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Using a CV or resume, research assistant positions

ShinyRedKnightShinyRedKnight Registered User regular
Hello,

I'm currently applying for a research assistant position with NORC at the University of Chicago, and I need some guidance. I just finished my master's, so I am finally applying for social science research positions for the first time. Their website says you may use a resume or CV, but I am wondering which would be a better fit for me. Will either make that much of a difference?

I have also put my resume and CV in the spoilers below, avoiding direct personal information. I would be extremely grateful if anyone would be willing to critique them. Please be honest, they may be rough and it is my first time writing a CV.

CV:

Profile
I am a recent graduate of the University of Chicago's Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences. This program gave me the opportunity to develop advanced research skills focused on political science, culminating in a master's thesis on the reintegration challenges of child soldiers, and how this phenomenon is framed by transitional justice literature. My academic training has equipped me with important tools to produce extensive research and writing. This has included courses on organizing international program evaluations for social work projects and historical methods training. I eagerly desire to build a career in advanced social research, particularly in building our understanding of modern politics and culture. My focus on rigorous social science research in the professional realm is a result of my personal experiences with these themes. This background was built on a foundation of similar studies at DePaul University, as well as internships with Chicago public officials and nonprofit work with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. My passion for understanding the politics of our world through extensive research is founded in my personal experience with the Yugoslavian conflict, which framed much of my youth after my family had escaped the siege of Sarajevo.

Academic Background

University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; October 2013 – August 2014
Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences, Political Science
This program emphasized social science research methodologies and their application in a master's thesis. My thesis, “Understanding Child Soldier Reintegration: An Analysis of Transitional Justice Literature”, focused on dissecting transitional justice research on child soldiers to understand how it frames the child soldier phenomenon and the challenges it finds for victims and communities. This project involved the advanced research of human rights law, an emphasis on Foucaultian understandings of meaning and context, and the careful study of transitional justice scholarly work.
Relevant Courses:
Program Evaluation in International Settings (SSAD 63800)
Historical Methods (MAPS 31500)
International and Transitional Justice (PLSC 41213)

DePaul University, Lincoln Park, Illinois; September 2009 – June 2013
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Cum Laude
My undergraduate studies formed the foundation of my academic focus and background, emphasizing the politics of human rights and conflicts, especially in relation with American political interests. This included advanced coursework focusing on the Iraq War and the resulting refugee crisis. Additionally, I had the opportunity to take advanced classes focused on comparative political research and international relations.
Relevant Courses:
Comparative Protection of Individual Rights (PSC 364)
Advanced Topics in International Relations (PSC 349)






Career Background

Communicator Specialist, DePaul University TeleServices Center; September 2012 – August 2013
Served as a point of contact between DePaul University and prospective students. This included contacting applicants regarding the status of their applications, personal information, and upcoming events.

Organizing Intern, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights; June 2012 – August 2012
Helped the Organizing Director manage logistics on a major annual training for people running for public office. This included researching and recruiting candidates, organizing a team of five staff members, keeping track of contacts for guest speakers, and managing team deadlines. Additionally, I assisted in tracking donation records for special events

Intern, 42nd Ward of Chicago, Alderman Brendan Reilly; June 2011 – August 2011
Spoke to constituents about their concerns and questions regarding the 42nd Ward of Chicago. Drafted official correspondence with Chicago city officials. Investigated and prepared requests for city services including road repairs and additional police patrols throughout the downtown area of Chicago.

Volunteerism Background

Elk Grove Seventh-Day Adventist Church, October 2009 – Current
Assisted with creating weekly bulletins, reminders, and website updates. Currently serving as a Youth Leader, which involves organizing youth based events, services, and trips. Also serving on the church board, which requires monthly meetings, voting on church policy, assisting with church elections, and reviewing financial reports.

Lincoln Park Community Shelter, April 2010 – June 2010
Assisted with several classes organized by DePaul University students. These classes included computer use for employment networking and building secondary language skills. My role emphasized interviewing residents of the shelter on their personal experiences, needs, and current plans. With the approval of the shelter, residents, and DePaul University, these experiences were applied to research projects focused on understanding homelessness in the United States.

Interests

Political Science
My focus on political science is built on a personal interest in the reading of scholarly articles on politics and conflict. As well, I believe that it is important to build one's awareness of the current world through a careful reading of a variety of sources.

Religion
The reading of theological writings, especially those of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, have grown my personal beliefs as well as my interest in reading advanced literature on religious beliefs, philosophies, and histories. Additionally, this has driven my interest in regularly presenting on such writings at my local church and applying them to weekly group studies.

Computers
Building computers from their base components has been a passion of mine for years. This includes studying the shifting technologies in computing, understanding the application of different components, and the proper handling of sensitive hardware and software. Additionally, this has built my skills in quickly adapting to new software in my professional background.

Skills

Extensive training in the Modern Language Association and Chicago Manual of Style writing guides
Academic writing and research on political science topics emphasizing conflict and human rights
Experience in conducting interviews and handling sensitive information
Fluent in spoken and written Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian

References

Resume:
I am a bilingual graduate student of the political sciences with experience in preparing extensive proposals and research projects, and a background in working for Chicago public officials and nonprofit organizations.

Education:
University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; October 2013 – August 2014
Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences, Political Science

DePaul University, Lincoln Park, Illinois; September 2009 – June 2013
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Cum Laude

Experience:
DePaul University TeleServices Center, Chicago, Illinois; September 2012 – August 2013
Communicator Specialist
Served as a point of contact between DePaul University and prospective students. This included contacting applicants regarding the status of their applications, personal information, and upcoming events.

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Chicago, Illinois; June 2012 – August 2012
Organizing Intern
Helped the Organizing Director manage logistics on a major annual training for people running for public office. This included researching and recruiting candidates, organizing a team of five staff members, keeping track of contacts for guest speakers, and managing team deadlines. Additionally, I assisted in tracking donation records for special events.

42nd Ward of Chicago, Alderman Brendan Reilly, Chicago, Illinois; June 2011 – August 2011
Intern
Spoke to constituents about their concerns and questions regarding the 42nd Ward of Chicago. Drafted official correspondence with Chicago city officials. Investigated and prepared requests for city services including road repairs and additional police patrols throughout the downtown area of Chicago.

Lincoln Park Community Shelter, Chicago, Illinois; April 2010 – June 2010
Volunteer
Taught computer classes to homeless guests. Interviewed residents for studies on homelessness.

Elk Grove Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Elk Grove, Illinois; October 2009 – Current
Volunteer
Created bulletins, email reminders, and website updates weekly.

Skills:
Extensive training in and use of MLA and Chicago writing styles
Academic writing, research, and presentations
Public speaking and interviews
Fluent in spoken and written Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian

References available upon request.

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PSN: ShinyRedKnight Xbox Live: ShinyRedKnight

Posts

  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    If you are applying for an RA position, your CV should have RA relevant items at the front.
    Unclick the spoilers in quote for my critiques.
    I'm not an expert at this by any means so feel free to take my advice with a grain of salt.

    Hello,

    I'm currently applying for a research assistant position with NORC at the University of Chicago, and I need some guidance. I just finished my master's, so I am finally applying for social science research positions for the first time. Their website says you may use a resume or CV, but I am wondering which would be a better fit for me. Will either make that much of a difference?

    I have also put my resume and CV in the spoilers below, avoiding direct personal information. I would be extremely grateful if anyone would be willing to critique them. Please be honest, they may be rough and it is my first time writing a CV.

    CV:

    Profile
    I am a recent graduate of the University of Chicago's Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences. This program gave me the opportunity to develop advanced research skills focused on political science, culminating in a master's thesis on the reintegration challenges of child soldiers, and how this phenomenon is framed by transitional justice literature. My academic training has equipped me with important tools to produce extensive research and writing. This has included courses on organizing international program evaluations for social work projects and historical methods training. I eagerly desire to build a career in advanced social research, particularly in building our understanding of modern politics and culture. My focus on rigorous social science research in the professional realm is a result of my personal experiences with these themes. This background was built on a foundation of similar studies at DePaul University, as well as internships with Chicago public officials and nonprofit work with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. My passion for understanding the politics of our world through extensive research is founded in my personal experience with the Yugoslavian conflict, which framed much of my youth after my family had escaped the siege of Sarajevo.

    Academic Background

    University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; October 2013 – August 2014
    Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences, Political Science
    This program emphasized social science research methodologies and their application in a master's thesis. My thesis, “Understanding Child Soldier Reintegration: An Analysis of Transitional Justice Literature”, focused on dissecting transitional justice research on child soldiers to understand how it frames the child soldier phenomenon and the challenges it finds for victims and communities. This project involved the advanced research of human rights law, an emphasis on Foucaultian understandings of meaning and context, and the careful study of transitional justice scholarly work.
    Relevant Courses:
    Program Evaluation in International Settings (SSAD 63800)
    Historical Methods (MAPS 31500)
    International and Transitional Justice (PLSC 41213)

    DePaul University, Lincoln Park, Illinois; September 2009 – June 2013
    Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Cum Laude
    My undergraduate studies formed the foundation of my academic focus and background, emphasizing the politics of human rights and conflicts, especially in relation with American political interests. This included advanced coursework focusing on the Iraq War and the resulting refugee crisis. Additionally, I had the opportunity to take advanced classes focused on comparative political research and international relations.
    Relevant Courses:
    Comparative Protection of Individual Rights (PSC 364)
    Advanced Topics in International Relations (PSC 349)


    You need to highlight deliverables. Break this up into mini projects that you completed. Did you TA? Put that. Was your thesis published? Put that. Did you do any undergraduate research? Put that. Was it funded? Highlight that.





    Career Background

    Communicator Specialist, DePaul University TeleServices Center; September 2012 – August 2013
    Served as a point of contact between DePaul University and prospective students. This included contacting applicants regarding the status of their applications, personal information, and upcoming events.

    Organizing Intern, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights; June 2012 – August 2012
    Helped the Organizing Director manage logistics on a major annual training for people running for public office. This included researching and recruiting candidates, organizing a team of five staff members, keeping track of contacts for guest speakers, and managing team deadlines. Additionally, I assisted in tracking donation records for special events

    Intern, 42nd Ward of Chicago, Alderman Brendan Reilly; June 2011 – August 2011
    Spoke to constituents about their concerns and questions regarding the 42nd Ward of Chicago. Drafted official correspondence with Chicago city officials. Investigated and prepared requests for city services including road repairs and additional police patrols throughout the downtown area of Chicago.

    Volunteerism Background

    Elk Grove Seventh-Day Adventist Church, October 2009 – Current
    Assisted with creating weekly bulletins, reminders, and website updates. Currently serving as a Youth Leader, which involves organizing youth based events, services, and trips. Also serving on the church board, which requires monthly meetings, voting on church policy, assisting with church elections, and reviewing financial reports.

    Lincoln Park Community Shelter, April 2010 – June 2010
    Assisted with several classes organized by DePaul University students. These classes included computer use for employment networking and building secondary language skills. My role emphasized interviewing residents of the shelter on their personal experiences, needs, and current plans. With the approval of the shelter, residents, and DePaul University, these experiences were applied to research projects focused on understanding homelessness in the United States.

    Interests

    Political Science
    My focus on political science is built on a personal interest in the reading of scholarly articles on politics and conflict. As well, I believe that it is important to build one's awareness of the current world through a careful reading of a variety of sources.

    Religion
    The reading of theological writings, especially those of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, have grown my personal beliefs as well as my interest in reading advanced literature on religious beliefs, philosophies, and histories. Additionally, this has driven my interest in regularly presenting on such writings at my local church and applying them to weekly group studies.

    Computers
    Building computers from their base components has been a passion of mine for years. This includes studying the shifting technologies in computing, understanding the application of different components, and the proper handling of sensitive hardware and software. Additionally, this has built my skills in quickly adapting to new software in my professional background.

    Skills

    Extensive training in the Modern Language Association and Chicago Manual of Style writing guides
    Academic writing and research on political science topics emphasizing conflict and human rights
    Experience in conducting interviews and handling sensitive information
    Fluent in spoken and written Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian


    This has nothing to do with research.

    References

    Resume:
    I am a bilingual graduate student of the political sciences with experience in preparing extensive proposals and research projects, and a background in working for Chicago public officials and nonprofit organizations.

    Education:
    University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; October 2013 – August 2014
    Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences, Political Science

    DePaul University, Lincoln Park, Illinois; September 2009 – June 2013
    Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Cum Laude

    Experience:
    DePaul University TeleServices Center, Chicago, Illinois; September 2012 – August 2013
    Communicator Specialist
    Served as a point of contact between DePaul University and prospective students. This included contacting applicants regarding the status of their applications, personal information, and upcoming events.

    Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Chicago, Illinois; June 2012 – August 2012
    Organizing Intern
    Helped the Organizing Director manage logistics on a major annual training for people running for public office. This included researching and recruiting candidates, organizing a team of five staff members, keeping track of contacts for guest speakers, and managing team deadlines. Additionally, I assisted in tracking donation records for special events.

    42nd Ward of Chicago, Alderman Brendan Reilly, Chicago, Illinois; June 2011 – August 2011
    Intern
    Spoke to constituents about their concerns and questions regarding the 42nd Ward of Chicago. Drafted official correspondence with Chicago city officials. Investigated and prepared requests for city services including road repairs and additional police patrols throughout the downtown area of Chicago.

    Lincoln Park Community Shelter, Chicago, Illinois; April 2010 – June 2010
    Volunteer
    Taught computer classes to homeless guests. Interviewed residents for studies on homelessness.

    Elk Grove Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Elk Grove, Illinois; October 2009 – Current
    Volunteer
    Created bulletins, email reminders, and website updates weekly.

    Skills:
    Extensive training in and use of MLA and Chicago writing styles
    Academic writing, research, and presentations
    Public speaking and interviews
    Fluent in spoken and written Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian

    References available upon request.

    An academic CV is very hard to write when you are just starting out but there should be plenty of things to fill it with even at the master's level. Make sure to fill it with modules of things that you have completed, performed, and done.


  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    If you don't have publications/presentations/talks/etc, I'd say don't do the CV.

  • ShinyRedKnightShinyRedKnight Registered User regular
    Thank you guys for your advise.

    Yeah, I don't have any publications. The closest would be my master's thesis, but that's only on archive at my school.

    It is an entry level position, and so the requirements aren't very demanding. Their most specific requirement is a bachelor's degree in the social sciences, or equivalent, with basic understandings of survey research and quantitative analysis.

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    PSN: ShinyRedKnight Xbox Live: ShinyRedKnight
  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    Yeah, if they're entry level positions, then you definitely should just use a resume. CVs are primarily used for academic positions (professors/instructors/research scientists/etc). If you land in a position that results in you getting co-authorship credit, and you're staying in long term research positions, then you could think about using a CV.

  • ShinyRedKnightShinyRedKnight Registered User regular
    edited November 2014
    Alrighty, that sounds good!

    I've written up a cover letter that should hopefully express my interest and focus properly. If it is alright, I'm posting it below in the spoiler if anyone is able to check it and give suggestions. Any help is appreciated, I've been looking for work for several months since graduation and this is one of those rare opportunities where I seem to be perfectly qualified, and it is the field in which I studied.

    Some things to note: they have several Chicago locations but have not specified which one on the job listing, nor is their any listing of who I ought to address this to. I am considering avoiding the address at the top since it is being sent digitally, and calling tomorrow to see to whom I should address this.
    11/12/2014

    Dear Hiring Professional:

    I am interested in the Research Assistant position with NORC at the University of Chicago. Utilizing my education and experience at a leading research organization such as yours is a major personal and professional goal for me. Your organization's clients and published works are of the kind that have driven my own studies, and it is my great desire to have the honor to contribute to such a body of work. Of particular note are your publications such as “Finding Victims of Human Trafficking”. The work of combining rigorous social science research with awareness raising projects such as this is the core focus of my aspirations. This kind of research applies a careful analysis of complex issues, such as the blurred lines between sex trafficking and commercial sex, and utilizes that work to influence the creation of intelligent policy that helps create healthier justice systems. My graduate studies at the University of Chicago have honed my ability to conduct the kind of extensive research on complex social issues that such projects demand. Additionally, my experiences with the 42nd Ward of Chicago and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights have given me the skills necessary to succeed in demanding environments that depend upon intense deadlines and communication with a variety of important clients.

    NORC requires motivated, creative, and intelligent individuals for positions such as the Research Assistant. I have developed these qualities over the past five years through a variety of experiences. My studies at the University of Chicago focused on the recovery and reintegration of individuals following violent conflict. In this context, my master's thesis analyzed the reintegration challenges of child soldiers. This required the extensive study and analysis of scholarly work on transitional justice and detailed reports on legal cases relating to the child soldier phenomenon. Additionally, at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, I was tasked with researching and contacting local community leaders for training aimed at preparing candidates for public election. I was also tasked with managing all major deadlines and logistical concerns while assisting the Director of Organizing. My background has allowed me to develop the skills that are necessary for the Research Assistant to succeed:
    -Thorough research and analysis of complex political and legal issues
    -Extensive writing including major proposals and research reports
    -Drafting official correspondence with important clients including governing officials

    It is my great hope to pursue a career dedicated to the kind of research done at NORC. The Research Assistant position is not merely a start on that road, but the perfect opportunity for me to apply my research skills and to further grow as a social scientist. With time, I know that such a career can lead to success at higher levels at an organization such as NORC at the University of Chicago. Thank you for this excellent opportunity and for your time. I hope to discuss with you the Research Assistant position, and the broader possibilities at NORC. You may email me at ___________

    Thanks again!

    ShinyRedKnight on
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    PSN: ShinyRedKnight Xbox Live: ShinyRedKnight
  • HypatiaHypatia Registered User regular
    Just a few of minor comments, I'm not sure if these are too late:

    - Some of the language comes on a little strong, and maybe this is okay, but you use a couple of terms like "great desire" and "great hope," which may be overemphasizing things.
    - The points in the letter seem disjointed. You sort of provide a brief summary of their work, then you state your work, and while you say that their work is at the core of what you want to do, it seems like it's missing some connecting language. The same goes for the second paragraph, it seems like you're saying, "You require motivated, creative, and intelligent people. I've developed these qualities. My master's thesis was in X. I was told to contact people and had to manage deadlines." I would suggest trying to more directly address the points you think the're looking for through specific experiences and to use more assertive phrasing (e.g., instead of "I was tasked with" saying "I managed" or "I took the initiative").
    - This letter seems to put a lot of stress on you and your goals. While I think it's worth mentioning if they align with what the company/lab/school is looking for, the point of the cover letter is to explain why you are what they need, not why they are what you need.

  • ShinyRedKnightShinyRedKnight Registered User regular
    Thanks for the comments! Yeah, I did send the application before that, though I made some adjustments that are similar to what you addressed. Still, your advice will be immensely useful for future applications. I just really hope that I don't have to do too many more of those before I get something.

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