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Know Your Skills Produce a Career (STEM). Ruth Schemmer, PhD Assistant Dean for Career Development Graduate School 411 Kirkland. Know Your Skills Produce a Career (how to get from Point A to Point B) Final Thoughts. Overview. Know Your Skills. What skills do you possess? Name some.

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Know your skills produce a career stem

Know Your SkillsProduce a Career (STEM)

Ruth Schemmer, PhD

Assistant Dean for Career Development

Graduate School

411 Kirkland


  • Know Your Skills

  • Produce a Career (how to get from Point A to Point B)

  • Final Thoughts


Know your skills

Know Your Skills

What skills do you possess? Name some.

What do you think of when I say competency?

Know your skills1

Know Your Skills

National Post-doc Association

6 Core Competencies: Discipline-specific conceptual knowledge, Research skill development, Communication skills, Professionalism, Leadership & Management Skills, Responsible Conduct of Research

Know your skills2

Know Your Skills

Discipline-specific Conceptual Knowledge

Courses, independent research

Additional training (summer research programs)

Improvements made in processes, outcomes, new knowledge

Know your skills3

Know Your Skills

Research Skill Development

Data/Quantitative skills

Scientific skills

Ability to think through a problem logically from beginning to end

Know your skills4

Know Your Skills

Communication skills

Conference presentations/Journal articles

Science in the Classroom

Grant proposals/reports to funding agencies/technical reports

Successful proposals for funding—convincing someone to give you money!

Ability to convey and explain complex concepts to undergraduates

3MT participation

Know your skills5

Know Your Skills


Center for Teaching

Graduate School Career Development

BRET Career Development

Know your skills6

Know Your Skills

Leadership & Management Skills

Training newer students in the lab

Mentoring/supervising undergraduates

Managing course section, making all plans

Working with team on large project; multidisciplinary collaborations

Project management: taking multi-year project from initial question to completion

Evaluating student performance

Know your skills7

Know Your Skills

Responsible Conduct of Research

Why do employers care? Ethics very important in the workplace

Knowledge of proprietary information’s importance

Know your skills8

Know Your Skills


Know your skills9

Know Your Skills

MyIDP(Individual Development Plan):

Hosted by Science Careers (AAAS)

Assessments of interests, values, competencies; can also ask advisor/mentor to complete form and compare yours and theirs

Offers career possibilities drawn from assessments

Track goals and progress

Produce a career

Produce a Career

Consider Optional Paths: Alternate Academic (non-tenure track, higher education)

Typical Positions: Lab Manager; Program Director; Development Assistant; Research Assistant/Associate

Potential settings: Academic Departments; Research Labs; Teaching Centers; Development Offices, Research Institutes; Post-doc Offices; K-12 Teaching

Produce a career1

Produce a Career

Non-academic: (business, government, non-profits)

Typical Positions: Research Associate; Policy Analyst; Development Assistant; Analyst; Consultant; Data Manager; R&D

Potential settings: Government Agencies; Health Care Organizations; Consulting Firms; Insurance Companies; Biotech Companies; Think Tanks

Produce a career2

Produce a Career

Gain Experience


Volunteering at non-profits; Science outreach


Interacting with undergraduates

Campus/Community leadership

Produce a career3

Produce a Career

Explore Options

Network! ask for advice/suggestions/tips, not preferential treatment

Lit review for your career: gather stories, informational interviews set up a profile, locate PhDs in interesting jobs

Alumni from your undergraduate institution

Alumni from your Department (ask professors for names)

Campus Staff (alternate academic careers)

LinkedIn (join groups for discussion; VU Alumni)

Produce a career4

Produce a Career

Explore Options

Chronicle of Higher Education:

Versatile PhD:

Career Panels, STEM forum, PhD Career Finder

First access through Graduate School Career Development Non-academic Careers  Exploring Options

Web aggregator of job listings; read for skills in job descriptions

Produce a career5

Produce a Career

Explore Options

Career/Professional Development events & resources

Graduate School Career Development:

BRET Office of Career Development:


Final thoughts

Final Thoughts

A degree of serendipity/chaos in any career journey.

You may start below your skill level, with commensurate pay.

Volunteering time and services may be necessary to demonstrate evidence of skills.

Knowing your skills and creating a resume containing them is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for job searching: networking is a must!

Career development services graduate school

Career Development ServicesGraduate School

Ruth Schemmer; 411 Kirkland

Twitter: @VUGradCareer

Appts: Wednesdays, all day; Friday mornings

Call 615-343-2727 for appt

Walk-ins: Thursdays, 2:00 – 4:00 pm

15-minute short consultation (e.g., resume review)