How to List Patents on Your Resume: Recruiter-Backed Advice

Knowing how to list a patent on your resume is crucial. Here are recruiter-backed tips on how you can format patents in a way that hiring managers will love.

3 months ago   •   5 min read

By Rohan Mahtani
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As an innovator, knowing how to list patents on your resume is important. Patents showcase your creativity and industry expertise, which can help you stand out in the hiring process.

Having a patent is a tangible way to show off your talent, commitment, and technical expertise. Including it in your resume can make you a more attractive job candidate, which can lead to more interviews and offers. This is true even if your patent is totally unrelated to the job you’re currently working or the one you’re applying for.

In this article, you’ll learn how to list your patents on your resume and why you should include them.

How to include patents on your resume

When it comes to listing patents on your resume, here are some best practices you should follow to take your resume from average to exceptional.

  • Choose a format and stick with it. APA, Chicago, and MLA citation styles all offer guidelines for how to format a patent on your resume. Pick the one that is most commonly accepted in your industry and use it consistently. (More on formatting below).
  • List the patent in its own category. If you have more than one patent, this could warrant its own “Patents” section at the bottom of your resume. Alternatively, you can list it in your “Awards/Achievements” or “Other” sections.
  • Include pending and approved patents. List all patents you’ve been part of, but specify whether or not they’re pending or approved. You can add this as a simple line at the end of your citation.
  • Don’t include every inventor’s name. Your resume isn’t a bibliography, so you don’t need to cite every inventor who worked on your patent with you. Instead of listing half a dozen names, state your name in the citation, followed by “et al.” or “and others” to acknowledge those you collaborated with.
  • Only include essential information. Oversharing here isn’t a good idea. Not only does this take up space, but you could be accidentally sharing trade secrets about your patent if you helped develop it with or for a company. Make sure you’re only sharing facts like when the patent was approved and its ID number.

Not sure if your resume is hitting the mark? We’re here to help. Use our free resume checker to get instant feedback on your resume before you send it out.

How to choose the right format for a patent on your resume

Standard patent formats by industry

When deciding on a citation style for listing patents on your resume, consider the industry standards:

  • Tech and Engineering: Typically lean towards the APA style, given its clear and concise format that highlights dates and authors - crucial for showcasing recent innovations and collaborations.
  • Medical and Sciences: Often favor the AMA or APA style, as these fields frequently publish in journals that use these formats.
  • Humanities and Arts: MLA is commonly accepted, given its focus on authorship which is significant in these fields.
  • Business and Marketing: APA is a safe bet, as it's straightforward and widely recognized.

Formatting styles and examples

Here are the examples for APA, Chicago, and MLA formats:

APA (American Psychological Association) Style: Inventor's Last Name, Initials. (Year issued). Title of patent. U.S. Patent No. XXX,XXX. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Smith, J. A. (2020). Device for harvesting solar energy. U.S. Patent No. 8,123,456. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Chicago (Chicago Manual of Style) Style:
Inventor's Last Name, First Name. Year Issued. "Title of Patent." U.S. Patent XXX,XXX, issued Month Day, Year.

Smith, John A. 2020. "Device for harvesting solar energy." U.S. Patent 8,123,456, issued January 10, 2020.

MLA (Modern Language Association) Style:
Inventor's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Patent." U.S. Patent No. XXX,XXX. Day Month Year Issued.

Smith, John A. "Device for harvesting solar energy." U.S. Patent No. 8,123,456. 10 Jan. 2020.

Formatting patents differently based on relevance to the job

When listing patents on your resume, tailoring them based on their relevance to the job you're applying for can make a significant impact:

  • Highly Relevant Patents: If a patent directly ties to the job or industry you're targeting, place it prominently. Consider listing it under your work experience or education section, especially if it was developed during a particular job or study program. Dedicate 1-2 bullet points to describe your role in its development and its significance.
  • Less Relevant or Unrelated Patents: For patents that don't directly relate to the position, consider including them in an 'Other Achievements' or 'Additional Accomplishments' section. Here, a brief mention will suffice, showcasing your innovative spirit and dedication without diverting focus from more relevant experiences.

Should you include patents on your resume?

Having a patented idea is a major achievement, and you should always include it on your resume. This is true even if your innovation isn’t directly related to the field you want to work in.

There is so much work that goes into creating a product and taking the legal steps to secure a patent for your idea. Listing the patent on your resume clearly communicates the fact that you’re driven, solve complex problems, and can see a project through to completion.

All of these are skills a hiring manager would want to see in a future employee. Plus, having a patent automatically makes you more memorable in the job application process. Most people don’t have patents, so highlighting yours can be the “Wow!” factor that makes you stand out to a hiring manager.

Benefits of including patents on a resume

Listing patents on your resume can’t hurt you — it can only help. Here are some benefits of including a patent on your resume.

Highlight technical expertise

When you have a patent, you’re able to market yourself as an expert in the area related to your invention. If you’re planning to work in a field that’s related to your patent, this is extra helpful.

However, even if your patent isn’t related to the role you’re applying for, still use your expertise as leverage. It doesn’t matter if your patent is related to AI, kitchen appliances, or cat toys.

Having extensive knowledge about a topic proves you’re a strong learner and that you’re curious. Good hiring managers will recognize the transferable value of your patent, no matter what it was for.

Evidence of tangible achievements

It’s easy to pad your resume with flimsy achievements that are hard to measure. Hiring managers can see through these fillers, though, and they add no real value to your application.

On the other hand, having a patent is a concrete accomplishment. It’s quantifiable and provides evidence of your success and professional contributions. As a result, this shows potential supervisors you’re capable of producing real results in the workplace.

Industry recognition

Holding a patent is a top-tier way to secure recognition within your job industry. This, in turn, will make you more visible and sought-after within the field.

When you have a patent for an idea or invention, you position yourself as a thought leader within that space. As a result, there’s a good chance potential employers will want to work with you based on your reputation alone.

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