Success will look differently for all postdocs: maybe it’s landing a research or teaching position in academia, a staff scientist position in industry or at a government lab or something more corporate or policy-driven. It is important to define what is important to you in order to set your goals and plan a path to achieve those goals. A postdoc is not intended to be a permanent career, so it's important to map out your future.
Individual Development Plan (IDP)
Using an IDP to create your career development plan to track your progress is strongly recommended and will help you use your postdoc training period more effectively. Completing your IDP will help you familiarize yourself with career planning tools that are common among academic and non-academic employers.
Your IDP will help you to:
Discussing your IDP with your mentor should be part of your annual review process, in which you seek constructive feedback on your performance in the prior year and create a plan of action for the upcoming year.
During your postdoctoral training, you have the opportunity to explore different career options if you so choose. Postdocs end up in numerous positions including: tenure-track research, non-tenure-track research, a faculty position at a liberal arts school, teaching at a community college, research administration, patent law, industry or nonprofit research, science policy, scientific communication or writing, consulting, and research or project management.
Many online and in-person resources are available to help you explore career paths, including consultations with Alaina Nickerson in Career Services.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) Career Options Series
- National Academies Press: Careers in Science and Engineering
- My IDP Career Resources
- Career Options for Ph.D.s
- Career Trends: Careers Away from the Bench
- Careers in Physics
- NeurOnline Career Paths