It all starts with YOU.
Finding a rewarding career starts with self-awareness: What do you like doing? What do you find most rewarding in your current work? Start by reflecting on what you enjoy most (and least) about your science.
It all starts with YOU. Before you begin identifying careers, start by understanding what you actually like to do.
AAAS myIDP is a great place to start understanding what you're good at, what you like doing, and what you care about. This free online assessment will help you identify your skills, interests, and values, and provides career suggestions that align with your answers.
Invented by Don Clifton, the CliftonStrengths assessment uncovers your unique rank order of 34 CliftonStrengths themes. The CDO runs a StrengthsFinder workshop that can help you get the most out of this assessment. Check out the Events Calendar for upcoming sessions.
Just as you keep a lab notebook to log experimental details, keep a log and record times when you feel really satisfied or energized by your science. Do the same for those times when you have to do something that you truly dislike. Then, look back in a couple of weeks/months and identify the patterns (e.g., love talking about science, hate being at the bench). If you're looking for a way to organize your thoughts and exploration activities, Zoho Notebook is a great free organizing resource.
Think you're interested in a faculty position? Check out what it takes to be competitive and evaluate where you are in that process. The University of California San Fransisco has developed a tool that will allow you to gauge whether you have the accomplishments that will make you competitive for the next step in academia. Use this tool to help identify academic career skills and what it takes to pursue the professoriate.
Once you have identified your skills, interests, and values, now it's time to choose some career options that will allow you to thrive.
The CU Anschutz Career Development Office offers in-house workshops to assist you in considering career paths and planning for the next step in achieving your career goals. To spend some time with us working on YOUR career exploration plan, check out the Events Calendar and find out when we'll offer the next Career Exploration and Planning workshop. You also can check out the recoded session on our YouTube channel.
Your myIDP results will have suggested some potential career options. PhD Career Guide is another great source of information to find potential careers and learn more about these options. The "Career Information" page allows you to gain a broader understanding of the details of different career options, including tips on entry points, applications, progression, and more.
Now that you have a list of your broad career interests, use those items as keywords (e.g., science communication) on job search engines like Indeed, HigherEdjobs.com, and LinkedIn. Rather than specific job titles, job interest keywords are more likely to capture a range of positions that require those skills. Cast a wide net - this stage is all about exploring what's out there.
Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash
Now that you have a better understanding of your interests and have found some potential careers, it's time to get some detailed information. If you're not quite at that point, go back to steps 1 or 2 and continue brainstorming or schedule a coaching session with the CDO to get some feedback. But if you're ready to learn more, let's take that deeper dive into your future career options!