Most Important Research Skills For 2020

By Chris Kolmar - Sep. 29, 2020

The need to efficiently find the answers to lingering questions extends across virtually all industries. Research plays an essential role in business development and enhances preparedness. Despite your position and field, having strong research skills can make you a more competitive applicant.

As an example, consider all the typical positions in a restaurant, and the specific research roles each employee might conduct to make the business run successfully.

There is:

  • A restaurant manager looking for a new vegetable vendor and trying to find the best local deal

  • A head chef researching a compatible sauce to serve on that weekend’s house special

  • A hostess organizing information for seating and reservations

  • A waitress searching up flavor notes of wines on the drinks menu

Everyone functions cohesively together to gather relevant information and analyze how to use it to better the business. This example of a team utilizing research in the food industry can extend to many other professions as well.

What Are Research Skills?

Research skills are all about how well you target a goal, compile appropriate information, and relay these findings to other people. We’re taught to develop research abilities from early education, and that’s for good reason. In academia, teachers requested answers to a series of topic-related questions in an essay. Similarly, your boss could eventually ask you to look further into a work-related subject or figure out how to solve a problem.

Hiring managers know that strong research is an invaluable tool for advancement, and are often very responsive to resumes that display these qualities well.

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Types of Research Skills

Experienced researchers know that worthwhile investigation involves a variety of skills. Consider which research skills come naturally to you, and which you could work on more.

  1. Goal-Setting. Before you can carry out any type of effective research, you must know what it is you’re looking for.Goal-settingisa skill like any other. If you’re able to visualize the outcome you’re trying to achieve by putting effort into research, it’ll make it that much easier to form a path there.

    Goal-Setting Skills Involve:

    • Specificity

    • Time-Management

    • Vision

    • Realistic

    • Planning ahead

    • Organization

  2. Data Collection. When thinking about the research process, data collection is often the first thing that comes to mind. It is the nuts and bolts of research. How data is collected can be flexible. For some purposes, simply gathering facts and information on the internet can fulfill your need. Others may require more direct and crowd-sourced research. Having experience in various methods of data collection can make your resume more impressive to recruiters.

    Data Collection Methods Include:

    • Observation

    • Interviews

    • Questionnaires

    • Experimentation

    • Conducting focus groups

  3. Analysis of Information From Different Sources. Putting all your eggs in one source basket usually results in error and disappointment. One of the skills that good researchers always incorporate into their process is an abundance of sources. It’s also best practice to consider the reliability of these sources.

    Are you reading about U.S. history on a conspiracy theorist’s blog post?

    Taking facts for a presentation from an anonymous Twitter account?

    If you can’t determine the validity of sources you’re using, it can compromise all of your research. That doesn’t mean just disregard anything on the internet but double-check your findings. In fact, quadruple check. You can make your research even stronger by turning to references outside of the internet.

    Examples of Reliable Information Sources Include:

    • Published Books

    • Encyclopedias

    • Magazines

    • Databases

    • Scholarly journals

    • Newspapers

    • Library Catalogs

  4. Finding Information Off The Internet. While it can be beneficial to consulate alternative sources, strong internet research skills drive modern-day research. One of the great things about the internet is how much information it contains, however, this comes with drugging through a lot of garbage to get to the facts you need. The ability to efficiently use the vast database of knowledge that is the internet without getting lost in the junk is very valuable to employers.

    Internet Research Skills Include:

    • Source checking

    • Searching relevant questions

    • Exploring deeper than the first options

    • Avoiding distraction

    • Giving credit

    • Organizing findings

  5. Interviewing. Some research endeavors may require a more hands-on approach than just consulting internet sources. Being prepared with strong interviewing skills can be very helpful in the research process. Interviews can be a useful research tactic to gain first-hand information, and being able to manage a successful interview can greatly improve your research skills.

    Interviewing Skills Involves:

    • A plan of action

    • Specific, pointed questions

    • Respectfulness

    • Considering the interview setting

    • Actively Listening

    • Taking notes

    • Gratitude for participation

  6. Report Writing. Possessing skills in report writing can assist you in job and scholarly research. The overall purpose of a report in any context is to convey particular information to its audience. Effective report writing is largely dependent on communication. Your boss, professor, or general reader should walk away completely understanding your findings and conclusions.

    Report Writing Skills Involve:

    • Proper format

    • Including a summary

    • Focusing on your initial goal

    • Creating an outline

    • Proofreading

    • Directness

  7. Critical Thinking . Critical thinking skills can aid you greatly throughout the research process, and as an employee in general. Critical thinking refers to your data analysis skills. When you’re in the throes of research, you need to be able to analyze your results and make logical decisions about your findings.

    Critical Thinking Skills Involve:

    • Observation

    • Analysis

    • Assessing issues

    • Problem-solving

    • Creativity

    • Communication

  8. Planning and Scheduling. Research is a work project like any other, and that means it requires a little forethought before starting. Creating a detailed outline map for the points you want to touch on in your research produces more organized results. It also makes it much easier to manage your time. Planning and scheduling skills are important to employers because they indicate a prepared employee.

    Planning and Scheduling Skills Include:

    • Setting objectives

    • Identifying tasks

    • Prioritizing

    • Delegating if needed

    • Vision

    • Communication

    • Clarity

    • Time-management

  9. Note-Taking. Research involves sifting through and taking in lots of information. Taking exhaustive notes ensures that you will not neglect any findings later and allows you to communicate these results to your co-workers. Being able to take good notes helps summarize research.

    Examples of Note-Taking Skills Include:

    • Focus

    • Organization

    • Using short-hand

    • Keeping your objective in mind

    • Neatness

    • Highlighting important points

    • Reviewing notes afterward

  10. Time-Management. We’re, unfortunately, only given 24 measly hours in a day. The ability to effectively manage this time is extremely powerful in a professional context. Hiring managers seek candidates who can accomplish goals in a given timeframe. Strong time-management skills mean that you can organize a plan for how to break down larger tasks in a project and complete them by a deadline. Developing your time-management skills can greatly improve the productivity of your research.

    Time Management Skills Include:

    • Scheduling

    • Creating task outlines

    • Strategic thinking

    • Stress-management

    • Delegation

    • Communication

    • Utilizing resources

    • Setting realistic expectations

    • Meeting deadlines

Other Helpful Research Skills:

The definition of research skills is broad, and there are many traits that could help you in the research process. Consider some of the additional research skills below.

  • Attention to detail

  • Reading and writing skills

  • Patience

  • Considering keywords

  • Networking

  • Competitor comparison

  • Multitasking

  • Summarization

  • Strong Presentation

How to Include Research Skills on Your Resume

Research projects require dedication. Being committed is a valuable skill for hiring managers. Whether you’ve had research experience throughout education or a former job, including it properly can boost the success of your resume.

Consider how extensive your research background is. If you’ve worked on multiple, in-depth research projects, it might be best to include it as its own section. If you have less research experience, include it in the skills section.

Focus on your specific role in the research, as opposed to just the research itself. Try to quantify accomplishments to the best of your abilities.

For example, let’s pretend you work at a t-shirt company. Your team is doing research into your competition, and your responsibility is tracking the sales of women’s clothing. You can later include this project on your resume as:

Directed analysis into women’s clothing sale statistics for a market research project

Remember, your resume is about you. Every skill and experience you include should be about showing an employer what makes you an ideal hire.

Resume Examples Showcasing Research Skills:

Example #1-Academic Research

Simon Marks

767 Brighton Blvd.
Brooklyn, NY, 27368

Diligent and hardworking recent graduate seeking a position to develop professional experience and utilize research skills. B.A. in Biological Sciences from New York University.

Professional Experience

Lixus Publishing, Brooklyn, NY
Office Assistant- September 2018-present

  • Scheduling and updating meetings

  • Managing emails and phone calls

  • Reading entries

  • Worked on a science fiction campaign by researching target demographic

  • Organizing calendars

  • Promoted to office assistant after one year internship

Mitch’s Burgers and Fries, Brooklyn, NY
Restaurant Manager, June 2014-June 2018

  • Managed a team of five employees

  • Responsible for coordinating the weekly schedule

  • Hired and trained two employees

  • Kept track of inventory

  • Dealt with vendors

  • Provided customer service

  • Promoted to restaurant manager after two years as a waiter

  • Awarded a $2.00/hr wage increase


  • Writing

  • Scientific Research

  • Data analysis

  • Critical thinking

  • Planning

  • Communication


Worked on an ecosystem biology project with responsibilities for algae collection and research (2019)

Lead a group of freshman in a research project looking into cell biology (2018)


New York University
Bachelors in Biological Sciences, September 2016-May 2020

Example #2- Professional Research

Angela Nichols

Experienced and enthusiastic marketer with 7 years of professional experience. Seeking a position to apply my marketing and research knowledge. Skills in working on a team and flexibility.

1111 Keller Dr., San Francisco, CA


Apples & Oranges Marketing, San Francisco, CA
Associate Marketer – April 2017-May 2020

  • Discuss marketing goals with clients

  • Provide customer service

  • Lead campaigns associated with women’s health

  • Coordinating with a marketing team

  • Quickly solving issues in service and managing conflict

  • Awarded with two raises totaling $10,000 over three years

Prestigious Marketing Company, San Francisco, CA
Marketer – May 2014-April 2017

  • Working directly with clients

  • Conducting market research into television streaming preferences

  • Developing marketing campaigns related to television streaming services

  • Report writing

  • Analyzing campaign success statistics

  • Promoted to Marketer from Junior Marketer after the first year

Timberlake Public Relations, San Francisco, CA
Public Relations Intern – September 2013–May 2014

  • Working cohesively with a large group of co-workers and supervisors

  • Note-taking during meetings

  • Running errands

  • Managing email accounts

  • Assisting in brainstorming

  • Meeting work deadlines

Golden Gate University, San Francisco, CA
Bachelor of Arts in Marketing with a minor in Communications – September 2009 – May 2013


  • Marketing

  • Market research

  • Record Keeping

  • Teamwork

  • Presentation

  • Flexibility

Chris Kolmar


Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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