I recently “attended” a virtual training course on Transitioning into a Non-Academic Career sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Science. The talk was given by Dr. Josh Henkin and he outlined the kinds of preparation and professional development is useful for non-academic careers. Here’s a recap for you:
We should all have Master Resumes
Dr. Henkin talked about how we should have a master resume document that we just continually update with the latest information about ourselves. This document includes the FULL list of your awards, publications, skills, strengths, and experiences. The goal is to use this Master Resume as a quick and easy resource to build your position-specific resumes that should be tailored to each position you apply for.
Master your elevator pitch
The elevator pitch is a 30-45 second snippet about yourself where you focus on key and relevant experiences that you have where you share proof that you are more than just a bench scientist and that you possess both technical and transferable skills. Elevator pitches are appropriate at casual networking events (e.g. conferences, informational interviews). He gave an AWESOME example of an elevator pitch as you can see in the slideshow below.
CVs and Resumes are different
I’ve been meaning to write a post about this for a while (and please feel free to let me know if you’d like to me go into more detail), but he gave a really great quick snapshot of the key differences between CVs and resumes. I have done a blog post about CVs and what they should include, but this was a really great visual for the difference between the two. He also emphasized how we should all be writing our OWN resumes because he has seen individuals come in for interviews and not realize what is one their resume! This compliments my advice to know your resume during interviews.
All in all, it was a wonderful webinar. Dr. Henkin has more online webinars that you can pay to attend, like this one on Resume Writing. And AAAS’s Career Development Center has a lot of resources that are useful for graduate students and post-docs who are looking for career advice.