Researchers used to writing grant proposals, journal articles, and other materials for the scientific community may need to take on a different mind-set when preparing their resumes, human- resources experts say. For one thing, the first person who reads a scientist's resume may not know that much about science. Joe Ruis, a technical recruiter with Tad Technical Services in King of Prussia, Pa., is an example. "I took chemistry so many times in school it was ridiculous," he says.

Nonetheless, Ruis can play a key role in determining whether a chemist gets a chance to interview for a job analyzing a substance that Ruis might not even be able to spell. He scours through reams of resumes, looking for a "buzzword" or the name of a particular instrumentation technique that matches the staffing needs of a client.

This approach to reviewing resumes, which may seem haphazard to job candidates, isn't...

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