement that is one level ABOVE the job you are seeking!  It should be the last sentence in your summary of qualifications. You always want to show that you have potential for the next level in the job hierarchy! 

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