With the start of the New Year, many of us are focused on resolutions that may include taking our career to the next level. Here are four tips to get on the right track:
1. Sharpen your presentation skills
Most scientists never receive formal training in the creation, delivery, and evaluation of scientific presentation, yet these skills are essential for publishing in high-quality journals, soliciting funding, and advancing a career. Here are three tips to improve your presentation skills:
- Read articles and watch videos on effective presentation skills (one video is located in the Aspire program* portal).
- Make a point of attending lectures by effective presenters, take notes about the topic and also about how they deliver the presentation.
- Be sure to gather feedback from all your presentations as they can have significant impact on your career advancement.
2. Present at a scientific conference
Setting a date to have your presentations skills developed will motivate commitment to this resolution. Here are a few places to start:
- Find a relevant conference to apply to as a presenter. They will be looking for completed work with high relevance to the conference audience that provides notable steps forward in the field.
- Submit a poster to a conference. You may be given the opportunity for an oral presentation. Let the organizers know you would like to give an oral presentation, if possible.
- Speak with your adviser about your goal to give an oral presentation. They may be invited to give a presentation that they are unavailable for. Alternatively, they may be willing to have you give part or all of one of their presentations. The latter is especially true if they are presenting some of your work.
3. Expand and improve your technical skills
Like presentation skills, most laboratory technical skills can always be improved, and doing so will provide additional tools to tackle new research questions. Even at the postdoctoral level or above, some employers may be looking for scientists with experience with particular techniques. Here are some resources for learning:
Thermo Fisher Scientific offers several free online courses including:
- The Gibco interactive training center with courses on cell culture, stem cell culture, transfection, and protein expression.
- Learn about fluorescence, microscopy, and flow cytometry at the Molecular Probes school of fluorescence.
- The Invitrogen School of Molecular Biology has information on cloning, restriction enzymes, competent cells, PCR, and more
Another great way to learn a new technique is to partner or exchange with a peer who has expertise in that technique. Perform the technique with them as much as possible while they supervise and provide feedback. Offer to do the same for them for a technique you have mastered.
While volunteer activities may be done with the intention of helping others, there are several benefits received from giving. Volunteering can be a source of inspiration, motivation and learning that can even include exploring career options. Consider the following:
If there is a career that you are interested in, talk to someone in that space. Look for opportunities to volunteer to gain valuable experience that may open doors for future positions.
For example, many of us are drawn to the life sciences because of our desire to improve the human condition. If possible, volunteer with individuals who may benefit from your work such as at a nursing home with Alzheimer’s patients.
Now the most challenging part of New Year’s Resolutions – sticking to them!
Enroll in the free Aspire member program to benefit from career accelerators, free full-size trial product from nearly 20,000 items and earn points for discounts and merchandise.
* Full terms and conditions of the Aspire member program, go to thermofisher.com/aspire/tc