Market Your Research Experience
Undergraduate research is a high-impact practice itself, but using the experience to market yourself is important as you apply for positions within companies, graduate programs, and national service organizations. Below are a few examples how you can use your research experience to your advantage.
Resumés/Curriculum Vitae (CV)
These summative personal marketing documents provide a quick glance into your experiences to help others see what you are qualified in and what you could be able to accomplish in the future. Your research experience should be present in your final version, but how you describe your work is important to make it stand out. For all bullet points included on your resumé or CV, we recommend utilizing the Bullet Point Formula created by the associate director. This Formula creates a concise but informative bullet point to describe your experience. Used within the research context, be sure to highlight techniques, equipment, and post-research experience dissemination. Some documents include a separate area for research, presentations, and/or published papers, but it is all based on what you have completed and what you are applying to. Overall, ask yourself: "What do I want the employer, graduate program, etc. to know from my research experience(s) that will convince them to interview me?"
Cover letters may serve as the only writing sample a person will see before you are invited to interview. The biggest mistake made when writing a cover letter is repeating everything that is on the resumé/CV but in paragraph form. Constructing a cover letter that adds value to your application involves considering the 2-3 main skills the reader will be looking for and highlighting how your skills make you a viable candidate. Throughout the cover letter, you will provide examples from your resume, including your research experience, to support you have experience. We recommend reading your cover letter out loud and imagining you are talking to the reader; it should sound like your professional voice and not a robot. If it sounds choppy or awkward, revise it.
There are many resources online about how to prepare for your interview. Regarding your research experience, you should know about the STAR behavioral interviewing technique. You should practice answering basic and research-specific questions using the STAR method to ensure you have examples and results, the part typically left out of an interview response, prepared to come off polished.
Online Presence/Social Media
An individual's online and social media social presence is important to their networking and professional career. Showcasing your skills and experiences online incorporates all the above comments but in a less formal environment. Common examples include LinkedIn, ResearchGate, ePortfolios/personal websites, Twitter, GitHub, Purdue ePubs, and ORCID. Not all platforms are necessary for all researchers, but it is important to control your professional online image and what others can learn about you.