Asking about research assistant position.
April 7, 2009 11:53 AM   Subscribe

Question about asking for a research assistant position with a professor

I recently asked a professor in grad school if he needed a research assistant.

His response was something along the lines of " Probably yes, but I haven't made those plans yet. If you are interested, why don't you email me your CV. "

A month ago I did so, should I follow up? If so, what do I say?
posted by dolemite01 to Education (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, follow up. Just remind him that you are looking for a position, that you sent your CV, and are curious to know if he is interest in appointing you. Be prepared to revist this question when your thesis comes due, substituting the word "season" for "month".
posted by fatllama at 11:57 AM on April 7, 2009

You can ask about it as long as you aren't annoying about it. Keep it short and sweet.
Attach your C.V. again (don't make him go searching) and say something like:

Dear Prof X
Have you given any more thought to the research position? I'm still interested in working for you if the position is available.
posted by rmless at 12:02 PM on April 7, 2009

Are you already an admitted graduate student in his univseristy or department?

Does your department usually take care of funding stuff at one faculty meeting per year, or do faculty pretty much sort out their own students' funding and that's that?

I'd follow up after a month. Reiterate that you're interested in the position, look at his group's latest publications and maybe put in a line about how (whatever they are working on) is exciting to you and just the sort of thing on which you'd like to work. Ask if you can stop by his office to talk about the work they are doing now. When/if you visit, read up first on the work they are doing so you're informed, and don't take more than 10 or maybe 15 minutes of his time.
posted by pseudonick at 12:07 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yes, definitely follow up, and be sure to include your CV again in the new e-mail. These things tend to fall off people's to-do lists, so it's good to remind them every now and then. Something like what rmless has drafted above sounds good.
posted by tickingclock at 12:58 PM on April 7, 2009

As stated above by others (and I repeat them because I've been in this situation, and recently got a job as an RA only after repeated emails and phone calls, many of which were unreturned).

1) always include a CV, and even a cover letter (PDF is best)
2) call to enquire, or set up a meeting
3) offer to drop by in person and do so at the first opportunity
4) never contact more than once in two weeks, otherwise you are annoying
5) always be friendly, chirpy, and stress that you are "still interested" and "still available", so the focus is on your availability and interest, not the professor's lack of contact.

good luck!!
posted by molecicco at 1:46 PM on April 7, 2009

Research assistant as in, doing a graduate degree with him as a supervisor or research assistant as in an undergrad student doing odd jobs/research?

If it's as a graduate student, read up on their lab's recent publications and tell them why you are interested in their lab and what kinds of projects you would like to do. If you have any grant money, tell them that you do.

If it's just as a tech, see if there are any work-study type grants that you can apply for. Inform the PI that you would like to compete for those work-study grants and would be very interested in gaining experience in the field with their lab.

PDFs are a good idea; the new Word and Word97 don't play nice with each other and bork each other's formatting frequently.
posted by porpoise at 2:18 PM on April 7, 2009

Yep, follow up. Reiterate your interest, remind him of the conversation you had, and throw in a line or two about why you would be good as a CV. Treat it as a mini cover letter, in essence.

And yeah, I agree, PDF is essential.
posted by Phire at 11:16 PM on April 7, 2009

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