If you are searching for a job in a scientific field, writing a resume can be intimidating. Understanding how to incorporate essential skills like lab equipment experience and what you should include can help you write a strong resume that stands out to potential employers.
Laboratory Skills to Include on Your Resume
As you prepare to enter the workforce, it can be challenging to determine what skills you should include on your resume. While everything might seem important, studies show that employers only spend six to seven seconds looking at a candidate's resume before deciding.
For scientific academics searching for a job, some factors to consider putting on your resume include:
- Education: Many employers have educational requirements, but your degree level, GPA, awards and school can help set you apart from other candidates applying for the same position. Consider including a brief section about your educational background and any experience that might have come from your time studying, like conducting studies or writing a dissertation.
- Research: If you assisted professors with research or conducted studies yourself, include this in your experience. Researching can provide you with many essential skills that prepare you for working in scientific fields, like exposure to certain concepts. Talk about the specific tasks you did daily and can apply to a work environment, such as analyzing and interpreting your results.
- Program and equipment experience: Your past experiences likely required you to learn how to use various computer software and laboratory equipment. Including these details in your resume can highlight that you already have some of the necessary hard lab skills you will need to thrive in a particular position. While companies can always train employees in hard skills, already knowing them can help make you look more attractive to potential employers.
- Soft skills: Soft skills are necessary when applying for jobs and can increase your chances of getting a job. Employers find that soft skills tend to be natural skills a person possesses or something they've gathered from experience, but it is challenging to train these. Some soft skills include communication, observation, following instructions, organization, problem-solving and time management.
How to List Lab Equipment Used on a Resume
Applicants can list their lab skills in several ways on their resume, but many people struggle with how to incorporate the equipment they have used while studying or at previous jobs. When employers value these hard skills, it can be incredibly beneficial to include this somewhere in your experience.
1. Show, Don't Tell
You can represent your lab equipment skills through your other experiences. When listing your experience, describe some of your duties in the position to let your potential employers know what you learned at that job. If you worked with equipment or programs during that time, you can describe those requirements, from collecting data during experiments to cleaning and maintaining their quality.
Describing your tasks and duties lets you seamlessly work your equipment skills into your resume without taking space away from your experience.
2. Match Job Description
If you have worked with many types of equipment, it can be challenging to determine which ones you'll need to list to meet a position's requirements. Often, job descriptions highlight essential hard and soft skills they want from applications, including experience with specific equipment. This helps employers determine who will be the best fit for the job, while you can use this to narrow down your experience to what matters most to them.
When applying for a job, jot down any equipment they specifically mention in the job description. As you are working on your application, cite each piece of equipment you have experience with.
3. List With Bullets
When employers require lots of experience, and you have used many pieces of equipment, it might take too much space to include lengthy descriptions of how you interacted with each one. Instead, consider making a section exclusively for your lab equipment experience and listing each one through bullet points.
Bullet points can help your resume become more scannable. When you have such a short time to impress employers, making your resume easy to read quickly is essential. Bullet points and lists can break up other formats, drawing the eye to that experience.
General Resume Tips
Writing a resume can be difficult, especially for recent graduates entering the workforce. Learning the best habits for writing strong resumes can help give you the competitive edge you need to secure jobs and interviews.
1. Use Action Verbs
While describing your experiences, focus on your actions rather than yourself. Employers can use interviews and calls to judge your character and attitude, but your resume needs to highlight your work experience and how well you fit a position.
You can highlight your experience by starting descriptions with active action verbs. For example, you might include some of the following items describing past lab research:
- Maintained lab equipment by testing capabilities and cleaning them regularly.
- Analyzed findings and compiled research into reports.
- Instructed students on how to use lab equipment properly and oversaw experiments.
Be sure to keep your verb tense consistent when describing your duties. If you are writing about a current position, it is all right to use the present tense, but write about all previous jobs in the past tense. Further, try to use a unique verb for each task.
2. Customize for Each Job
Each time you apply for a new job, you should change the details of your resume to meet that specific position's requirements. Each job will ask for different experiences, so you can increase your chances of meeting those needs by tailoring your experience to that position.
For example, if a job asks for experience processing data and interpreting statistics, you might replace an experience ordering supplies with one that contains this skill. You can also change out the skills you have listed under each experience to highlight how that one fits what the employer is looking for.
3. Research Company Values
Especially when it comes to soft skills, you can determine which to include on your resume by researching the company. Many businesses have what they value on their about pages or job applications. Including these can ensure you will fit into the company's culture, helping increase your chances of securing an interview.
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