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Career Development & Networking

The Leap of Faith – Are You Ready for Biotech?

So let’s just say, hypothetically, that you’re defending your thesis in 2 months and it’s only recently occurred to you that “I really should figure out what I’m doing after grad school.” Or you’re a post-doc whose boss just informed you that they’re interviewing for a position 2 time zones away. Or you’re a technician…

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Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Cover Letter

A cover letter is a letter written to accompany a job application, a grant application, project reports, manuscripts, etc. that explains the purpose of your writing and incorporates certain key points of your application. It plays a decisive role in accomplishing the task it’s been written for, which is why it is so important to…

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How to Stay on the Margin of Academia During Your Gap Year(s)

The gap year I intended to take between my Master’s degree and hypothetical Ph.D. is now going into its 4th year. Here’s why I’m not worried. These days it seems like undergraduates are proceeding en masse to graduate programs shortly after completing their senior year of college. An abundance of undergraduate research opportunities and poor…

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Science on Wheels: How to Bring Science to the Masses with a Mobile Lab!

Ask a scientist why they love their job, and they will likely tell you it’s because they get to see and discover amazing things! Why, then, does science class in school never reflect this? A major problem identified in our society is lack of science interest and literacy. Mobile labs are helping to turn the…

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Five Ways Science Outreach Can Benefit Your Benchwork!

You’ve had a rough day at the bench, putting in long, grueling hours with no pay-off. Your fantasy of running away to join the circus starts sounding rational. The last thing on your mind is to add to your already overloaded schedule. Yet as crazy as it sounds, participating in science outreach really improved my…

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Questions You Should Ask During Your Lab Rotations

Graduate students in the United States are privileged when it comes to picking their prospective labs: most programs have student rotate through several laboratories to help them choose their PhD lab. Here are some suggestions for questions to ask.

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How to Communicate Your Way to Scientific Success

As a new postdoc, I found myself in an uncomfortable situation. In my new environment, I am constantly in contact with my mentor and fellow lab members. I must regularly communicate with them and I have routine access to a sounding board for advice and troubleshooting. While I recognize the value of this situation, I initially found it difficult to navigate.

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Leaving the Ivory Tower: Managing the Emotional Side of Career Change

In this webinar, presented by Dara Wilson-Grant, LPC, Associate Director of UNC Chapel Hill’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and owner of Careers in Bloom, you will: 1. Learn about the emotional obstacles that can keep us stuck in an academic career path that is no longer fulfilling. 2. Be taught strategies for letting go and…

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5 Actionable Steps for Transitioning Smoothly to a Non-faculty Career

In this webinar, Heidi Scott Giusto, Ph.D., owner of Career Path Writing Solutions, will share: How she faced the facts that she didn’t want to be a professor—and what she did to make a successful career transition Five actionable steps that can facilitate a smooth transition to a non-faculty job Success stories of scientists who walked…

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Parlez-vous Français? Top Tips for Making the Most of Your Time in a Foreign Lab

Whether as a summer intern, exchange student, MSc, PhD or post-doctoral student, working abroad can be one of the many perks of working within the sciences. Although these experiences will often require substantial planning in advance, there are funding opportunities and many receptive destinations around the globe. During my undergraduate degree, graduate studies hadn’t been…

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Getting Started with a Job in Science Communication

As a graduate student or PhD scientist you are likely to be surrounded by plenty of career advice and options – that is, if you’re interested in a career in academic research or the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Those of us who aren’t sold on either of those fields are left wondering what other career…

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How do I REALLY Figure out What I Want to do After Graduation?

During my second year in graduate school, I (silently) started freaking about life post-PhD. I read voraciously about science writing, scientific editing and business consulting positions. I went to seminars offered by the career center at my school. But, I was still lost. Between all the pipetting and PCRs, I could not figure out what…

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Getting to Know Your h-index

You’re applying for your first tenure-track position, and you’ve heard that your dream department uses something called the h-index to decide who will get interviews. It’s an increasingly common scenario: institutions are now regularly using the h-index to help make hiring and promotion decisions, especially when they have to screen many applicants. For that reason,…

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Five Principles for Creating the Career of Your Dreams

In this webinar you will learn: How to decide whether the academic career path is for you The key mindset required to keep moving your career in the direction of your desires How Nick Oswald evolved his career from researcher to owning and running the business of his choice, and what you can learn from…

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Career Highlight: Technical Officer

An ad about a Technical Officer position is usually nebulous. For example: “The post holder work as part of a technical team and provide both routine and specialist services in support of undergraduate, postgraduate, outreach and revenue-earning activities.” What Does a Technical Officer Do? In fact, a technical officer role can be summarized in two…

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Making a Good Impression – How to Successfully Network at a Conference

For many, myself included, the idea of attending a large conference and talking to hundreds of new people can be terrifying. Often times there are people in attendance you may want to collaborate with, or that you see as possible future employers, and you really don’t want to make a bad first impression. Luckily, there…

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7 Tips for Getting Back into the Lab after a Job Change

I previously wrote an article for BsB detailing my experience transitioning from lab-bench research into research administration roles after a particularly unhappy experience as a postdoc. About a year into my second research admin role some restructuring occurred and I decided to try to move back into the lab. I am now working again as…

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5 Top Tips for Surviving Your First Conference

One of the really exciting parts of being involved in research is the opportunity to travel to a conference (hopefully at an exotic location!) to present your work and get to see presentations from the major players in your chosen field. Now you’ll probably have all sorts of frivolous reasons for not wanting to go…

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Using Both the Right and Left Parts of Your Brain to Get the Perfect Job

In this webinar you will learn: about marketing as an alternative career for scientists how you likely already possess the artistic and analytical skills to thrive as a marketer. Summary: I believe many scientists have an artistic predisposition and the combination of the analytical and the artistic skills makes them ideal marketers in today’s data…

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Breaking Out of the Mold – Panel Discussion of Alternative Careers

In this webinar you will learn: about several alternative careers for scientists that combine artistic skills and a passion for science how there are many other opportunities out there for scientists than just the traditional careers. Summary: Do you have a passion for science but feel like lab life just isn’t for you? Have you ever…

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Mars and Venus: Are Academia and Industry So Different?

Mars and Venus:  Are Academia and Industry So Different? One of the less acknowledged perks of scientific and technical training is that these educational paths prepare you for a vast selection of career options.  Scientists are certainly following many diverse career paths these days.  A recent National Science Foundation study showed that 57% of PhDs…

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Career Advice for Scientists from Scientists

Developing a career in the biological sciences can be a daunting venture.  You must throw your heart and soul into your career and wait years before you know if you are going to be successful. For those of you who are feeling a bit lost, I have garnered some pearls of wisdom from post-doctoral scientists…

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Interview Techniques: Interview like a STAR

During your time interviewing for different jobs, more likely than not you will encounter employers who conduct behavioral interviews. What is a behavioral-based interview, you may ask? Behavioral interviewing is supposed to uncover your past job-related behavior to predict how you will behave in the future. It is based on the assumption that your past…

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Bad Reference? It’s Not the End of Your Science Career

The conventional sequence for getting a new job in science (or anywhere else) goes like this: 1) Apply for job 2) Get an interview 3) Ace the interview 4) Pray that your references hold up. So if you had a bad relationship with your last boss, you’re in trouble. Because no matter how well you…

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How to stop a bad reference from hurting your job prospects in science

In my recruitment agency, we have seen many instances where a candidate was fired from his last job and knows that his manager is not going to say nice things during a reference. Often he had a great experience at that company until this manager took over his department and the two never saw eye-to-eye. Has this happened to…

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Careers for Scientists – Research Administrator

Up until last year I had been working in scientific research for just over six years. The insecurity of a career in academia had always niggled at me. About eight months into a very stressful postdoc position that didn’t seem to be going anywhere, I felt my heart wasn’t in it anymore and a change…

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Be a Science STAR at Your Next Interview!

Have you ever been to an interview where you felt like you didn’t answer a question specifically, or kicked yourself afterward for not sharing a great example with the interviewer? If you have, you are not alone. Fortunately, an interview is something you can prepare and train for ahead of time by utilizing the STAR…

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Join the club: Ten benefits of joining a professional scientific society

If you already spend all day hanging out with other scientists, the last thing you might feel like doing is joining a professional scientific society. With today’s shrinking budgets, you might also start to question whether this line on your CV is worth the membership dues. However, joining societies has many career benefits in addition…

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Interview Techniques and Tips: The Thank You Note

We have discussed the importance of thank you emails and thank you cards ad nauseum. If you have read this blog more than three or four times, you have undoubtedly heard each of us espouse the importance of the follow-up thank you. As a result, we have received inquiries directly from our readers asking for…

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Successfully Navigated an Interview: That’s Great, but Now What?

Interviews are great – sometimes it feels good to have been invited in to compete for a position. Interviews are also a crucial time to ask, “What’s next?” This critical question will help you understand the hiring process. Hiring managers often end every interview with the same line, such as, “We are conducting other interviews and we’ll follow-up…

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The Etiquette of Approaching a Potential Supervisor

Whether you are looking for a PhD Studentship or your first postdoc position, identifying and approaching a potential mentor can be quite daunting and seem like a bit of a minefield. The following are a few tips to help make a first good impression. 1)      Tailor your CV and cover letter to the individual lab…

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Homework Didn’t End In School

The initial onsite interview: it is a source of anxiety, excitement, and promise, all in one.  It is the first opportunity for you to make an impression with the company of your dreams.  It is also the first chance you have to establish yourself as a legitimate candidate with Human Resources and the appropriate Hiring…

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Why You Should Be Tweeting About Science

Scientists publish with the expectation that others will take their work on board to discuss it, validate it and build upon it in future publications. Unfortunately, a common mindset is that once a paper is out the door and printed, the hard work is finally done. Only the hard work is actually just beginning. To…

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Why do relatively few women rise to the top in academia?

Fact: The vast majority of professors are male. By the time you reach the top of the ladder, only roughly 20% of professors are female In most European countries and in quite a few countries the figure lingers around a depressing 15%. Biosciences are no exception. The balance is being redressed but only very slowly.…

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Smart Questions To End An Interview On A Positive Note

I have prepped hundreds of candidates for interviews and, by extension, I have been a part of hundreds of interviews. At some point during each of these interviews, the Hiring Manager asks the candidate if they have any questions. This is a pivotal moment in the meeting. As with all questions in life, there are…

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Did Your Parents Teach You Good Manners?

Please. Thank you. Don’t talk with food in your mouth. Parents all over the world work every day to instill the right types of manners in their children. We all know we should say “please” and “thank you” when ordering at a restaurant, but do you use these some core values when interviewing? Were you…

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How to Make the Most Out of a Lab Internship

It takes some time to complete any professional education beyond a bachelors degree. So what to do if you’re not absolutely sure about spending the roughly sixty-or-so-months it takes to achieve a PhD? A hands-on internship or lab rotation is an excellent way to investigate science as a career. In a few short months an…

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