We asked the postdoc careers advisers what their top career tips for 2020 are.
Talk to people in your research community (network).
Think proactively about speaking to people in a range of situations – conferences, seminars or socially (including following and engaging in key conversations on social media networks).
You will learn about current trends and priorities in the discipline as well as inform the picture of how you fit in your research community.
The more practise you get, the more you will refine how you articulate and position your own research. This can in turn spark new ideas or bring about opportunities, collaborative or otherwise
Don’t wait until you are applying for a job to update your CV.
Anytime you give a seminar talk, attend a workshop, or do an outreach activity, be sure to jot it down. Keeping a “bucket” CV as you go along can help you to remember the things that you’ve done, even if they seem minor at the time. Having a complete list makes it easier to pick and choose what is relevant for an application, academic or otherwise, at a later date.
Don’t wait for your PI to help you with your career.
Your boss is busy and even with the best of intentions probably doesn’t have the time to think about your career.
That doesn’t mean they don’t care but take the initiative and tell them about your career aspirations.
For example, if you want to apply for a fellowship, let them know as they are much more likely to make the time to help you. Even if they don’t agree to help, it gives you time to look for help outside.
If you are thinking of leaving academia don’t forget more and more PIs are sympathetic to this and have contacts in a range of roles outside. But if you feel that telling them might make your life more difficult, then let other colleagues and friends know about your career aspirations as they might know of contacts who have tried something similar.
Cultivate your connections.
Met anyone interesting over the break? Someone who has made you think – ‘I’d love to know more about their job/how they got into it/how I could gain relevant experience.’
Follow up while they’ll still remember you. Drop them a line, wish them a Happy New Year and suggest some dates to catch up.