Exploring careers for PhDs is about repeatedly ‘getting unstuck’

Career counselors in our office have noted that many graduate students and postdocs repeatedly get ‘stuck’ when exploring the wide range of career options available to PhDs, because they lack a foundational understanding of precisely what it means to ‘explore careers’. So, they read pithy articles or first person narratives that encourage activities like ‘identify transferrable skills’ and ‘conduct informational interviews’, and feel lost. Check out an instrument I developed that we use in counseling appointments to help PhDs get ‘unstuck’ in the career exploration process.

Resigning from your job? 5 things that can trip you up as you’re going out the door. Hurdle #1: your boss

It’s important to realize that from the moment you say you’re resigning, you’ve entered a continual negotiation phase, where you’re negotiating with your boss, your colleagues and your clients for the limited amount of time you have left. At a time when employees think they’re winding down, things actually get more intense. Here’s how I’ve seen people manage it well.

How to answer the, “What’s Your Weakness?” question

I was recently reading that the, “What’s your Weakness?” question was the most useless interview question, because everyone tries to dodge it. Rather than useless, I describe it as the most misunderstood interview question, by candidates and interviewers alike. Candidates feel it’s a trick question, and some employers aren’t clear on what exactly they’re looking for when they ask.

Negotiating the Offer: You have job offer A, but are still waiting to hear about offer B. Now what?

This week, I talk about how to handle this specific negotiation situation: the “Have Offer A, but Waiting to Hear From Offer B” scenario. As usual, what’s most interesting to me is the etiquette and the appropriate language to use with both organizations. I give examples of how to delay Offer A, as well as how to find out about your status from potential Offer B.

Boundaries: Discussing your career with family over the holidays

Photo of dinner table

A few years ago, right before Thanksgiving, a student came in for a counseling appointment. Since she wasn’t sure that she wanted to continue on a career path in the biomedical sciences, she was dreading of the coming conversations about school. Talking to people abut our career path – or deflecting those conversations – can be a tricky thing. I have six strategies to handle conversations about your career over the holidays.