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  • Tracy Costello, PhD

Insights for applications to non-academic roles

Updated: Mar 12

ASCB invited me to lecture about "preparing job applications for non-academic careers" and the webinar and FaceBook live just completed. I promised I would share the slides here for all to download.


The goals and learning objectives were lofty! We started with a broad framework of career exploration and job searches (10 steps!) and narrowed the focus on step 7, "preparing application materials." I gave an overview of the application process from preparation of materials and their path through the applicant tracking system, human resources, across the hiring manager's desk, all with the goal of getting an interview. In order to capture that attention, it's key to tailor or target your resume and cover letters to the specific job description you're applying to. These application materials are your absolute first impression for someone in HR or the hiring manager and time crafting these documents and tying them to distinct needs of the organization is time well spent. (The 2018 eye-tracking research study by theladders.com has broad implications for this process and we discussed it briefly.) Last, we discussed how to dissect a job ad to identify keywords and the 3-5 major needs of a particular role so that you can appropriately tailor the documents.

I discussed general template structures for attention-getting resumes and cover letters, with particular emphasis on overarching best practices and specific examples for crafting impactful, action- and skill-oriented bullets. I referenced the amazing list of 185 action verbs at themuse.com, notable for its categorization of verbs based on skills.


I was so glad to hear that over 550 registered and I hope that today's discussion helped give a framework to alleviate anxiety around the entire process and give you actionable steps for you to create your application materials. I welcome additional questions because I know in the 30 minutes of Q&A that we didn't get close to answering the 42 that I saw posted! Last, I welcome feedback about the concepts shared in the attached slides and feedback if you attended the webinar!

Preparing Job Apps for Non-Ac Careers (p
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