Cornell University

Presenting Your Research

When interviewing on-site for a job in industry, government, or with a nonprofit, you might be asked to give a presentation about your graduate research projects. 

To Prepare

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Find out what audio-visual equipment will be available and have multiple copies of your presentation available.

If you are giving an electronic presentation, email it to yourself in both PowerPoint and .pdf formats and also bring copies on a pen drive. Also bring paper copies of your presentation in case the equipment fails.