Presentation on theme: "“Life After the Ph.D.” How To Land the Post-Doctoral Fellowship of Your Dreams Donna H. Korzick, Ph.D. Chair, Intercollege Program in Physiology Department."— Presentation transcript:
“Life After the Ph.D.” How To Land the Post-Doctoral Fellowship of Your Dreams Donna H. Korzick, Ph.D. Chair, Intercollege Program in Physiology Department of Kinesiology The Pennsylvania State University October 29, 2008 – GWISE Seminar Series
Landing a Post-Doctoral Fellowship… I.The Search A. Is post-doctoral training really necessary? B. Finding a good mentor and research environment II.The Interview A. Preparation for you visit: homework B. During your visit: listen and ask questions III.The Follow-Up A. After your visit: homework B. The Negotiation: salary, moving expenses, etc IV.The Decision
How Long Does a Post- Doctoral Experience Last? 2 – 5 years Usually in one place Years 1-2: learn new techniques (tools in the toolbox) low risk project handed to you Years 3-5:high risk project make the project “your own” find YOUR niche Remember: Your #1 competition will be your Ph.D. advisor, find your niche
How and Where Do You Find Post-Doctoral Positions? Advertisements: Science, professional society publications/list serves Word of Mouth Academia? Industry? Government?
Is Post-Doctoral Training Really Necessary? You betcha…if you want to land a job at a ‘Research I’ institution Probably not…if you ‘just want to teach’ at a small liberal arts school Yes… if you’re remotely leaning towards continuing on in science Yes…if you want to write your ticket and determine your own fate
Preparing for the Interview Get an itinerary beforehand (communicate with the secretary/administrative assistant) Do your homework Become familiar with the individuals on your itinerary Perform a literature search/know their research Have you been asked to give a seminar? Obtain information on the type of room in which you will be presenting (large vs small group) Know your audience and plan ahead
Preparing for the Interview, cont. Dress professionally! Speak professionally! Keep your guard up; now is not the time to reveal negative information about your advisor or university Address those with whom you meet as “Dr.” Let your personality shine through without being too casual or too pretentious
Listen carefully -To what is said and unsaid - Be attentive Ask questions of current trainees -examples “What is an average day like in the lab?” “ Do you meet with Dr. _____ often?” “What kind of projects are you working on?” During Your Visit
Questions You Should Ask Any Potential Post-Doctoral Mentor Where will you fit in the general scheme of the lab? To Whom will you report? your mentor? some middle-management flunky? How much freedom/flexibility will you have? What is his/her vision/goals for you?
Questions You Should Ask Any Potential Post-Doctoral Mentor, cont. Low Risk vs High Risk Projects – make them articulate this plan What is their philosophy on training post-doc’s? Other career development issues: -Publishing -Grant writing individual NRSA transition awards (NIH KO1, AHA SDG)
The Seminar Presentation? You may or may not be asked to give a seminar. You will present your thesis work. Make sure you get permission from your current mentor. Know your audience! Will it be formal or informal? Don’t take credit for that which is not yours! Don’t use “cutesy” fonts like comic sands!
The Dinner: Social Do’s and Don’ts Keep your guard up! Now is not the time to weigh in on departmental politics or share negative information about your current mentor – keep it positive. If you consume alcohol, no more than one drink! Plan ahead to ask questions, silence is painful: -cost of living? -popular housing developments? -community recreational services -reflect on your day, ask appropriate questions from prior interviews -listen
The Follow-Up: After Your Visit Thank you letter - avoid overly effusive language - be honest with a timeline for your decision Talk to previous trainees about “what it’s really like” - get names from potential mentor - what they tell you or don’t tell you means alot! Get input from your current mentor Get input from senior investigators in the field about the mentor/laboratory
How Do You Negotiate An Offer Once a Mentor has been Identified? Things you should eventually ask about/expect: - “When and How” do you ask for this stuff? - Moving Expenses (this can be done by asking to start your salary one month earlier if moving expenses are not customary) - Guaranteed two years of support NIH Stipend: $38,000 (0 years experience) - Supplemental Pay: cost of living? - Full Benefit Package - Travel to at least one meeting/year
The Decision: How Do you Select the Perfect Post- Doctoral Mentor? Follow Your Heart! Environment/Resources What is his/her reputation Big Lab vs Little Lab? Lots of pressure vs less pressure Pedigree goes a long way and opens doors! Talk to people at meetings – What kind of reputation does he/she have?
Korzick’s Words of Wisdom Good post-doc’s write their ticket…. Take advantage of every and any opportunity that comes your way – you’ll never have that much freedom again! Publish Publish Publish Get your own NRSA Get a career development award to take with you! Demonstrate independence and creativity every chance you get Always do MORE than you are asked Don’t be afraid to do something different – nothing is permanent!
Career Development Resources from the American Physiological Society: