CV vs. Resume: What’s the Difference?

November 7, 2013

Word cloud of words like "Curriculum vitae," "Resume," "Job," "Letters," "Searching"Resumes and CVs are both extremely important documents to a job seeker. They are some of the most important job hunting tools you possess.  However, it can be confusing to know when and how to use each document.  This confusion is often compounded by the fact that there is not a standard resume or CV template – your documents will (and should) look different than your lab mates.  While there aren’t formal rules to follow, there are certain expectations for each document, which are noted in the table below:

 

CV

Resume

Definition

Ongoing academic & work history

Targeted marketing tool

Length

Virtually unlimited

1-3 pages depending on use

Purpose

Use if seeking:
* Academic, research, or postdoc positions

* Applying for grants/fellowships

Used for every other type of job search away from the bench — outside academia and/or research science

Content

Wide variety of sections, including (to name a few):
* Awards
* Grants
* Conferences attended

* Poster presentations
* Publications

Succinct and relevant to the position.  You usually only have space for a few key sections.
Two that are a given are:
*Education
*Experience

Design

Style is not as important as content

Style and content are both highly important – resumes must be formatted well and easy to read. Maximize all the white space on your resume’s page.

Omit

* Personal pronouns
* Objective statement
* References
* The label “Curriculum Vitae”
* Lots of bullet points with long narratives
* Lists of skills/techniques

* Personal pronouns

* Experience not relevant to the position

* Presentations & abstracts
* Publications

To hear more details about these differences, we encourage you to watch OITE’s video workshop, CVs and Resumes: Essential Job Search Documents.

CVs are the norm in a scientific research environment, so most scientists are familiar with the basics for creating a CV.  Therefore, creating a resume can be a bit more challenging. A lot of scientists’ resumes end up looking a lot like a CV.  When placed in an applicant pool with resumes, this CV will stand out as odd and out of touch.  It is important to understand the key differences between these documents and to take the time to convert your CV to a resume when the position calls for it.

Your lab and your publications often speak for themselves on a CV. This is not true for a resume.  Don’t assume that your lab and/or job title is enough to convince the reader that you are qualified for the position. On a resume, you should be using strong, active verbs and numbers to highlight your accomplishments in a quantitative way.  As an example, don’t just say you taught a lab section; employers want to know specifics like the fact that you “Designed lesson plans and taught introductory biology to 54 undergraduate students.”

For both documents, it is important to be genuine, but this is not the space to be modest. These documents are often the only introduction you get to present to a potential employer, so take the time to review them often.  It also helps to seek input from friends, colleagues, and OITE.

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This Week’s Episode of CHOPPED: A CV for the Chopping Block

August 12, 2010

onionsDid you see this week’s episode of “CHOPPED?” It contained one of the most ridiculous combinations of foods I’ve seen yet. The chefs had to incorporate the following into an appetizer: kabocha squash, sardines, banana chips, and rice paper. WHAT? Tough basket for this week’s chefs, for sure.

On to our version of CHOPPED…

So, what is a CV, anyway? That is a question I often hear from trainees. A more common question is: “What (on earth) is the difference between a CV and a résumé?”

A curriculum vitae (CV) is a document that outlines your entire academic history. It is used most often to apply for faculty positions at colleges and universities, for research-intensive positions at national labs or research institutes, and for fellowships, grants, or awards.

A résumé is a document that highlights your education, experiences, and skills as they relate to a particular position. It is essentially used for every position other than a faculty opening, for which a curriculum vitae (CV) is used. Some employers seeking the content of a résumé may instead request a CV, leaving the job seeker at a total loss. If you’d like more help in sorting out which document to prepare, visit the new and improved OITE website and take a look at the handouts on both CV and resume writing.

Now…on to this week’s victim, with names changed to protect the innocent, and my comments in red. This is less of a chop, though, and more of a sauté, as this CV is in such good shape. Consider this a sample that you might use as a model when constructing/editing your own document.

____________________________________

Hira Mee Tudeigh, Ph.D.

7890 Lois Lane            anytrainee@mail.nih.gov (work)

Baltimore, MD 21224             iheartscience@emailhost.com (home)

(abc) def-ghij

Education and Training

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

National Institutes of Health (NIH), 2005-present

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA)

–  Post-doctoral research topic:  Differential pharmacology of independent synaptic inputs to the ventral tegmental area (VTA).

Mentor:  Ino Alotta Stuff, Ph.D.

I have seen postdoctoral appointments listed under “Education and Training” or “Research Experience” categories. Either is fine.

  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)

Center for Translational Neuroscience, 2002-2005

Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences

–  Doctoral dissertation title:  Development of REM sleep: Cholinergic and intrinsic mechanisms.

Mentor:  Read Abookaday, Ph.D.

When working on an academic CV, it is often helpful to list your mentor(s).

  • University of Central Arkansas (UCA), 1997-2001

B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Chemistry

–  Neurobiology research topic:  Role of pedal 3 neurons in turning while crawling in the marine slug Tritonia diomedea.

Mentor:  Interest Ingresearch, Ph.D.

–  Psychology research topic:  Immediate effects of a terroristic event on birth rates.

Mentor:  Patenting Althetime, Ph.D.

Teaching

  • Instructed Chemistry and Experimental Neurobiology Labs to over 350 students, 1999-2001
  • Tutored Chemistry I, Chemistry II and Physiological Chemistry, 2000-2001

Mentoring

  • NIDA summer student.  Physician-Scientist Training Program, 2010

–  Senior high school student in Honolulu, HI

  • UAMS summer student, 2004-2005

–  Chemistry Ph.D. student at Stanford University, Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship recipient

  • UAMS post-baccalaureate, 2003-2005

Science writer

Note how early in the CV the “Teaching” and “Mentoring” categories fall. Order is very important in CV writing, as it demonstrates interest and experience appropriate to the job at hand. For example, if this trainee were applying for teaching-intensive faculty positions, this order would be spot-on. If she/he were interested in research-intensive faculty jobs, listing research experience and publications earlier would be more useful.

Awards and Honors

  • NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE), 2008
  • Eli Lilly Graduate Student Travel Award to the Society for Neuroscience meeting, 2004
  • Walter Morris Neuroscience Award for Best Graduate Student Presentation, 2004
  • Sleep Research Society’s Trainee Merit Based Travel Award, 2004
  • UAMS Graduate School Travel Fund Award, 2003
  • 1st place Undergraduate Research Award from the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience for exceptional independent neurobiology research (additional monetary award from UCLA), 2001
  • Certificate for Meritorious Service to the Community from the American Chemistry Society, 2001
  • 3rd place Undergraduate Student Oral Presentation from the Arkansas Academy of Science, 2001

Professional Service

  • Co-founded the NIH Patent Law and Technology Transfer Scientific Interest Group, 2008
  • Chief Physiology Judge for the NIH Fellowship Award for Research Excellence, 2008-2010
  • NIH Fellows Committee (FelCom) Membership Secretary, NIDA Basic Science Representative, Job Fair Subcommittee, 2007-2010
  • Sleep Research Society Trainee Day Subcommittee Member, 2004-2005
  • President of the Student Affiliates, American Chemistry Society, 2000-2001
  • Treasurer of the Student Affiliates, American Chemistry Society, 1999-2000

Professional Societies

  • Society for Neuroscience, 2006-present
  • Student Member Sleep Research Society, 2003-2005
  • Student Member Society for Neuroscience, 2002-2005

Community Involvement

  • Organized and instructed Chemistry lectures and labs for the High School Science Workshop held at the University of Central Arkansas, 2000-2001
  • Held Chemistry demonstrations for 1st to 4th grade students at rural schools located in the central Arkansas region, 2000-2001
  • Judged the Central Arkansas Regional Science Fair and high school science fairs, 2000-2001
  • Volunteer in the Little Rock Baptist Hospital Emergency Room, 1998-1999

Both “Professional Service” and “Community Involvement” are important to list for teaching-intensive positions, as they demonstrate a commitment to issues other than one’s work; i.e. a commitment to serve the community, whether that be the campus community, the scientific community, etc.

Invited Presentations

1)      Are Pre- and Postsynaptic G-Protein Coupled Receptors Regulated Differently? Winter Conference on Brain Research, 2011.

2)      Taking it all in: Functional properties of distinct inputs to VTA dopamine neurons. Winter Conference on Brain Research, 2010.

3)      Impaired electrophysiological function in the substantia nigra precedes parkinsonian deficits in the MitoPark mouse.  Gordon Research Seminar: 2009.

Publications

Book Chapters

1)    Some Other People and Me. Chapter Title, In: Book Title, Really Smart Person (Ed.), Publisher, City, State, Zip. Chapter 9.

Research Articles in Progress (* indicates shared first authorship)

1)    Me*, Some Other Person*, Another Person, and Many Others. Article title.

2)    Some Other Person, Me, and a Few Others, Article title.

3)    Me, and Two Others. Article title.

4)    Me and Another Person. Article title. Research in Progress.

I appreciate the fact that the writer separated works in progress from published work here.

Research Articles Published (* indicates shared first authorship)

5)    Another Person*, Me*, Lots of Other People. (2010). Article title. Journal Title, In press.

6)    Me and One Other Person (2010). Article title. Journal Title. 30(23): 7900 –7909.

7)    Another Person, Me, and One Other. (2010). Article title. Journal Title. 59(1-2): 121-7.

8)    Me and One Person (2009). Article title. Journal Title. 587(6): 1233-47.

9)    Me (2007). Article title. Journal Title. 27(1): 1-3.

10) Me, and Several Others. (2007). Article title. Journal Title. 1129(1): 147-55.

11) A Few Others, Me, and a Few More. (2006). Article title. Journal Title. 141(2): 769-79.

12) Me, and Many People. (2006). Article title. Journal Title. 28(2): 210-19.

13) Several People, Me, and One Other Person. (2005). Article title. Journal Title. 3(2): 89-113.

14) One Person, Me, and Several Others. (2004). Article title. Journal Title. 91(4): 1470-1481.

15) One Person, Me, and a Few Others. (2004). Article title. Journal Title. 96(2): 735-746.

16) A Couple People and Me. (2003). Article title. Journal Title. 2(2): 115-131.

17) A Few People, Me, and a Few More. (2003). Article title. Journal Title. 140(1): 57-66.

Abstracts and Presentations

1)    This Person, Me, Those People. (2010). Title. Society for Neurosci. Abst.

2)    Me and That Person. (2009). Title. Gordon Research Conference.

3)    Me and That Person. (2008). Title. Society for Neurosci. Abst.

4)    Me, Some Other Person, and This Person (2007). Title. Society for Neurosci. Abst.

5)    Some Other Person, That Person, Me, and This Person. (2007). Title. Society for Neurosci. Abst.

6)    Me and Some Person. (2006). Title. Society for Neurosci. Abst.

7)    Some People, Me, and Another Person. (2006). Title. Sleep 28.

8)    Some Person, Me, and Some More People. (2006). Title. Sleep 28.

…And this list continued through 19 items, so this trainee has kept him/herself busy for some time.

_____________________________________

Send along your CV, résumé, or letter to msinche@gmail.com if you’re willing to brave the chopping block. As with today’s example, I may be quite easy on you: certainly easier than coming up with an appetizer of banana chips and sardines. 🙂


CHOPPED – Blog Review of CVs, Résumés, and Letters

June 23, 2010

chopped

As with last week’s post, I will continue every Wednesday to invite you to send me your CV, résumé, or cover letter via email to msinche@gmail.com. I will choose one document each Wednesday to put up on the chopping block–that is, to review on this blog. I will remove identifying information, and will offer not only critiques, but also praise when warranted.

Send me your document soon, and I will post the first I receive–with my comments–on this site.


CHOPPED – Blog Review of CVs, Résumés, and Letters

June 16, 2010

choppedMy favorite new reality TV show is “Chopped,” which airs on the Food Network. The show isn’t new, but I am new to it, and I can’t get enough of it. Chefs are given baskets containing secret ingredients and must create an appetizer, entrée, or dessert using everything they find in the basket. I love to cook, but I am more a recipe-follower than an improviser in the kitchen, so the chefs who compete on this show completely impress me.

What I would like to propose now is an online version of CHOPPED–well, with a slightly different premise. I would like to invite you to send me your CV, résumé, or cover letter via email (to msinche@gmail.com). I will choose one document each Wednesday to put up on the chopping block–that is, to review on this blog. I promise to remove identifying information, and will offer not only critiques, but also praise when warranted. Who knows…your document may even serve as a template for trainees just starting the job search process.

Send me your document soon, and I will post the first I receive–with my comments–on this site.

Bon Appétit!


Resumes and CVs: Tailor Made

February 9, 2010

While I have been in career services for over a decade, I still begin each new job search with the same step: I read the job description. Wow–what incredible advice! Good thing you signed up for this feed!

This may not especially novel advice, but job descriptions often contain precisely the information you need to set yourself apart from other applicants. Knowledge, skills, and abilities required, experiences or techniques preferred, and other information in the description should be used to demonstrate that you are a viable candidate.

Take this excerpt from a science education job posted recently on usajobs.govExit Disclaimer :

Science Coordinator, National Park Service, Acadia National Park (ME)

Major Duties:

  • Create new science partnerships
  • Maintain a research program (within the incumbent’s science discipline), in collaboration with academic colleagues and others
  • Administer grant and cooperative research programs
  • Facilitate the translation and communication of scientific research results for program participants, employees, neighbors, visitors, and conservation partner organizations

The description includes more detailed information, but this list represents some of the basic duties required. Can you translate work that you’ve done in your degree program or postdoc using the language above? You might be able to demonstrate that you’ve done similar work in the past. While this process may seem fairly straightforward, including language tailored to the job on your resume or CV may determine whether you are invited to interview or not.

One last note on tailoring your job search documents: experiences that demonstrate your ability to do a particular job need not be paid experiences. For example, you may currently serve on a Visiting Fellows committee. How can you translate this experience to persuade an employer that you qualify for a certain position? I would encourage you to go through this exercise each time you apply for a job.

Happy tailoring!


Writing a Letter of Recommendation – Tips for Mentors

October 9, 2018

al-nik-382503-unsplashAs postbacs prepare to apply for graduate school, many might be coming to you to ask for a letter of recommendation. It can be hard to know how to start these all-important letters, so here are some things to keep in mind as you draft your reference letter.

First and foremost, you should only agree to write a letter if you feel you know the person well and if you can write positively about your working experience with them. If not, you might want to mention that the requestor should contact others who could better speak to their work. Don’t feel compelled to write a letter out of obligation, especially if you feel uncomfortable writing favorably or if you think your assessment could hinder their chances of acceptance.

What You Need to Write a Letter

If you feel comfortable writing a letter of recommendation, then make sure the requestor provides you some background information. If it is for a job, they should give you their CV/resume and a copy of the job description. If it is for graduate/medical school, they should give you their CV/resume, a list of the schools they are applying to, and a copy of their personal statement. This information will be helpful background as you write your letter on their behalf. It would also be a good idea to check in with the person about the top three things they would like you to address in reference to the position or institution. For example, for graduate school, you will most likely want to speak to not only their analytical abilities but their work ethic as well. If you are writing a letter for a medical school applicant, you will want to check out the AAMC website where they offer detailed instructions for letter writers. Writers are encouraged to touch on the applicant’s competencies along four dimensions: thinking/reasoning, science, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.

 

Formatting

In terms of format, letters of recommendation are generally one page and one to three paragraphs long. They must be signed and dated; ideally, it will be on official letterhead. You should start by noting how long you have known this person and in what capacity. Be sure to clarify your role/title and relationship (supervisor, colleague, etc) to the applicant.

Then, you will want to move on to your endorsement of the candidate. Keep in mind the three points they wanted you to address but be specific when doing so. General statements like, “Bailey is a hard worker” tend to fall flat unless supported with examples. You could rephrase it to say, “Bailey has demonstrated an excellent work ethic and commitment to the team. One of our projects required somebody from the lab to come in each weekend day to harvest cells. Bailey volunteered every time to help out and was a pivotal member of our team during busy work times.” It also helps admissions committees if you favorably compare the student to others you have known. As an example: “In terms of analytical abilities, Bailey is in the top 10% of undergraduate students that I have worked with in the past ten years.” Speaking to both their skill sets and personal characteristics is usually the winning combination. Try to address and conclude with one or two traits that make them especially suitable for where they are applying.

Be Aware of Gender Bias

We wrote about gender bias in letters of recommendation a few years ago. A study by Trix and Psenka (2003) examined 300 letters of recommendation for medical faculty positions and determined that recommenders unconsciously described candidates in stereotypically gendered ways:

  • Men were described as “successful” and “accomplished” and letters for male applicants contained more repetitions of superlatives such as “outstanding” or “exceptional.”
  • Women were described as “nurturing” and “compassionate” and letters for female applicants often include doubt raisers, statements like: “It appears that her health and personal life are stable.”

Letters for female applicants were shorter and lacked basic features like a description of the writer’s relationship with the applicant, comments on the applicant’s academic traits and achievements, and/or evaluative comments. Letters for males were more aligned with critical job requirements and used stronger language like “excellent research record” and “ability”.

Make sure you aren’t falling prey to gender bias when writing your letter. You can copy and paste your letter into a Gender Bias Calculator here.


Why the 11th Annual Career Symposium is Awesome!  

May 15, 2018

The 11th Annual NIH Career Symposium is on May 18, 2018. This great event features career panels to help you make career decisions.  Register now and join us!

CS 11

Top 11 things on why the career symposium is awesome:

  1. You can look at what careers you might want.
    1. We have faculty, industry, government, bench, non-bench jobs to highlight. Come hear about what these folks do all day at their jobs to make sure you are ready.
  2. You could also decide which careers do not fit you.
    1. If you are unsure what is next, you can “test” careers-it is just as important to take careers off your decision tree as it is to find a career that fits you.
  3. You do have time for this—it is part of being a grad student/postdoc/fellow.
    1. One common comment we hear is “I do not have time, my experiments need me!” We get it, most of the OITE staff have PhDs….that said, part of your job as a trainee is to find a job so consider this your experiment for the day!
  4. You can hear from over 60 speakers that are attending.
    1. Many of our speakers also make hiring decisions, so you can get insider info on what committees are looking for in CV/resumes, cover letters, and interviews.
  5. You can see that most trainees are in the same decision-making process that you are.
    1. There is comfort in seeing that other trainees are also wondering about what career they want after they leave their postdoc/fellow/grad experience. You can share ideas and tips with your colleagues to make this process easier.
  6. Network with your peers
    1. Too many times trainees think networking is only about speaking to those in positions of hiring power; however, you can get great advice and insights from like-minded individuals in your peer group. The career symposium usually has over 750 in attendance, so there will be plenty of opportunity to make new connections!
  7. You should invite everyone who is a postdoc, grad student, fellow in the biomedical sciences to join us.
    1. While hosted by the NIH OITE (part of the intramural research program), everyone is invited–even if you are not in the intramural research program.
  8. You might learn a new skill in our blitzes.
    1. The end of the day features skill blitzes to help you prepare your job packages, interview, deal with the stress of being a scientist, transition to your new job, tell your boss about your career plans, and more.
  9. You have an easy place to practice networking.
    1. A few years ago, a speaker mentioned that while they had great conversations the day of, no attendees followed up after the event. Be that person that follows up!
  10. You can get a picture at the LinkedIn photobooth.
    1. According to LinkedIn’s data, LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21 times more profile views, nine times more connection requests and 36 times more messages than those without photos.
  11. You can participate by tweeting along.
    1. We will highlight comments and tips by the speakers all day on Twitter. Follow along at NIH_OITE with the hashtag #CareerSymp18

 

See you there!


The Way to Go: SMART Career Resolutions

January 8, 2018

SMART

Happy New Year!  It is that time of year to make career resolutions that you will accomplish during the next 12 months.  Two years ago, in the New Year Careers Blog we suggested that trainees make an appointment with a career counselor.   This year, to be more confident that you will accomplish your career goals , we suggest that you utilize the SMART goals strategy, Specific,Measurable, Achievable, Results driven, Time-specific when creating your resolutions.  Using this strategy will take you further..faster!  Here are some detailed examples for fellows to consider as you create your career resolutions for 2018.

Postbacs

General Resolution:        Apply or re-apply to Medical School

SMART Resolution:          By June 15, 2018 I will submit my completed error-free AMCAS or AACOMAS application for admission to medical school. I will have attended an OITE Applying to Medical School workshop, had a personal statement critique, reviewed and edited my AMCAS application, used MSAR to  identify a list of 15 medical schools (3 reach schools, 10 within in range and 2 safety schools), achieved my MCAT score goal by June 1, 2018 (before I apply), obtained all letters of references needed, have obtained sufficient direct patient care, research, and leadership experience.

Graduate Students

General Resolution:         Apply for postdocs

SMART Resolution:          On June 2, 2018 (or 6 months prior to completion of my doctoral degree of my) I will apply for at least 4 postdoctoral research fellowships with a clean, critiqued, error-free CV, application letter, research statement that I created utilizing OITE career counseling, workshops resources, talks with my PhD advisor, NIH PI, science professional associations, and researchers that I meet at conferences.

Postdocs, Visiting and Clinical Fellows

General Goal:                                    Start applying for jobs

SMART Academic Resolution:     One June 1, 2018 (or eight months prior to the last day of my post doc) I will apply for 2 academic jobs with an CV, Cover Letter, Research and Teaching statements, and a well-developed job talk presentation that have been critiqued by OITE staff and my PI.

SMART Industry Resolution:        One June 1, 2018 (or 6 months before post doc ends) I will apply to jobs in a chosen industry with my resume, cover letter that has been reviewed by an OITE career counselor. I will have had a mock interview for industry positions, attended the Career Symposium in May 2018, conducted 3 informational interviews

Please join the OITE team for our January Wellness event,  Setting Goals for the Upcoming Year, on January 18, 2018, 2:00-3:30pm, Building 50 Room 1227.

 


Building Bridges Towards Your Career During the Holidays

December 11, 2017

holiday spirit

Cheers! The months of November and December is the time, annually, when workers from the NIH and across the globe take time to celebrate and relax.  During this time, the communication between future job and graduate school opportunities slow down for a couple of weeks.  Even if your research is continuing, PIs and trainees may take a few days off.   This will give you an opportunity to schedule some time and focus on your career development.  Of course, the OITE’s wellness model encourages scientists to have a healthy balance between work and time to replenish your mind, body, spirit and connections with others.  Here are some easy career development activities that trainees can easily schedule in, that will build your career spirit!

Re-kindle professional relationships

During the next few weeks utilize the relaxed schedule to continue developing and reconnecting with your colleagues who will enjoy learning about your status and future goals. Send a holiday card, set up a coffee chat or phone call to re-connect with mentors to strengthen your professional relationships You can also carve out some time to conduct an informational interview, gain clinical and volunteer experience.  Discuss your career plans with others (verbally) to build your confidence articulating your professional career goals while gaining support.

Read! Read!  Read!

Read at least two hours per day will serve you personally and professionally. In fact, reading is one of the recommended methods to help applicants prepare for the MCAT CARS section and interviews.  You can read a variety of media including short stories, novels, newspapers, and professional journals and news magazines to you will increase your ability to read critically and more quickly and effectively.  It will also keep you up-to-date on current issues in your field and in the world.

Revise your resume, CV, cover letters and practice interviewing

Use portion of the time to update your job search correspondence materials including your CV, resume, cover letters and other application materials while at a coffee shop or watching TV. While it is time consuming, it is a necessary part of managing your anxiety about applying to jobs or graduate schools in the future.  Allowing yourself the time to practice interview questions with a trusted friend, family, or colleague can help you hone your skills in this area as well.

Review and update your social media profiles

Employers and graduate schools admissions staff often review the social media sites of their applicants. This is an excellent time to manage your on-line image.  Create and update your profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Set privacy controls, add professional photos and delete any questionable language and images.   This is a time to connect the image that you want to project in 2018 electronically and in person.

Re-energize with physical activity

Whether it is cold, warm, snowy or balmy, the holidays are great times to enhance your physical well-being through active or mindful exercises. These activities will strengthen your ability to be a strong co-worker and have a positive outlook.  Take a walk, jog, dance, listen to music and/or take time to breathe.  If you must be indoors, then go to the gym, swim, engage yoga or mindfulness activities are wise uses of time.

Also, as you are building your professional bridge to success, retool by visiting the OITE website and read through the selection of blog articles, videocasts, and other materials that are designed to prepare you as professional scientists. When you return, you will have engaged in the four areas of the OITE wellness model and begin 2018 with refreshed and strengthened career goals!


Making Career Searches Less Scary

October 30, 2017

halloween-475x336

During a recent OITE workshop on the topic of career planning, trainees from all levels described finding the job search process “scary” and had feelings of  fear and stress regarding approaching the next steps.  For post bacs, applying to graduate, medical and other professional schools can sometimes feel like an uncharted maze at Halloween.  For post docs and visiting fellows, hearing the scary stories about pursuing academic careers, making the big step into industry, or searching for jobs in the US and abroad country is akin to walking in the dark in uncharted territory.  To add to previous OITE Halloween posts, here are some suggestions to help you slay the ghosts and goblins that are perceived to lurk in the career decision making process.

Do Not Go Gentle (Onto) That Good Career Path:   Put on your cloak of confidence –Allow others to help you learn what is next. 

A career counselor will help you confront myths and arm you with career realities that will empower you to forge ahead and fearlessly apply for opportunities and conquer interviews. You can also re-assess your career decisions and make healthy career choices through using individual career advising and assessments to discover how your interests, skills, and values relate to your career goals and career options.  Wellness advisors can help you manage stress and become resilient professionals through mindfulness exercises that are helpful at managing the stressors associated with the journey.

Researching the necessary qualifications and gaining experience will make career maze is less scary

Aim your flashlight towards the journey ahead by gathering practical information that you need about the career path you are embarking on. Conduct career research (websites, workshops, professional meetings), set up informational interviews with scientists, and utilize the videocasts and blogs found on the OITE web page to train for the trek.  Gain additional experience and skills through fellowships, OITE skills workshops, FAES and other options if you discover you need them. Create a timeline and strategy plan will help you to fearlessly navigate through the maze.

Unmask your talents

Create resumes, CVs, cover letters, personal statements and applications that clearly emphasize your strengths and skills. It is extremely important for scientists at all levels to include your leadership, teamwork, collaborations, communication, and community involvement in addition to your science and research skills.  Visit the OITE resume and CV and cover letter guide to help expose the broad range of skills that you bring to the position.

Use Career Tricks and Treats

It’s time to strut your stuff! Set out to interview at the doors of many schools and or positions.   Learn how to interview well by practicing the STAR technique of behavioral interviewing during a practice interview for graduate school and jobs.  This is a proven method of describing your past experiences, transferrable skills,  and discussing your experience with collaboration, teamwork, leadership, and problem solving and diversity.  Other tricks include, learning how to network, negotiate, and/or develop solid presentations of your research. To sweeten the deal, write effective thank you letters, a welcomed treat to those who have taken time to interview you.

 Have Halloween Fun!

Trainees are encouraged put on your costumes and stop by OITE Trick or Treat celebration on Halloween on October 31, 2017 between 11:00 and 12:30pm to celebrate you and also learn about how our services can help you in your career preparation.  Also hear about some of OITE’s staff’s scary job search stories.