Want to spend time on your career planning, and don’t know where to start?

Right now, many PhD students and postdocs are having to step back from lab-work, and work remotely. A number of EMBL sites are closed, and all of EMBL is encouraged to work from home if possible.

“This is a special time; limbo time. Better to come out of this having done and learned something” Cornelius Gross, Deputy Head of EMBL Rome in his EMBL blog post, lab life under lockdown

We encourage you to use some of this time to reflect on your professional future. In case you are not sure where to start, we would suggest one of the following actions:

  1. If you are not sure what career direction you want to take: spend time really thinking about your skills, interests and what you want from your life/career in the long-term (your values); this can be very helpful to find some clarity on your options.
  2. If you have some ideas about what might come next, but don’t have an in-depth knowledge of the career areas: line up at least one Skype call with someone working in a lab or career path that interests you to better assess your fit, requirements and what skills/experience you might still need.
  3. If you know what comes next, and have a good understanding of the career area: brainstorm action items that will help you get your next role.
  4. If you will be applying soon: learn how to write a good application – including how to tailor this for your chosen type of role – and spend time identifying your unique skill selling points and achievements. Then start collecting evidence / information that you might want to use when preparing application materials and later on in the job interview.

Please see our detailed recommendations for these suggestions – and other potential actions – with links to relevant resources, below.

For EMBL predocs and postdocs, the EMBL Fellows’ Career Service continues to offer a wide range of support, with our in-person activities now offered online. If you are an EMBL fellow and would like input on how to implement these recommendations or to discuss any other aspect of your career planning, you can book a career guidance session via Skype, or contact us with specific questions (e.g. if you are looking for specific resources).

Do you have a resource that you’ve found helpful? Share in the comments below……

Stay safe and healthy,

Rachel and Patricia
EMBL Fellows’ Career Service

Continue reading “Want to spend time on your career planning, and don’t know where to start?”

Using LinkedIn for careers research

LinkedIn isn’t just an online C.V., an electronic contact address book and job market – it can also be a great tool for researching potential careers. For example, it can help to:

  • research the backgrounds of people doing a specific type of role
  • get career inspiration by finding people with a similar background or skills set
  • find people in your wider network working in your target company or role who you could contact for an informational interview
  • find  groups discussing career-related topics that interest you

Continue reading “Using LinkedIn for careers research”

Informational interviews: 5 tips for effective career conversations

“Informational interviews” are one of the best tools to get insights into different career areas. They are informal 15-30 minute conversations with individuals working in a career area that interests you. The aim is to learn more about the career area, particularly to get first hand and up-to-date information that can help you better understand whether the career is for you, and how to get your first role in that field. However, as the following video, “The Informational Interview and how to do it well” from the Stanford Design Lab’s Online Course  – Designing Your Career, explains – an informational interview isn’t a job interview, and should not be about directly finding a job. Continue reading “Informational interviews: 5 tips for effective career conversations”