What kind of research have you done? Have you ever been published? If you plan on working towards your Ph.D. in the future or pursuing a career in academics, you will have to answer these questions. That’s why so many undergrads vie for the very few, coveted undergraduate research positions at universities each year. Yes, it is a competitive field, especially if you also want to get funding or a scholarship for your research from National Science Foundation or other institutions.
That’s why you need every advantage. This includes a top-notch resume. In this post, we’ll show you how to create one and better yet — demonstrate a working sample undergraduate research resume!
Go for a Resume Objective Over The Summary
Most resumes begin with a summary or objective statement.
As a general rule, if you are a more experienced candidate, you write a professional summary of your top skills and qualifications. Basically, it’s your pitch, detailing what you can bring to the position.
If you somewhat lack work and academic experience, got for a resume objective statement instead. An objective statement expresses your interest in the position and your willingness to learn as well as contribute to the best of your ability.
As a student, you probably do not have much research experience that resulted in publications. Because of this, you should stick to the objective statement. However, there are exceptions. If you have worked in high-level academic research in the past, you can go ahead and write a professional summary instead.
Add a Wide-Ranging Summary of Skills
Keep in mind that a research assistant is both a working and learning position.
The graduate students and instructors who work with you are your supervisors in a sense, but they are also your mentors. Your success is their success. So, when you create a list of skills for your resume, keep that in mind.
Don’t simply focus on research and technical skills. Show that you are a coachable, intellectually curious, team player too. Here are some relevant soft skills worth mentioning too:
- Communication and networking skills
- Comprehensive note-taking capabilities
- Ability to assimilate new information quickly
- Familiarity standard research databases
- Public speaking and presentation skills
- Research interviewing
- Excellent teamwork abilities
- Strong analytical skills
Highlight Your Research Experience
How can you show that you have research experience if this is your first job as a research assistant? That’s easy! Simply consider your past work, internship, and volunteer experience. Look for ways in which you have used the kinds of skills required of researchers.
Here’s a sample entry:
Fulfillment Center Laborer — Summer Position
June 2018 – August 2018
- Accurately calculating the number of damaged packages arriving at the facility.
- Following established processes exactly without deviation.
- Reporting any irregularities or unsafe conditions to team leaders.
- Ensuring that all incoming packages were appropriately categorized.
In this single entry, the applicant shows that they can follow instructions, observe and report anything notable to their supervisors, and place things in the proper category. Those are great skills to have for a beginning research assistant.
Emphasize The Skills Noted in The Job Description
Of course, the best skills to include in any resume are the ones that are listed in the job description. These are the exact abilities your future boss is looking for. So scrutinize the job add and cherry-pick skills that apply to you. Then, make sure to include them as part of your resume and cover letter.
Resume Sample for an Undergraduate Research Assistant (Word version)
Undergraduate Research Assistant Resume Example (text version)
Honors Behavioral Science student seeks a position as a research assistant at the University of Alabama College of Psychology And Behavioral Research. Eager to develop advanced research skills while making a contribution through my existing abilities.
- Case study development and analysis
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Advanced database management
- Able to work in a team environment
- Open to learning and changing assumptions based on new data
- Work independently
- Capable of working with cases involving sensitive subject-matter
Mentor and Behavioral Health Assistant
Lakeview Urban Experience Camp
Summers 2016 – 2020
- Providing emotional support and mentoring to camp attendees with varying mental health diagnoses.
- Observing campers and reporting noticeable behaviors to senior staff members.
- Following established protocols for dealing with crisis situations.
- Interviewing camp attendees and their parents prior to summer sessions.
- Writing reports and recommendations for beneficial activities and ongoing therapies.
University of Alabama
2017 — Present
Major: Behavioral Science — John Clarkson Honors Program
College of Psychology and Behavioral Research
Area of Concentration: Impacts of poverty and excessive law enforcement contact on psycho-social development in youths.
Behavioral Sciences Student of The Year — May 2020
Eagle Scout — January 2018
Final Thoughts: Let Your Advisor Help
Most research assistant jobs are reserved for graduate students. If you’ve been invited to apply for this position, chances are you have already impressed somebody. Before you submit your resume, check in with your academic advisor or department head. They will likely have some helpful advice for your application package. They may even be willing to write a letter of recommendation.