Thank you, Postdocs! – Postdoc Appreciation week 2021

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On the occasion of 2021 Postdoc Appreciation week, we at the Postdoc Careers Service would like to thank the postdoc community at the University of Cambridge  – you are inspiring in your commitment to research, to the wider academic community, and toward building a better world.  As you make your mark on the world, the following highlights some of our resources to support you connected to the themes of the 2021 Postdoc Appreciation week. 

New Realities

Set aside some time for self-reflection: whether you are planning to pursue your career in academia or are looking at other options or are still unsure, do set aside some time for self-reflection.  Some key activities can help you to determine if there is an alignment of your strengths and interests with the kinds of work you are looking for.   

If you are in the early years of postdoctoral work, use our guide on Planning an Academic Career to help you to identify whether a long term academic career is for you, and to get started early on the things that will make this possible including developing your research strategy, becoming known in your academic community and getting teaching experience.   

You might be looking at sectors outside academia in other types of roles and organisations – spark your thinking by exploring different sectors by looking at the Postdoc Careers Service pages on Research in Industry and Careers Beyond Research, as well as the Careers Service sector webpages to get started. 

Stronger Connections

Looking at how other postdocs have navigated their time as a postdoc and onward can inspire ideas and help you understand more about roles that interest you.  Here are some useful starting places:  
Alumni Careers Connect – the Careers Service alumni network – lets you to set up your own profile and to connect with Cambridge alumni.  
Building your online presence – for researchers is a short video to learn how to use LinkedIn, other social media and research platforms to build your online presence as a researcher.  
Speculative approaches – Take the initiative to talk to people – it’s a fruitful way to build your network, learn about new areas and find out what jobs are really like.   

If you are you exploring opportunities in Biotech & Pharma you can listen on our YouTube channel to former postdocs talk about how they moved from academia into industry, what their role entails day-to-day and their tips and advice for making successful applications.  From wet lab research and development, quantitative research roles or opportunities beyond the lab, hearing from former PhD students and postdocs can be inspiring and can highlight what a particular route looks like. 

Don’t miss our STEM fellowships playlist on YouTube, which includes conversations with both recent fellowship holders and senior academics who have served on selection panels for fellowships.  Our full playlists for Researchers on YouTube is ready to be explored including a conversation on AHSS fellowships to shed light on the purpose and process of applying for a fellowship for postdocs from across the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences disciplines 

Successful futures

Take a moment to look at our guide on activities you can get involve in outside your day-to-day research – these can be a helpful way to try different things to see what you enjoy.  Our guide on Activities in Cambridge to boost your career highlights some of these from outreach, research communication and policy to business awareness activities.   

Take the time to download our dedicated CV book for PhDs and postdocs from Handshake.  This will be invaluable and has examples of academic and non-academic CVs   

If you are preparing for an academic interview read the job description thoroughly, think about what they are looking for, and review your application material and anticipate questions.  Review our dedicated guides for interviews in academia – as well guides for research in industry and non-research roles 

Our specialised Careers Consultants are here to support you in your career through virtual training and events and with 1:1 confidential appointments. Appointments can be used to explore career options both within and outside of academia; for feedback on CVs, cover letters, research proposals and other application documents and for interview practise. These can be booked by you directly on our careers platform, Handshake  (where you can also explore vacancies). 

We hope you find this useful, do let us know if you have any queries by emailing Once again, thank you!

Thank you Postdocs

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