Undergraduate Research and Career Development

Engaging in research as an undergraduate can strengthen your CV, provide important connections for letters of recommendation, and increase your chances to obtain a research position once you graduate. This page is intended to help students leverage a research experience when applying for jobs or graduate programs. Please also visit OSU's Career Development Center for more help getting connected to employment opportunities, online tools, and individual advising on how to talk about research in job or internship applications.

Research on your Resume

As you plan to pursue the next step in your career, it’s important to think about how your research experience(s) are highlighted on your resume.

  • Our research resume design tool offers specific tips for how research experiences, skills, presentations, publications, and awards/honors can be articulated across your resume.

  • If you're looking for examples of resumes that have research experiences, in addition to other types of employment, check out these examples provided by OSU's Career Development Center:

  • Some students list specific skills on their resume. These are the career readiness skills that many employers are looking for. Which of these skills did you gain during your research experience? 

  • Remember that resumes can take many different forms; ensure you tailor yours to each specific job, internship, or program opportunity you’re applying for. Include keywords from the field, focus on field-specific skills and projects, and talk about your past experience in terms of transferable skills that will resonate with the reviewer.  

  • After finishing a research experience, presentation, or publication, ask your research mentor how best to articulate it on your resume.

Networking & Interviewing

Networking:

  • Imagine you entered an elevator with a future employer and they said, "tell me a little about yourself" or, more specifically, "tell me about your research". What would you say? Some call this your elevator pitch. It's important to have a response prepared in case you run into a situation like this. Practice delivering your elevator pitch to friends, colleagues, and mentors!
  • Here is one example:
    • "My research focuses on kinesin motor proteins and how their structure affects their ability to function and move. We’re interested in this because of the major role that motor proteins play during cell division. Understanding the behavior of kinesin proteins has applications across multiple disciplines, including medicine, since it could play a role in the development of new anticancer treatments."

Interviewing:

  • You may have an opportunity to highlight your research experience during your next interview. To prepare, think about the skills you have gained and specific examples of how you've applied those skills. Here are some example interview questions that could serve as good opportunities to discuss your research experiences:
  1. Tell me about a time when you worked with a team to solve a problem.

  2. Tell me about a challenge or failure you’ve faced.

  3. Tell me a little bit about your research experience.

  4. What are your research interests?

  5. What did you learn from working with a faculty member on a research project?

  6. Tell me about your data collection, analysis, or reporting experience.

  7. How comfortable are you with public speaking and presenting your research results?

Preparing for Graduate School or Research Jobs