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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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