SfRBM Blog

The 5 Rules of Career Success for a Young Scientist

By: Michelle Booze, Postdoctoral Fellow, Children’s Health Research Center at Sanford Research - @DrMLBooze, @sanfordhealth

This past March I had the opportunity to attend the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) 2015 Annual Meeting. What I learned there helped me to focus on my future as a scientist. Are you getting the career help you need to determine your future? Luckily, there is a wealth of information out there to help you along your journey. The following are 5 rules to get you started down the right path to your dream career.

Rule #1: Don’t be this person

This information was presented by Sarah Cardozo-Duncan (@sarahcarstrat) and James Gould (@HMSpostdoc) during a workshop at the meeting. It is important not to be the person who:

  1. Is near their end date before they think about their future
  2. Is unsure of what marketable skills they have
  3. Has an inactive network
  4. Has little or no mentor engagement
  5. Has an unknown career target or goal
  6. Has an unpolished career story
  7. Has unreal expectations

Rule #2: Know what you want to do with your degree

It is very important that you take time to think about where you want to be in your future. It’s never too late to figure this out and start pursuing your goal. Don’t set unrealistic goals, but don’t hold back either or you might not reach your full potential!

Rule #3: Find a valuable mentor

If you want your PI’s/Advisor’s/Boss’s job, then they are the right target for a mentor. If you want a different position, find another mentor. There are a ton of resource materials on nurturing a successful mentor relationship. Look to the societies you’re involved in, such as SFRBM, for help.

Rule #4: Make connections

An informational interview is all about getting to know someone and the place they work (and sharing a little bit about yourself too!). It’s not about flinging your CV at them (although you should have a copy ready to fling). There’s a nice entry about the Informational Interview here -

Rule #5: Know your Resources

There are a myriad of great web sources at our disposal to take advantage of.

Remember, your future is up to you. It is your responsibility to reach your own goals.

— Published

Category: Education

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