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“Highlights” in your CV (for scientists)

Highlights, also known as “Profile”, “Summary”, or “Key Attributes”, is a list of 3-5 bullet points (ok, for academic positions 6 at the very most) with your key skills, achievements, and experiences relevant for the position you are applying for. Although “Highlights” is an optional section, many modern CVs have them. Personally, I believe Highlights are a great feature which allow you to emphasise experiences and skills in a prominent position of your CV that might otherwise be deeply buried in other sections.

For example: a company is looking for someone with experience in qPCR and you didn’t do a single qPCR in the last five years. However, during your BSc project you did plenty of qPCRs. In your CV your qPCR experience is hidden somewhere in the middle of your “Education” section. You can try to give it extra visibility by moving it to the very top of your skills section, but still, a reader might simply miss it. Using a Highlights Section, you can write as one of your bullet points, “Experience in qPCR, CRISPR-Cas9, and tri-parental mating.” And…. abracadabra… qPCR will catch the eye of the reader!

Where to put it in your CV?

Usually, Highlights are the first section of your CV and is placed at the top of the first page, just below your personal details… (the personal data you provide differs between countries, see my article in Chemistry World). Alternatively, if you use a cover page (still common in e.g. Germany), you can place the Highlights Section here.…

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Return to academia: The price I’m willing to pay

Does academia deserve its reputation as a bad employer? And if so, why do some people choose to return? Philipp Gramlich and Karin Bodewits spoke to four scientists moving from the “real world” back into the ivory tower.

Read the full length article at (for free)

Academia has had some bad press in recent years. Long years of temporary contracts, enforced mobility, and low salaries are some of the arguments used against academic careers. But is the grass really greener on the other side?

After six years working in a permanent position at AstraZeneca, Neil Carragher embarked on a five-year contract as a PI at the Edinburgh Cancer Research Center. “I missed academic freedom and academia’s inspiring environment. In industry, the company strategy comes from above and you can’t really influence it as an individual,” he says. Moving to AstraZeneca in the first place was a tactical decision. “After two post-docs, I felt that industry offered a more supportive career path.”

After those years in big pharma, Carragher felt confident that he would make it in the academic world; “I had a large network, a clear scientific vision, and full support from the head of the department. Plus, they offered me a five-year contract, which is plenty of time to show what you can do.” Continue reading at


Philipp Gramlich has studied and researched chemistry at various universities in Germany, Australia and Scotland. After experiences in industry at baseclick and Eurofins Genomics, he co-founded NaturalScience.Careers. With seminars like “Goodbye academia?” he focuses on career- and skill-development for natural scientists.

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The Medial Science Liaison (MSL) role

Like many of you scientists, I like exploring new pathways, learning about new subset of cells that intricately work with other cells, and most of all I like to read and discuss the new cool science with my fellow scientists. When I was a postdoc, however, the latter – reading and talking about the science – was overwhelmed by doing the day-to-day experiments, finding money and working by yourself for hours on end behind a FACS machine in a dark place and feeling quite lonely (and bored). So that fun part of “doing” science was quickly eroding for me.


I then moved into a Medical Science Liaison (MSL) in the pharmaceutical industry. A role that ticked all the boxes for me on the science menu that I missed during my postdoc. A role with fierce competition that requires diligent preparation.


As an MSL you are the scientific and clinical disease and drug expert within the medical (affairs) department of a pharmaceutical or biotech company. You are the person within the company that anyone will go to first to get answers on complex questions. This could be about how the drug is designed; which pathway it targets; how the drug works – the mode of action (MOA); questions about the disease and the patient profiles; how to prevent or treat an adverse event or questions about clinical trials from your own (and the competitor) company. This requires you to keep-up-to-date on the latest literature so you will need to read quite some (clinical) papers.…

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Wanted: Hybrid economist/ natural scientist with an integrated view on consulting

Interview with Dr. Michael Müller, Director at KPMG

Good day, Dr. Müller. What kind of company is KPMG exactly?

We are a large consulting and auditing firm with more than 170 000 employees worldwide. KPMG delivers a whole range of consulting services beyond auditing and tax counselling, services in deal advisory and within that segment also strategy, to name but a few.

You are a physicist, how did you as natural scientist get into such a company?

Ever since, I was interested to see the bigger picture and to connect a broad range of expertise and backgrounds in order to get to an integrated solution to a problem. At first I studied mathematics, physics and computer science, followed by a PhD in physics.

I started my career at Bayer in the technological section, eventually leading a business unit with 600 staff. My tasks at the time were extremely multi-faceted: technology, sales, economics. I was working on the strategy development of Bayer´s business units. During all these years, I always had a high staff responsibility and had to conduct a whole range of exit interviews in the context of the sale of a company.

“Networking is everything!”

I subsequently founded my own consulting company, which was specialised in headhunting, coaching and strategy consulting for medium-sized enterprises. By word of mouth, the business quickly took hold. Six years later, I engaged with Stratley, a consulting boutique, which was specialised in the chemical industry and managed to win the Hidden Champion Award 2012. Three years ago, Stratley was bought by KPMG, which brought me into the position as Director at KPMG.…

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