Career Exploration and Skill Development

What does it mean to explore careers as a PhD student or postdoc?

What is career exploration and why does exploring careers matter? For a PhD-level student or postdoc, career exploration is applying some of your research skills and your analytical thinking to an investment in your future work life.

There are several reasons why this investment is important:  One reason is that research has found that PhD-level students or postdocs who engage in some career exploration end up with higher job satisfaction. See this Inside Higher Ed article regarding social sciences and humanities. Another reason is that you need to take responsibility for your career trajectory, as the market forces today are very different than they were for your PhD advisor or your current Principal Investigator. For more information, check out this article from Science Careers summarizing career trends beyond the bench.

You can go on to many different types of careers with your PhD, but how do you decide which career is right for you? In this video, Cal Newport, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, explores whether “follow your passion” is good advice when it comes to career exploration. You can learn more about him on his website.

You don’t need to wait to start planning your next career move. Read more about this from Peter Fiske at Nature or Myka Abadon at BiteSizeBio.

Ready to start exploring career options? Check out this guide to career paths in science by Melanie Sinche and an article from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) summarizing 4 phases of Career Exploration outlined in Sinche's book.  OCPD has also developed a checklist to help you get “Unstuck” when exploring different types of careers.


Upcoming Events


Virtual PAC-UP: Applying for Faculty Positions - Step 3

Date: August 13, 2020
Time: 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Every Month Series: Careers in Academia You Might Not Know About - Part 1

Date: August 25, 2020
Time: 12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Every Month Series: Careers in Academia You Might Not Know About - Part 2

Date: August 27, 2020
Time: 12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Virtual PAC-UP: Applying for Faculty Positions - Step 4

Date: August 28, 2020
Time: 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.