Check out our Career Strategies Guide for PhDs & Postdocs. This guide provides advice for students interested in pursuing both faculty jobs and careers beyond academia. From beginning your search to evaluating and negotiating job offers, this guide helps you along your career path.
Ready to take some action?
You can start your career development at any time. Check out our recommendations for key steps and some of the articles and guides to get you started.
Apply your research skills to your own life.
Researching and experimenting with different career paths keep your options open and your perspective intact.
- Gather information about the world of work, test out opportunities, and evaluate your experience to determine where you go next.
- Use job descriptions as a way into understanding what you care about and want to do next.
Recognize that experience comes from, and cuts across, many roles and contexts.
- Consider the roles you’ve already had both in and outside of academia to assess the full breadth of the value, skills, experiences, and insights you have to offer.
Build a network of allies and advocates.
Ask for strategies and guidance from those who’ve reached the places you want to get to. Reconnect with your existing network to find out what’s happening in the world of work, and update them on your interests and plans. People like to help, especially in tough moments. Grow your network with new contacts through informational interviews. Get to know them and let them get to know you.
- This guide from ImaginePhD walks through the definition of an informational interview and provides sample questions and a structure for the conversation.
- Are you an introvert? Check out our Informational Interviewing for Introverts guide.
- At Home Networking Strategies by Stephanie Eberle at BioSci Careers explains how to build your network even when you can't meet in person.
- Finding networking to be an off-putting activity? We recommend this creative and eye-opening take on networking from the Life Design Lab, which describes those oft-recommended informational interviews as just asking for directions to the places we want to go.
Identify your transferable skills. Keep track of the value you bring to future employers.
Perhaps you won’t be doing the same work in the future that you do now. What do employers value? Your transferable expertise. It’s not so much what you’ve done but how you’ve done it, and how you’ve done it well.