Single-cell RNA-seq—now with protein


Two new methods simultaneously measure epitope and transcriptome levels in single cells.

The molecular understanding of the cell has been greatly advanced by single-cell RNA-seq, a technique that generates a library of all transcripts (the ‘transcriptome’) in a single cell. The technique has revealed surprising heterogeneity in cell populations previously considered homogeneous, identified new and rare cell types, and extended our understanding of cellular development. The transcriptome is, however, only a proxy of the ‘proteome’, the collection of proteins in a cell that defines how the cell looks, acts, and reacts. Although the transcriptome provides valuable information, it does not necessarily reflect protein abundance in the cell. And while flow cytometry is an established strategy for profiling populations at single-cell resolution according to surface-protein levels, it cannot access the rich phenotypic information available in the full cellular transcriptome.

Now, independent efforts led by Marlon Stoeckius at the New York Genome Center (NYGC) and Vanessa Peterson at Merck have yielded approaches to measure levels of both gene and protein expression in single cells on a large scale.

Both CITE-seq (cellular indexing of transcriptomes and epitopes by sequencing), developed by the NYGC group, and REAP-seq (RNA expression and protein sequencing assay), designed by the Merck group, use a similar approach. Proteins are detected by using antibodies conjugated to a tripartite DNA sequence that contains a primer for amplification and sequencing (PCR handle), a unique oligonucleotide that acts as an antibody barcode, and a poly(dA) sequence. The poly(dA) sequence allows for simultaneous extension of antibody-specific DNA sequences and cDNAs in the same poly(dT)-primed reaction. This generates a protein readout that is captured and sequenced along with the cell’s transcriptome. The two approaches differ in how the DNA barcode is conjugated to the antibody. While antibodies used in CITE-seq are conjugated to streptavidin that is noncovalently bound to biotinylated DNA barcodes, REAP-seq relies on covalent bonds between the antibody and aminated DNA barcode.

In a proof-of-principle study, Stoeckius and colleagues monitored ten surface proteins and the transcriptomes of 8,000 single cells from cord blood mononuclear cells. The CITE-seq analysis revealed cell profiles similar to those established by flow cytometry. In addition, the multimodal data from CITE-seq enhanced the phenotypic characterization of a specific type of immune cell, the natural killer cell, compared with single-cell RNA-seq alone.

REAP-seq was used to characterize the effect of a CD27 agonist on human naïve CD8+ T cells by employing 80 barcoded antibodies and monitoring the expression of more than 20,000 genes in a single workflow. The transcriptome data analysis identified several differentially expressed genes in treated versus untreated cells. But REAP-seq’s ability to quantify cell surface proteins also led researchers to determine that ICOS, an immune checkpoint protein, is increased on the surface of treated cells, regardless of the fact that this protein’s mRNA does not differ in abundance between treated and untreated cells. REAP-seq also identified a small and previously unknown cell population within the enriched naïve CD8+ lymphocytes.

While both CITE-seq and REAP-seq add to established methods for transcriptome analysis without affecting the quality of the data, the main limitation of both approaches is the quality of the antibodies used and the epitope location, which is currently restricted to the cell surface. Both research groups anticipate that the use of these tools will soon be extended to measure intracellular proteins.


Stoeckius, M. et al. Simultaneous epitope and transcriptome measurement in single cellsNat. Methods 14, 865–868 (2017).

Peterson, V.M. et al. Multiplexed quantification of proteins and transcripts in single cellsNat. Biotechnol.


5’RACE & 3’RACE原理

雖然 RACE 為 RT-PCR 的變奏版,在原理跟步驟上和 RT-PCR 有很多相似,但 RACE 卻能解決很多特別的問題。例如,分析兩端序列未知的 RNA、界定啟動子 (promoter) 下游、調查部分胺基酸序列已知的基因等…

快速擴增 cDNA 末端 (Rapid Amplification of cDNA Ends, RACE),不要被這長長的名稱嚇到了!其實簡單來說,就是一種可以用來幫助你尋找 RNA 末端未知序列的技術。一般來說,我們會依照分析的端點而將RACE 分成 3’ RACE 和 5’ RACE 兩種。下面以幾個簡單的例子分別說明:

3’ RACE 及 5’ RACE 的流程:



圖二. 3’ RACE 分析真核生物 mRNA

以分析某個真核生物特定基因的 mRNA 3’ 端為例,首先會藉由 poly-T 引子將具有 poly-A tail 的 mRNA 做為模板,反轉錄成第一股 cDNA (first-strand cDNA)。poly-T 引子在設計上 3’ 端有時會多帶一個 V (V = A or C or G),藉此增加黏合在 poly-A 與基因交界處的機率,以免 poly-T 引子黏合在離基因太遠的 poly-A 區段上。

隨後利用目標基因的 Gene-Specific Primer (GSP),並以first-strand cDNA 為模板,合成第二股 cDNA (second-strand cDNA)。取得含 3’ 端未知序列的 cDNA 後,我們可以利用 poly-T 引子與 GSP 擴增產物,定序先前未知的 mRNA 3’ 端。說到這,不知大家會不會想到一個問題:如果我們的目標 RNA 沒有 poly-A tail該怎麼辦呢?像是例如非編碼 RNA (non-coding RNA, ncRNA) 或原核生物的mRNA……等。

這時就可以利用 poly-A polymerase 將目標 RNA 3’ 端加上 poly-A,用來仿照真核生物的 mRNA 3’ 端,就可以解決這樣的問題囉!另外,一般的反轉錄酵素在面對太長的 RNA 目標時,往往會後繼無力而無法合成整段 first-strand cDNA。所以如果設計的 GSP 位置距離 RNA 3’端太遠,以 poly-T 引子合成的 first-strand cDNA 可能就無法包含能被 GSP 辨識的區域。

想要解決這樣的問題,其中一種解決的策略是:先使用隨機引子 (random primers) 合成多種 first-strand cDNA,這些 first-strand cDNA 當中可能有些是包含部分未知序列且能被 GSP 辨識的。搭配 random primer 配合 GSP 擴增產物並定序取得部分未知序列的資訊後,就能設計更靠近 RNA 3’ 端的 GSP 來分析剩下未知的區域。




圖三. 5’ RACE 分析原核生物 mRNA 範例圖


這部分,我們以分析某個原核生物特定基因的 mRNA 5’ 端為例。

首先用 GSP 合成 first-strand cDNA 後,通常會以末端脫氧核苷酸轉移酶 (Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase, TdT) 在 first-strand cDNA 3’ 端加上一段能夠被引子辨識的標靶序列 (adapter)。

所謂的TdT 是一種不需要模板就能合成 DNA 的聚合酶,因此可以直接在 first-strand cDNA 3’ 端加上一段序列,這段序列可以依照我們給予的 dNTP 原料來決定,例如如果給予 poly-C。之後就能以 poly-G 引子來合成 second-strand cDNA。

poly-G 引子在設計上 3’ 端有時會帶一個 H (H = A or T or C),藉此增加黏合在 poly-C 與基因交界處的機率。取得含完整 5’ 端的雙股 cDNA 產物後,以 poly-G 引子與 GSP 擴增目標產物,就可以將未知的 5’ 端序列定序出來了!

如果 GSP 的位置距離 RNA 5’ 端太遠而無法合成含完整 5’ 端的 first-strand cDNA,也能繼續以互補 adapter 的引子先合成 second-strand cDNA,再用 GSP 配合能互補 adapter 的引子擴增含部分未知序列的產物,定序取得更多資訊後就能設計更接近 5’ 端的 GSP。


RACE 在實作上也有相當多的花招,當我們覺得 RACE 的產物不夠專一時,可以藉由巢式聚合酶鏈鎖反應(Nested PCR) 的概念,將原先使用的 GSP 替換成另一種新的 GSP 並進行第二次擴增 (詳見“房屋仲介”有巢氏”,PCR也有巢式!”)。或是當我們覺得用 TdT 製造 adaper 的步驟太繁瑣時,亦可選用能在產物 3’ 端額外添加 adapter 的反轉錄酵素產品。

在應用面上,RACE 也佔有重要的地位。除了能夠藉由 5’ RACE 來分析啟動子外 (promoter),也能以某個蛋白的特徵序列設計退化性引子 (degenerate primer) 1作為 GSP,再藉由 RACE 將某個系列的蛋白從 RNA pool 釣出來。

另外,實驗設計上,RACE 產物的取向較 RT-PCR 集中,因此能夠建立較小的 cDNA 文庫 (cDNA library),利於我們進一步的篩選。而當目標 RNA 過大而無法以 RT-PCR 分析全長時,我們也能以 RACE 逐步分段地對整條目標 RNA 進行分析。見圖四:


圖四. 以 RACE 對 Long-RNA 逐步進行定序。

雖然目前具有高通量的次世代定序分析,奪去了 RACE 的部分風采,但秉持著能夠穩健、輕巧分析的優勢,RACE 至今仍被許多實驗室應用。經過小編今天的介紹之後,大家對於 RACE 有沒有比較熟悉了呢?


退化性引子 (degenerate primer):用已知的胺基酸序列逆推可能的核酸序列,再以此資訊設計出對應的引子群。例如:TENGIGA 胺基酸序列可對應到的 DNA 序列為 ACN GAR AAY GGN AUH GGN GCN:









  1. 維基百科:
  2. Michael J. McPherson, Simon Geir Møller (2006). PCR (Second Edition) pp 47-50. In US: 270 Madison Avenue New York, N Y 10016, In UK: 4 Park Square, Milton Pa. Taylor & Francis Group.


General tips:
Firstly, if they are adherent or even if they grow in suspension but in
clumps, make sure that they are in as good a single cell suspension that you
can make before fixation
A biodegradable anticoagulant named ACD-A at 0.6% in PBS prevents cell
clumping of mononuclear blood cells and some stromal cells.
Also it can be a good idea to filter the cells through a 60-70um mesh to get
rid of the larger lumps (although clearly this will lose cells).
Keep cells suspended in 1 to 5 % BSA/media helps prevent clumping.
Try adding some EDTA (0.02%)
Try adding DNase at 50U/mL in all preparation media.
If you are using an alcohol fixation, try to resuspend the cells in the last
remaining volume after centrifugation and then add the alcohol drop wise
with mixing. Another problem we have run into is over trypsinization. It
sounds as if you are getting free DNA into your prep which will string
everything together. We have experienced this also. Final tip may be to
assure yourself that the cell number is kept below 1X10e6/ml. The cells
tend to clump less for some reason.
Where visible clumps are seen in the sample tubes, our users use nylon mesh
or Falcon 2270 or 2235 tubes with the mesh in the caps to filter the
samples. If the cell type they are using tends to clump, Accutase sold by
Phoenix Flow Systems o San Diego, CA. USA prevents clumping. They also sell
Accumax, an enzyme based product used for creating single cell suspensions
from tissue samples.

Ethanol fixation step:
Inadequate ethanol fixation is a primary cause of clumpage – it’s a good
idea to vortex while fixing (careful though if looking for apoptotic cells
as they could explode at this point!). Also make sure that the pellet is as
free as possible of residual PBS before adding the ethanol.
Use EDTA or Dnase:
Secondly you could try using either EDTA or a low level concentration of
DNase in your PI solution as it is DNA from blown-up cells that can cause
clumps as well.
Use Anti-clumping agents:
I have read about a firm that’s called TCS CellWorks in the UK, that sells
Accumax. It is used to disaggregate clumpy cells and viability seems to be
very good after treatment. You can read about it on <; for
additional information. You can also contact the office manager at TCS
CellWorks Ltd :Fay Crook : Fay at <mailto:Fay at>
PAA sell a product called Accutase, that’s for prevent cell clumping. I
never used it, so I can’t tell you if this product works or not

Use Nuclei:
A variation on this assay utilizes hypotonic lysis to isolate individual nuclei instead of analyzing whole cells. It is described in: J Immunol Meth, 139: 271-279, 1991. This should eliminate cell/cell binding.

Courtesy of Nigel Miller

1. 1 million cells in 200ul PBS
2. Add with stirring 2ml ice cold 70% ethanol 30% PBS.
3. Leave 30 mins. On ice.
4. Centrifuge 2000 rpm 5 mins.
5. Resuspend pellet in 800ul PBS. If cells are clumped pass through a 25 gauge needle.
6. Add 100 ul Rnase (1mg/ml-boiled 10′ to destroy DNAse).
7. Add 80 ul Propidium Iodide (0.5mg/ml).
8. Incubate at 37 deg C for 30 mins.
9. Analyse using the FACSCalibr..
10. Use MODFIT to calculate DNA.

Protocol 2:
Courtesy of Dennis Young
Fix cells by adding the 10^6 cells (or less) in 1 ml to 10 ml ice cold 70% EtOH while vortexing.
Use detergents (0.1% Triton-X 100)
Use filters (20 – 75 microns should work)
Use 25 gauge needle to resuspend cells right before sampling (Lastly) Lyse cells and measure nuclei instead.

Protocol/Advice 3:
Courtesy of Kent Claypool
If preparing a single cell suspension is producing aggregates remove the cytoplasm through a pepsin digest (references below) and look at bare nuclei. Also the PI for a sub-G1 peak does not always work. The example at the below web site had cell death that didn’t produce a sub-G1 peak until a positive control with Fas ligand was used. Then produced a great profile.
Cells have to have Fas receptor to trigger this apoptotic pathway. Might want to also look at gel electrophoresis for DNA laddering, Bcl-2 by western and/or flow, as well as the ‘TUNEL’ assay which can be done with nuclei


Further reading:


以下的内容都是针对IMT(international Medical Technologist)的,其他类别的请参照本文。另外,说明以下,国家医学考试网上有对于ASCPi的介绍文章,其主要内容就是ASCP官网上的内容并附翻译。但是对于这一段内容的翻译值得商榷,


需要指出,MLT和MT分别是medical laboratory technician 和medical technologist的缩写。在台湾蔡宗仁检验师的介绍文章中对此的翻译是“国际医检生”和“国际医检师”。我认为,对于大陆目前的情况还是翻译为国际医学检验技士和国际医学检验技师来的恰当。检验医师应该是Laboratory Physician,和技师technologist还是有差别的。这个情况其实也是检验医学的乱象之一,不光中国有,美国加拿大也有。像美国现在把本土的MT改为MLS-Medical Laboratory Scientist,而加州的称谓是CLS-Clinical Laboratory Scientist,纽约州的交CLT-Clinical Laboratory Technologist。而加拿大对于检验技师叫做MLT-Medical Laboratory Technologist,而技士叫做MLA/T-Medical Laboratory Assistant/Technician。真是各有各的叫法。甚至连检验医学(Laboratory Medicine)还是医学检验(Medical Laboratory Science/Technology)都无法统一,这点还需我们全体检验工作者继续努力。








翻译的不好,因为这个本身比较拗口和复杂。简单而言,就是如果你有医学技术的学士学位的,完成了实习就可以考。有其他专业学士学位的,学过2年检验也可以考。非检验专业学位的,如果有5年的检验工作经验,也可以考。对于Medical Technology,ASCP有说明*Degrees/Diplomas in Medical Technology include Medical Technology, Medical Laboratory Science, Clinical Laboratory Science, and Biomedical Laboratory Science.就是说,包含医学技术,医学检验学,临床检验学和生物医学检验学。如果没有学士学位,是大专及以下的专业人士,就只能报考MLT了。


  1. 到所在学校取得中英文成绩单,密封盖章;
  2. 在中国学位与研究生信息网申请认证,这个就是俗称的清华认证,认证费英文学历260加英文学位260加英文成绩单360共880元;
  3. 连同毕业证和学位证寄到清华认证中心,认证的结果要让他们寄到美国的WES认证中心,这个过程要2周左右;
  4. 在WES网站上申请Course-to-Course认证,认证费200美金左右,时间1周,结果要寄到芝加哥的ASCP International;
  5. 在ASCP上申请考试,申请费200美金,现在好像有优惠了。类别iMT,route2学历加经验;
  6. 让主任签几份文件,并寄到ASCP。注意应该要寄航空信,但是我最后一份工作经历是扫描后发Email给他们,也承认。

a.Reference Letter


b.Letter of Authentication这是确认主任授权


c.Work Experience工作经历证明


以上步骤都完成后,就等待ASCP的考试确认信Admission Letter吧。

5 6


















我买了3本书:BOC Study Guide 5th Edition;Clinical Laboratory Science Review;Quick Review Cards。感觉最有用的是CLSR,才30多刀,题目多,讲解细,适用面广;BOC骗钱,80多刀真心贵,讲解太少,只用来熟悉题型,它上面的题目是不会出现在正式的考试中的;Cards有些总结的很好,但有些没讲到,毕竟是用来背重点的,覆盖面不广。我自己还下载了很多电子书,但没怎么看,又伤眼睛又没重点。所以我是先快速看一遍BOC,然后结合CARDS和本科的书本,有些网上百度谷歌的东西,重点看CLSR。把重要的知识点做成笔记,到最后考试前把笔记记熟。




很不幸,ASCP网站上说了,有证书的人士也必须走Visa Screen才能得到签证,到美国工作。直接以ASCPi证书找美国工作是行不通的。但是随着国内对国际认证越来越重视,如果你有这个证书相信对你的事业发展也有相当的好处。





为以前申请过Trainee license,所以他们已经有大部分材料了。所以这次我没有寄任何


还要提一下找工作的情况。加州这里,这方面比较缺人。实习还没结束,很多人都已经有两个以上Offer了。不少人都已经定了工作。我这个实习单位,所以得学生都有offer。我知道有的地方,比如UCLA,8个学生听说是要了3-4人,剩下几个要自己再找工作。Cedars sinai也是所有实习学生都要了,还有我的搭档也要了。Children’ hospital也比较缺人,也给了我们好多学生offer。工资方面,加州比较高,在$35-42/hour。大医院比较高,但是同时会压力大,工作比较紧张。小的地方会工资低一点,不过可能工作轻松一点。还有就是好的地方大部分得先做夜班,白班有空位才能换过来,想直接白班比较难。工资低的地方就有可能直接做白班。所以自己考虑想要怎么样的生活。我感觉对很多要照顾小孩的妈妈,这样的比较轻松的工作,工资又还可以的,工作内容跟以前生物博后还比较类似,应该算是比较理想了吧。


Tips for a Winning Resume In Sales, R&D, and Management

Today, there are currently an estimated 287,000 people employed by the medical device and pharmaceutical industries, according to figures by the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Bill Lawhorn, a staff economist for the United States Department of Labor at the bureau, says these industries are expected to shrink slightly over the next decade, meaning an increase in competition for these jobs.

Whether you are breaking into pharmaceutical sales, desire a position as a research and development engineer, or you want to move up to management in medical devices, here are some tricks of the trade from experienced resume writers and experts who specialize in these industries. With these tips, you can freshen up your resume like a pro and beat out your competition!

Tips for the Sales Resume

1. Include Your Target Title

Always include the job title or position you want on your resume and bold it. Human resources persons typically scan resumes and this is one of the first things they look for. Include the specific title or position you are targeting such as Sales Representative, Field Representative, or Customer Service Representative rather than a general title. This is particularly important if you are new to the pharmaceutical or medical device industries.

2. Tailor Your Sales Resume

Just as each customer has different needs, so do potential employers. You will need to customize your resume for each and every position that you apply for. That isn’t to say you can’t have a general resume on file as a starting place. You will just need to read the job description of each sales role for which you apply and mold your resume to the specific needs of that position at that company to give yourself the best shot at getting an interview.

3. Nix the Objective

Remove “Objective” as a section title in your resume. The person who reads your resume will know that your objective is to get a job offer from them. This is an old resume style that you should avoid. Instead, start with your “Career Summary.”

4. Lead with Numbers

Melissa Orpen-Tuz, a certified professional resume writer for Great Resumes Fast, says those wanting to enter the medical device or pharmaceutical industries need a different kind of resume. For these industries, specifically in sales, she says you should include solid numbers that demonstrate your performance.

“This is truly different from any other career field,” says Orpen-Tuz. “On a sales resume you want to lead with numbers and quantifiable results to show what you have done.”

Include sales numbers, details of how you have grown the client pool for your current employer, or explain the more extreme lengths you have taken to make a sale such as taking medical training to better know your target industry. This is a place you can really set yourself apart from other candidates.

5. Feature Relevant Classes & Training

The medical device and pharmaceutical industries are very closed, meaning hires from outside the industry are uncommon, according to Debra Boggs, a professional resume writer for Great Resumes Fast. With that in mind, she advises any coursework or medical experience you can include in your resume will be beneficial.

“On your resume, do whatever you can to show your knowledge of the industry or in sales and marketing,” says Boggs. “If you have been a top performer in another industry, you are more likely to have success in the transition. Because they are so selective, they aren’t going to take someone from outside the industry unless they are a high performer. These are the hardest industries to get into.”

Highlight relevant courses you have taken to demonstrate your preparedness and ability for success in sales. This is especially true if you have attended seminars or industry-specific courses that apply to the position you want. Mention any classes that have specifically prepared you for pharmaceutical or medical device sales and how that education translates to an added value for your potential employer.

6. Boast About Your Relationships

In addition to quantifiable results and numbers, Orpen-Tuz says anyone seeking work in the medical device and pharmaceutical industries should also tell stories about how they have gone above and beyond to make a sale and develop long-term relationships with customers.

“It’s also really important to be able to build relationships with highly educated medical clients,” she says of these industries. “Be personable in your resume and show you want to build partnerships with doctors and others in the medical field.”

7. Tell Your Individual Career Story

Every resume is a narrative of a person’s career past and this is where you should flaunt what you have done to add value in your previous roles. Building this picture of you as a strong contributor makes you a better candidate for a sales role. This is where you’re going to highlight certain aspects of these [medical device and pharmaceutical] resumes you may not showcase in other industries, according to Orpen-Tuz.

“Show how you took the opportunity to contribute to a company on a national level, to build consistent sales strategies, and be able to shine as an individual contributor but also as a member of a team,” says Orpen-Tuz, who also emphasizes the importance of training. “Look for ways you contributed to team projects, training, experiences you have had to work across regions. I have done several sales resumes where they have done great in an individual contributor role which then led them to get invited to other high-visibility initiatives within an organization. Also, think about what is motivating you to enter this field so you can articulate that on your resume.”

8. Tout Your Applicable Skills

Sales is a very broad category. Any position where you have had to convince others or even just explain the features or qualities of a product counts as sales experience. Whether you had a retail job in the summer after graduation or have sold other products in the past, these are transferable sales skills.

In addition, where pharmaceutical and medical device sales are concerned, you also need to demonstrate analytical skills so you are able to easily share data and statistics with potential clients and existing customers. Being able to show that you are competent in identifying trends or sorting data is incredibly useful in pharma and medical device sales.

Science skills are also valuable when discussing the science behind the drugs or devices you are selling. Any experience you have had in a lab, working on science projects, or work involving any type of technical element can also give you a leg up.

9. Using Saleable Keywords

For sales resumes, you have to identify the correct key terms to use. I highly recommend focusing on industry-specific hard skills over generalized soft skills as they are more likely to be picked up by an applicant tracking system (ATS).

For example, if you are leaving accounting and are transitioning to pharmaceutical sales, you may wish to use keywords such as sales trends, market share, customer target plan, or deliverables. Research keywords for hard skills you will be employing in pharmaceutical or medical device sales. You can find abundant lists of keywords simply by googling key terms for a sales resume.

Under your position title, include industry-specific key terms that relate directly to your target position and specific skill set. Bold these key terms in italics. For pharmaceutical or medical device sales, you might want to include terms such as:

• Ownership Mentality
• Results-Driven
• Strong Presentation Skills
• Active Listener
• Customer-Focused
• Initiative
• Business Acumen
• Organizational Skills

10. It’s About the Bottom Line

Most employers, especially in medical device and pharmaceutical sales, want to know how hiring you would positively impact their bottom line. While you may not have facts, figures, and metrics that apply directly to the position for which you are applying, you can incorporate such numbers from your current position to demonstrate your value. The general assumption is that if you have been successful in the past, you can be successful in the future. To figure out numbers and facts to include in your resume, ask yourself the following questions:

• How much revenue did I generate this year?
• How did this year’s sales compare to last year’s or last quarter’s?
• Did I cut costs? By how much?
• Did I increase productivity? By how much?
• Did I impact client satisfaction?
• Did I increase efficiency?
• Did I save time? How much?

Consider ways you impacted the bottom line of your company and include that information in the bullet points under each employer on your resume.

11. How Do You Add Value?

Ask yourself the questions below to uncover the benefits you bring to the sales table. Mold the responses into your personal brand:

• What benefit or contribution do you add?
• What key sales accomplishments or successes have you delivered time and time again in your present or past roles?
• What would you say is distinct about yourself and how you do what you do?
• What are your greatest strengths?

12. Details Matter

Hiring managers love details. While your resume offers limited space, you still want to ensure there are details in it that recruiters and human resources personnel want to see. For example, you will want to include your ranking, quotas, call points, and the positions you have previously held. You will also want to include the types of products you have sold such as the names of particular drugs or medical devices. You will also want to mention clients you have worked with in the medical industry especially those with big names such as Johns Hopkins or the Mayo Clinic.

13. Share Your Website & Blog URLs

Be sure to share the URLs for your professional website or personal blog in your resume under your contact information. Websites and blogs are a wonderful means of sharing your work with potential employers. This is especially true if the work relates to the medical device or pharmaceutical industries such as tips for producing better sales numbers or crafting killer emails to garner attention for a product.

14. Keep It Short and Sweet

Orpen-Tuz says you can use as much space as needed to say what you need to say but resumes shouldn’t go beyond two pages long except with executives who may have resumes of up to three pages in length.

“Sales resumes give you the opportunity to be very succinct and less wordy,” she says. “The goal of the resume doesn’t have to describe the totality of what you have done. It’s to get you a face-to-face interview for a specific goal.”

With this in mind, your sales resume should be at least one full page in length.

15. Format and Style Count

When it comes to sales, you want a neatly formatted, clean, and easy-to-read resume. Your resume should be visually appealing. Stick with a basic font such as Arial or Times New Roman. This also ensures your resume works well with an applicant tracking system (ATS).

16. Tap Your Network

While many candidates start with applying through pharmaceutical or medical device company websites, this can be a slow process. A better strategy may be to reach out to people within the company through your existing network or through social media such as LinkedIn. By using your network to obtain the names of contacts where you can send your resume, it gives you an extra push to get your foot in the door that other candidates may not have.

Tips for the Management Resume

17. Lead with Leadership

Leadership skills are important in any management role across all fields but this is especially true in the medical device and pharmaceutical industries where competition for positions is fierce. This is particularly the case for someone transitioning from another industry. Focus your resume on skills that are highly valued in your target industry.

The article The Science of the Job Search, Part I: 13 Data-Backed Ways To Win by TalentWorks states that the use of the right leadership words can boost your resume by more than 51 percent over your competition. The article recommends using words such as:

• Communicated
• Coordinated
• Leadership
• Managed
• Organization

While hard skills take precedence, some soft skills can be added. Think in terms of your leadership ability, especially when seeking a management position, as well as team-building, problem-solving, and other invaluable soft skills. For each of the job experiences you include on your resume, tout your skills and professional accomplishments including numbers. Some soft skills, such as leadership, cross over industry and title. Use them to your advantage in your professional summary.

18. Plot by Numbers

As mentioned above, numbers are worth their weight in gold and are imperative to any management resume. Remember, your resume markets your brand, grabs attention, and demonstrates your abilities and results. It’s imperative you include measurable numbers and data if you want to be considered as a serious candidate for a management position.

For example, if you boosted sales 70 percent, added more than 200 clients, or improved productivity of your department by 1/3 in your last role, that information should be included in your resume. Numbers like these are attention-getters for recruiters who want to see the value you offer even if it’s in a different role or industry.

In the aforementioned piece by TalentWorks, resumes that demonstrate results with numbers were boosted more than 40 percent over competitor resumes that lacked such stats. To get the most bang for your buck, the blog recommends using at least one number every three sentences to demonstrate your positive impact and leadership ability.

19. Match Your Skills

Job candidates should always match their skill set in their resume to each specific job description. Employers know what they are looking for and use those key terms in the job description when they post it. Make sure that when you are adjusting your management resume to fit each position for which you are applying that you employ the words used in the job description. You can even use them more than once.

20. A Specific Career Summary

When applying for a management role, realize your career summary is a space of opportunity. This is where you can really set yourself up to shine which is important given you are looking for a management position in one of the most competitive career fields out there. While many people think of this area on their resume as a career overview, you should use it to set yourself apart from other candidates.

Include specific positions you have held and your most significant accolades. This part of your resume is a career snapshot where you should include prominent client names, major accomplishments, and bottom-line numbers, especially if you are seeking a position in sales management.

“Pharmaceuticals and the medical device industries are very numbers-driven, so any time you can show numbers such as new product launches, market share growth, or quota attainment, those are all really helpful, particularly for sales and marketing,” says Boggs.

You can also feature names of prominent Fortune 500 companies you have worked with. This grabs attention and demonstrates your ability to work with industry leaders, even if it’s in a different industry, as well as your potential to bring in big clients with your former connections.

21. Use Industry-Specific Buzzwords

Most employers now use ATS to sort resumes so using the right keywords is imperative to having your management resume seen by an actual person. Research and select three to five industry-specific key terms to use in your career summary that apply directly to the role of management. According to The Science of the Job Search, Part I: 13 Data-Backed Ways To Win, using industry jargon and buzzwords every three to six sentences can bump your resume over other applicants by more than 29 percent. Look at job postings for industry-specific management terms you can use.

Monster offers a list of key terms to use for management positions in its blog 15 Keywords You Need on Your Executive Resume. Ensure that the key terms you use apply to your individual skill set and the industry to which you are applying. Some of the key terms it recommends for those seeking an executive-level position include:

• Strategic Planning
• Performance Optimization
• Budgeting and Finance
• Crisis Management
• Multi-Site Operations
• Profitability Improvement
• Decision-Making
• Joint Ventures & Alliances
• Consensus Building & Teaming
• Best Practices & Benchmarking

22. Ask Others What They Think

Asking others what they think of you can help you identify and build a personal brand that is authentic. Ask friends and colleagues the questions below and use their responses to help you build a personal brand.

• How would they describe you?
• What do others see as the value you add?
• Read your LinkedIn recommendations and past performance evaluations and look for themes. When you put similar words and phrases together, what picture do you get?
• What do others say are your greatest strengths?
• How do others describe you?
• What do your boss, team, direct reports come to you for on a regular basis?

If you are introverted like I am, questioning others about yourself can create some anxiety. If you are someone who struggles with asking such questions, I highly recommend the Reach Personal Branding Survey. This tool allows you to gather the email addresses of those you wish to request feedback from and the program sends it out. All you have to do is watch the responses roll in. It’s anonymous so people can respond without worrying about your reaction and the survey does all of the work of searching for common themes in your personal brand.

23. Reveal Yourself

Think about the new management role you are targeting. What qualities does the perfect candidate demonstrate? What are their professional attributes? A CFO may be extremely analytical or focused on the bottom line. The best sales manager may challenge the status quo of how to sell a particular product. Think about your own experiences in the work force. In what situations did you display professional attributes and what were the results of your leadership?

By taking this time, you’ll see yourself from the view of a potential employer. These are the very things recruiters and human resource managers will consider when reviewing your management resume. Center your resume on your management career goals rather than simply adding a boring list of tasks others may perform.

24. Cash in on Past Experience

If you are applying for a management position, you obviously have some previous experience that you can capitalize on in your resume. Many employers will be delighted to have someone with demonstrated success in their previous work experience, especially if you can tell your story in a way that applies to the position you want. This is particularly true if you are changing industries. Consider how your past experience applies to the management role you want, focusing on sharing applicable highlights and numbers to set you apart. Any previous experience in biotech, pharmaceuticals, or medical devices will give you a leg up.

25. Show, Don’t Tell

Recruiters, human resources personnel, and hiring managers don’t want to hear about your soft skills. They want to see them in action through your accomplishments in your resume. Rather than writing in your resume that you are a “people person,” explain how your ability to work well with others won you a large contract or gained you additional clients for your current or previous employer.

26. ATS for Everyone

Managers, executives, and C-level applicants often assume that they don’t need to prepare their resume for an ATS. Everyone should have a resume to use with ATS as many companies use them for regulatory compliance with fair hiring practices. This means that despite the level of the position to which you are applying, an ATS scan might still be part of the process.

27. Addressing Abbreviations

When it comes to abbreviations in your resume, just spell them out on first reference. For example, you would spell out “Regional Sales Manager” on first use but could then abbreviate the term to RSM thereafter. This is important as some ATS won’t recognize such abbreviations.

28. Do Your Homework

Before you start working on updating and fine-tuning your resume to a specific position, make sure you have done your research on the company to which you are applying. If you are looking at a medical device or biotechnology company, you need to know about the products that company sells as well as the industry. By knowing what the company produces, sells, and who the target clientele is, you can adjust your resume accordingly and you’ll do much better in the interview.

29. Be Thorough and Succinct

Orpen-Tuz recommends being thorough in your management resume but not using more than two pages unless you are applying for an executive role. If you are applying to an executive management position, your resume may be up to three pages in length.

Do not include your entire work history. Only use the past 10-15 years of your work experience unless something further back is highly relevant to the position you want. A resume is not meant to be a complete summary of your life’s work. Orpen-Tuz says the goal is to get a face-to-face interview where you can go more in depth about who you are as a candidate.

Tips for the Research and Development Resume

30. All the Right Stuff

There are certain sections that should go into any solid resume and this is also the case for research and development. For the field of research and development, which is more scientific in nature, there are sections to include in your resume that may not appear in other industries or for other positions. Your resume should include the following sections and relevant information under each:

• Personal/Contact Information
• Professional/Career Summary
• Education
• Technical Skills/Key Skills
• Publications & Patents
• Leadership Experience
• Awards & Accolades
• Affiliations
• Licenses

31. The Career Summary

Your career summary will go just under your name and contact information on your resume. This is a concise paragraph that focuses on and emphasizes your key skills and accomplishments that are relevant to the position for which you are applying.

32. Key Skills to Kill It

Speaking of bullets, the article The Science of the Job Search, Part I: 13 Data-Backed Ways To Win by TalentWorks highly recommends adding a key skills section since you can’t drop enough industry buzzwords. The piece says adding this section of 15-20 skills using bullets can increase your hireability by more than 58 percent above your competition that fails to include this section in their resume.

Technical skills are incredibly important in research and development. Some key skills you may use in your research and development resume include:

• Ability to handle large datasets
• Perform high-level data analysis
• Analytical thinker
• Critical problem-solver
• Time management
• Independent worker
• Teamwork
• Technophile
• Multi-disciplined
• Understanding of legal and regulatory issues

33. Keywords for R&D

The most successful candidates for research and development, science-related positions, have a comprehensive resume. As someone in research and development, you must demonstrate superior written communication skills and part of that means identifying the right key terms for the title you are pursuing. Some key terms you may consider using, if they apply to you, include:

• Advancements
• Manufacturing
• Scientific Research
• Scalable Design
• Deliverables
• Project-Focused
• Consumer Goods
• Development
• Patented Devices
• Solutions

34. The 30-Second Rule

Professional resume writers often apply what is known as the 30-second rule. The rule states that you have—at most—30 seconds for your resume to grab the attention of the person reading it. That’s why the career summary needs to be compelling and the key skills bullets succinct yet applicable. These are the two sections hiring managers will skim to see if you have what they are looking for. If your resume passes the 30-second test, they will read the remainder of your resume.

35. Check out Online R&D Resumes

There are a ton of sample resumes available online to look at, especially for entry-level scientists in research and development. Review some of these sample resumes and use the portions most relevant to the position you want. Be sure to include the sections mentioned above in “All the Right Stuff,” and leave off “References Available Upon Request” as this is a waste of space. It is assumed by recruiters that you will be able to provide references upon request.

36. Connect Former Work and New Goals

You’ll want to identify aspects of your previous work that relate directly to research and development that you can share in your resume. Topics that translate well across virtually any industry include:

• Communicating with stakeholders to define business requirements
• Responding to business needs with new solutions
• Enhancing operational performance
• Cutting costs
• Improving customer experience and satisfaction

All of these items also relate well to research and development when it comes to meeting the needs of the business, developing new products, and keeping costs low. Think about how you have accomplished these goals in your current or previous roles so you can connect them in your research and development resume.

37. Bullets to Hit the Mark

Make a list of your top achievements in your current and past careers. Include successes such as leading a challenging team of individuals, expanding research, or increasing sales through the development of new products. Recall and enjoy the highlights of your career which have brought you accolades and recognition from others.

Include these in your research and development resume, ensuring you also add the impact your work had outside your company such as honorable mentions, distinctions, or awards given by professional industry organizations. Use bullet points to effectively sum up career highlights. Orpen-Tuz warns that bullets should be no longer than two lines of text and never three.

38. Share Your Achievements

In your R&D resume, share stories of success from some of the bulleted achievements above. Use the Challenge-Action-Result format to describe challenges you faced, the action you took, and most importantly, the results of your efforts.

These stories become the foundation of your scientific resume. These achievements should replace the classic list of tasks performed in prior positions as they provide hiring managers proof of your performance that can translate to your new position and distinguish you from other candidates. If a particular achievement is not applicable to the new role or industry you’re pursuing, leave it out.

39. Highlight Relevant Education

I always recommend listing your education at the top of the resume if a degree or certification is required for the position you want and it has been recently obtained or will soon be completed. This is especially true in research and development where many companies look for R&D scientists who have a degree in genetics, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, or a closely-related field.

Recruiters also search for candidates who have a strong background in next-generation sequencing (NGS) methods, products, and applications in addition to excellent documentation and communication skills so they can effectively present data. Be sure to highlight your educational background so recruiters know you have the necessary training and knowledge for the role you want.

40. Branding with Quantifiable Metrics

Just as numbers are important for grabbing attention in sales and management resumes, they are also a distinguishing factor in research and development. Metrics, facts, and figures are essential to your resume.

When building your personal brand, facts and figures are paramount but can be tricky to identify in scientific terms. Think data loads you have analyzed, an increase in sales due to your product development, and the number of patents to your credit. If you are having trouble identifying metrics or numbers to use in your resume or branding, or even if you feel you have none, read Using Metrics in a Resume When You Have None for help.

41. Talk to People in R&D

Client Services Manager for Great Resumes Fast Chelsea Kerwin recommends talking to people who work in the medical device or pharmaceutical industries in research and development. By doing so, you will learn more about the role you want, the industry you are pursuing, and can identify potential companies to which you may want to apply. She says this is also particularly helpful when building your personal brand for your resume and online profiles. Such conversations may also help you identify keywords and mold a resume to get you where you want to go.

42. A Focused Format

While a great-looking resume won’t get you a job, an unappealing resume can knock you out of the running for an interview. Your resume should look nice and include bullets to make for easy reading where possible. Avoid fancy fonts, borders, or anything that might impede readability. Make sure your resume is sent in an easily read format such as Word. Those sent in a pdf format often cause import issues.

43. A Great Subject Line

When you do send your R&D resume, make the subject line of the email stand out. Find an interesting way to phrase it rather than just “My Resume.” For example, you might send a subject line that reads, “Top 5% Researcher Seeking Position in Chicago.” Using statistics and numbers is just one great way of catching a recruiter’s eye.

Tips for Every Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Resume

44. Your Name Matters Most

The name is the very first thing a recruiter scans on a resume, according to eye-tracking surveys. For better readability and to grab attention make sure your name is:

• In larger print than the rest of your resume
• In bold font
• At the top of your resume and cover letter either left-justified or centered

Some ATS have difficulties “reading” post-nominal titles or abbreviations attached to names such as Ph.D, RSM, and CFO. Leave these qualifications off of your name. To avoid having your resume dismissed by the ATS, simply include them in your career summary or education section.

45. Keys to a Professional Email Address

You may need to create an entirely new email address if your current professional email includes a former title or business name for a different industry. The creation of a professional email address should include your initials and a combination of numbers, or your first name and last name with the addition of numbers if necessary to distinguish your address from the other “John Smiths” out there. Keep it simple.

46. Use Your Address

Recruiters will sometimes check proximity of an applicant when running a search so include your address. If you leave your address off, your resume may not register in an employer database when they search for candidates by location. Zip codes are especially important when it comes to applicant tracking systems (ATS). If you have concerns about privacy, just use your city, state, and zip code on your resume so it can still be found by recruiters using an ATS.

47. Use Your LinkedIn Profile

When it comes to personal branding, Kerwin advises marketing yourself fluidly between your resume and LinkedIn profile. Whether a recruiter or hiring manager is looking at your resume or your online profile, it’s important to deliver a consistent message of who you are professionally and where you want to be.

“Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are positioning you for the industry and jobs you want to target now,” says Kerwin.

The fact is recruiters are more likely to connect with candidates who have common connections and LinkedIn automatically shows visitors who you are both linked to. This is a terrific way to get your foot in the door with a medical device or pharmaceutical company, especially if you are venturing into one of these industries for the first time. You can get even more resume tips for changing career fields in the blog 101 Resume Writing Tips for Career Change Resumes.

48. Your Branding Statement

Your branding statement goes at the top of your resume just beneath your contact details where the old objective statement used to be. This statement should be hyper-focused on the position you want, set you apart from other candidates, address the value you offer potential employers, and speak to problems you can solve for them. For example, I always tell people my heart’s desire is to use my 12+ years of HR experience to help job seekers create interview-winning resumes for those who don’t have the time, experience, or expertise.

If you are making a switch into the medical device or pharmaceutical industries, Boggs recommends adding a little narrative in this spot on your resume. The narrative should explain why you are making the transition and what you bring to the position.

For those already in the industry, Boggs says to mention your area of specialty (neurology, biologics, etc.) and any specific information you can give about drugs or technologies you have worked with. She says this is helpful because it makes you attractive to other companies as you already have that background.

49. Ask, “Why Do I..?”

When it comes to personal branding, one of the questions to ask yourself is “Why do I…?” Why do you want to be in a particular industry or position? Why do you do the work you do? If you are having trouble answering this question, or some of the others, I highly recommend Start with Why. This link can help you figure out the why behind what you do. Many people know what they do and how they do it, but not the why. Knowing the why is imperative to formulating a personal brand that will help you achieve your career goals.

50. Job Post Pointers & Making Career Connections

Kerwin recommends looking at sample job posts to learn which qualifications are required for the industry and position you want. She says by looking at job posts for the industry and career you are targeting, you can determine which required skills and experience you have to offer. Incorporate these into your resume and LinkedIn profile in a way that is relevant to the position you are seeking.

Whether you are in a career transition or are just starting out, Orpen-Tuz suggests those seeking a career in the medical device or pharma industries read position descriptions carefully to see where they can draw connections from their prior work experience.

“Researching specific companies and their approach to medical devices and pharma [is a good place to start],” according to Orpen-Tuz. “You may not have the necessary specific requirements but you can see the job connections between what you have done and how that can connect.”

51. Keywords to Capture Attention

Boggs also recommends paying special attention to the keywords in the job description for which you are applying. Keywords that are in the requirements for the job need to be in your resume. Make sure you are tailoring your resume to the job for which you are applying.

To be effective, keywords should be used throughout your resume. In the various sections of your resume from the career summary to your individual work experience, sprinkle in key terms and use the most important ones more than once. As you adjust your resume to each job post, you can easily add in extra keywords to the Key Competencies/Areas of Expertise section which is essentially just a list of keywords anyway.

If you are struggling to develop a branding statement, simply select three keywords related to your personal brand. A thesaurus is a great resource for this as is the Google Keyword Planner. After you have selected your three words, center them across the top of your resume beneath your contact information. I also advise first researching industry-specific key terms to use. Job postings are a great place to start this research.

52. Optimize Your Resume for ATS

The number one thing Boggs recommends when it comes to resumes for the medical device and pharmaceutical industries is to ensure your resume is ATS-optimized. She says nearly every job seeker in these industries will encounter an ATS so your resume needs to be up to snuff.

53. Avoid Double-Duty Resumes

Orpen-Tuz says if you are looking at pharmaceutical or medical devices as a new field, don’t try to use an old resume that does double duty. Be very focused on breaking into the medical devices and pharma idustries with an updated resume specific to the field you wish to enter.

54. Shun Personal Pronouns

When it comes to your resume, words such as “I,” “my,” or “me” should be removed. Recruiters are always pressed for time so they find options to systematically sort resumes and this is one way they do it. A tiny error such as using first-person pronouns can land your resume in the garbage. As a matter of fact, the use of personal pronouns can drop your chances of getting a call back for an interview by more than 54 percent, according to the online article The Science of the Job Search, Part I: 13 Data-Backed Ways To Win by TalentWorks.

55. Make Your Action Verbs Work

Start sentences with action verbs to pump up your resume. Action words demonstrate actively what you have done and how you added value to your past employers and/or industry. The List of 100 Action Verbs is a convenient and helpful reference for incorporating action into your resume. This is especially important when competing in industries where there are more candidates vying for fewer positions such as in the medical device and pharma fields. Utilizing the right verbs demonstrates your personal brand, energy, and value.

56. Avoid Unnecessary Adjectives

“I recommend that you are really, really cautious about using adjectives,” says Orpen-Tuz. “Rather than using adjectives like ‘I am a go-getter, dynamic, etc.,’ use those words that tell a story about a time that exemplified those characteristics.”

Write something more specific using one adjective that describes you but not every other candidate. For example, you might write, “Lead a departmental team of 10 who increased sales 20 percent under my supervision.” A thesaurus is a good resource for finding adjectives beyond the ordinary.

57. Pass on Overused Phrases

In every industry, certain phrases have become tired because recruiters have seen them time and again. These include “team player” and “excellent communicator.” Avoid these overused phrases at all costs. Using the term “team player” reduces your hireability by 51 percent, according to the online piece The Science of the Job Search, Part I: 13 Data-Backed Ways To Win.

Other words I recommend avoiding on a resume that fail to add value include “detail-oriented,” “responsible for,” “successful,” and “results.” Eliminate overused words and phrases in your resume such as “accomplished professional,” “demonstrated excellence,” or “proven ability.” Find other phrases to avoid at 10 Overused Resume Phrases Damaging Your Job Search. This short blog also provides options for replacing such tired old terms.

58. Talk to People in the Industry

Boggs suggests reaching out to professionals who have the job you would like to arrange informational interviews where you can ask for advice. This will also help with introductions to others in the industry you are pursuing before you even start working on your resume.

59. Experience Outside of Work

Kerwin says the experience you share on your resume doesn’t have to be all work-related. Consider including accomplishments outside the workplace such as volunteer work and opportunities you’ve taken outside of your company. When it comes to your job search and resume, all relevant experience counts. Whether it is volunteer, academic, or older experience, include it if it is relatable to the job you want.

60. Gauge Your Graphics

While graphics can add to the appearance of your resume, Orpen-Tuz warns against using too many graphics. She says it is important that graphics support what is in the text.

“I always stress with people that we want something that is clean and easy to read,” she says. “Sometimes flashy is ok but we don’t want formatting flairs to eclipse the content. I personally tend to use those (graphics) with higher-level resumes.”

61. Contemplate Company Culture

Research and consider company culture when crafting your resume. You can research each company on their website and on sites such as Glassdoor as well as on social media including Facebook and LinkedIn.

Once you learn about a company’s culture, adjust your resume accordingly. For example, if the company you wish to work for expects employees to give back to the community, you’ll want to include your volunteer efforts both inside and outside the workplace on your resume. You want a resume that fits with the company for a better shot at getting called for an interview.

62. Downplay Irrelevant Education

If the degree or education you have isn’t required or directly related to the position, put it at the end of your resume. Another reason for placing this information at the end of your resume is if you want to share with the employer that you have some education, but didn’t complete your education. This is not something you want to draw attention to. If you are not planning on finishing your degree or certification, check out the article What Should You Put on Your Resume When You Didn’t Finish your Degree?

63. Formatting Formulas

You may choose to use a chronological or hybrid format for your resume. A chronological resume simply lays out your career history in order starting with your most recent or current position and moving backwards over the last 10 to 15 years.

While the chronological resume is the most common, a hybrid can downplay job-hopping in your resume. This is ideal for those who have switched positions every year for the past several years or for those who have significant employment gaps. Keep the focus on relevant achievements and push the chronology to the end of the resume. While a hybrid format is similar to a standard resume, the section for relevant experience comes after the career summary. You’ll need to be strategic about employment dates and keep your current position brief. Read more about these strategies in 4 Tips to Downplay the Appearance of Job Hopping on Your Resume.

For more resume writing tips on using fonts, design, and formatting, and more, read 131 Resume Writing Tips – The Most Comprehensive List of Resume Writing Tips on the Internet.

64. Review Your Resume

As always, I highly recommend running a spell check and grammar check of your resume. When this is done, give your resume a final read. You want to catch any potentially embarrassing grammar and spelling errors that could take you off the interview list.



The conventional sequence for getting a new job in science (or anywhere else) goes like this: 1) Apply for job 2) Get an interview 3) Ace the interview 4) Pray that your references hold up.

So if you had a bad relationship with your last boss, you’re in trouble. Because no matter how well you do at interview their bad reference will sink you. Well, that’s what the conventional wisdom says anyway. But the conventional wisdom is wrong.

If you get to step 2) and are shortlisted for an interview, you already have a good chance of getting the job. And when making decisions after the interview, your potential employer will put more weight on their personal experience of you than on a reference from an unknown person with a potential conflict of interests.

That said, they will still normally ask for a reference. But if you think you can get a bad one from an old boss, there are a number of ways to make sure it doesn’t hurt your prospects. The main thing is to just be honest why you don’t want to ask for a reference from your previous supervisor or PI.

Here are three cases from my experience that illustrate the possibilities.
Case 1 – the PhD Student With the Unhappy Supervisor

I know a PhD student (not his real name), who had a huge row with his supervisor at the end of his postgraduate studies. It was something to do with the author order on a paper, but the details are not important. What is important is that he was able to get a postdoctoral position without a good reference from the unhappy former supervisor.

After the interview he was asked about the references and told the truth, without going into details, that the supervisor was not happy with him. He also mentioned that he could supply references from his second supervisor and his Masters Project advisor.

The interviewing PI was happy to accept his explanation and alternative references. And PhD Student got the job.
Case 2 – the Young Postdoc Who Found Himself in the Wrong Job

An acquaintance of mine, Newly Minted PhD (also not his real name), had papers in good journals and a stellar references from his PhD supervisors. He got a postdoc in one of the best UK universities, the topic looked good on paper, and everything was rosy.

But when we started in the post, he discovered that his new PI was unsupportive and that no-one was willing to help him start working on a new topic. He needed to get out. But – urgh – that would surely incur a bad reference from his new boss, wouldn’t it? Well, no!

He asked his former PhD supervisor what to do and was advised to leave ASAP. He did as his former supervisor advised and instead of asking for a reference from his short-lived boss, Newly Minted PhD used his previous references (from his PhD supervisor and previous tutors) to get another job in a different institution.
Case 3 – the Mature Postdoc Who Just Wanted to Stay in the Same City

A friend, we’ll call him The Mature Post-Doc (you’ve guessed it; not his real name), was desperate to stay in the same city. A half-paid mortgage on his house, children in a good school and other unnecessary luxuries were keeping him there. So in desperation he accepted a job with a bad history; two previous postdocs had left the same job.

Unsurprisingly, he got the job. And just as unsurprisingly, he didn’t get along with the PI and left with the sounds of “you’ll never work again!” ringing in his ears.

Well he did get another job. And he did it without even trying to get a reference from the Angry Supervisor. He just asked for one from his previous long-term employer, and that was good enough for his new boss.
Case 4 – the Post-Doc With a History Who Still Got the Job

If you think those guys above were battling against the odds, then the example of the Post-Doc with a History will knock your socks off! He not only had bad references from his two consecutive previous jobs, but he was actually fired from the second job in a middle of a grant. Ouch.

But did he let his history drag him down? No! He rose from the ashes to grab a new postdoc position, relying only on the references from the time of his PhD.
The Moral of These Stories

The moral of these stories is that you don’t need your previous employer’s reference to get a job. Even as a PhD student you have several people to ask for a reference if you suspect your last employer will be a problem. It could be your tutor, summer project/master/second PhD supervisor, even the internal seminar organizer who has seen you presenting your work and answering questions. Or if you are a bit longer in the tooth, just go back to your last satisfactory employer for a reference.

The important factor is – as it is even if you have the best reference ever – how you come across as a person in the interview.

Cases 2 and 3 give us another important rule of thumb: Do not stay in an obviously dead-end position for more than a year. Everybody understands that not all employer/employee relationships are made in heaven, but if you worked more than a year this makes people (including you) wonder why you didn’t quit if it was really that bad.

Case 4 gives us all hope. If he was able to find a job with two strikes and current horrible job market, I am sure you can do it too!


1. 前言


2. 探索


身边大多数博士转行无非是这几条路。1)药厂,2)教书,3)金融,4)编程,5)科学交流,6)咨询,7) 其他

2.1 药厂


2.2 教书


2.3 金融


其他与金融投资相关的行业,比如行业研究员(equity research),可以用上一些自己的专业知识进行股票分析,但是听说工作时间特别长,而且压力也不小。更重要的是,这些行业分析和投资理财顾问更倾向于经验丰富的人,比如已经干了几年的管理咨询。毫无经验的菜鸟一开始就做这个,机会也不是很多。


2.4 编程


2.5 科学交流

如果对写作特别有兴趣,也可以考虑进行科学交流(scientific communication)。身边已经有不少PhD成功转行到科学交流行业,从事科学写作。他们的工作内容跟科研紧密联系,虽然不用自己做实验,但是还是需要经常阅读科学文献,然后写综述,做PPT。需要的不仅仅是写作能力和技巧,还有信息搜集和概括的能力,以及把复杂的科学概念说清楚的沟通能力。我对于写作本身虽然有很大的业余爱好,但是如果是当成工作,大概也谈不上喜欢。在跟已经转行科学交流的学长学姐交流之后,作罢。

2.6 咨询

从第一次听说咨询(大概是博士二年级),到在Coursera上学习经济学、战略分析,到选修哥大商学院的课,参加一些社交活动,到2016年加入哥大咨询俱乐部,开始申请咨询的工作。咨询是我前期投入非常大的方向。身边有很多中国同学都拿到了麦肯锡或者BCG在中国办公室的工作,而想要留在美国从事咨询工作却鲜有成功的案例。咨询业的职位需求本来就不多,在国内在美国的竞争都非常激烈,毕竟咨询已经成为很多博士转行的默认选项,特别是top N的那些学校,也就是咨询公司常说的target school。非target的学校申请难度要更大。美国公司能够提供工作签证的就更少,想要在美国工作不仅要英语特别好,主要看气质。而所谓的咨询气质是什么,准备过咨询的同学应该都能理解,无法言传。

我在面试的过程中,发现自己的性格跟咨询业的整体风格和工作模式并不是很合得来,特别是在穿正装分析商业案例的时候,心中总是有很强的表演错觉,感觉那个人并不是真正的我。至于咨询业强调的领导力和解决问题的能力,确实很难客观地去衡量,以至于被拒都不知道为何被拒。有些人觉得咨询不用怎么准备,target school的同学练两个月case就可以面试了。然而,借用我一个朋友的话,“咨询确实不怎么需要学习hard skill,但是要重新学习做人。”技术可以学习,但气质和性格却是经年累月的。所以,咨询公司在面试时,case做得及格之后,性格和眼缘非常重要。关于hard skill和soft skill,我后来才发现,不只是咨询,很多行业包括数据科学都是如此。hard skill决定入门资格,而soft skill决定入门之后能走多远。



2.7 其他


3. 发现

本科同一个实验室的师姐,神经科学博士毕业之后去了Facebook做数据科学家,跟她聊了之后发现这个工作非常有趣,用到一些编程,也用到一些数据分析,还需要解决问题和思考。在跟其他师兄师姐的聊天中,我逐渐了解了数据科学(data science)这个行业,也逐渐发现自己似乎找到了自己喜欢的方向。在网上(知乎一亩三分地BBSQuora)读了很多介绍数据科学的文章和如何准备之后,我踏上了数据科学之路。

4. 准备


我个人比较推荐通过系统的课程学习数据科学,而不是速成或者刷题,不是看几页别人总结的cheat sheet,也不是跟着大牛们做几个kaggle项目刷个名次。系统学习的时间虽然很长,也可能学着后面忘了前面,但从知识掌握的角度,自己一步一步慢慢学,一边学一边琢磨,然后自己融会贯通自己进行总结,掌握基本的理论和概念,知其然也知其所以然。这样之后再去刷题,参考别人的cheat sheet,看kaggle上别人的项目流程和思路,不仅事半功倍,也能够更好地理解数据分析。说到底,数据科学是门硬功夫,需要持续不断地学习新知识,反思旧概念。如果不能付出足够的时间和汗水,而只看到所谓数据科学的光鲜外表,可能很难转行成功吧。

因为需要投入很多 (平时晚上和周末基本都要学习),所以决定需谨慎。

4.1 编程


4.1.1 Python入门(1-2月)


  1. Intro to Computer Science
  2. Programming Foundations with Python

4.1.2 数据结构和算法(2-3月)


  1. Design of Computer Programs
  2. Essential Data Structures in C/C++
    • 这是哥大的一门课,老师Jae是个非常非常有趣的人。对于从来没有接触过C++也没有系统学过数据结构和算法的人非常有用。
  3. Introduction to Algorithms
  4. LeetCode

4.2 数据分析

在网上查了一圈之后,发现还是Udacity的课程比较全面,而且是项目导向,也就是说每上完一门课,就可以做一个项目。我最终选择的是Data Analyst Nanodegree (–nd002)。


  • Statistics
  • Intro to Data Analysis
  • Data Wrangling with MongoDB
  • SQL For Data Analysis
  • Data Analysis with R
  • Intro to Machine Learning
  • Data Visualization and D3.js
  • A/B Testing



4.2.1 概率和统计(~1月)



YouTube的这个英国助教的A full course in econometrics,一共有271个视频,我觉得讲得深入浅出,特别对于没有上过研究生统计课的人,帮助非常大。里面涉及regression assumption和time series的部分,在我面试的时候就用到了。

4.2.2 A/B testing (~2周)

根据公司不同,一些职位可能会要求懂什么是A/B test,怎么设计实验。这对于实验出身的博士并不是很难理解,但是涉及到一些网上实验的细节和统计的计算,还是需要多加练习。Udacity这门课是由Google的员工讲授,获益匪浅。–ud257

4.2.3 Numpy & Pandas(2-4周)


Udacity的Intro to Data Analysis讲了如何使用这两个包,非常好学,好用。–ud170

4.2.4 R(2-4周)


Nanodegree里Data Analysis with R是非常不错的R入门教程。–ud651


4.2.5 SQL(2-4周)

同样的,Nanodegree里Data Wrangling with MongoDB是非常不错的SQL入门教程。–ud032

除此之外,SQL zoo也是很好的练习资源。

4.2.6 大数据(1-2 月)


4.2.7 机器学习(1-2月)


4.2.8 人工智能(2-6月)


4.3 商业思维


强烈推荐咨询的案例面试。比如Victor Cheng的免费视频 对于理解如何站在商业角度看问题,还是很有启示的。由于大多数案例分析没有所谓的标准答案,表达能力和思考问题的角度就非常重要了。


1. 问:如何预测谷歌引擎2020年在比利时的搜索量?因为搜索量直接决定公司需要购买的服务器数量,所以预测很重要。

思路:这是很明显的时间序列预测问题。建几个time series prediction model 不难,但在涉及到任何实际数据分析之前,最好先进行案例分析。从大局着眼,分析问题,提出框架(MECE思想, mutually exclusive collectively exhaustive),最后再建模。毕竟建模简单,关键是思考的过程。以下是一些可能的思路。

1) customer 我们的用户是谁,市场多大,近些年趋势如何,客户用什么设备搜索(电脑,手机,ipad)。每月每周每天趋势如何,是否具有季节性或周末高峰?

2) competitor,其他搜索引擎。

3) company, product, cost。如果搜索有周期性,多余的服务器资源如何利用?租赁或公司内其他的服务?

4) 建模。estimate range,上面的因素如何影响到各个参数的设定。是overestimate还是underestimate更糟?为什么?


2. 问:如何提高某保单的销售额(revenue)?


1) 外:该类保单市场多大?趋势如何?主要竞争者是谁?客户是谁?客户年龄收入等状况(customer segmentation)?价格敏感度如何?


3) 要提高销售额,无非是提高价格或者提高销量。如果该产品价格敏感度低,而且属于独特的刚性需求产品,可以提价。如果该产品是generic,也可以通过降价提高销量,但要考虑是否有其他竞争者的价格战。也可以针对不同客户进行不同定价。

4) 行业相关。这里保单是保险业,如果对保险业或者任何面试的行业不熟悉,可以直接问面试官,保单的销售额是如何计算的?是保费投保人越多越好,还是说保费减去保险公司理赔的数量,算差价。这样就需要进行风险评估定价。因为我并没有深入了解过保险业,所以也不清楚这个行业相关的知识。但是如果你拿到了保险公司的面试,提前了解该行业的基本情况,特别是盈利模式,对面试很有帮助。


此外,大多数博士并没有什么商业的实践经历,如果有可能,可以参加一下data hackathon或者case competition,了解一下思考问题的一些方法。

5. 做项目






6. 简历


  1. 格式
    • 一页PDF。
    • 避免用花哨的格式,比如竖列的格式,看起来虽然新奇,但是确实没什么大用。
    • 避免用图标和新奇的字体,避免在电脑自动筛选简历的时候无法识别格式。
  2.  Summary
    • 大多数应届毕业生并没有太多的东西可写,也很难通过自己的经历体现自己的优势。在一位职场达人学姐的指导下,我在简历最前面加了Summary的部分,针对所申工作的要求,高度概括总结自己的优势和经历。这样在HR筛简历的时候,可以一目了然地看到优点。
  3. Projects
    • 量化。数据量有多大? 用了多少个特征?用的是什么具体的模型?结果提高了多少?改变了什么?
    • 独立项目还是合作项目?个人做的内容是什么?
    • 细节越多,越独特,也越能够吸引人。如果写得很宽泛,就显得缺乏个人的思考。

7. 软实力

7.1 沟通能力

推荐一本书吧,卡耐基的how to win friends and influence people。



7.2 英语

交流起来应该没啥问题,口音的话推荐一下American Accent Training 里面讲了很多中国人发音的问题,美式英语的特点。如果对自己的口音很在意,可以用这本书短时间强化一下。

8. 申请

8.1 投简历




当然,很多公司可能还是会自己网上海投。如果可能,最好能够联系公司里的员工出来喝茶进行informational interview,了解一下公司情况。海投的话,建议广撒网,反正投简历不收费。

8.2 培训项目


  • Insight Data Science
    • 我所接触的Insight fellow对项目的评价都很高,也基本都通过Insight找到工作了。当时我同时拿了实习公司和Insight的offer,因为考虑到实习可能有return offer以及是真实的工作环境,最终并没有参加Insight的培训。
    • 我个人的面试经历是,Insight确实是要求申请人本身有一定的编程和数据处理经验,最好已经会用Python,R,或者MATLAB。除了PhD的项目,申请人最好有自己的小项目,比如很多人做过的twitter自然语言分析,纽约citi bike之类的。如果只是写自己PhD阶段处理过的数据和项目,其实并不是特别充实,也不太容易过简历这一关。
    • 面试的时候,需要申请人自己讲述一个数据处理的项目。这个项目不一定要非常复杂,或者非常高深。我之前有听别人说一定要有很炫酷的机器学习或者自然语言之类,但根据我个人的经验来看,Insight更看重申请者个人对数据本身的热情和对问题的思考,特别是表达能力。如何把一个项目讲得绘声绘色,让听众也能够很感兴趣,非常engaging,如何把一些复杂的编程语言说清楚,如何解释自己编程的逻辑(比如为什么选择决策树,而不是其他机器学习的模型)。如果只是进行一个简单粗暴的grid search,用TensorFlow建个神经网络跑几百个epoch,却不解释清楚“为什么”选择一个metrics,“为什么”要多次抽样,甚至于“为什么”对这个问题感兴趣,那么可能即使你的机器学习项目最后的准确率非常高,但也很难过得了面试。
    • 我当时把面试的项目整理成三篇博客(,项目基本是数据探索和解释,并没有预测分析和机器学习。在面试的时候不仅给面试官展示了Python代码,也讲述了一个完整的故事,得到了一个比较有用的结论,申请的同学们可以作为一个参考。
  • Data Incubator
    • 在Insight之前,我也申请了这个项目,但在code challenge环节被拒。后来想想被拒的原因非常明显,我的项目做得不好。就如我上面所说,我本以为一定要做炫酷的自然语言分析啊机器学习啊时间序列分析啊神经网络啊,这些看上去很“高端”的项目,却忽略了自己本身的技术和专长,以及时间和资源。俗话说,没有金刚钻,别揽瓷器活。我当时想做的项目是用自然语言分析纽约地区Yelp上的餐厅review,从而给用户推荐个人化的餐厅。这个想法可能是好的,但是项目工程太大,而且数据并不能简单获得,Yelp的API限制下载流量,所以我花了大半天才下好数据,然后发现这个API并不提供完整的review,而只是一句话简介。而我本身对自然语言(NLP)的了解只是停留在知道怎么用的阶段,并没有深入的理论学习,在分析数据的时候并不能很快地抓住重点。最后,因为时间有限加上数据不完整,这个项目我做得非常仓促。不过在Data Incubator失利之后,我吸取了教训,好好准备了Insight的项目。


9. 结语之前

据我有限的道听途说,今年data scientist招人基本都是跳槽的experienced hire,新人大多要求博士学位。之前跟一些统计硕士聊过,他们抱怨说自己专业对口,花了几年时间专门学统计,难道还比不过那些个从物理生化机械转行的博士么?而现实是,除了某些打着data scientist名号把data scientist和data analyst放在一块招的,大多数data scientist真的倾向于博士,哪怕专业不那么对口。至于原因,问过一些面试的人,大概是说data scientist整体因为算是个不太成熟的领域,很多东西都要自己去探索,去research,自己去想idea,然后设计实验,分析结果,解释不清不白的数据,还要做ppt报告,几年博士的训练在广义的科研能力上可能更加适合,特别是在失败和不顺时候的韧性。当然就不提大多数博士年龄比硕士大,所以在人情世故上可能更通达一些。至于知识啥的,他们觉得你博士都读下来了,智商应该够,啥都可以以后再学。所以我其实觉得quit phd可能是比较冒险的行为,如果可以的话,最好是一边读phd,一边学习转行技能。说到底,学历还是很重要的。

在市场竞争激烈的现在,申请的时候别管工作名称,data scientist和data analyst,business intelligence,如果编程算法能力不错的话也可以申一下engineer职位。总之能申的都先申了,入门再说。与其抱着不切实际的理想,不如脚踏实地地从头做起。

10. 结语