CHOPPED – First Résumé on the Chopping Block

Below you will find the first résumé in our “CHOPPED” series. I have inserted my comments in red. Please do consider sending your document along for next week’s episode!

Ima Champion, Ph.D.

12345 Fakeplace Ave., NW #550

Washington, DC 20008

(xxx) xxx-xxxx


Policy, Communication, Curriculum Development

While I encourage trainees to come up with descriptive category headings for their résumés, I would say this heading tries to cover too much. I would advise this trainee to change this heading to the type of work he would most like to do; e.g. “Science Policy Experience,” or “Experience in Science Policy and Education,” or something similar.
Fellow ∙ American Society of Human Genetics ∙ Bethesda, MD ∙ Apr 2010 – Present
Interesting style–the trainee chose here to highlight the organization in bold, rather than his title. This is completely appropriate, and will work whenever you think the organizational name carries more weight than your title.

  • Wrote NSF grant proposal to expand access to genomic data visualization tools in classroom settings
  • Providing analysis and briefing on legislative, judicial, policy action of interest to the genomics community
  • Representing ASHG in Hill outreach for FASEB, of which ASHG is a member, to communicate the importance of continued federal funding of basic scientific research

(Note of inspiration: this trainee created the science education fellowship above himself. Don’t be afraid to blaze a new trail in an area of interest for you!)

Fellow ∙ National Human Genome Research Institute ∙ NIH ∙ Bethesda, MD ∙ June 2009 – Present

  • Partnering with the ASTAR program at the Department of Justice to develop educational symposium for 50 federal and state high court judges to enhance understanding of the intersection of genomics and the law in areas such as forensics, genetic discrimination, privacy, and gene patenting
  • Recruited to participate with HHS Secretary’s Advisory Committee to analyze public perceptions and awareness of the role of genetics and genetic testing in personalized medicine and public health
  • Developed NHGRI documents on various topics, including family health history, pharmacogenomics, genetic testing, and disorders like Down Syndrome and Huntington Disease

Job descriptions for both positions are strong, using action verbs and details to describe work accomplishments.


PhD ∙ Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics, George Washington University, Washington, DC ∙ Sept 2004 – May 2009

  • Fully funded research at the National Institutes of Health via the GWU – NIH Graduate Partnership Program
  • George Washington University Representative to the NIH Graduate Student Council (2007 – 2009)

BA ∙ Chemistry – Biochemistry, Colby College, Waterville, ME ∙ Sept 1998 – May 2003

  • Assisted in teaching multiple laboratory sections and provided departmental tutoring support


Biomedical Research

Would add the word “Experience” to the end of this category heading.

Sickle Cell Disease & Hemoglobin Disorders ∙ 2003 – Present

  • As a post-doctoral fellow, studying global changes in DNA structure and gene expression underlying red blood cell development, severe anemias, and hemoglobin disorders affecting global populations
  • As a PhD candidate, studied red cell development, biology, and gene expression, describing primary defects contributing to severe anemia syndromes

Stem Cells & Gene Therapy ∙ 2001 – 2002

  • During an undergraduate fellowship at NIH, examined expression of retroviral receptors on bone marrow stem cells to develop improved gene therapy strategies for the treatment of blood disorders

Forensics & Environmental Toxins ∙ 2001 – 2003

  • As an undergraduate, examined the DNA damage to liver cells exposed to common industrial chemicals, to describe the underlying mechanisms leading to cancers in factory workers
  • Also conducted forensic DNA identification to develop a teaching exercise for use in multiple Colby College laboratory courses

Listing major research areas is a unique way of describing research experience, and one I have not seen before. I think it works well here, given this trainee’s interests, particularly since a few of these areas of research are hot topics in the media right now.

Presentations and Publications, Abbreviated

  • Presented research at various conferences, including: American Society of Hematology annual meetings (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009); Red Cells Gordon Conference (2007); Hemoglobin Switching Meeting (2006); American Chemical Society annual meeting (2003)
  • Published research in multiple journals, including: Molecular & Cellular Biology; Blood; Journal of Chemical Education

I have a few comments about handling this category this way. While an abbreviated list of publications and presentations is fine, I would argue that Publications may deserve more space on this résumé, if the trainee is truly interested in communication (as indicated in his first category heading, above), or if the trainee is targeting jobs for which writing is a major component. He might consider a category entitled “Writing Experience” and list all of his publications.
On the topic of space…this résumé is currently one page in Word, but the trainee has enough experience and education to warrant a second page.
Finally, one more way to handle a long list of publications and/or presentations is to create a separate document with the same header as your résumé, but listing only publications and presentations. On your résumé then, you might offer as a closing line “Complete list of publications and presentations available upon request.” I have seen some trainees use this technique effectively.
Nicely done, Jacques! Now where’s my dinner?

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