Gaining more research experience, which is the better scenario?

<ol>
<li><p>I can either continue working full time in my non-research lab while volunteering 10-15hrs a week in a molecular bio lab at the university I want to apply for a PhD (in molec bio)</p></li>
<li><p>Accept a full time research position in a cell bio lab at a hospital/research institute. The schedule won't allow me to volunteer in the molecular bio lab, and I'd be paid much about 8k less in salary compared to my current job. </p></li>
</ol>

<p>Which experience would make me a better candidate when I apply next year? Does it matter much if my research isn't in the field I want to get a PhD in? </p>

<p>Thanks in advance</p>

<p>it will depend on what you are applying for. If both research projects are equally relevant to the programs you want to apply for, then the full time job will for sure be more legit</p>

<p>
[quote]
Which experience would make me a better candidate when I apply next year?

[/quote]

The second, no question. Working in a lab 10-15 hours a week doesn't compare at all to working in a lab full-time.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Does it matter much if my research isn't in the field I want to get a PhD in?

[/quote]

Most biological sciences programs are umbrella programs, so there's no need to apply for a particular subfield. Molecular biology experience and cell biology experience will be equally helpful in terms of your application if you're applying to an umbrella program, and even if you're not -- molecular and cell bio are often grouped together. In terms of your research interests, you can consider whether you'll learn methods or approaches in the molecular biology lab that will be critical to your success as a graduate student, but it's likely that you'll learn from the cell bio lab, as well.</p>

<p>By the time I apply next year, I'll have 1 year of full-time research, 1 semester of research during undergrad, and 4 years of general non-research lab experience. Will this make me a decent candidate? I doubt I'll have publications.</p>