Asee peer logo

Development Of Quantitative Methodologies For Analyzing Biomedical Engineering Resumes And Their Use In Career Pathway Alignment

Download Paper |


2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Supporting Biomedical Engineering Students in Holistic Development

Tagged Division

Biomedical Engineering

Page Count


Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Tristan McCarty University of Florida

visit author page

Tristan received his B.S. and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Florida. He will begin studying to complete a doctoral degree in Bioengineering from the University of California, Riverside in Fall 2021.

visit author page


Sarah Corinne Rowlinson Furtney University of Florida

visit author page

Sarah Rowlinson received the B.S. degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, USA in 2012, and the Ph.D. degree in bioengineering from Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA in 2017.

She is a Lecturer and the Undergraduate Coordinator in the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering with the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA. She instructs the freshman level introduction course and the junior level cell culture laboratory course. As a doctoral student, she studied breast tissue engineering and was an Instructor for the Clemson University General Engineering Program. She also participated in the NSF’s Innovation Corps for Learning (I-Corps L) program and was a research mentor through National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) and Research Experience and Mentoring (REM).

Dr. Rowlinson is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education, Biomedical Engineering Society, and Society For Biomaterials.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Resumes are oftentimes required documents in applications for internships, full-time employment, and awards. Therefore, resumes are carefully curated in order to create a product that is competitive and enticing. This document must carefully strike a balance between aesthetics and content, while demonstrating competencies valued by the reader. Items shared in a resume vary widely between applicants, as does the perceptions and expectations of the reader. We are interested in quantifying the quality and career impact of resumes, with the general motivation of improving how students address resume creation. Our goals in this work-in-progress were to (1) create a biomedical engineering-centric methodology for scoring resumes, (2) explore how resume scores can align with and be an indicator for particular career pathways, (3) explore the verification of our scoring methodology in untrained readers, and (4) create recommendations on how this information can be used in student advising and in mentoring first-year engineering students.

Two methods were created and used for scoring/quantifying biomedical engineering resumes. In the first, simpler model, we categorized and tabulated all extracurricular involvement including internships, research, and organization involvement by adding months spent in these opportunities. We then explored if the time-spent score in one particular category of extracurricular involvement in a student resume had a significant effect on career pathway chosen by the student. From this information, we then looked at a career pathway for the entire cohort to see if there was a particular category that served as an indicator for career alignment.

The second methodology used a modified version of the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) engineering competency model to quantify overall resume quality. The AAES competency model is broad; in order to make this quality scoring relevant to biomedical engineering we created three separate scoring rubrics based on the three common career pathways in our field: Industry, Academia, or Healthcare. Each student resume was then scored using all three quality scoring rubrics. Competency scores and career pathway alignment were analyzed, to see if the pathway rubric with the highest competency score aligned with the student’s selected career pathway.

We hypothesized that biomedical engineers as early as freshmen year have begun to calibrate resume expectations and that even these untrained readers would have perceptions that would align with our scoring methods. As such, first-year student perceptions of career pathway alignment could be used in conjunction with our scoring methodologies.

For the time-spent methodology, we found that the greatest amount of time spent in internships, multiple research labs, and volunteering at medical facilities were the strongest indicators for the career pathways industry, academia, and healthcare, respectively. In the modified-competency model, we found that the model correctly predicted career pathway for 86.4 of resumes analyzed. In order to observe untrained perceptions of resumes, freshmen students were given alumni resumes and were prompted to “guess” the intended career pathway of the alumnae. We found that resumes that were highly targeted, and therefore received comparatively higher competency scores within the resume collection, also had the highest percentage of untrained readers correctly identifying and aligning their resumes. Resumes with an untrained success rate below 75% had a significantly lower competency score. We anticipate these particular alumni may have encountered difficulties during the post-graduation opportunity seeking process.

Universities often provide workshops and dedicated staff members to aid students in creating resumes and preparing for interviews. Quantitative methods are highly valued by the engineering community, and it was our motivation to bring this quantifying perspective into the professional development space where it would be well received. The two scoring methods used in this study are relevant in understanding career pathways in biomedical engineering. We recommend biomedical engineering faculty and staff mentors share this approach with their students, and encourage students to use these analysis methods on their own resumes. Sharing this approach with students in their first year may have a large impact on their professional development and undergraduate educational choices. This structured analysis method can lead towards productive conversations in how to select opportunities that intentionally develop one’s resume and are strategically aligned with one’s desired career pathway.

McCarty, T., & Furtney, S. C. R. (2021, July), Development Of Quantitative Methodologies For Analyzing Biomedical Engineering Resumes And Their Use In Career Pathway Alignment Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015