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Cornell University

Presenting Your Research

When interviewing for a job in industry, government, or with a non-profit, you might be asked to give a presentation about your graduate research projects. Below are tips to prepare. See the Career Development Toolkit page on presentations for more in-depth information about preparation. 

Who Will Be There?

Find out who will be attending the presentation and to what degree they are familiar with your research topic. Even if your audience is familiar with your field, keep in mind that they probably have not been thinking about your project as long as you have. You may think that something is obvious or unimportant and therefore eliminate it from your presentation, but this information could be a crucial point for your audience to understand what you are talking about. Be sure to give a practice talk to individuals outside of your field—especially trying to include people who have similar backgrounds to those who will be attending your presentation. 

What Is Your Audience Looking For?

Think about what your audience members will be evaluating you on—and what their interests are. For example, is this a presentation to demonstrate that you can communicate technical information to a general audience, or to demonstrate your use of a particular skill, technique, or theory that you will need in the job you’re applying for? Is the organization primarily interested in your subject-area expertise, or in the results you achieved and your impact in your field or in society?

Tips for Your Presentation

As you prepare for a research presentation during a job interview, attend a communication-related workshop listed on the Graduate Schools Event Calendar. During your presentation, keep in mind that you'll need to be ready to field questions from the audience. Try to relax and engage the group in a good discussion. Remember that you command more knowledge about your subject than the audience members do!