Tips & Tricks

Will You Need THE Recommendation Letter Next Spring?

If you’ll submit that all-important packet for the next step in your career next spring, you might not be thinking much about your recommendation letters this August. And, if that is indeed the case, pay close attention to this #ProTip: You should reconsider your strategy.

If you're premed, you have approximately 8 months until it's time to ask for letters from your professors (give or take a few weeks depending on your specific circumstances). But that doesn't mean that you have 7 1/2 months until you need to think about those letters.

What’s in a Name? Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)?

A student asked us to help her understand the difference between a resume and a CV. She had read “a bunch of stuff online” and was confused what she should name her document. She said, “ I’m a bio engineering major but am applying for volunteering for a job in an art museum.” So which is it a resume or CV?

Do You Remember This Tip?

In a week or so, many of you who participated in a full-time summer research experience will once again become a part-time researcher and full-time student. Keep this tip in mind from the article we posted earlier this summer, 10 Things to Expect From Your Summer Undergrad Research Experience.

With Email It Takes Three Seconds To Establish Your Professionalism and Only One Second to Ruin It

The salutation you use in an email matters.

A salutation is the first thing most people read, it sets the tone for the rest of the email, and it demonstrates your level of professionalism. For good or bad, it also carries the power to influence your reader. And you don’t want the person who reads your email to be annoyed or offended right from the start—especially if your plan is to ask a favor.

Organizations To Know

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has a monthly publication called ASBMB Today that has both print and online distribution.

Ask Others: “What Is Your Research About?”

Your lab is a bubble. You work with a team of people with supporting, overlapping, or related projects. You might use different techniques, methods, or approaches than your labmates, but overall you’re all working towards common objectives, and trying to solve a few big questions with the science. It’s good to be in that bubble.

Did Someone Write a Recommendation Letter for You?

Every time someone writes a letter of recommendation for you, it’s important to send a thank-you email expressing your gratitude. It doesn’t need to be a long email (in fact you want to keep it under six sentences), but it should be sincere.

For the maximum benefits, send the thank-you email the same week the letter is done. However, if someone wrote a letter for you last summer and you didn’t know to send a thank-you email, get it done today. It can still count.

Although there are more, here are three reasons you should send a thank-you email:

Lab Cell Phone Tip #3: When Something Doesn't Look Right

When you're conducting an experiment or doing a technique, take photos of anything that looks “odd” if your research mentor isn't around to help.

Sometimes, it's easier to describe and troubleshoot a problem if you have a photo to go along with a statement such as: “I don’t think my culture lysed correctly," or "When I filtered the solution, it looked chunky," or "The tissue kept tearing on the microtome."

Obviously, this won't work for all kinds of wet benchwork (such as enzymatic reactions), but when a photo could be helpful it's a great resource to have.

Choosing a Lab: Don't Let FOMO Hang You Up

If you find yourself in the enviable position of getting to choose between two research positions, don’t let the fear of missing out prevent you from making a decision.The best strategy is to start by considering each position individually without comparing them to each other.

Undergrad Inquiry: What does "Invest In Your Project?" Mean

After yesterday's post, Tips on Being a Good Labmate, (http://www.undergradinthelab.com/node/92) we received three inquiries asking what it means to invest in a research project.

One undergrad asked if it meant to design a project or come up with their own research question. Another asked if it meant starting a crowd funding campaign to pay for supplies. Although these will certainly show dedication, and be great if you do them, most undergrads will demonstrate their investment in other ways.

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