What is important to become more competitive on the job market?
According to a meta-analysis (Ng, Eby, Sorensen, & Feldman, 2005), the most important predictors of objectives as well as subjective career success are working hard, being proactive, strategically planning your career and having mentors and support for your development. Moreover, it is important to know goal-implementation strategies and their adaption to achieve professional goals (Abele & Wiese, 2008).
What means career planning?
According to Sarah Blackford - a career advisor in the Society for Experimental Biology (SEB) - it is crucial to take control and actively manage your career. "Career planning is a life-long learning process which involves personal development, the ability to make informed career decisions, self-manage and ultimately ensure your employability" (Blackford, 2013).
The Career Service Unit will assist you in achieving this goal. Here are some first hints on how to get there.
Know your career goal!
To develop a strategy for your career planning, it is essential for you to know what you want to achieve and in which direction you would like to go in your professional development. Postdocs are in a transition phase, and many of you are probably not sure how to move on to the next position. Therefore, it is important to critically reflect on these issues.
As a first step, get to know yourself better: What are your main interests and values? Which skills are you best at? What type of work do you like? Do you feel confident in supervising other people?
An online-assessment which may help you in a critical self-evaluation is MyIDP.
In addition, it may be helpful to talk about these questions with family, friends, colleagues or supervisors.
Know your strengths and weaknesses!
Knowing yourself better does not only help you to figure out your career goals. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses helps you to identify areas with the need for improvement. There are several opportunities to extend your knowledge or to exercise some skills - and, along the way, make you more competitive on the job market.
Know the expectations and challenges!
To be prepared for the job market, you need to know what is expected of you in a specific career. MyIDP can give you information about how well your skills and interests match with different science-related career paths according to expert ratings from career advisors. Furthermore, active networking can help you in obtaining valuable information about different professions.
Know some alternatives!
Even if you are fully committed to a specific career goal, do not lose sight of possible alternatives. Circumstances change - whether in your private life or in your profession. So looking beyond your nose from time to time does not hurt.
Know your supporters!
Achieving goals successfully without any help feels great. However, do not underestimate the importance of having a strong social network and making use of it. It provides you with valuable information as well as social-emotional and professional support. Peers are as important as mentors and supervisors.
We will be glad to advise you further on these and related issues. The coordinator of Career Service Unit is available for individual counseling. Specify your specific needs and questions and then ask for an appointment - we will try our best to serve you!
Moreover, you can take part in one of our career workshops. More information you find here.
Blackford, S. (2013). Career Planning for Research Bioscientists. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Abele, A. E., & Wiese, B. S. (2008). The nomological network of self-management strategies and career success. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 81, 733–749.
NG, T. W. H., Eby, L. T., Sorensen, K. L., & Feldman, D. C. (2005). Predictors of objective and subjective career success: A meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 58, 367–408.