Planning to become a research assistant? Need some help? You will find some assistance in the following CareerStint article.
A good research assistant can become an indispensable part of a project. He/she can be endowed with several jobs, which can range from cleaning the desk, to preparing the volunteers for a high-risk experiment. Irrespective of the task assigned, you should be efficient, this will help you build a good reputation, and may also open doors to exciting career options (obviously related to the domain of your research!).
How to Become a Research Assistant
Your urge to become a research assistant should be driven by the interest in the topic of research. Once you have the interest, everything else will fall into place. I will be dividing this section in 3 parts:
It is always good to be prepared before you actually apply for the job. Here are a few things that you should pay heed to:
Your resume should showcase all your merits, and it should also specify any previous experiences in the field of research, along with your academic details and achievements. Undergraduates will obviously lack experience, if you are one, then highlight your interest to be part of the research, but you should always remember one thing, there is no replacement for experience.
Your success is entirely dependent on the topic of the research. So, always assist or participate in research that interests you. This interest will keep you motivated, in times of stress. Always begin your job search from the department notice board. Ask your professors for any vacancies, they can be very helpful. Most of the time, the openings for this position are never advertised, so you should always stay in touch with your faculty members. If you are a graduate, or someone with advanced degrees, then you can apply in various companies that carry out research. You can use the web, and the local media to find openings in such companies. Do not forget to include a cover letter, when you apply.
Once all the procedure related to applying is complete, you will be eventually called for an interview (or a series of interviews). The main objective of an interview will be to test your keenness and your ability to meet the demands of the research. While most of the questions that you will be asked in your interview will be with respect to your resume, you should also be prepared for questions such as, which is the most interesting research paper that you have read, what made that paper interesting, and many other questions which will turn out to be real bummers.
On the Job
Now, that you are selected, here are a few tips that will help you be successful as a research assistant:
- You should always ask what is to be done, and know what is expected from you.
- Be punctual and meet deadlines. You do not want the professor to be yelling at you, right?
- Keep track of all the assignments given to you.
- Do not be absent, unless you have taken prior permission.
- You might be working under a very hostile person, but you should try your best to establish a good rapport with him.
You should not expect heavy remuneration (unless you are working on a very significant project, for a very big company), but make sure that you negotiate on your salary before you begin working. The start and end date of your work, along with the working hours should also be finalized before you accept the job. Generally, being a research assistant is not about money, it is about the interest. Keep the above tips in your mind, you will do well, all the best!