Research Resume Examples + Tips from Industry Experts

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Table of Contents

Just as there are millions of things to research, there are also a myriad of types of research jobs. But what type of research do you do?

It doesn’t really matter as long as the job you apply for fits your training, skills, and experience. But what does matter is how you make yourself stand out amongst what could be a multitude of other applicants? 

We are here to help you write a full resume sample.

Resume objective for research

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook features at least three different types of researchers, each of which fits a different niche.

Market research analysts examine the potential sales of products or services and they need to have at least a bachelor’s degree to get a research job.

Operations research analysts use advanced analytical and mathematical methods in their research which aims to help solve a wide variety of complex issues. They also need at least a bachelor’s degree although according to the BLS many employers prefer to hire applicants with a master’s.

An operations research analyst’s area of interest might be business, maths, engineering, computer science, analytics, or a variety of other technical fields. 

Computer and information scientists research to find new approaches to computing technology and find innovative ways of using existing technology. According to the BLS, they need a master’s degree in their work.  

Many employers regard objective statements on resumes as outdated, so when you write your research resume you might prefer to include a personal branding statement that highlights your experience and achievements. 

Just be sure that your statement presents you as an ideal candidate for the job. 

Sample Objective

Highly skilled quantitative researcher with five years of experience in the field of healthcare and medical conditions. Relational database (SQL) experience. Certified professional researcher. Loves to multitask. 

Resume skills for research

The skills required for different types of research are similar, although the details and intricacies are different. 

Typical skills include analytical, communication, and critical-thinking skills as well as the ability to be detail orientated. Problem-solving and interpersonal skills are also important. Since you’re likely to be reporting on your research, writing skills are also important. 

Additionally, some types of research require math skills and, if you’re delving into computer and information technology, you’ll need logical thinking and ingenuity!

The University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy’s Skills and Employment Guide has identified key skillsets for several research positions Harris graduates might apply for. In general, the skillsets include:

  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Project management skills
  • Interpersonal skills 

Research positions they specified were Director, Policy & Research, Health Policy Researcher/Analyst, and Survey Analyst/Researcher. But the skills required are, not surprisingly, as broad as the more specific jobs that are available in different industries. 

During our research on different research jobs, we chose a few job posts to use to illustrate how to write an effective resume. The sample skills shown below are in response to a job advertised for a scientific researcher with a bachelor’s degree.

Sample Skills

Innovative | Sampling | Troubleshooting | Problem-solving | Scientific equipment and instrumentation | Analytics | Laboratory work | Teaching | Computer | Certified

Research work experience

Work experience is always a huge plus, and more so when you rely on your experience to prove your skills and ability.

Most researchers choose a niche that they work in – eg market research vs operations research. But even within these areas of interest, there are topics that they might choose to specialize in. 

During our research for this article, we spent some time focusing on job posts that were related to public health and food safety. 

While the examples we chose are not related, and might not appeal to one particular applicant, narrowing down the topic makes it easier to share tips that you can use for your resume. 

One factor is that many companies use applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to sift out applicants who don’t have the skills and requirements they are looking for. This might include work experience.

For instance, one of the work experience examples we have given is for a senior professional research assistant and this person needs experience in at least one field related to foodborne disease and surveillance or outbreak investigations.

Both “foodborne disease” and “outbreak investigations” could be considered keywords. By including these in a resume when applying for a similar job, you will have more chance of making it to the interview.

Sample Work Experience

University of Colorado Enver I Anschutz, CO

Senior Professional Research Assistant, 2018 – 2020

Conducted research aimed at identifying and implementing model practices for foodborne disease surveillance and outbreak investigations. Also conducted practice-based research projects on various topics on the subject of foodborne disease.

  • Worked under the supervision of the research instructor in the Department of Epidemiology.
  • Surveillance research including existing data to address important questions and develop tools for outbreak investigations.
  • Implemented and evaluated innovative methods and approaches that improved workflow without increasing workload. 
  • Was instrumental in coordinating the Student Enteric Disease Interview Team. 
  • Worked with the Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center developing online tools and training. 

North Carolina State University

Research Scholar, 2016 – 2017

Worked in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences with a team of scientists, teachers, and researchers. Our function was to prepare students for professional and technical careers in the sector. 

  • Identified a series of emerging methodologies from fundamental disciplines that included food and bioprocessing nutrition, and investigated critical issues in food and biological systems.  
  • Helped to interpret, adapt, and extend research information to the relevant industries to ensure safety, variety, and the quality of food was maintained and improved. 
  • Undertook bacterial genome editing and designed experiments and performed research. 
  • Served as a co-investigator on industry-funded projects that were funded by external sources. 

Cornell University, NY

Research Technician – Food Science, 2014 – 2016

Supported the research activities of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ food science program that works across disciplines including food, energy, and environmental resources. 

  • Learned to apply the principles of science and engineering to ensure that the foods in the US and globally are nutritional, healthy, safe, of high quality, and affordable.
  • Organized the lab, kept comprehensive lab records, and performed laboratory techniques under the direction of the principal investigator. 
  • The lab used zebrafish as a model system and I was responsible for keeping and caring for the fish colony, breeding, screening, and using all the scientific procedures required including DNA/RNA extraction. 
  • Trained students to do basic technical tasks. 

Research education

We have mentioned the fact that research positions are incredibly varied, as are the educational requirements. 

You won’t get a professional research job unless you have a bachelor’s degree, and many researchers have a master’s, some even a doctorate. The difference is in the detail. 

For example, a social researcher will generally get a bachelor of social science degree with a major in sociology. Alternatively, they might opt for a BA in sociology with a major in criminology or social justice. 

According to the BLS, many market research analysts focus on mathematics, computer science, or statistics, while others have a background in business administration, communications, or even the social sciences. A master’s degree in business administration (MBA) is often a prerequisite for leadership or technical research positions.

Because operations research is based on quantitative analysis, mathematics is a must, as is computer science. And, of course, computer science and computer engineering are vital for computer and IT researchers. 

So, once you have chosen your educational route, you will be relatively limited in terms of the kind of research that you can do, unless the skills are transferable.

Remember that if you don’t have a master’s degree but are planning to study for one, many programs require students to have several years of work experience before they can register. 

Sample Education

Stanford University 

MBA, 2016 – 2017

Stanford University 

BA in Economics, 2012 – 2015

Courses 

While there are courses that teach research skills, anyone looking for a job as a professional researcher will be a graduate and will need experience in the field they aim to work in. We sampled dozens of job postings and confirmed that a degree is the norm, and experience is essential. 

With a degree under your belt, you can certainly do some courses to increase your knowledge and understanding of research and research methods. You will even find some free courses online. But courses aren’t what will get you the job. 

Once you have your research-related degree and a couple of years of experience, continuing education is vital to keep you on track with methods and issues that relate to research. 

Again, the difference is in the detail. For instance, operations research analysts need to keep up with continued advances in software tools, technology, and improved analytical methods.

Various organizations offer short courses and webinars that provide support for researchers opting for certification (see below). For instance, the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) has courses that focus on certification for professional researchers via the Insights Association. 

Sample Courses

  • Data Science Research and Methods
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Understanding Clinical Research 
  • Introduction to Research Ethics
  • Improved Analytical Methods for Market Research
  • The Role of Question Characteristics in Designing and Evaluating Survey Questions (AAPOR)
  • Social Media and Public Opinion Research: A Road Map for Rigor, Transparency, Replicability (AAPOR)

Certifications 

Certification generally indicates that researchers work with integrity and are committed to continuous learning. 

There are, however, different certifications available for different fields of research. 

The Insights Association, which has its own Code of Standards and Ethics for Marketing Research and Data Analytics, offers Professional Researcher Certification (PRC), which incorporates compulsory continuing education. 

AAPOR supports and promotes the PRC program for all professional researchers. 

According to the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine, two national organizations provide certification of clinical research coordinators, the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) and the Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA).

SOCRA is a professional membership organization that was originally developed to provide certification for educational programs and a forum for researchers to communicate and exchange information. It has a Certified Clinical Research Professional program (CCRP). 

ACRP was originally founded to address the needs of nurses and others involved in research and clinical investigations. It now recognizes and certifies clinical researchers. It offers several certifications including Clinical Research Assistant (CCRA) and Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC). 

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) offers certification for analytics professionals (CAP), which is recognized globally. The Institute also offers continuing education courses. 

Sample Certifications

  • PRC
  • CAP
  • CCRP
  • CCRA
  • CCRC

Complete research resume sample

While compiling this article we sampled dozens of research jobs and decided to choose one that would be a real challenge because of its eminence. It’s a real ad for a research officer and we will show you how to identify key requirements and issues, and write a research resume tailored to this job. 

Applying for a job of this significance takes courage, commitment to the cause, and a positive attitude. But, if you have the necessary qualifications and the wherewithal to carry out the duties and responsibilities described below there is no reason why you shouldn’t apply for a job of this caliber. 

With a good resume, you stand as much chance as any other highly qualified researchers might. 

The duties and responsibilities of this job are detailed and clear. Its focus is on fighting corruption. 

An advanced degree implies at very least a master’s. Additionally, if you have it, experience will count in your favor. 

There doesn’t appear to be a focus on experience, but if you read the advert thoroughly you will see that they want someone who has research experience related to relevant governance and corruption issues. 

Research Officer

Objective

Highly qualified researcher with diverse experience including the field of leveraging transparency to reduce corruption. Committed to anti-corruption efforts and the war on drugs and crime. Certified and ready to collaborate. 

Skills

Research & analysis | Quantitative and qualitative | Written and oral communication | Teamwork | Anti-corruption legislation & strategies | Detail-orientated | Statistical software | English, French, Spanish

Work Experience

Mathematica Policy Research, WA

Human Services Researcher, 2018 – 2020

Worked collaboratively in the company’s human services department improving programs by using rapid-cycle evaluation to test strategies. Focused on childhood education and conducted analysis and reviews to determine effectiveness. 

  • Provided evaluation technical assistance to those implementing programs aimed at reducing homelessness of youth and teen pregnancies. Assessments were that these reduced by about 5%.
  • Advised workforce development programs and state agencies on evidence ways to increase engagement of programs. 
  • Evaluated programs aimed to provide coaching for populations with barriers to employment. These programs are ongoing. 
  • Helped program administrators and policymakers make decisions that revolved around analysis and presentation of large amounts of data. 
  • Presented findings and developing innovative approaches to disseminating information to a varied researcher audience.  

The Urban Institute, WA-DC

Research Assistant, 2014 – 2015

Worked with project teams as part of the company’s Workforce initiative that focused on secondary education and various labor policy issues. Project topics referenced career pathways, community college programs, and supportive services.

  • Performed qualitative data collection and quantitative data analysis and managed data in a Management Information System (MIS).
  • Commended for balancing work simultaneously on multiple projects.  
  • Contributed to numerous research reports and briefs, blog posts, and peer-reviewed publications.
  • Summarized findings and presented data effectively in multiple formats. 

Results for Development, WA-DC

Market Research Internship, 2013

Supported the R4D’s Accountability and Citizen Engagement (ACE) team in its Leveraging Transparency to Reduce Corruption (LTRC) program. Focus on desk research and analysis and implementation of the LTRC program. 

  • Conducted an organized literature review on the body of work and identified gaps in the existing research and literature. 
  • Synthesized research findings. 
  • Supported qualitative and quantitative research through the creation of protocols, cleaning of data, and analysis.
  • Attended coordination meetings for LTRC Peru, Nigeria, and Mongolia. 

Certifications

  • Professional Researcher Certification (PRC)

Education

Georgetown University (Department of Economics) 

Masters of Arts (MA) in Political Economy, 2016 – 2017

Western Washington University

BA Economics/Political Science, 2009 – 2012

Courses 

  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Introduction to Research Ethics
  • Improved Analytical Methods for Market Research

Key Takeaways

When you write your research resume you need to show how your experience, skills, and abilities will make you the best applicant for the job. You are a researcher, so spend a bit of time researching the company you are applying to work for and use this detail in your resume. Look for keywords. 

  • Researchers are generally highly qualified people who specialize in specific areas of interest. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree and will get a lot further in your career with a master’s or a doctorate. 
  • The fields of research are vast and varied but there are some skills that are transferable from one field of research to the other. 
  • When you structure your resume you can use a resume objective near the top of the first page to emphasize your suitability. Just make it about you rather than replicating what the job advert states it wants. You are unique and special… never forget that. 

Tips from Experts

“A resume is a short marketing document that presents relevant experience, accomplishments, and education. They often contain lists of skills or techniques. A Summary of Qualifications is preferred over a Statement of Objective. It should be modified to fit the job.” – Pat Sokolove, PhD, deputy director, Office of Intramural Training & Education, NIH [Job Search Documents for Professional Scientists, including research intensive positions]

“To be a successful candidate for research scientist jobs, research scientists must have excellent written communication skills. And to have a good chance of getting noticed by a hiring manager, your resume needs to highlight your skills in a way that it makes you stand apart from the competition.” – Kim Isaacs, Certified Professional Resume Writer and co-author of The Career Change Resume: How to Reinvent Your Resume and Land Your Dream Job (McGraw-Hill)

“When you apply for a research position, the first thing that’s going to stand out is the quality of the writing. So, really make some time to plan out what you’re writing, because that’s the first impression that you’re making with that professor. If they’re not impressed with that you’re not going to get an email, you’re not going to get the chance to talk to them in person so that they can see how really smart you are. You really have to make sure that that’s coming out in your application. So take some time, write it well … and that goes a long way!“ – Professor Ashley Waggoner Denton, Office of the Registrar, Innis College

Conclusion

This article illustrates the many different research options and how important it is for you to find your niche in a particular area of interest. With the right education and training, positivity, and some good, solid experience in the field, you can get the research job of your dreams. 

But because there will be other applicants also reaching out for the position, you need a professional resume that will help you stand out from them. 

Use the tips and advice we have given you and be inspired to craft a well researched, well-written resume that will help to get you the job you really want.

Methodology

In addition to our own expertise as professional resume consultants, for every resume guide we write, we curate dozens of recent job postings and resumes to make sure all our recommendations align with current trends for each specific industry and career path. Learn more about our methodology here. 

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