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Scientists!!! 8 new tips to get your CV to the top of a search

by Paramount Recruitment

If you are currently registered to multiple online job boards and agency databases and you are wondering why you haven’t been contacted for relevant positions it could be that your CV is not being found in the new era of Boolean searching and CV-parsing technology. Don’t know what that is? Don and Lauren from Paramount Recruitment give their inside knowledge on the tools and software that large employers and recruitment companies now use to manage applications and search for candidates. Team Leader Don has a research scientist background, whilst Senior Consultant Lauren is a science graduate and in this article they highlight 8 tips for getting your CV to the top of the pile.

“These days it is not uncommon for over 100 applications to be received for every job advertised on the internet. The poor economic climate combined with the ease of applying online means that your CV has to work really hard to get you shortlisted. In a perfect world every CV would be read in-depth by a technical hiring manager/recruiter (like Paramount) but, like it or not, this doesn’t always happen. If you’re registered with an agency or on job-boards, non-specialist recruiters will rely on the use of Boolean skill searches to filter through thousands of CVs. When your CV is then submitted to a client your CV is likely to be read either by an administrator or a software programme using parsing technology (software that automatically scans your CV and enters it onto a database, frequently ranking depending on whether your CV matches what the filter is looking for). Taking this into account you have to make sure your CV is correctly structured to both pass the filter and be found in searches”

Here are some specific key tips:

1. Uncommon Job titles – use generic terms as well

If your employer gives your job a generic title such as ‘’Research Scientist’’, make sure that you state specifically what your job title/role is. That means you won’t miss out if the filter/search specifically asks for Analytical Chemists or Molecular Biologists. Don adds ‘’ In my previous role my job title was “research biochemist”, but essentially I was an assay development scientist in target validation’’.

2. State the obvious

What’s obvious to you as a scientist may not be to an administrator or software filter. For example, if you are a research focussed analytical chemist, make sure that you state that you have experience of HPLC, method development, method validation etc.

3. List skills/technologies/therapy areas

Specifically state all the skills/technologies/machinery/platforms that you have used and therapy areas that you’ve worked in. Many employers will ask for specific experience of a certain technology or therapeutic field so make sure you list it! Lauren adds “I once forwarded an ideal candidate for a job titled “DNA Sequencing Scientist” but unfortunately the CV was overlooked by the administrator as it did not contain the platforms of NGS as stated in the job spec. It was only until I highlighted that the candidate was experienced in all platforms of NGS (Roche, Illumina, Affymetrix etc.) that the candidate then got an interview”.

4. Cover all variants

If the skill has several ways of being written, make sure you cover all the variants – e.g. next generation sequencing, NGS, next-gen sequencing, LCMS, LC-MS, LC-MS/MS etc.

5. State all employers (and new & previous names if they’ve changed)

Make sure you list your employers’ full names (many employers will ask for candidates with experience of certain companies) and again, make sure you use all variants of that name (GSK, GlaxoSmithKline) and, if the company has changed names, use both the name of the company when you worked there and what it is called now (e.g. Abbott Laboratories, now AbbVie)

6. Be brief & structure your CV well

Don’t bog down your CV with filler information. All we want to see from the CV is that you can technically do the job. Once we have established this we will call you to have an in depth talk about your background and profile and then discuss tailoring a CV or cover note for a specific position.

7. Include all your information in your CV

It is good practise to write a covering email explaining what your situation is and what locations/salary expectations you have, but frequently this information can get detached from your CV so make sure it is at the end of your CV too! Include:

  • Visa status
  • Contact numbers and appropriate times you can be contacted
  • Address / postcode and the locations you will be prepared to work in
  • Salary details (and salary expectations)

8. Now do it on LinkedIn

Once you’ve got your CV search-friendly, do the same to your LinkedIn account. Many recruiters are now searching LinkedIn for candidates – so make sure your employment history is complete with all the information stated above and that your profile has a list of your skills and keywords.

Hopefully if you make these tweaks your CV will start to rank higher on employer and recruiter searches. Now using these hot tips please register/update your CV with Paramount Recruitment and we will be sure to contact you with relevant opportunities!

Find out more from Paramount Recruitment

CVs and Covering Letters

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