It is difficult to enjoy your career journey if you have not defined your career destination. In order to achieve a successful and fulfilling career, you need to set long-term goals. In order to accomplish those long-term goals, you need to start with short-term objectives. But prior to any of these, self-reflection is essential.
The path to a successful career is defined by three steps:
- Conduct a self-assessment: Take inventory of the interests and values that define your career satisfaction, and the skills you possess or those you wish to develop.
- Explore your career options: Evaluate the careers that match your interests and values, and the skills needed to obtain these careers.
- Organize your job search: Identify jobs for which you wish to apply and the requirements to do so.
Here are some resources to help you with each of these steps.
- ImaginePhD is an interactive web-based career exploration and planning tool for postdocs and graduate students
- Making the Leap: Planning for Career Satisfaction and Success is a webinar from the New York Academy of Sciences
- Myers-Briggs Test is a questionnaire that describes a person's preferred way of interacting
- Strong Interest Inventory is a personality test that compares your interests with those of people working successfully in a range of jobs
- OHSU Career & Workplace Enhancement (CWE) Center provides courses and workshops throughout the year dedicated to career self-assessment
Read about careers
The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs curates a lending library of electronic and print career-related books, many focused on specific career paths. Additionally, the online myIDP tool from Science Careers contains a comprehensive library of articles dedicated to specific careers.
Conduct informational interviews
Only so much information can be garnered from a book or job description. To learn more, conduct an informational interview - an informal conversation with a person who is already successful in a career that interests you and who can provide firsthand information.
- When, How, and Why to Conduct Informational Interviews by the Chronicle of Higher Education
- How Do I Create a Professional Network by the Chronicle of Higher Education
- Watch this LinkedIn Learning training about informational interviews
- Informational Interview Guidelines from UC Berkeley
- Expanding Career Networks webinar by the Higher Education Recruitment Consortia
Here are some additional career exploration resources
- InterSECT Job Simulations is an online platform that allows PhD-level professionals to explore career options
- Career exploration videos from the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education
- GoinGlobal is an international career resource that includes country-specific career information
- Career Options for PhDs from the National Postdoctoral Association
- Career Basics Booklet from Science Careers
- Career Advice for Life Scientists, Volumes I and II from the American Society for Cell Biology
There exist many vertical search engines that focus solely on employment. These search engines aggregate job advertisements from thousands of websites, including job boards, professional associations, recruiters, and company career pages. A few of the more general job search engines include:
A few postdoc-specific job search engines include:
For more in-depth job searching strategies and resources, please visit the Career Development module for postdocs in Sakai.