Food Scientist Curriculum Vitae

Food scientist showing tomatoes in a greenhouse

Being a food scientist combines having a love for food and a love for experimentation. As a food scientist you will be working in the formulation and alteration of recipes as well as consulting on agricultural practices, making changes to nutrition, quality assurance and logistics for food products, conducting shelf-life studies, and more. Depending on your level of experience, you could be managing multi-person teams conducting research and processing food items, as well as making sure that your company adheres to the appropriate regulatory frameworks.

In this article, we’ll explore the job profile of a food scientist: what their educational backgrounds look like, their responsibilities, their average salaries, and the job outlook for the next few years. Then to get job seekers started on their job hunt, we’ll share some resume tips and give you an example of a food scientist resume, as well as some helpful information on cover letters, followed by an easy to follow cover letter template.

What Do Food Scientists Do?

food scientist

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Duties and Responsibilities

A day in the life of a food scientist can vary depending on who you work for, your level of experience, and your specialization. Food scientists work everywhere from government agencies like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to private corporations like Disney or General Mills. Depending on your area some of your duties could include:

  • Managing team conducting shelf-life studies
  • Conducting quality assurance on food products for vendors
  • Designing and developing beverages for top tier cola companies

Educational Background

This is a research and development-based job, so food scientists are scientists at their core. This means, at minimum, those interested in this career need a bachelor’s degree in the sciences: nutrition, chemistry, microbiology, and engineering are popular choices. However, food scientists usually have advanced degrees, whether they work in academia, for the government, or for private food corporations.

Additional Training

Internships and lab experience are necessary to go far in this field. As most food scientists hold Ph.D.’s, there will be ample time to gain the practical experience needed for this position. As far as networks to become a part of, first check out the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for current publications about the modern issues in agriculture and food production science, as well as what federal regulations to know. Finally, look into becoming a member of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA).

Should You Become a Food Scientist?


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Job Outlook

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, between 2016 and 2026 the job outlook for food scientists is expected to rise by 7%, which is about average. This translates to approximately 3,100 jobs that will be added to the profession by 2026. As with many of the sciences that deal with agriculture, food production, the climate and environment, and natural resources, jobs in these areas are expected to grow as societies increasingly adapt to and search for sustainable processes. Food scientists will see some of the largest growth in this sector.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary of food scientists in 2017 was $62,910. The lowest 10% had a salary of less than $37,890, while the top 10% had a salary higher than $116,520. Food scientists had higher salaries than their counterparts—soil and plant scientists and animal scientists. The highest salaries went to those working in research and development, those working in consulting firms, and those working for the government.

How to Write an Effective Resume and Cover Letter

How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

For your resume, highlight your research and lab experience, your ability to write technical reports, and your experience with field work. Make sure that you call attention to any leadership, management, or development positions you’ve had. In addition, make sure that your education and experience meet the criteria of the position; write your resume in such a way that it mirrors (accurately) the type of duties that will be expected of you. Finally, use action words to denote leadership and organizational skills.

More broadly, it’s important that your resume be clear of grammatical errors—double and triple check for spelling errors, typos, run-on sentences, and too much repetition. It should be easy to ready and should flow naturally. Sections should be organized and highlight the most relevant and interesting skills and experience that make you a fit for the position. Make sure your contact information is correct. There’s nothing worse than having a great resume but having an incorrect phone number or email and missing a call for an interview.

Sample Resume

Jim Smith123 Road City, State * 555-555-5555*

SummaryI am a food scientist with over 5 years of research and development experience, primarily in agricultural crop modeling. My clinical and profession background shows a diversity of settings and populations with which I have worked. In addition to my practical lab and field experience I am also an accomplished educator and seek a position that will allow me to develop informational programming.

ExperienceABC UniversityAssistant ProfessorCity, State[Date-Date]

  • Describe work experience here

Food Science, Inc.Lead Food ScientistCity, State[Date-Date]

  • Describe work experience here

Food Science, Inc.Food ScientistCity, State[Date-Date]

  • Describe work experience here

USDAConsultantCity, State[Date-Date]

  • Describe work experience here

FDAConsultantCity, State[Date-Date]

  • Describe work experience here


  • List publications


  • List certifications and credentials here

EducationDoctor of Agriculture SciencesABC University, 2010City, State

Bachelor of Science, Nutrition and Food TechnologyABC University, 2006City, State


  • List special skills suited to position

Cover Letter Tips

Generally, a cover letter signals several things to potential employers. First, it contextualizes your resume. It should explain why your skills, education, and training have made you the ideal candidate for the position. Second, it provides an effective writing sample to the hiring manager. As a food scientist, you’ll need to show exemplary research and technical writing skills, both in the lab and in the field. Additionally, cover letters allow you to creative a narrative that shows why you’re the ideal hire. Employers use cover letters as a screening tool. A good cover letter puts your resume into the running.

Below you’ll find a sample cover letter to use as a template for your job search. First, you’ll find a description of what each paragraph should contain, and below it, in italics, a practical example. This template is just that, a framework in which you can place your own style and skills in a way that best represents you. Use the example below as a guideline, not a rigid standard.

Sample Cover Letter

[Date]Jane DeppYou Eat Consulting Services, Inc.0123 StreetTown, State US 00000

Dear Ms. Depp,

This first paragraph should contain a brief introduction to who you are, followed by what position you’re applying for. Then you can succinctly provide your educational and career background that recommends you to the position.

I am a food scientist with over 5 years in the lab, in the field, and in the classroom. I work primarily in crop modeling and soil mapping, and my publications and credentials fall under that specialization. I am a graduate of ABC University’s Doctoral program in Agricultural Sciences and I have a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Technology. Currently, I am an Assistant Professor of Agricultural Sciences at ABC University. For your consideration, here are some of my credentials and publications:

  • List publications and credentials here

In this paragraph you should, in more detail, speak to the skills that you have obtained that make you a fit for the job. Talk about stand out experiences, awards, or recognition in the field that more specifically make you the ideal candidate. Go into interesting and relevant parts of your background that aren’t necessarily on your resume (or things that are only briefly mentioned).

I have worked and consulted with the USDA, the FDA, and have recently left a position as Lead Food Scientist at Food Science Inc. I have managed several teams designing and implementing field and lab experiments, and have advanced several breakthroughs in the field of farm production and waste management. 

Close with a paragraph that reiterates your interest in the position and the hope (not the expectation) that you will be able to communicate soon with an interview.

I am available for contact at the email address listed above and you can reach me during normal business hours at 555-555-5555.Thank you for considering my candidacy and I hope to speak with you soon.Sincerely,Jim Smith



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Food scientists are involved in every area that concerns the way we eat—from shelf life logistics, to crop and soil fieldwork, to keeping to state and federal regulations that protect our food. They conduct experiments, develop and design food processing and packaging, and spend a lot of time analyzing computer and statistical modeling. If this mix of science, health, and nutrition appeals to you, make sure you get started now on the path to food science.

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