Resume Tips for a Laboratory Scientist

Feb. 21, 2022

Debbie Myers
Debbie Myers and the Penn State Hershey Medical Center laboratory
Resumes are very important when applying for a new position. A resume not only introduces you to a prospective employer but also shows them your past achievements, training and education. Reading a resume will give employers a better understanding of your strengths and knowledge in the field. 

There are so many questions surrounding resumes. What should you include? What, if included, will hurt your chances of getting the job? In this episode of Career Conversations, Debbie Myers, M.S., Microbiology Section Chief, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, and guest April Bobenchik, Ph.D., D(ABMM), Medical Director, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, discuss what students and early- to mid-career scientists should include in their resume and what should be avoided.

What Should Be Included in a Resume?

  • Contact information. Make sure to include a school or personal email that is professional. No silly email addresses! You can also include “text preferred” if that is the best form of contact.
  • Your degree(s).
  • Any relevant certifications (include dates).
  • Highlight any relevant current and/or previous job experience. This will show your strength and knowledge in the field. Note: If you are a student just starting in the field, include any part-time or volunteer laboratory experience. 
  • Types of laboratory equipment you have experience with. 
  • Your experience with different laboratory information systems and electronic medical records. 
  • Any leadership, management or supervisory experience. This is another chance to highlight your achievements and training.
  • References.
Can't include all of the above? Don't worry! The most important thing is to highlight your passion for the field and working with patients. 

What Should Not Be Included in a Resume?

  • Typos and misspellings. They show a lack of attention to detail. Working in laboratory sciences is a very detail-oriented job and typos can lead to an erroneous result in the laboratory.
  • Missing or incorrect information. For example, if you recently graduated, make sure that your resume doesn't list an upcoming graduation date. If you are looking to relocate, then check that you put the correct location! 
  • High school achievements.
  • Birthdate.
  • Marital status.

Additional Tips

If you want to include your preferred pronouns on your resume, list them either next to or under your name.
Do not say that you are applying to the new position just to change shifts. You want to show a desire for the new position when submitting your resume- not your dislike for your current shift. The laboratory is looking for candidates who are willing to give up weekends, evenings or even holidays to help a patient.

If you are returning to the field after some time off, make sure to highlight your past achievements and training. Use this to show why you are a strong candidate for the job. 

Career Conversations for the Medical and Public Health Laboratory Scientist is a twice-quarterly discussion on career advancement in clinical and public health laboratories. Members of ASM’s Clinical Microbiology Mentoring Subcommittee (CMMS) will invite guests from clinical and public health microbiology laboratories to discuss topics specific to the laboratory. The CMMS’ goal is to help others learn more about the profession and advance their careers in the clinical or public health microbiology laboratory. 

The CMMS provides career advancement activities for those new to the field of clinical or public health microbiology. Its roster of mentors is available to answer any questions you have on career advancement.

Author: ASM Clinical Microbiology Mentoring Subcommittee

ASM Clinical Microbiology Mentoring Subcommittee
ASM's Clinical Microbiology Mentoring Subcommittee (CMMS) provides career and networking advice to those looking to advance in clinical and public health microbiology.

Author: Debra Myers, M.S.

Debra Myers, M.S.
Debra Myers, M.S., is the microbiology chief technologist at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.