Research Assistant Resume - Writing Guide for 2020

June 9
8 min read

As an aspiring research assistant, it is good to see your research skills have bought you to the correct place.

You see, creating a resume is no easy task.

And when you consider that your competition is ambitious, talented, and remarkably educated, it can make the process even more of a daunting challenge. 

But don’t worry – you’re about to beat them all.

We’re here to answer your questions and help you to create a research assistant resume that will have your phone ringing off the hook. 

In this guide, we're going to cover:

  • A job-winning research assistant resume example
  • How to write a research assistant resume that attracts hiring managers
  • The latest tips & tricks to beat your competition  

All of this may seem daunting, so here’s some inspiration:

A great research assistant resume example, created with our very own resume builder:

Research Assistant resume example

How to Format a Research Assistant Resume

First things first, you need to make sure your resume follows the correct format.

As you’re going for a research role, showing that you can format information correctly is very important. 

Currently, the most common resume format is “reverse-chronological”, which is also the type that we recommend using.

You may also want to try one of the following formats:

  • Functional Resume – If your skills are stronger than your experience, you will be better off using a functional resume. This format is especially useful for graduates, those transferring industry, and those with employment gaps. 
  • Combination Resume – You can also combine the “Functional” and “Reverse-Chronological” formats, which covers both skills and work experience. Use this format if you have both work experience and skills.

Now that you’ve chosen your format, you need to use the correct resume layout.

This is the standard layout:

  • Margins - Use one-inch margins on all sides
  • Font - Pick a unique, yet professional font 
  • Font Size - Use a font size of 11-12pt for normal text and 14-16pt for headers
  • Line Spacing - Use 1.0 or 1.15 line spacing
  • Resume Length - Don’t go over the 1-page limit. Here’s some inspiration: one-page resume templates.

Pro Tip:

  • As a researcher, you want a layout that is easy to read and shows your administrative abilities. Pick a template that is clear and easy to read!

Use a Research Assistant Resume Template

Word is great for a lot of things, but using it to create a resume is another story.

To create a structured layout, we need to look elsewhere. We need to use a template that won’t fall apart with every small change.

To do this, use a research assistant resume template.

What to Include in a Research Assistant Resume

The main sections in a research assistant resume are:

  • Contact Information
  • Professional Experience
  • Education
  • Skills

If you want your resume to stand out more, you can also try these optional sections:

  • Awards & Certification
  • Projects
  • Publications
  • Languages
  • Interests & Hobbies

Don’t worry, we’re about to explain how to write each of these section.

If you want to know exactly which sections to choose, you can view our guide to What to Put on a Resume.

How to Display your Contact Information

The most important part of any resume is an accurate contact section. Imagine if the recruiter really wants to hire you, but your phone number doesn’t work!

Your contact section should include:

  • Full Name
  • Title - In this case, “Research Assistant.” Make the title specific to the exact role you’re applying for.
  • Phone Number – Enter the phone number that they can reach you on. But make sure to triple check that it has been entered correctly.
  • Email Address – Use a professional email address (firstname.lastname@gmail.com), not one from your childhood (mikelovescake@gmail.com).
  • (Optional) Location – If you’re applying for a job abroad, you may want to mention your location.

Correct Example:

  • Tim Plim - Research Assistant. 101-358-6095. tplim@gmail.com

Incorrect Example:

  • Tim Plim - Research Master. 101-358-6095. timlikescats@gmail.com

How to Write a Research Assistant Resume Summary or Objective

Here’s a fact for you - recruiters read each resume for less than 6 seconds.

With hundreds of resumes to review, recruiters simply glance over the page looking for relevant information. As such, you need to hook the recruiter to make them keep reading.

The best way to do this is via a resume summary or objective, both of which are small pieces of content that go on top of your resume.

Their purpose is to highlight why you are perfect candidate for the research position job. They can be thought as “small previews” to the rest of your resume.

The main difference between the 2 sections is that.

A resume summary is a 2-4 sentence summary of your relevant work experiences.

Research Assistant Resume Summary Example

  • With 5+ years of experience in updating records, handling samples, and supervising technicians, I’m a research assistant with a strong background. Passionate about working in a clinical research laboratory, as that involves supporting work that makes a difference.

A resume objective is a 2-4 sentence overview of what you want to achieve.

Research Assistant Resume Objective Example

  • Motivated biomedicine student looking for an entry-level job at Company X. I’m passionate about supporting clinical trials in the biology field. Experience working with confidential information and working with vulnerable patients as a student at University X. Skilled in NIHR research processes, submitting sensitive information, database software, and more.

Both work, but which is best?

A summary is the best choice if you have any work experience, whereas an objective is the best choice if you have little experience in the field of research. 

How to Make Your Research Assistant Work Experience Stand Out

For any research assistant job, being able to show relevant work experience is the most aspect of your resume. 

Your studies are important, but nothing shows off your talents and builds confidence like in-depth experience in the field. Here’s how to structure your work experience section:

  • Position name
  • Dates
  • Company Name
  • Responsibilities & Achievements

Here’s what it should look like:

Research Assistant

BioMedX

06/2016 - 03/2020

  • Updated and submitted applications for ethical and regulatory approval
  • Managed four successful clinical trials with 50+ participants
  • Used Word, Excel and PowerPoint to input and store data

Try to talk about your achievements – stuff that makes you stand out from the other applicants.

Say:

“Managed four successful clinical trials with 50+ participants”

Not:

“Clinical trial manager”

You see, the first tells the recruiter exactly what you did. They will see the clear benefits to hiring you, instead of someone else.

What if You Don’t Have Work Experience?

Maybe you’re a graduate looking for your first research job?

Or maybe, you’re transitioning from a similar field, but have no relevant experience to the specific job?

Regardless of what the case may be, there are always options.

If you’re applying for an entry-level research assistant position, they shouldn’t need a wealth of work experience anyway. 

For graduates, it can be a good idea to show that you have practical experience from your educational setting. Briefly talk about the relationship with your professor:

  • Any work you completed with them
  • The questions you asked
  • What you learnt 
  • How they inspired you

Feel free to store this information someone online, and then link it in your resume (we’re going to explain how in a bit).

Are you a graduate looking for a job? Then you will want to check out our guide on how to make a student resume!

Use Action Words to Make Your Research Assistant Resume POP!

The recruiter reads the same words again and again. This includes words like:

  • “Responsible for”
  • “Created”
  • “Worked in”

To stand out and catch the recruiter’s attention, you should use power words, like the following:

  • Conceptualized
  • Designed
  • Devised
  • Determined
  • Drafted
  • Formulated
  • Introduced
  • Initiated
  • Launched
  • Originated
  • Spearheaded

How to Correctly List your Education 

Next up in your research assistant resume is the “Education” section.

Simply list your educational achievements:

  • Degree Type & Major
  • University Name
  • Years Studied
  • GPA, Honours, Courses, and anything else you might want to add

You may also want to list some extras, like:

  • Favorite fields of study
  • Extracurricular activities

Here’s a practical example:

B.A. in Biology

Boston State University

2015-2019

  • Relevant Courses: Organic Chemistry, Immunology, and Microbiology
  • GPA: 3.4
  • Favorite field of study: Cancer Cell Biology
  • Extracurricular activities: Lead a volunteer research project investigating immunology

For more in-depth answers, check out our guide on how to list education on a resume.

Top 8 Skills for a Research Assistant Resume

It will come as no surprise that the recruiter will be scanning your resume for skills relating to the research position.

Here’s the deal – If you don’t list one of the necessary skills, it will be difficult to get the job, even if you’re the best in the world at that skill!

Here are the most common skills that recruiters want from a research assistant:

Hard Skills:

  • Word and Excel
  • Application reviewing
  • Statistical and Graphical Analysis of Data
  • Maintain quality control standards

Soft Skills:

  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Attention to detail
  • Team player

Pro Tip:

  • Generally, try to keep the soft skills to a minimum. You see, job hopefuls frequently create a massive list of soft skills that they think will impress the recruiter. However, most recruiters have “heard it all before”. 

Here’s a comprehensive mega-list of 150+ must-have skills in 2020.

Other Resume Sections You Can Include

That’s it - we’ve covered all of the essential sections.

But wait…

Is your resume enough to stand out amongst stiff competition?

Imagine this: there are two of you in the running to get the job, but your competition goes the extra mile and gets the job.

Awards & Certifications

Have you won any awards?

Have you completed any online courses, like those on Coursera?

Even if they are not the most relevant, mention any awards in your resume.

Awards & Certificates

  • Undergraduate Research Assistantship Scheme
  • Understanding Research Methods Coursera Certificate
  • Microsoft Office Certificate

Interests & Hobbies

To make yourself seem more relatable, it can be a good idea to include some personal information on your resume. 

You see, companies want somebody that will be enjoyable to work with.

The best way to do this is to mention a few of your favourite hobbies!

Check out our hobbies & interests guide for inspiration. 

Match Your Cover Letter with Your Resume

One of the easiest ways to separate your resume from the competition is to include a cover letter.

A cover letter makes your application personal and specific. Recruiters will LOVE that you’ve gone the extra mile to land that specific position.

Here’s how to create a convincing cover letter:

Here’s a little more detail about each section:

Contact Details

Make sure to not leave out any information. Include your full name, profession, email, phone number, location, and website (if you have one).

Hiring Manager’s Contact Information

Full name, position, location, email

Opening Paragraph

Try to hook the reader in a few sentences. Mention:

  • The position you’re applying for
  • Your experience summary and best achievements

The Body

With the reader now hooked, you can delve deeper into your background. Mention...

  • Why you want to work for this specific company
  • Anything you know about the company’s culture
  • What are your top skills and how are they relevant for the job
  • If you’ve worked in similar industries or positions

Closing Paragraph

This is where you close and summarize your letter. You should:

  • Wrap up any points you missed in the body paragraph
  • Thank the hiring manager for their time
  • Spark further dialog by saying something like “I’d love to further discuss how my skills and experience can help the company with Y”

Formal Salutations

Close using “Best regards” or “Sincerely.”

Creating a cover letter can be tricky, especially if you’re not a writer. To help you, we’ve created a step-by-step guide on how to write a cover letter.

Key Takeaways

Congrats!

Follow the steps above, and you’ll be well on the way to landing that elusive research assistant job.

To summarize:

  • Format is very important. Use a reverse-chronological format, and then follow the correct layout structure. 
  • Hook the reader by using a resume summary or objective 
  • When talking about your work experience, mention your achievements more than your responsibilities 
  • Attach a cover letter with your research assistant resume 

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