Resources for Career Planning Conversations


What the data say about trainees:

  • Students initiate pursuit of a PhD out of a love for science and without a career goal in mind
  • Time from PhD to R01 is getting longer
  • "Tenure track" positions are on the decline
  • PhDs go into a lot of different careers and the data is getting better
  • Students start thinking about their post-graduation careers by the 3rd year (whether they tell you or not)
  • Students think about multiple career options at once
  • Effective career planning increases productivity and personal satisfaction 

What we hear from faculty:

  • Range of beliefs about the purpose of a PhD
  • Range of confidence in ability to advise on a variety of careers
  • Should career conversations be planned out or informal (open-door policy)?
  • Ongoing concern that extracurricular opportunities represent a distraction from research progress

What we recommend:

  • Be proactive about career conversations (open-door policy is not enough)
  • Set a reasonable agreement about commitment to lab work and time for career exploration
  • Help your trainees set goals for both experiments and career planning
  • Don't try to do it alone (see links to helpful resources below)

Resources to help you with career planning conversations: