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Make your CV sizzle - and find the job you want

Whether you’re applying to be a clinical researcher, or looking for roles working in research technology and medical device development, your CV needs to engage your potential employer(s), proving you’re the right candidate for the job.

Fit your CV for the purpose

It’s never OK to send a generic CV for scientific roles – make sure you re-write or adapt your CV for each specific role you apply for. To make yours stand out:

  • Keep it succinct – 2 pages is usually enough for a graduate CV; more will be required for post-doctorates to include a summary of papers, conferences etc.

  • Reverse chronological formats are the easiest for review by recruiters and hiring managers. These are lots of good formats available online or in templates.

  • Ensure you forefront your technical experience / specific skills set to match those required in the job description.

  • Present yourself professionally – spell-check the CV every time you adapt it, use proper formatting with a consistent, easy-to-read font (e.g. a sans-serif font at 11pt size minimum) and make use of headings and sub-sections.

Make your personal information clear

Use your name in large font as a header, to help identify the CV in a pile, and ensure your email address sounds professional. Make sure you have your professional contact details on your CV - you’d be amazed at some of the email addresses we’ve seen and the number of CVs without contact details.

Consider using a short (max. 2-3 line) ‘Personal profile/statement’ or ‘Career objective’: your CV is not just about your scientific experience details, it should convey something of your personality too.

Remember to frame work experience as bullet-points of useful transferrable applications to the current role in hand.

Highlight your strengths and key achievements for the role that you are applying for

For each role you have worked in, think about highlighting your strengths and key achievements that are most relevant to the role you are applying for:

  • ‘Key achievements’ is the most important section. In 2-3 bullets quantify and qualify the skills, achievements and things you did that you are most proud of in that role.

    • e.g. Achievements in projects e.g. how many projects you’ve managed, value, your role in a team, your performance

    • e.g. ‘Research interests’: for a research-based job, lead with features of the scientific content of projects or research you’ve completed.

    • e.g. ‘Technical skills’: for technical roles, emphasise the project-related skills you have acquired, and practical tasks you’ve undertaken.

You’re featuring your strengths, so frame each bullet point around what you achieved, improved or gained from the task or project. Many recruiters will look through CV’s for specific keywords, and some employers will use software to help them filter, so ensure that you’re using a broad range of keywords (for example you could use CRO in one section, and Clinical Research Organisation in another.

Finish up with the more standard CV sections: academic qualifications, hobbies and interests and referee details.

Here at Pop Science, we understand that your strength is doing your job, and that writing a CV is something you might not do too often, so we’re happy to give you feedback to help you improve and give you the best possible chance of landing that dream job. If you’d like some CV advice, or don’t know where to start your job search, please do send us your CV via our homepage and we’ll be happy to advise.

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