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How to List Lab Skills on a Resume: Best Skills and Examples

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Lab skills allow you to work in many industries such as medicine and food testing. These skills usually require chemical, biochemical and science-related abilities that are highly valued for their technical and medical affiliations. In this article, you can learn more about lab skills and the best lab skills to include on your resume.

What are lab skills?

Lab skills are the skills you use in a laboratory either as a research student or a professional researcher. Some examples include performing standard lab procedures or analyzing samples. Lab skills require researching, analyzing, listening, communicating and careful observation. To excel in any type of position that involves the use of technical or medical equipment, it’s wise to first improve the most widely used lab skills.

Why employers want to see lab skills on your resume 

Employers want to see lab skills on your resume because the skills you highlight can help the employer determine whether you’re the right fit for the open position. Having specialized lab skills are also helpful if you’re looking to obtain a specific job. For example, while there are general lab skills such as keeping a sterile environment, there are also specific skills such as neurobiology that you can focus on in your resume.

Best lab skills to add to a resume

Here are some of the best lab skills you can list on your resume:

Research

Being able to find information about a subject and write findings for the conducted research is essential to your career in a lab.

Communication

Communication skills, both written and verbal, are necessary for communicating with team members and for recording information.

Organization

Being organized is an important skill in any lab setting. Being able to keep all the equipment in one place is critical. This skill is also crucial to performing steps in an experiment in the correct order.

Time management

Managing time is essential when you need to meet deadlines and finish research on time. Pacing the research and experiments appropriately is also critical to avoid creating errors.

Analysis and problem-solving skills

Being analytical and the ability to solve problems efficiently are essential skills in the lab. Being able to look critically at your work is important as well as being able to figure out issues that arise during experiments.

Data processing and statistical analysis

These skills are essential for processing collected data if you work in an environment that is research-intensive.

Programming and database skills

Programming and database skills are helpful in some labs that deal with data or artificial intelligence. An example of this would be using artificial intelligence for neurobiological gender studies.

Proper sterilization techniques

Anyone who regularly works in a lab should understand how to properly sterilize lab equipment to prevent them from being contaminated.

Specialized skills

Beyond the general lab skills a person should have, different areas of science may require their own specializations. Some examples of specializations include animal care, administering medication via injections, preparing special diets and performing simple surgical procedures.

How to list lab skills on a resume

Here are some ways that you can demonstrate lab skills on your resume:

1. Firstly, research the company to learn its values and culture

Look for keywords that match your lab skills. For example, check out the company’s website and social media profiles. If you are speaking with a specific hiring manager, research that manager’s professional social media page. Pay attention to the job skills the hiring manager lists as well as their professional background.

2. Secondly, focus on skills the employer would want to see on your resume

Start by looking at the job advertisement, and use the keywords you find to add to your skills section. 

3. Thirdly, describe your professional skills with your achievements

Match your listed lab skills with what you have previously done in a lab environment. Resume skills aren’t just for the resume scanner. A strong history of proven skills can also show hiring managers your achievements.

4. Next, add other skills if they may be relevant to the position you’re applying for

Be sure that the additional skills are similar and relevant to the skills you have researched from the job posting.

5. After that, remember soft skills such as communication and people skills

Hard skills, which are skills that can be easily measured, are essential for your resume, but so are the skills that you learn through your interactions with other people.

6. Next, list your skills throughout your resume instead of compiling them in one place

For example, ‘Lab assistant in a biotech research center in charge of a database for large scale data analysis about genome sequencing’ would integrate some of your skills in the summary statement at the top of your resume. A bulleted list alone doesn’t allow you to give the same focused details as skills that you integrate consistently through job descriptions in your resume.

7. Lastly, proofread your work

Be sure to check for grammar and spelling as well as professional formatting on your resume. You can also ask a trusted friend to look over your resume for you to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

Tips for improving lab skills

Here are some tips for improving lab skills:

Use on-the-job training to your advantage

On-the-job training is one of the more valuable ways to improve your lab skills because you are directly applying what you learn to what you do. Take notes about the work you do in the lab to remember how your learning is applicable in a meaningful and tangible way.

Consider finding a mentor

In addition to learning on the job, seek out mentoring opportunities from a senior researcher. This professional can help you learn new skills in the lab while giving you insight into the purpose and direction of your lab work. If you develop a good relationship with your mentor, they may even help you network and introduce you to other professionals in your field. Mentoring is a valuable tool for gaining additional skills and career connections.

Take opportunities to learn on your own

Learning that you can do outside the lab is as useful as the work you do in the lab. Going to seminars, workshops and conferences in addition to your formal academic instruction can add to your lab skills while providing opportunities for career networking.

Network with others in your industry

Social business media, online forums, websites focused on your specific field and career fairs all offer opportunities for you to research what is available for you to make your lab skills better and more productive for your workplace.