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Translating your Research Experience into Jobs or Graduate School

 First Step:

  1. Gathering information
  2. Thinking about what you got from those activites? (skills soft and technical)
    1.    Examples of soft skills (professional skills)
      1.   Communication (ex. Public speaking, presentations, etc)
      2.   Collaboration (team work, group settings, leadership, diverse groups)
      3. Mentorship (undergraduates, junior classmen)
      4. Writing (reports, case studies, essays, etc)
      5.  Problem-solving
      6. Creativity 
      7. Ethics and integrity
    2. Technical (Disciplinary)
      1. Data collection   
      2. Data analysis
      3. Slide preparation, chemicals, movements
      4. Compliance (ex. human subjects, animals, hazardous materials)
      5. Safety (hazardous materials, biohazard/BSL, pharmaceuticals/drugs)   
      6. Software usage (ex.Microsoft, SAS, Minitab)
      7. Instrument use
      8. Portfolio
      9. Language skills
  3. Experiences, dates, locations, faculty
    1. Advisor and location
    2. Project title
    3. Dates
    4. Outcomes
  4. Publications and presentations (specify)
    1.    role (own research vs.professor’s research vs. Classroom (CURE)       
  5. Awards
  6. Scholarships/Fellowships





Differentiate on type required

  1. Employment (Less technical and encourage a visit to Career Services)
  2. Graduate school (citation…. Pick a style)

Structure and content:

  1. Have a clean and clear name block with contact
    information. Make sure you have a permanent email address that is professional.
    e.g. and not 
  2. Education should be up front and include details like
    institution, major, expected graduation date, etc. and you may wish to list relevant coursework if that is required for employment.
  3. Emphasize experience in a professional setting.  Internships? Volunteer work in the discipline?  Research experiences?
  4. Don’t include clubs, organizations, etc unless you have leadership experience or some relevant service work.
  5. Any awards, recognitions, or other relevant certifications
  6. How to include specific details about undergraduate research experiences:
    1. Include the key details for each experience.
    2. Where did you do the research?  For how long? Who was your supervisor?  What was the title of the project?
  7. For example:

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow, UT Austin   Summer 2020
Worked on an independent research project in the lab of Dr. Bob Morrison
Collected data on the 2020 primary elections
Attending weekly seminars and journal clubs
participated in a 10-week political science data crash-course
Publications/presentations- Celebration 2020 Poster               


Undergraduate Cancer Biology Laboratory Research│ Northern Kentucky University  
Spring Semester 2020
•    A lab that allows research on new potential cancer cell lines created through mutagenesis
•    These novel cell lines are those characterized by the collection of data on genetic and genomic instability, metastatic potential, and proliferative capacity 
•   Created and presented a poster of research results


    8.    Include all public presentations (follow a common citation format - include public presentations both on and off campus)


Personal Statements

  1. Discuss specific and overarching skills (technical vs. soft
    1. Ex. group work, team building, communication skills
    2. Ex. data collection techniques, compliance
  2. Student learning outcomes – review what learning objectives your
    faculty or course expected from a research experience
  3. Discuss your peer mentoring experiences through research
  4. Blooms taxonomy words usage
    •   use verbiage that connects to these terms: Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, and Create as you talk about your experiences
  5. Connect your experiences to what you are hoping to achieve in this position/role (i.e. law school, supervisor, sales position, lab assistant)
    • Research in x led to a desire to pursue a PhD in Y because…
    • How did your research experience reinforce your career/education choice?


 Review in advance about how the information you gathered can be used

a. Think about how these can be applied to what you are applying for

  • For example: if you did biomedical research and you are applying to medical school - talk about the projects you worked on, how it connects to why you want to be a doctor, etc
  • Don’t talk about negative experiences (they definitely happen but not in an interview), instead focus on the positives, what you learned from experience (even if negative)

b.   Practice your elevator pitch version (can you prepare to summarize your research activities and how they connect to this experience in 2 minutes)

c.   Identify 1-3 ways you would use your experience in the job/career