What are the best ways to make yourself into the most appealing job candidate? How do you perfect your CV – or resume? And what should you do before, during and after a job interview?
These questions and many more were answered Wednesday at our Naturejobs Career Expo in Boston, Massachusetts. We had speakers from academia, industry, government and non-profits, who presented crucial information on navigating your career during a day of conference sessions and workshops. We’ll post lots more about these secrets in days and weeks to come, but here’s a sneak preview.
Find ways to collaborate
You need to be able to list ‘teamwork’ on your CV or resume and to discuss this important skill in interviews. How do you do it? You could join a lab that has a history of collaborations, volunteer on a committee that organizes conferences or work on a large project with divisions of labour.
Career success is all about building relationships. You should make coffee and lunch dates twice a week and enter them in your calendar. Members of your network can serve as references, who often play a huge role in prompting a hiring executive to decide to hire you instead of everyone else who is also vying for the job.
Learn everything you can about the organization to which you’re applying. Find out about its leadership, how they dress, what they’ve published. Learn its mission statement. This sort of information can become part of the interview – and you won’t have any surprises when you get there.
Know the difference between a CV and resume
Academia and academic-type research positions in other sectors call for the CV while the resume is required for non-research positions outside academia. In neither case should you submit a 12-page document. The hiring executive or committee member tasked with reading your story might spend a maximum of 60 seconds on it – so don’t waste space on your address or minor publications.
Tailoring is about more than clothes
Develop a master document for your CV and resume, and tweak it to fit the job ad to which you’re responding. Use the same keywords that appear in the ad. Use plenty of white space to separate sections and in margins and keep bolding, italics and underlines to a minimum.
Send a written thank-you note a day or two after the interview to everyone who interviewed you. Email is not as effective.