I am having trouble deciding what to and what not to put on my resume.

I have an M. Tech Degree in Biotechnology (completed in 2019) and a Bachelor degree in Pharmacy (completed in 2017). I completed my schooling in 2012 (should I be mentioning my schooling at all, since I have two degrees after?)

I don't possess any job experience yet and have never taken part in an internship.

I was preparing for competitive exams to be able to secure a scholarship to allow myself to pursue a PhD, after completing my degree in 2019, and have hence not sought employment of any form till date. I haven't fared well on that part, the best I've done was 94.5 percentile in an exam, which wasn't nearly enough to get me anywhere at all..

Should I be mentioning any "soft skills"? How long should my resume be? A page? Two? Should I be writing in detail about my projects? Should I be mentioning what my rank was, in an exam for a scholarship that I've already secured and availed? Or just having mentioned that I had secured it will be enough?

Should I be mentioning how much I scored throughout my academics or is just mentioning when I passed them out enough?

Should I mention any references? If so, how? Should I just simply add their emails?

I am attaching the current resume that I've made. It's a little too simple, I believe, but that's why I'm here seeking advice anyway.

Oh and I'll be sending it to someone who holds a good position in a company, and it'd be that person who will be forwarding it to an HR from his own company as well as other companies, so I don't think I have the option to tailor this one in particular to anything specific.enter image description here

3 Answers 3


Nearly 40 years of workplace experience here, have written resumes for other people, and have taught classes on it.

While this may sound like snark the truth is that a resume/CV needs to include what you need to include to get the interview. It also needs to be as long as it needs to be to tell your story.

My resume is currently 4 pages long. My base resume is over 5 pages.

I suggest having a base resume/CVthat includes literally everything you've ever done. You're going to want to use this one as a reference.

The only thing that's going to be the same on all the CVs you send out is going to be the job history lines, and education.

Beyond that, you're going to want to draw from what the job you are applying for wants to see. Emphasize the skills/history/achievements that are most relevant to the job you are applying for.

If your resume isn't fitting neatly into the pages, do not shrink the font. 10-12 pts is the ideal size for fonts. If the font is too small, it won't get read.

You also want to use a fairly standard font like Ariel so as not to confuse the resume scanners and search algorithms. Many go on ASCII searches, so if you use a font that employs any characters or letters that are above ASCII 120, it may not scan correctly.

For European CVs, images are acceptable, for American resumes, they are often frowned upon.

Go online and view sample resumes for your field to get a sense of tone of what is common. Don't follow trends such as odd colors or anything else to make your resume "stand out". They often backfire, either by confusing scanners, or annoying hiring managers.

As for grades and other things, this is where you should ask someone in the specific industry who has knowledge of such things. Ideally, you should enquire as to if you know anyone in the business you wish to apply to, and ask that person what that company prefers to see.

Also, with regards to resumes/cv's take EVERYONE's advice, including mine, with a grain of salt. There is no magical advice out there, because what is expected and liked can vary wildly from country to country, industry to industry, and even company to company. This is why I reccomend having a master document where you track your experiences and achievements. You will rarely, if ever use all of it, but you want to be able to call up that information.


How long should my resume be? A page? Two?

A page would be best. Two pages might not be bad if you're a twenty year industry veteran but that doesn't appear to be the case with you.

If it's significantly less than a page then feel free to add fluff to pad it. Examples of fluff from your post:

  • "soft skills" (hard to elaborate further without knowing what these "soft skills" of yours are)
  • going into detail about your projects (if they care they can ask)
  • scholarship rank
  • grades in classes
  • references (if they care they can ask)

I mean, if your professional experience doesn't make yourself stand out then you gotta make yourself stand out in other ways. You're probably not going to compete well against other prospective candidates with professional experience BUT compared to other candidates with just as little professional experience, these pieces of "fluff" may make the difference

  • The "soft skills" I'm talking about are only ones I've seen on resumes I looked at on LinkedIn, and they include things like "good communication", "leadership", "team worker", etc. I'm also not sure if that even deserves a place on a resume to begin with, especially someone with little experience as I happen to possess.
    – Timon
    Mar 3, 2021 at 17:53
  • @Timon - yah those are pretty subjective. I'd stick with objective stuff over anything subjective
    – neubert
    Mar 3, 2021 at 17:55
  • Is a resume like the one I uploaded good enough to be used as is? Or should I be adding the fluff you happened to mention can be added? It's really confusing because when I'm asking people around I'm getting mixed opinions. 😅
    – Timon
    Mar 4, 2021 at 3:53
  • I also am having trouble figuring out if I should be adding a career objective or not...
    – Timon
    Mar 4, 2021 at 7:44

Let us see if I can assist. I have 23+ years of career experience and have hired as a manager.

CV Core

Name & Contact Details

  • Your name on the first page should stand out. I use large font and ALL CAPS for my name on the first page header. It works.
  • For contact details adjust your line spacing by .25 for readability.
  • Your icons are a nice touch.
  • Some formatting recommendations:
    • Email: ensure your email address is your name.
    • Phone: ensure the format includes international calling; for me +61 (0) xxx.xxx.xxx
    • Address: unless you want a written response, keep this to City, State/Province and add country if you intend to work remotely internationally. Also, a cover letter will have your full address on it if you are going formal.
    • Linked-In (personalised link): must have for corporate, ensure your profile matches your CV. This can also go in the footer.

Title & Hook

  • Typically, under or beside my name, I have a Title and Hook. I do not know your industry, however, this part amplifies your personality and labels your experience.


Aspiring Biotechnologist - Seeking a dynamic company with great “culture” … get it.

  • You can use that if you want, that was just a shot in the dark.

Professional Photo

  • Consider a professional photo. Preferably one where you are neatly groomed, smiling, and dressed to impress. This works positively for those who are photogenic.

Profile or Personal Snapshot or Summary Section

  • This is you in paragraph form. State facts and fluff it up a bit. Typically, if you were chasing an advert for a job, put their key words in here: dynamic, passionate, etc.
  • Max 2-3 paragraphs or 9 lines for this section.

Example: Equipped with over 7 years of education in the biotechnology space, I am eager to kickstart my career by working for a leading (x) company. It is my aspiration to become a (title) and I am committed, through hard work, active learning and listening to excel at the opportunities afforded to me by my future employer.

Extremely resourceful and adaptable, I would be well suited for a challenging role which will require my uncanny attention to detail and …

Highlights Section

  • 4 -6 bullets of one liner statements listing soft skills, typically formatted into two columns.
  • Try to align them with your profession


  • Easy to get along with and work well with others (teamwork)
  • Really good at mutli-tasking (flexible)
  • Love to push myself to make myself better (attitude and aptitude)
  • Problem Solving, Communication Skills, Etc..

Technology Skills & Knowledge or Core Competencies Section

  • Try to get 4-7 lines here.

Example Tech:

  • Experience handling lab equipment (microscopes…etc.)
  • Proficient at working under sterilized conditions and fume hoods.
  • Ability to use measuring devices (tech…etc.)

Example Core:

  • Microbiology: media preparation and sterilization, autoclaving, preparation of anti… (a couple lines of related content)
  • Cell Biology: sterile/aseptic technique, culturing and subculturing…


  • Mention a special award or something you are proud of that yield results for a project, the university, or you.
  • Typically companies like to see: efficiencies, money reduction & recognition

Education Section

  • Remove High School.
  • Typically, you would list your masters in a small sub-section (more on this later), however you will need to buffer out your resume.
  • Feel free to List your GPA – this is nice to have, but not important. What is important is the title (masters) achieved.
  • Under your education, can you detail some activities / technology you worked with which relates to your target position? Did you monitor or collect data during your learning? Etc.
  • Optionally, create a technology section related to your industry (above).

Volunteer Work

  • Great section to have if you have no work experience.
  • I advised a friend, who had a hell of a time finding work post graduation, to research companies he would love to work for and volunteer there for a couple weeks to get some experience. He was employed later that year.


  • Every job is going to ask for references, you do not need this section / statement.
  • Make sure you have a couple good references (Teachers and Respectable Community Leaders)

The Left Side of Your CV

  • Professional Photo (As per above)
  • Contact Details (As per above)
  • Related Course Work (Optional)
  • Languages (Optional)
  • Personal Snapshot (Optional)
  • Career Snapshot (Optional)
  • Professional Affiliations (Optional)
  • Accomplishments (Optional)
  • Certifications or Education (Future)
  • Hobbies (Optional)
  • Recent Awards (Optional)
  • Achievements (Optional)

Footer Content

  • LinkedIn (personalised link): must have for corporate, ensure your profile matches your CV. This can also go in the footer.
  • Optionally, write a quote or innocent joke:

Example Quote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” – Will Durant

Example Joke: Biology is the only science in which multiplication is the same thing as division.

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