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Bachelor of science degrees in chemistry often include a curriculum that helps students learn valuable skills useful for employment in a lab. But the field of chemistry is highly competitive, and getting a job depends not only on your specific skills but also your ability to effectively market yourself and your know-how.
Your first task is to choose a resume format. Applicants with a bachelor of science in chemistry may not have a lot of job experience, but they may have learned marketable skills useful in a laboratory setting. A functional resume format that highlights skills may be the best resume format for these candidates. If you have a great deal of background in the field, however, a chronological resume format will help emphasize the jobs and volunteer experience you've had as well as your education. The American Chemical Society Department of Career Services recommends a combination resume that includes elements of chronological and functional resumes.
Skills and Accomplishments
Chemistry jobs rely on specific skills, and the successful applicant will have the skills that the employer needs for the position. No matter which resume format you choose, you should first brainstorm a list of skills that may interest the employer. Examples of these include project management abilities such as designing databases for test results as well as research and development proficiencies, such as cataloging compounds. Once you have a complete list, work them into your resume. If you have a functional or combination resume, organize these competencies into categories on your resume. For a chronological resume, you can list them as outcomes for a specific job or project.
Your resume should also include information about your bachelor of science degree, such as when and where you earned it. You should include an employment section or a short discussion of previous experience if you've had job experience in chemistry. Other sections that you might include are publications and presentations, honors and awards, professional affiliations, volunteer work and references. Place the strongest or most relevant sections near the top of the resume.
In addition to including the right information on your resume for a chemistry position, avoid common resume blunders. These errors include too much focus on the specific job duties of your chemistry-related jobs and no explanation of the results or outcomes of your work. Chemistry resumes rarely contain personal information, such as hobbies, religious or political affiliations or any other information not relevant to the job. Finally, avoid typos and misspellings. Although many chemistry jobs don't involve a great deal of writing, managers may see problems with writing mechanics as a sign of sloppy work habits or a lack of professionalism.
Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.
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