CVs and cover letters for bioscience students

Recently, third year Bioenterprise and Employability students had a lecture about CVs. This post will combine information gained from that workshop, thoughts on the workshop and information from the Ask a Manager blog. Both the workshop and blog have helped me in my recent assignment, which involved finding a job, writing a CV and cover letter.

CV sections:

Title – your name.

Contact information – address, email address, phone number.

Profile – Alison from Ask a Manager considers this section to be optional. If you choose to put it in, it should be brief and highlight skills/accomplishments.

Education – for students and recent graduates, this usually goes first. How far back the education section goes may depend on numerous factors, including the job requirements and whether you are trying to change sectors.

Work experience.


Skills – optional, but can be included if not obvious from other sections.


Types of CV

Master –  lists and explains all your work experience, volunteering and education. Information from your master CV can be used to create CVs tailored to each job.

Reverse chronological – the traditional type of CV. Lists experience and education with most recent first. Dewi Jones suggested that this was the most appropriate type for bioscience students to use.

Academic – tend to be longer and more comprehensive than other types of CV. It goes in reverse chronological order.

Functional (skills-based) – lists skills and abilities, but not dates. Ask a Manager advises against using one.

Infographic – presents skills and experience in a visual way. Dewi suggested that this      format of CV is more suited to creative sectors than scientific ones. The Ask a Manager blog also advises against using this format.

Cover letters 

As with your CV, Dewi stated that a cover letter should be tailored to each job you apply to. Your cover letter should not repeat your CV, but rather expand on it and tell the employer why you would be good for the job.

The CV workshop

This was the first workshop of Bio Enterprise and Employability. As part of the workshop, we split into groups to review a cover letter and CV tailored to a given job description. We reviewed 2/5 of the CVs and cover letters, made notes on their strengths and weaknesses and ranked them. Although this exercise was somewhat useful, it was rushed.

The CV assignment

Our CV assignment consisted of finding a job, then writing a CV and cover letter tailored to it. We should get our marks back for this assignment soon.

Before submitting this assignment, I booked a session with Bangor University’s Careers and Employability service.

One takeaway from the assignment and workshop was to tailor your CV and cover letter to the job you are applying for.

I feel that combining the takeaways from the workshop and from reading the Ask a Manager blog has given me good preparation for applying to jobs.

(More from ErrantScience can be found here). 


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