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Home Back Issues No. 91: Looking for a New Research Job?

Sep 19

No. 91: Looking for a New Research Job?

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Looking for a New Research Job?

Reader question: I’m getting bored with my current job, and I’m ready to make a change. But I’m not quite sure what type of work I’m looking for, where it should be or what’s the best next step in my research career. Where should I start?

Expert comments:

Whether you’re planning a complete career overhaul or just want to leave your current job, searching for a new research position can be difficult.

That’s why taking stock of your situation and your goals can be a useful exercise. To do this, ask yourself:

  • What are my biggest successes?
  • What do I most like to do?
  • Do I want to work in government, industry or academia?

Once you have a sense of direction, you formulate an Individual Development Program (IDP). This can serve as a self-discovery map and a way to match your skills with career choices.

An IDP has four steps, each of which requires you to answer several questions about yourself and your goals. These include:

  1. What is my current state? What are my professional strengths and weaknesses? What are some areas I need to work on, or some commonalities in feedback I have received?
  2. What is my desired state? What type of job do I want and why? What are my long-term and short-term goals?
  3. What do I need to achieve my desired state? What resources can I use to find and win the job I want?
  4. What’s my timeline for getting there? When do I want or need to achieve my goals?
Once you have your IDP in mind, then you will know what your next career move should be, and you can target specific positions within your university or elsewhere.

Expert comments from Susan Morris, of Morris Consulting Group LLC, who coaches research scientists in their search for employment.

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