By Seán Mac Fhearraigh, PhD
Overcoming the scepticism of a scientist is one of the hardest jobs in sales. Even though your product might be the best on the market and selling at the lowest price, it might not necessarily result in the scientist becoming convinced of its quality and a switch from the product they have been using over the past few years.
The same can the said in many instances with CVs, although you may have the drive and know-how of the technical side of the scientific market, competing with someone that already has experience within the field can affect your chances of securing a position in sales and any job for that matter.
However, although you may not have experience in managing accounts or following what is standard business protocol (something that all scientists can learn in an afternoon) tailoring your CV to focus on some key areas of strength can separate you from the crowd and give you the opportunity to interview for positions.
Tailoring your cover letter
Your cover letter will more than likely will be the first place you can make an impression on your future employer and therefore it is essential that you DO NOT USE a generic set of paragraphs to describe your experience.
Roles and responsibilities
The roles and responsibilities section in your CV will be a determining factor if you have a skillset to get the job. Therefore putting a lot of effort into this part of the CV is essential.
Further training and outreach
This can be one of the most important sections of your CV as it demonstrates how diverse you can be as an employee. After multiple years in the lab you will be branded as purely a scientist, however, listing training that was not purely science based can demonstrate how you can take other concepts on board. Further training will also give your employer some information on where your future career ambitions may lie.
Nothing screams success like winning awards. As we all know winning awards tells us that you were better than your peers and had the drive to succeed at a certain task. No matter what the award is, as long as it shows that you have a competitive edge, place it in your CV. If you have space take it one step further and explain why you won the award and how that success helped your achieve more.
Hopefully most of this makes sense and although not all will apply, writing a well-structured CV will separate you out from most candidates and hopefully secure you that interview.
The fourth episode of the PhD Career Guide PODCAST is now up and available for download from iTunes, Stitcher, and many other podcast directories. You may also listen to the episode directly on the PODCAST page!
In this episode I speak with Dr. Kristin Halfpenny, research imaging sales representative at Olympus. We discuss her process of narrowing down career options and finding the best fit for her personality and career goals. This episode is chock-full of useful insights and resources for career exploration, so you definitely don't want to miss out.
As always, please consider helping out by leaving a positive iTunes review and spreading the word by telling your friends and colleagues.
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