A guest post by Duvaraka Kulaveerasingam, PhD student, Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics.
For the first time, the Randall Division annual retreat at Royal Holloway featured an additional Careers Day exclusively for its postdoctorate, PhD and research staff. It was a huge success.
The breadth of experience amongst our speakers was phenomenal and it was interesting to see the different paths they had taken to reach where they were today. It was encouraging to hear how they had overcome obstacles such as funding crises and relocations to achieve their goals. Here is some of the advice they gave:
- All of our speakers stressed that you have to be able to sell yourself in any career
- Network wherever you go – your contacts may one day find you a job as Roy Edward (Biostatus) found out when he was being made redundant
- Make sure you are visible – whether it’s on LinkedIn or at a conference. Alison Care (Kilburn&Strode) let us know that she checks future employee’s Facebook pages too.
- Pete Etchells (Guardian) told us to be patient with blogging; tweet, email and ask renowned bloggers to share or give feedback on your work, and practice writing all the time!
- Never assume you aren’t right for the job – tell the employers what skills you are willing to learn. Arianne Heinrichs (Nature) described what she had to learn as a non-native english speaker during her career.
- Turning down brilliant opportunities for personal reasons doesn’t mean the end, as Chas Bountra (SGC) and Peter O’Toole (University of York) found. They both ended up in their current positions thanks to these turning points.
- Contact prospective employers and find out not only if you are right for the job, but if the company or the lab is right for you.
- Keep your eyes open for internships opportunities. Aaron Goater (Westminster) stressed that some government departments have small teams with few roles so you need to check websites regularly.
If you are looking to organise a careers event don’t hesitate to contact our team to find out how we did it!
Photo courtesy Roksana Nikoopour