Career Development Toolkit for Early Researchers

Career Development Toolkit


An early career researcher needs to learn how to balance the many roles that comes associated with the job, such as teaching, publications writing, grant applications while also working on a research and looking out for next researches, so as to be successful. Here at African – British Journals, we have gathered toolkits, tips and recommendations on how to achieve excellence in all these areas.

How to write CV for Research Posts: The do’s, the don’ts and effective tips

Preparation of CV (also called resume) for academics is quite different from preparation for other conventional purposes. When applying for an academic interview, the CV should be precise and easy to read. You might also need different CVs for different application as what recruiters are looking for differs. It is advisable to use details that are useful in the field applied to. Try as much as possible to have the expertise recruiters are looking for and your CV should be filled with relevant information.

There are two styles of writing CV. It can either be Chronologically Written or Written Based on Skills. While the CV based on skills just lists the experiences of applicants using skill headings, the CV written chronologically is the more typical style used both in research posts for industry and also academic purposes. On the chronological CV, you start with your latest work/post/qualification and then go backwards to the oldest. You should do this throughout the headings of the CV. You can try starting a sentence with action verbs instead of using a full sentence to make it brief. Always choose a simple font that is easy to read. Examples of sections headings to use in your CV include:

  • Personal Information

  • Education

  • Experience

  • Awards/Grant

  • Presentations (Conference/Poster/Meeting)

  • Publications

  • Special Skills

  • Patents

  • Referees etc.

You just have to know the exact thing the recruiter has in mind. The CV should be direct, clear, simple, brief and precise.

Introspection and hints into combining Lecturing and Research Competently

Balancing the seesaw between research and teaching can prove delicate and tricky. How then does one balance it? What are the benefits or shortcomings of combining teaching with research? Is there any added advantage of teaching to your career and research?

If you are interested in lecturing alongside research, it provides the following benefits:

  • It gives you an avenue to present your research work

  • It is also a forum to discuss your work and engage students which can open your eyes in new beneficial directions.

  • Having lectures help to be organized and to manage time well which can be useful in research.

  • Some institutions can rate based on teaching standard to assess the teacher’s career.

The major disadvantage of lecturing alongside research is the time pressure involved.

When balancing lecturing with research, try as much as possible to learn better time management, also set learning objectives and use activities that engage students more which means you have to use less time to prepare for the lecture and the students also gain more.

Significance and Accuracy: Important hints when writing a Satisfactory Scientific Research

For an early career research, you need your work to be noticed and distinctive. How do you write what will be significant to both the experts in your field and also to the wider readership in scientific community?

A great scientific paper includes abstract, introductions, literature review, methodology, discussions and conclusions, References.

  • Abstract is a summary of what the research is about briefly and what readers come across first. It should be clear, precise, captivating and compelling. It should avoid jargons and unfamiliar abbreviations. A good abstract will strongly influence readers continue to the body of your work.

  • The introduction is to discuss prior works that have been done in that field, the drawbacks and benefits of those works, the objectives of your own work, what you aim to achieve and why your work is valuable. You should not oversell your own work and use citations where necessary.

  • Literature Review investigates and appraises published research papers in a particular field, it also serves as a framework for your research. Your literature review should demonstrate comprehensive understanding of your chosen topic. Types of reviews: Narrative or traditional literature review, Annotated bibliography, Systematic literature review, Systematic quantitative literature review and Systematic review.

  • Methodology is the application of specific procedures or techniques used to identify, select, process, and analyze information. The methodology section answers two main questions: How was the data collected or generated? How was it analyzed? It allows the reader to critically evaluate a study’s overall validity and reliability.

  • Discussions and Conclusions this is where you talk about the importance of your work, key significance of your research, you can state any work that opposes your findings and convince readers that your work is an advancement of that. Relate your work to your objectives and make sure you do not use exaggerated claims.

  • The language of your paper should be clear. Try as much as possible to write in a way people will understand and no points will be lost. Grammatical errors should always be avoided. Make sure your work can be easily understood by a wider audience not specialized in your field.

  • References, cite all the text you used as base for your research in your papers. Avoid very long citation lists. Justify the citations are relevant to your work before using them. Use the guide for authors by your own publisher to know the kind of formats your citations will take.

Writing a great Application for Research Grant

Grants can determine the success of your research, though, writing application for it might prove daunting, but there are tips on how to go about it. Before you apply for grant funding, do a background check on the funding entities, how to be eligible and their guidelines. Give yourself plenty time to prepare the application so as to give each section careful attention. Clarify the importance of your research work and explain how it is going to be impactful. Choose a strong team for the work and make sure each person’s involvement is well explained, you may need to attach short CV for each person working on the project. Cost every aspect of the project carefully but avoid over-costing. Explain the methodology and experiments involved in the research in details. Avoid repetition and do not be vague.

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