Research Assistant

How to Get a Job as a Research Assistant in 2021

Are you thrilled by the idea of exploring the unknown? Does the thirst for novel knowledge beckon you? If your diligent data-driven soul thrives on learning more about the world around you, consider becoming a research assistant! You need to have high attention to detail and strong written communication abilities if you want to make it as a research assistant. Download JobFlare today and prove to employers that you’ve got the skills it takes to succeed!

As a research assistant, your day-to-day work will depend entirely on what field you’re working in and how the lab you’re working for has decided to study it. The area of study you choose should be something you’re passionate about! Principal investigators (the head researchers of the lab) study all areas: medicine, biology, law, economics, psychology, sociology, physics, chemistry, and the humanities.  In general, the role of a research assistant is to keep the project on track by helping to collect and analyze data, prepare reports and materials, help to write and edit papers, apply for grants, and review the current literature.

Becoming a research assistant is a great way to learn research techniques and to get in-field experience that will make finding employment in any given field much easier. Working as a research assistant can be the start of a variety of careers. If you’re interested in academia, being a research assistant will help you on your way toward getting a doctorate and eventually becoming university faculty. If you’re more interested in applied research, like working in a hospital lab or for a nonprofit, past experience as a research assistant will make you a stand-out candidate.

Research Assistant

US Median Salary
$43,190/year or $20.76/hour

Education Requirements
– Bachelor’s Degree in your field of interest
– Most employers want candidates to have a college degree, as it demonstrates the ability to be dedicated, focused, and that you’ve honed your critical thinking skills.

Robot Risk Rating
Automation Risk Robot


You'd be great for this position if...

– You’re eager to learn
– You’re dependable
– You’re detail-oriented
– You’re curious
– You’re dedicated
– You’re not afraid to ask questions

Robot Risk Rating
Automation Risk Robot


You'd be great for this position if...

– You’re eager to learn
– You’re dependable
– You’re detail-oriented
– You’re curious
– You’re dedicated
– You’re not afraid to ask questions

Resume Tips for Research Assistants

To have a successful career as a research assistant, there are certain skills that hiring managers know to look for. Take inventory of these important qualities and emphasize them in your resume:

  • Research skills
  • Strong analytic abilities
  • Familiarity with the scientific method
  • Great communication skills, especially written
  • Time management
  • Maintained focus (to reduce that pesky human error)
  • Highly organized
  • Innovative though proces

If you don’t have much on-the-job experience, include things like…

  • Experience from when you conducted a research project
  • Any technical skills you’ve honed that relate to the job (for example, a research assistant for a social scientist may need to be comfortable questioning subjects, so any experience interviewing others would be an asset)
  • A short summary of an independent study or thesis project, if you’ve done one
  • Any additional strengths, like statistical analysis skills, fluency in a foreign language, or relevant computer skills

If you’re still feeling stuck on what skills to list in your resume, check the job description! Hiring managers list the key qualities they’re looking for, so you can score serious points for including them.

Interview Pointers for Research Assistants

Prior to your interview, be sure to think of examples of personal experience applicable to the role:

  • Show what you know about the area of research you’ll be participating in. You can expand on this by discussing current debates or problems in the field.
  • Be able to talk about your approach to research. Why does it work for you?
  • Explain what draws you to this field and why you’re passionate about it.
  • Familiarize yourself with any recent papers that the principal investigator has published.
  • Demonstrate your familiarity with the lab’s research procedures, techniques, and methodology, as it is common for interviewers to ask what you know about them.

Be prepared to answer questions like:

  • What prior research experience have you had?
  • Why are you interested in studying this specific topic?
  • How do you learn from your mistakes?

Trouble finding Research Assistant jobs to apply for? Try searching for these jobs as well!

Research Associate • Assistant Teacher • Field Researcher • Lab Assistant • Junior Research Analyst

Famous Former Research Assistants
Julia Child Famous Former Research Assistant
Juila Child
World-Renowned Chef
Barack Obama Famous Former Research Assistant
Barack Obama
44th President of the United States

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