CV writing tips for scientists

CV writing tips for scientists

Making the switch!

This article provides some help on CV writing tips for scientists for PhDs and PostDocs looking for jobs outside of academia and what they might need to add to their CV to improve it for a business orientated position.

Deciding on a life within academia

The key stage in any scientist’s research career is identifying whether they would like to continue researching in academia or make the jump to industry or business. This can be the toughest decision for every aspiring scientist, whether PhD or Post-Doc. Many years in the lab have conditioned your thoughts into achieving one goal…. becoming a PI. However, this is not always possible and exploring different options becomes a must. Below are some tips on what might be required to transition your CV from academically directed towards a more business directed CV.

Identifying strengths & CV writing tips

Identifying strengths in your curriculum vitae as well as how your Post-Doc and PhD research studies can translate into demonstrable skills is the key step in making the transition into Industry/Business. Looking back on experiences you encountered during your PhD and Post-Doc is an important step in creating your CV. During both studies you will have spent countless hours being your own project manager as well as managing undergraduate and Masters’ students projects. This can be viewed as micro- and macro-management experience and is a key skill that business desire and should be highlighted in your CV. Expanding on what roles were carried out during these projects will be looked on favourably and discussing what your objectives, goals and outcomes were will give your future employer an insight into your business mind.

Monetary management experience during your PhD/Post-Doc

Depending on whether your obtained a fellowship, you might have managed grants and forecasting expenditure for running of the lab and subsequent projects. Mentioning accounting skills no matter how basic will be positively viewed on a curriculum vitae and picked up by a prospective employer.

Your 10,000 hours of presentation experience

Another strength that a journeyed post-doc will have is presentation skills; whether it was at your weekly lab meeting, journal club or at an international conference you will have amassed a few hundred of hours talking to an audience. Presentation is key for every business and conveying a clear message is important for every business to grow. Highlighting these skills and demonstrating them if possible in an interview will give you that extra edge you need to get the job.

Working as a Post-Doc/PhD in a team

A key question most HR departments ask is whether you have the ability to work well in groups. Unbeknownst to some business, team work is a key factor in completing every scientific project, no matter have advanced or remedial, completing tasks as a group and delegating these tasks is essential for every lab to succeed. Emphasize where possible your team building skills in your CV. And finally peer review: Hopefully after a few years spent in the lab you will published a small library of papers. Demonstrating that you have undergone peer review to publish articles can demonstrate multiple skills and show how hard working and competitive you really are. This will also show that you have been working as a scientific market researcher, compiled information from both your data and others, and presented this data to form an idea. Similarly to scientists goals of being the seminal publication, businesses also want to be first, whether it’s for market share, product catalog or revenue. Hopefully with your scientific skills you will be able to show them how!

CV structure Example

Just copy and past the following into word and fill out the contents. Remember less is more and being direct about what you did/do rathering than wandering long sentences will help. Prospective employers will not want to read super long CVs so make sure you keep it short and sweet.

Save your CV as a PDF

Finally, save your CV as a PDF before sending it! You don't want any mark up still visible in the document. Any even if you make a spelling mistake, it will be less likely to be spotted versus the red line under misspelled words Microsoft word.

Section Information

Personal Information:




Date of Birth (Optional): Day/Month/Year

Employment History:

Jun 2018 -Oct 2018: Science Company

Oct 2014 - May 2018: Research Company


Oct 2013 -Jun 2014: Post Doc at University

Oct 2009 - May 2018: PhD Student, University of Science

Current Position:

Deparmental Research Co-ordinator

Currently I am … One Paragraph

Littlie overview…. One Paragraph

My responsibilities as…include:

  • Developing ….
  • Management of….
  • Presenting…..

Previous Position:

Senior Post-Doc

From Date to Date I was the ……One Paragraph - Short

I was responsible for…. One Paragraph - Short

Awards & Achievements:

> ELISA Genie Travel Award Winner

> Best Post at Cancer Conference


John Smith Et Al 2019 (In preparation)

John Smith Et Al 2020 (In preparation)

24th May 2022 Sean Mac Fhearraigh

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