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Is Research Work Experience on a Resume? — The Answer

Is Research Work Experience on a Resume? — The Answer

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Professional research is an experience that requires mental discipline, planning, organization, and documentation skills.

Both professional and academic research are worth including on a resume in some instances, but you must be mindful of when to include them.

Does this kind of research count as work experience on a resume?


Does Research Count as Work Experience?

Research can count as work experience on a resume in certain circumstances. Those seeking jobs in the field of academia may include research in the work experience section. Research that is particularly relevant to the job may also be included if including regular work experience is not possible. 

The bottom line is that research can count as work experience, but the question becomes, “Should it count?” This depends entirely on the content of the research and the desired job. 

Consider whether the research you have conducted is specifically relevant to the job you are seeking.

Having researched customer consumption trends would be impressive to the hiring manager of an analytics company but would not impress someone from a biology field, for example.


Does Undergraduate Work Count as Work Experience?

Undergraduate work, including research done for a final thesis, should not be included in the experience section on a resume. The term ‘academic research’ typically refers to post-graduate research, as undergraduate research is rarely valued beyond a grade from a professor.

Research done while working on a master’s degree may be included, however.

For the most part, employers are not particularly interested in undergraduate work. If the undergraduate research work is so relevant to the desired job that you feel it will give you an edge, you may include this in the education section. 

For students seeking a master’s degree or PhD, including this experience in the work experience section is still not advised. Academic research is best suited to the publications or education sections unless it is a paid part-time job done on the side while still in school. 

Some students are hired by professors in order to assist them in their research, and because this is technically a job, it should be listed in the experience section as such.


Does Research Assistant Count as Work Experience?

If you have the job title “research assistant,” then you have the right to include this job in the experience section. Unlike volunteering, any job that you are paid to do belongs in the experience section without question. 

Much like any other job, being a research assistant requires meeting deadlines, producing work according to instructions, and clear communication. This job experience should be listed in the same format as the other jobs in the experience section.

Ensure you include the job title, the employer, and the dates worked. If this experience is not particularly relevant to the desired job, or you have enough work experience in your resume already, you may add this to the education or research sections instead.


Should you include research in the work experience section?

Research should be included in the experience section when there are no other relevant work experiences. This would be typical of recent graduates, or for those currently working on a master’s degree or PhD.

Research should also be included if research is part of one’s professional career, such as for research assistants and those in academia who conduct research as a part of their jobs.

When listing research in either of these cases, you can expand upon the relevant skills gained from research. These may include researching information, compiling data, and writing reports. 

You should include these skills using bullet points in your resume. Keep in mind that how many bullet points you use depends on how much space you need to fill and that it’s not generally recommended to use periods with bullet points.


When shouldn’t you include research in the work experience section?

Research should not be listed in the work experience section when it is completed as part of one’s undergraduate studies. It should also be excluded when the research is irrelevant to the desired job. Unless the sought job is in academia or a research field, it is likely irrelevant.

Because undergraduate studies are required to obtain a degree, and research topics may be limited in length or scope by professors, these studies are not considered self-led enough to impress an employer.

This is akin to listing a class in the experience section, which is a no-go on a resume. 

If you find that your research does not fit well in the experience section, then look at our advice on the best places to list research on a resume.