5 Things Smart PhDs Leave Off Their Resume

Over 427,000 resumes are posted to Monster.com each week—that’s just one job website.

Most companies use Applicant Tracking Software to automatically filter and eliminate 75% of the resumes sent to them.

If your resume makes it to the desk of a hiring manager and recruiter, they will spend an average of just 5-7 seconds reading it.

Seconds. That’s all you get.

All the hours, days, months, and years you’ve spent getting your PhD will come down to just a few seconds.

Think of how hard you’ve worked to get to where you are.

Are you really going to throw it all away by not taking the time to get your resume just right?

When it comes to resumes, most PhDs assume more is better. Triplicates are better than duplicates. An N of 200 is better than an N of 2. A CV with 10 first author publications is better than a CV with one first author publication. On and on.

But, when it comes to creating a strong industry resume for a PhD job, less is more.

Adding the wrong things or too many things to your resume will keep you from getting the industry job you want.

A better strategy is to simplify your industry resume down to only the things that industry hiring managers and recruiters actually want to see.

Here are 5 things smart PhDs like you should remove from your industry resume:

#1 Unprofessional email address

Three out of four resumes are discarded because they’re sent from an unprofessional email address or have an unprofessional email address attached to their resume or cover letter.

This means you can put yourself ahead of 75% of the other applicants simply by eliminating any references to unprofessional email addresses like [email protected] or similar.

A lot of PhDs are afraid to use their University email address when applying to jobs because they think their PI is going to hack into their email account and find out they’re trying to leave the lab.

This won’t happen. PIs don’t have access to your University email account.

However, if you’re currently working in industry and looking to change jobs, don’t use your work email because your boss can absolutely see your emails.

Instead, create a very professional gmail address in this format: [email protected]

If this version of your name is taken, then simply insert your middle initial or middle name between your first and last names.

#2 Impersonal greeting

Never use an impersonal greeting on your resume’s cover letter. Greetings like “Dear Sirs” or “To Whom It May Concern” are creepy, distant, and outdated.

Most importantly, these greetings makes you seem lazy.

Instead of taking the time to research who the hiring manager is, you just threw your hands up in the air and typed a general greeting that could be applied to anyone.

As a result, your resume and candidacy were seen as mediocre at best.

Smart PhDs always use a personal greeting.

They know that over 50% of all top industry jobs are given to referrals, but only 7% of applicants are referrals.

Let that sink in.

Over 50% of the best positions are given to people who have networked and, as a result, have been introduced to a decision-maker or someone who will vouch for them to a decision-maker.

Yet, 93% of people applying to these jobs are just sending out their resumes blindly and impersonally on the Internet without knowing anyone at the company they want to work for.

Which side of the fence are you on?

Before you send your resume in, find out who the hiring manager is.

Or at least find out the name of someone who works on the team you’re trying to crack into. At the very least, use the name of someone in human resources.

Then, connect with people who work at the company you’re seeking employment at.

Network on LinkedIn, network at face-to-face events, and do whatever it takes to get to know someone well enough to put their name on the first line of your cover letter.

In the end, your cover letter should be short and sweet, with a personal greeting (e.g. Dear Jeremy, Dear Dr. Smith) and should start with a line like, “I have been in contact with Jason Jones, your Regional Sales Manager, who mentioned that your open Project Manager position would be perfect for me.”

#3 Objective statement

Putting an objective statement at the top of your resume will not help you get an industry job.

Instead, it will paint you into a corner.

A better strategy is to use a visual center.

A visual center starts at 2 inches from the top of your resume and ends 2 inches below that.

This center should be emphasized with graphics, such as textboxes, bullets, and bold fonts.

Load the visual center with the value you will offer the company, such as across-the-board accomplishments, industry-specific skills, a summary of a highly successful project you lead, or even a clipping from a recommendation letter or news article about your work.

Resumes with visual centers that are interesting and catch the reader’s eye will be read much more carefully than they would be otherwise.

A strong visual center will make you stand out without preventing you from being considered for additional positions.

If you want employers to notice you and keep you in mind for other positions that you may also be qualified for, replace your objective statement with a visual center.

#4 Publications

Publications don’t matter in industry.

Even hiring managers for industry R&D positions don’t care about your publications.

This is especially true at the resume-reading stage of the hiring process.

I know—it hurts.

I’m sorry.

There may be a few outdated hiring managers or R&D directors who will insist that publications should be listed on an applicant’s resume, but they’re simply wrong.

Smart PhDs know that putting their publication record on an industry resume is a waste of time.

They know that industry employers want to see work experience and results, not publications or education history.

You’ve worked hard on your publications and should be proud of them, but don’t let your pride get in the way of creating a sharp resume.

Besides, your publication record isn’t going anywhere.

Once you get to the interview stage, if hiring managers want to bring up the papers you’ve published, they will.

#5 Job duties

Industry employers do not want to read about your job duties.

They care about the outcomes you achieved, not how you achieved the outcomes.

Your resume does not need a methodology section.

Delete any reference to “job duties” or “responsibilities included.”  Instead, list key achievements as tangibly as possible.

Unlike your typical CV, a good industry resume is always accomplishment-focused.

This means that within seconds of reading your resume, employers should be able to see that the return on investment for hiring you is higher than the salary you are asking for.

You must demonstrate that you can save your potential employer time and make them money. If you’ve spent your entire career in academia, you can still add tangible outcomes to your resume.

For example, you could say, “Helped PI recognize over $1,000,000 in grant funding by skillfully leading a team of scientists to complete all projects on time, resulting in grant renewal every year.”

What else can you do to make sure you get your first job in industry after leaving Academia?

Here’s what to do if you REALLY want a job in Industry after a PhD

There is a training program for PhDs and young academics that want to leave academia and get a job in industry.

It’s for you if you think nothing that you learnt in academia is valuable for a company.

For you if you feel like an overspecialized academic.

For you if you went to a networking event hoping to get a job and nothing happened.

For you, who can write a 30 page paper but has no clue how to write a single page CV that gets you invited for an interview.

For you, who doesn’t want to run the rat race of linking postdoc after postdoc in different countries hoping for an elusive tenured position.

For you, if you have that feeling in your gut saying “I enjoyed academia so far, but I don’t see myself here all my life”.

Meet the Cheeky Scientist Association

… the best training program that helps you land a job industry after a PhD.

It helps you get a job in industry AND once you are there, it teaches you how to grow in your new role. It’s a lifetime investment that pays off year after year!

It covers topics like networking, applying for jobs, negotiating, developing the right skills for industry, or even turning your LinkedIn profile into a magnet for recruiters. It’s that damned complete.

It opens enrolment soon, stay tuned!

Wait, there is more. Keep reading.

Fun fact #1: did you know that Dora Farkas, a guest blogger here at Next Scientist who wrote viral posts on dealing with tough supervisors, is an Accredited Cheeky Scientist consultant who is also an active member in the Association?

Fun fact #2: did you know that Isaiah Hankel, the creator of the Association, is also the author of the book Black Hole Focus, which has been equally endorsed by New York Times best selling authors AND top scientists?

Wait, there is even more. Don’t stop reading now.

Special bonus for Next Scientist readers

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But before … I have a last surprise for you

Free resume webinar:

You are invited to a free webinar training on industry resumes starting this Thursday, August 3rd.

Get Hired By Creating The Right Industry Resume For 2017 webinar is hosted by Cheeky Scientist this Thursday August 3rd, at 1PM  and 9PM EST (both are live trainings).

Click here to register now for the webinar.

Isaiah will share common mistakes PhDs do at job searching in industry and what you should do instead so you get a job fast.

Are you in?

I want to see you at the webinar, it’s going to be career-blowing!

About Isaiah Hankel, Ph.D.

Isaiah is a Ph.D. in Anatomy & Cell Biology and internationally recognized speaker, bestselling author of Black Hole Focus, and a top Fortune 500 consultant. He is an expert in the biotechnology industry and specializes in helping PhDs transition into cutting-edge alternative career tracks.

Isaiah is the founder of Cheeky Scientist, an industry training platform for PhDs who want to become confident and successful industry professionals. Follow Isaiah Hankel and Cheeky Scientist on Twitter.