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Research Assistant Interview Presentation - (Nov/08/2013 )

Hi ,


I'm a recent grad and I have been invited for an interview for a research assistant position at a prestigious university. I have been asked to do a 10 minute presentation on my most recent research and I am massively freaking out about it.


I did a one year industrial placement during my degree doing research. I learned a of of skills that were directly relevant to this project, plus the project is working on a virus related to the one I was working on during my placement. However, my most recent research would be my final year undergraduate project, during which I also used a lot of the relevant skills, but it was much shorter and not as relevant. 


Would you suggest that I just stuck with my "most recent" research experience - my final project, or should I split it between both and spend less time talking about each of them. Obviously, they know about both projects as I wrote about them on my CV and cover letter, but I don;t know which one to focus on here. 


I want this job so much, I feel I'm really suited for it, but I don't know how to prove that I have the skills required.


Does anyone have any suggestions?


Thanks so much, 


This is a tough one, because it is generally a good idea to follow the instructions of those you are being interviewed by.  However, initiative and relevance are two characteristics people look for in employees.  I would go with a presentation that details both your jobs, highlighting the skills that you believe are relevant.  The background for each is probably not so important, but they will be looking to see that you got some results and can present them nicely.


Be aware that industrial placements are tricky things - make sure that you aren't revealing any commercially sensitive information.


I'd choose that one which fits best to the position (in terms of skills, results, topics for the position). If you want to split your presentation then they should be equally relevant and also have a connection (i.e. similar topics or research direction), so that the employers see that you have a more or less constant line of work and interests, a focus. If not, they might suspect that you do aimlessly everything or have not decided which direction to go but might switch to another topic/position too soon. This connection is also good for the presentation flow as you easily can switch to the next part without much justification.