Let’s Get You Hired: Getting A Career In Research And Data Analysis

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It’s yet another Monday and we have a new issue of Let’s Get You Hired. In this issue, we are looking at a career in Research and Data Analysis. And our expert for today is Edem Agbe, the Managing Director of Participatory Development Associates. Edem Agbe is also a Development practitioner with over 11 years of experience spanning different countries across West Africa—Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone—and East Africa—Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Uganda.

In this article we get insights from Edem on how to structure your CV to get in the field. In addition, we also cover different skills and tips that you will need to be successful at your career.

Don’t Underestimate The Importance Of Internships

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Edem believes that he is on his current career path because of one internship that he had when he was still in school. Back then, he studied Economics for his Bachelor’s Degree, and he wanted to work in a bank. In fact, during his third year of university, he was also studying for ACCA accounting qualification; all to further his chances of working in a bank. But then Edem had an internship with a Research Firm in Accra.

During that internship he was fascinated with the work that the company did. It was learning, improving upon knowledge and trying to use that knowledge to solve problems here and there. His internship got him so curious that he went back and applied to do his national service at the same firm. And he has been in Research and Development ever since.

Edem encourages internships because he feels that they are a chance to discover the real career paths that you might want to follow.

Why Go Into Research?

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According to Edem, research is an integral part of our lives. In fact, we all do research in one form or the other.

We All Do Research; Different Ways. We Just Don’t Call It Research.

—Edem Agbe.

Research is how we influence the decisions that we make. For example, when you ask your friends about a service or product or when you do a background check on something that interests you, that’s research. And on a bigger scale, research is necessary in the processes of development and planning. Research guides planning at various levels and even guides politician’s commitments.

The only thing that varies, is the quality and types of research that are carried out.

Skills That You Need To Be A Researcher/Monitoring And Evaluation Specialist

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The first skill that you need to go into this field, according to Edem, is learning. He refers to this career space as a business of Knowledge Commercialization. And the only way to survive in a field where knowledge is this important, is to keep learning. That way you can provide insights to programs that other people are thinking of. And give them tangible ways to develop their concepts.

Relationships and Social Networks. No matter how skillful you are, in this field, you need to have good people skills. Research is a field that relies heavily on people engagement. You interact with people in order to carry out your job functions. So, if you have trouble with relationship-building and socialization, this is a field that you’re going to struggle in.

Finally, you also need to have strong analytical and reporting. In Edem’s words, it doesn’t matter if you put in 200% effort in gathering data; and you have several sleepless nights. If you can’t analyze and report on the data that you have gathered, no one will recognize the hard work that you have put in.

CV Tips To Get Into The Research Field

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To wrap up this week’s Let’s Get You Hired, Edem tells us some CV tips to increase your chances of finding work as a researcher. According to him, some applicants just download CV templates, fill out their details and send that same CV to every role that they come across.

Instead of doing that—which is highly ineffective—you should look at the job description; look up the company and find out what they’re working on. Then, tailor your CV to suit the job opening. Don’t send generalized CVs to companies that you want to work at. Another tip from Edem is to never lie on your CV. Especially not in a research field. They will verify and confirm the things that you have listed on your CV.

Finally, it is also a huge plus if you have conducted research that is relevant to the job that you’re applying for. Even if that research was conducted while you were in school, it is still proof of your hard work and ability. You should highlight that on your CV.

Let’s Get You Hired is a weekly manual for job seekers. The series contains guides and tips on CVs, Interviews and other resources to get you hired.

This article was brought to you thanks to CV Convos (by Circumspecte and The New Career Platform). You can catch CV Convos on Instagram Live every Wednesday at 6pm. Follow @circumspecte_ to watch CV conversations with experts, and have your questions answered.

Source: Edem Agbe; Managing Director of Participatory Development Associates via Circumspecte


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