The other day I was in class doing an activity where we reviewed the resumes of our partners. My partner looked at my resume and noticed a ‘Research’ section, under which I had my Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) project listed. My partner then said, “What is this? You don’t need this on here.” For those of you, like my partner, who do not know what a UROP is, it is a program through University of Minnesota system that awards grants to students to perform research projects with the guidance of a professor. And for those of you, like my partner, who think this is not something you want to put on your resume, you may want to think again.
A UROP project is a great addition to your resume as it shows you have a number of different skills including: grant proposal writing skills, research skills, and analytical skills.
Grant proposal writing skills will mostly be beneficial for people who are looking for jobs in research labs or companies. However, even if you are not going into research, having this skill shows that you are a superior writer and have the skills to effectively communicate your ideas to others.
Research skills are very broad and can encompass many things such as: writing surveys, conducting interviews, conducting focus groups, planning a project, meeting deadlines, and countless other skills. The important thing with research skills is to highlight the individual skills that you used either in a cover letter or during your interview so that the employer knows what you actually did. It is especially important to highlight skills that the employer is seeking. For example, if an employer is seeking an employee with good communication skills you may want to highlight your interviewing or writing skills you gained from completing your UROP.
By doing a UROP you will also gain analytical skills by analyzing the information you collect from your project and making sense of it all. In almost every field, employers are looking for people who are able to analyze problems and come up with solutions to solve those problems. I am a business major and having been looking for a job and I haven’t come across a job listing yet that doesn’t have ‘analytical skills’ listed as a qualification. Having a UROP shows a prospective employer that you practice finding problems and analyzing the data around you to come up with a solution or a proposed solution for the problem.
A UROP will also provide you with a final paper or project. You can bring this along to your interviews and show it to prospective companies as an example of your work. Most people only bring a resume, cover letter and possibly a few letters of recommendation to an interview. Having this final project as an example of your work will make you more memorable in the eyes of the interviewer and hopefully will land you that job or internship.
As you can see, a UROP is a great opportunity and will provide you with lots of important skills you can apply to your future career. If you want to apply for a UROP, the deadline for Summer and Fall 2013 projects is 02/25/13 at 11:59pm, so act fast! For more information or to apply for a UROP visit http://www.d.umn.edu/urop/