One of my colleagues on a national group working with research staff (AGCAS Research Staff Task Group), Jane Simm from the University of Sheffield, has just been involved in a publication called ‘The career-wise researcher’. I’d recommend you have a look at it.
It’s a really useful little booklet giving great practical tips for managing your career. What I like best about it is its acknowledgement that career patterns are not predictable and detailed planning is not always the best approach. It encourages taking an ‘organic approach’ to employability; taking opportunities as they arise (and creating them), learning to cope with the unexpected, and ‘adapting your ideas to your evolving interests and experiences’. This ties in with the ‘Planned Happenstance‘ theory of career development which I’ve mentioned before on this blog and say more about in the PhD section of our website.
It’s a short, easy read and gives lots of ideas of activities you can engage in to help you think about the future (which can be done in between experiments or in a break from the library!). Even better, the University Careers Service can help you with every aspect of the research and reflection suggested. So if you need inspiration and support, read the booklet on the Vitae website and follow that up with a meeting with a Careers Adviser (click here to find out how to arrange a meeting).