Interview

Workshops in Preparing Future Professionals: A Model in Postdoc Career Development

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We were joined by Nathan Vanderford from the University of Kentucky on the second part of his seminar series, this time demonstrating valuable tools and lessons to develop a course or workshop on professional development for PhDs!





Realities of today’s workforce with PhD degrees

2% unemployment

52% within academic
48% outside academia

26% for profit
9% non-profit
8% federal employment
3% self-employed
2% state employment

Graduate students interest in moving into the tenure track declines over time:
41.7% First Year
21%Third Year
(Fuhmann et al CBE Life Sci Ed 2011)

But, there is no concerted training for alternative careers!

Goals of the course:
– Understand the realities of the job market
– Realise what skills are required to transition
– Identify resources
– Take action to prepare for their chosen career

Five Major Didactic Requirements:

Career Exploration
– Explore the career paths that are of interest to them
– Written paper on necessary skills

Transferrable Skills
– Perform a self assessment and create action plans for improving identified weaknesses

Informational Interviews
– Students contact an individual in their ideal career and conduct an informational interview to develop networking skills
– How did the interviewee obtain their workplace skills?
– How did graduate skill prepare you for this career?
– Expand student’s network by asking for additional points of contact

Career Development
– Students obtain experiences in critical components of the job search process including résumé and cover letter writing
– Practice interviewing and job search execution

Student Engagement
– Students interact with guest speakers as well as present their finding from each assignment to promote student-driven discussions

Demographics:
6% Postdocs
55% PhD trainees
32% Master’s students
6% Other (undergraduates, non-degree seekers)

Course Strengths:
– Safe environment to explore their career options and work through options in a positive way
– Self-assessment
– Identification of career options
– Student engagement
– Student-driven discussion
– Diversity of disciplines
– Development of work readiness skills

Course Challenges:
– Diversity of disciplines (which guest speakers, from which disciplines)
– Tuition (who pays?)
– Permission to attend (scheduling of the class versus time spend for research)
– Course versus workshop format

Course versus Workshop Format

Course:
Positives:
– Sustained engagement
– Incentives (grade) to participate
– Effective platform for exercises

Challenges:
– Costly
– Limited reach
– PI resistance

Workshop:
Positives:
– Free
– Reach a larger audience

Challenges:
– Interrupted engagement
– No incentive to participate in exercises
– Non-effective platform for exercises

Future Plans:
Certificate Program:
– Work hours component (4 hours)
– Course hours (2 hours)

Tips for trainees:

Goal setting tips:
– Write out goals and map out a strategy
– Post your goals where you can easily see them

Career Exploration and Networking:
– LinkedIn
– Alumni network
– Informational interviews
– Work Experience

Transferrable skills:
– Functional skills
– Knowledge-based skills
– Personal traits and attitudes

– A realistic assessment helps with your placement and career success

Tools to assess transferrable skills:
– Science Careers myIDP
– Gallup StrengthsFinder
– SkillScan
– MN Career Pathways
– Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Tufts University Postdocs Can Now Access the VersatilePhD!

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Interested in exploring non-academic career options? 
 
Versatile PhD is the oldest, largest online community dedicated to non-academic and non-faculty careers for PhDs in humanities, social science and STEM. Join over 70,000 other members in learning about options for those in (and out) of graduate school!
 
VPhD helps graduate students identify, prepare for, and excel in possible non-academic careers. The site includes content for humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields. You’ll have access to the career finder as well as real-life examples of Ph.Ds, ABDs and MAs who pursued non-academic careers. You’ll get their stories, advice, inside information about their fields, and even the actual resumes and cover letters they used to get their first non-academic jobs. You also get access to the community discussion forums, a member directory listing thousands of PhDs working across the United States, job listings, and great information about a wide variety of possible careers.
 
Log into Jumbo Jobs, then click on “Resource Library” and click on the Versatile PhD link to access this resource. 

Stay tuned for a seminar on using the VersatilePhD in your career development!

Login in using “postdoc” as your login and “guest” as your password.
Click on resource links.
Navigate to the VersatilePhD to register your email.
Register using any email address.
Activate your account by checking your email.

 

Check out the forums and ask questions of the great online community!

 

 

[Biocareers Seminar] Looking Your Best on Paper: Building a Resume and Cover Letter for Industry

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During this webinar hosted by BioCareers, Lauren Celano, founder of Propel Careers, covered tips on how to build an effective resume for industry. Click through to find out more!




Outline:

– Differences and similarities between resume and CV
– Content Advice
– Formatting Advice
– Resume examples
– What happens to your resume, CV and cover letter after you submit an application

– Differences and similarities between resume and CV

  Be succinct, include big picture summaries of your research
– Want to include a personal email address so that your email doesn’t bounce if you move institutions
– Important to tailor your research for each role as people may not be as familiar with the science



Resumes: Do not include:

– Picture
– Personal Information (DOB, family or relationship status)
– Be careful with hobbies: interesting hobbies are okay if they are inline with company culture (e.g. the whole office goes rock climbing) 

– Academic CVs do not show what you did and what techniques you did…  


 





– A resume provides more details that the reader can take away vs. a CV which does not provide a lot of clarity around what you have done. 
– In a resume, you get to choose to highlight what you choose to share among your experiences and should be really tailored to the position/industry you are applying for.   

What should you highlight?

 It depends on where you are applying!

Think about what you have done and how it can align with a future job!


 

 
10 seconds is the average time a HR person looks at your resume or CV!

How do you format your documents so that your application gets through the initial screening process?



– Number of pages depends on the field, finance etc, may be 1 page

Contact Info:
– Your name with credential (e.g. PhD), have a professional email, if you are international and have US citizenship/green card, PUT THIS ON YOUR RESUME otherwise they may assume you cannot legally work in the US. 

– Summary of Qualifications (vs. Objective – as this may change)
– What are the top 3 things you want people to know about your qualifications? Science skills, leadership, management etc.

Example for industry R&D scientists:

 
* tailored to the job ad! If they use specific abbreviations, you should use them, otherwise spell everything out. 
 
Experience section: 
– Paid Experience
– Undergrad/Postgrad/Postdoc Experience
– One sentence description of your research which includes your PI’s name, as this may be a point of connection. 
 
 


Wording matters – e.g. “Research studies the role of XXY with an emphasis on key proteins such as A and B”. — vs. “Research studies chronic X disease and the role of key proteins in XX environment”.  Make it easier to understand!! 


– Sub headings can be useful!! Different strategies:

 

 


Resume Examples:

– Small company biotech
 Values grants and appreciates entrepreneurial mindset
 Highlight project leads, business-orientated competitions and diagnosis



– Non-bench application:
 Collaborations, not highlighting techniques 


– Business Development Roles:
 Highlights business experience over research experience
 



For bench roles:

– List your experience and what you want  to do. If you don’t want to do animal work etc, don’t list it!


For non-bench roles:
– List other skills, i.e. imaging software, statistical software etc

Education: 



Additional Selections:



Resume formatting:

– Have someone else review your resume, outside your field for several reasons:
   1. Wording is okay and understandable to outsiders
2. Details!!! Formatting is correct: bullet points are aligned, etc 

If using 2 pages, use a full second page. i.e. try not to squish sections, add other sections if you need to overflow. Use all the space you have! 
– Use bullet points and formatting to help focus attention! Rolls of text is hard to read and focus on. 

Writing a cover letter:



Often cover letters get separated from resumes, so make sure you list contact info!
Indicate you have read the job description, so tailor the cover letter! It’s okay to reiterate job requirements from the job ad.
Focus on the items mentioned that you KNOW they want and don’t waste space talking about irrelevant items.

Example:

 



What happens to your job application?
– Not everyone gets both cover letter and resume (or reads them).

1. HR Person – gets both resume and cover letter, reads cover letter
2. Hiring Manager – maybe gets both, reads resume
3. Interviewers – resume, perhaps very late. Don’t usually get the cover letter.

 Thus, its okay to repeat/reiterate what is in the cover letter and ensure you cover the important points of how you fit the job in both!


 

 Question: How often do people looked at LinkedIn?
Answer: ALL THE TIME! If you are on LinkedIn, you want to have a professional photo that makes you look approachable, a good summary of your background and if you can, mention what you are looking for, career wise.

Question: How do you design your resume if you are switching fields where you may not have a lot of existing skills?
Answer: Focus on the transferrable skills!

Question: How long it take from submission to job offer.
Answer: 1.5 – 3 months typically. Once you submit it can take 1 day to 2 weeks to contact you initially (and may contact you up to 6 months later!).