Finding a job in biotech, step 1: creating an on-line resume

This article is part of a series on finding a job in biotechnology. 

You worked hard as a biotechnology / bioscience / biomanufacturing student. You made solutions and media, ran gels, purified proteins, cloned DNA, cultured cells, and did math problems every single day.  Now it’s time to take the skills and put them to work.  But how?  How do you get started?

This series of articles covers a series of steps you can follow in finding a new job in the biotech/bioscience industry.


Creating your on-line resume

The first item you need for your job search is a resumé.  Your resumé is a document that describes your skills and accomplishments.

Professional networking services like LinkedIn are good places to start creating your resumé.  I will use LinkedIn as an example in this series of articles since it's used by many biotech professionals.  You may even want to join the Bio-Link group on LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is also helpful for building a resumé because it provides areas for you to add the standard types of information that are found in resumés.

To get started, go to

1.  Choose “Join LinkedIn” for a free account.

2.  Add a description that matches the type of job you’re seeking.

3.  Add your college.

4.  Add jobs you’ve held. 

5.  Add skills. 


What kinds of skills should you add?

I think the best way to figure this out is to make a list of the types of things that you've done in your courses or in internships. Do this in some kind of document that you will be able to keep. Then, look at that list and think about the kinds of skills that were required to carry out those tasks.  

Sometimes the best descriptions for skills aren’t obvious.  If you’re not sure how to describe your skills, you might look at job postings, try an on-line dictionary, or ask instructors from your college. If you're been enrolled in a Bio-Link program, you may have learned the types of skills described here.

To add a skill, find the section that says "Skills & Expertise."


Click the pencil icon.  A pencil icon almost always means "edit."

Then type the name of the skill and click Add.


How do you know if you’ve listed the right skills?

Ask your classmates.  Ask your instructors.  Ask colleagues or supervisors from internships.  In other words, get feedback from people you know.  It's also helpful to look at job postings to see how skills are described.  You might see a skill listed in advertisement that you can add to your resume.

One former Bio-Link student that I know worked at a fish hatchery. Fish hatcheries raise fish.  When I do a Google search with the phrase, “raise fish,” I find that it’s also called “fish farming” and “fish farming” is called “Aquaculture.”  Aquaculture should be added to the list of skills in this resume.

I can also see that she worked as a laboratory manager.  Lab managers often order supplies, track inventory, work with spreadsheet programs like Excel and manage budgets.  She might add “Ordering,” “Excel,” “Inventory,” and “Budgeting” to her list of skills.

You can also look at the skills your classmates list.  But be careful.  Don't list skills unless you're confident you can do these things.  You don't want to be in a job interview and have to describe how to perform a task you've never done.

When in doubt, ask your instructors to review your resumé and let you know if there are skills you should remove from the list.


Coming next:  Building your network


Submitted by Sandra Porter on Fri January 25, 2013.

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