Biomedical training is rewarding, but it can be a long road to success. Embarking on graduate school and potentially pursuing a postdoctoral fellowship is part of a broader plan for success in future careers.

Traditionally , PhD and postdoctoral scientists focus on

  • Perfecting the application of the scientific method
  • Learning effective oral and written communication skills
  • Securing federal and private grant funding
  • Communicating and networking with other scientists
  • Developing proficiency in discipline-dependent technical skills

However, as the numbers of PhD-level scientists and job competition increase, it is important for PhD and postdoctoral scientists to focus on career exploration and planning and become aware of additional skills obtained during their biomedical education and training. Scientists must ask “What other skill development does my PhD and postdoctoral training provide, and how do these skills prepare me for various career options?”

Individual Development Plan

Individual Development Plans (IDPs) serve as a tool to set realistic goals for career and professional development that sometimes incorporate assessment and evaluation of career interests and skills. Evaluation of self is an important component of career exploration and planning. Make your own plan at myIDP at Science Careers.

Learn more about IDPs and optimizing your career preparation in the recorded webinar from BEST and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).

Career Planning During your Training

Don’t wait until your program or fellowship is ending to plan for your career. Kim Petrie, Ph.D. and Ashley Brady, Ph.D. from Vanderbilt’s BEST program wrote an entire book chapter on how to weave career preparations into your training. Check out Chapter Three of the Advancing Postdoc Women Guidebook, and don’t worry if you’re neither a woman nor a postdoc. You will be grateful for the advice.

Building Professional Relationships

Professional relationships can greatly aid in growing your career. Check out the recorded webinar by BEST and ASBMB to learn how to build your network and effectively communicate with your contacts.