4 kinds of resumes

How to use 4 different kinds of documents to introduce yourself

Most people start a job search with writing resumes.  But that is the last step before the interview!

Better is to update your LinkedIn and other Profiles, then update your CV, then skip a generic resume, then write the specific resume for the companies you have researched.

You also need more casual ways to introduce yourself.

And you need to know which words to use in each of these.

What words describe and show what you can and want to do next? Do you have a list with all the synonyms?  Is it sorted by Want to Use In My Next Job to Never Want to Use Again? Don’t use the “never” words if you can help it.

Use them to write your casual stories and your dragon-slaying tales.  Use them in your Profiles and CV.

Then do the research on the companies you want to work in.  What words do they use to talk about the problems they are working on.  Do you own these words too?

If all you have is a position description and have not spoken with someone currently working on the problem they need to hire to solve, then use the words in the position description – it may help you get through the “black hole” of the applicant tracking system.

When you have notes from the conversations you have had with the person working on that company’s current problem, you have the keywords for your resume for that particular job.  You will be in front of the rest of the applicants because you “speak the same language” as the hiring manager.

4 kinds of introductory documents:

  • Profiles (LinkedIn and Associations)
  • CV
  • Generic resume
  • Specific resume for a specific company

You can get by with just the first and last and really, truly, don’t waste your time polishing up the generic one.

Need help with this? Get help here

The steps before your resume and why you need them

What is a resume?

The Secret, High Power Start for Your Job Search

Before you start your job search

Jump start your job search

Your job search doesn’t need to be long, depressing and unproductive.

The secret to starting a fast, productive job search is to know exactly what you have to offer and how to tell people about it.

Knowing all of your skills and which ones you want to use in your next job will allow you to skip the unproductive parts of a search and move directly to the jobs you want.

Being able to talk about your skills in a concise and interesting way will allow people to know what you do and figure out if they need your skills to solve their problem. Or if they know someone who does.

Don’t be at a loss for words! Work on it ahead of time so you know which nouns and adjectives are the most appropriate.

Don’t expect that everyone can read your mind or knows what it is you do. Be able to tell them without boring them or talking from the 30000 foot view. You want them to see and hear your interest in what you do, but you don’t want to expect them to share your passion for it.

More tools

Do you have a complete list of your skills and expertise?

How to Fail at Job Search

Visible online so hiring managers and recruiters can find you

Are You Polishing Your Resume?


Are you polishing your resume?  Perhaps even “over-polishing” it?

Most people, when faced with a possible job change, spend a great deal of time and energy polishing their (single) resume.  This can be like a cancer that uses your energy and results in nothing good.

A resume is a piece of advertising, a piece of marketing collateral, designed to get you an interview at one particular company.  The same resume cannot be used at multiple companies because each company has a slightly different need, uses slightly different words and needs to be approached slightly differently.  So keep your online presence and profiles up-to-date so it is easy to produce a resume for that particular company!  Keep an ever renewing list of your current skills and the ones you want to use in your next job. Keep notes on the companies you want to work in so you can track their “jargon” and needs.

You will need a new, 2 page resume for every job you apply for.

Need some help?  Here is a podcast with more information

Or consider 30 minutes of private coaching

What words should I use in my resume?

https://biosciencejobkit.com/store-2/#!/Full-review-your-resume-or-CV-and-advice-for-changes/p/50288854Since you have your online Profiles filled out and are using both keywords and skills & expertise in it, you have a good start on your resume. 

You have written your PAR statements and have a chronological list of your jobs which you keep privately on your computer.

You have recorded the words your networking partner at each company used to describe their problem(s). 

You have been asked to submit a resume or your job finally showed up online at the companies you had on your watch list. 

Now is the time to write a resume for that particular job at that particular company. 

Start with your name and contact information, of course. Do I still need to say “Make sure your email address is professional”?

Don’t bother with an “objective” as your resume (unlike your profiles and PAR statements) is not about you.  It is a piece of marketing collateral that speaks about that particular company’s problem and how you can solve it; plus proof that you have done similar things before.

So start with 3 to 5 bullet points about the things you know are issues for the company that you know that you can do and that you want to do. 

Use the notes you took to decide which of the items in the position description (if you have one) are the issues that the team is really concerned about.  There are always seven ways to say something.  Use the way that your networking partner from that company used. Make these full sentences, not single words or phrases.

If you are applying “cold” to an online job posting, be sure to print out the position description first and highlight all the keywords used in it. Use those in your bullets and PARs. This allows the Applicant Tracking System to “see” the “fit”. 

Then list each of your titles and dates you held them along with the name of the company and a short statement about what they do (or did).

Below each position, use one of your PAR statements.  Tell the story of what you were hired to do, how you did it and the outcome.  Use the language from your notes for that company or language from the position description.  Use first person sentences…”I was hired because XYZ company needed someone to….”

List your awards, publications, and education at the bottom.

By using that company’s language or jargon, you are proving that you are a member of their “tribe”.  By translating the PAR statements from another company, you are provided proof that you can do these things because someone else hired you to do them.

Don’t use words that this company didn’t use unless you are certain that they would have if you had asked the right questions. 

Make your suitability simply leap off the page.  Don’t make the reader hunt for it and then have to translate it. 


Do You REALLY Need a Resume for EVERY Job???


Do you hate having to write a new resume for every job?

I’m sure that you have heard that you need a resume tailored to every job you apply for.

But “Why?” you ask.  Because your resume is not really all about you.  It is about how you can help that particular company.

“But”, you say, “That is so much work!” It doesn’t have to be.  

Let’s look at this a bit more: A resume is not your memoir.  It is not your whole life on 2 pages.  Even a CV is not everything you have ever done.  You are so very much more than what goes in either of these.

So what exactly is a resume?  

A resume is an advertisement, written for a very small and specific audience about how you can solve their particular problem.  

Does every company have, or think they have, the same problem? Of course not!  Or, at least, they would never admit it.

Does your experience apply to more than one company? Of course it does!  But you need to make it fall off the top half of the first page as the solution to their problem!

Don’t pile your skills and expertise on the hiring manager’s desk like a pile of Legos™ and ask what he would like to build with it.  He needs someone who can “hit the ground running”.  And he wants to know that you have dealt with problems like his.   

What questions do you have about your resume?  Join us for free open office hours and ask your questions there

Or schedule a private consulting session

 How Many Applicants Get Interviewed? Will You?

Your Resume is NOT About You

Do you know how many kinds of interviews there are?

The Black Hole



Does your resume disappear into a black hole?

Have you ever heard of anyone saying that they sent their resume to a company but it seems to have disappeared into a black hole? 

How does that happen?

Let’s ask some questions of the process. 

Did you send an unsolicited resume to randomunknownhrperson (at) company.com?  If it was not marked “spam”, it may still not have made it to the real, live person who takes care of HR.  Does the company have a person whose sole job is HR or recruiting?  If not, the office manager probably reviews the emails to HR @ company. com and deletes them if the company is not currently hiring – your resume attachment may not ever get opened. 

Did you send your resume to a resume blasting company?  Those really, really rarely get opened.   Did you send it to a recruiter or “headhunter”? Most recruiters won’t open unsolicited resumes because the chances that you are looking for the position they are currently working on is microscopic.

In these cases you will probably not even get a “yes, we got your resume” auto-responder email. 

If you send your unsolicited resume to someone who is not a personal friend inside a company, you may not get a response either.  If it is to someone who knows you, they may acknowledge getting it and promise to send it along, but if they send it to HR, it will probably be deleted or trashed, unless the person you are sending it to is the hiring manager or a very senior person, and even then, it depends. If they pass it on to an actual, relevant hiring manager, but one who is not currently at the resume receiving part of the hiring process (either he has not yet gotten the budget to hire or is already scheduling interviews), it is unlikely that he will respond to a generic resume.  Is the company actually in the process of hiring someone with your skills?  How far along the process are they?  If they have narrowed down the slate to the current top 3 they won’t want to slow it down by adding you (unless your resume is amazingly stellar and directly speaks to their current problem). 

So an unsolicited resume, even given to someone who knows and likes you, is unlikely to get you an interview, and even less likely to get you the job.

If the company actually posts the job online or in a newspaper or magazine, they are soliciting resumes and applications.  But check the dates.  Sooner is always better than later, but you don’t want to be the very first or more than a month after the posting date.  The Applicant Tracking System is the name of the Black Hole in this case.  Computers are dumb.  They don’t know a synonym from a homonym, never mind the name of the software that replaced the one in the job posting.  If you misspell a keyword, they won’t be able to pick it up.  If there are 7 ways to say something and you don’t use the one in the job posting, your resume will never see the light of day again. 

What ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) are good at is sending an auto-responder when you complete the application process.  Filling in all the forms will be necessary, or into the black hole you go. It can take up to 4 hours with some systems and it will ask for all the same information on your resume plus other things you never thought of and will have to stop to look up.  Another thing that the ATS system is good at is flagging how many times you have applied to work at the company.  If you apply for jobs that really don’t fit you, you will never get a job there.  You will be flagged as a nuisance.

Only 20% of jobs are filled by job postings.

And some of these are guided through by contingency search people who go around the system and send your resume in directly to HR (see above).  Most HR teams have notes on the career page of the company website saying that they don’t pay contingency search fees.  If a contingency search firm sends in your resume, but you had already applied and are in the ATS, the company won’t pay the recruiter, probably won’t look at your resume, and you may be flagged a nuisance. 

75% of all jobs are filled by personal networking. 

This is when you are known, remembered, liked and trusted by the hiring manager and/or a member of his team.  At that point one of them will ask you for a resume.  It will not be seen by the ATS or perhaps not even by HR until after the hiring manager decides to hire you. It can have more than one way to say something and you will know what keywords, language and lingo that particular hiring manager uses to talk about what they are doing in that department.  You will not want to apply to other departments because you will know where you fit. You will know that you bring the right skills to the table and know how to solve the problem.  

For more discussion of this process, join us for free office hours Wednesdays at 11:30 or Fridays at 8:30 am Pacific time.  Please do register.

Parts of a resume



The format of a resume is really a marketing technique.  You want it to be clear and legible, to lead the eye to the most striking thing about how you fit the bill, but don’t make it hard to read your name and contact info.  Don’t put these in the Header.  You can put name and contact info in the footer of the 2nd page.  Also, don’t make the hiring manager attack a “wall of text”.  Make it easy to read.  There are many, many resume formats available online.  There are even infographic ones.  But bear in mind that a resume is not a piece of art.  It is a practical business document.

Here is what you need on a resume:

  • Your name (and degree if appropriate – PhD, MD, SPHR, etc.)  
  • Your location (you don’t really need a street address at this point)
  • Contact information – phone number (mobile is fine if you answer it professionally) and email (also professional, not silly or flirty)
  • Then 3 – 5 bullet points of how you can solve that hiring manager’s problem, using his language and jargon and keywords.  Only list the things you “own” and like to do – there is no point in advertising for a job you don’t want.  If you feel the need to title this, call it “Summary”.
  • Then reverse chronological order (latest one at the top, oldest at the bottom) of the jobs you have done with their dragon slaying stories
  • Put your education at the bottom. 

You don’t need to list more than 10 years of job history unless this hiring manager’s problem was one you totally slayed more than 10 years ago and the skills have not decayed.  You don’t need to list jobs of less than a year, but be prepared to explain the time gaps, or list them and the problem that you learned from. 

You get 2 pages only. 

And 6 seconds on the top half of the first page to grab the hiring manager’s interest. 

A resume is a summary, a sketch, not your curriculum vitae or your whole life on two pieces of paper. 

Some HR people say that the format should be different if you are applying online and through the Applicant Tracking System.

In this case you want:

  • Name and degree
  • Location
  • Contact info
  • The requirements that you own (this may be your education) that are listed in the job posting.
  • Skills (software programs, tools, etc.) relevant to the job
  • Then the reverse chronological order of the jobs you have done. 

This makes it easier for the computer or the HR person to eliminate those who don’t have the skills required.  Always use the keywords you found in the job posting.  Neither the computer nor the HR person is an expert in your field and will not recognize synonyms. 

Remember that a resume is designed to get you the first interview, not the job.  It will be used as a notepad for the interviewer, so give them the white space to write the answers to the questions they will ask.  And the interviewer will probably be older than 40 so use at least a 12 point typeface.

Don’t include:

  • A picture (that goes on your LinkedIn Profile)
  • Your marital status or how many children you have
  • Your nationality, gender or sexual preference
  • Your age

Resumes that include these things will be trashed before you even get an interview as you could take legal action if you don’t get the job, saying it was based on these protected classes.

Also, don’t include:

  • “You can get all you need on my online profile”.  Don’t make it hard on the interviewer!
  • Your hobbies and extracurricular activities – they really only want to know that you can solve their problem, unless you know for a fact that the hiring manager does it too.

Do include:

  • Languages you speak professionally
  • The fact that you are authorized to work in the US (green card) if you are, or your visa status.
  • Your military background, if any

And remember, you are so much more than your resume!

If you need some help with this, click here 

Related Articles

What is a resume?

Your Resume is NOT About You

3 Myths About a Great Biotech Resume